Elie Wiesel describes the Bible as “the pull of my childhood, a fascination with the vanished world, and I can find everything except that world.”
I feel much the same way, which is why the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibit “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” so thrilled me. The premise of the exhibit isn’t Israel or the Bible. Rather, it explores cross-cultural interaction and global communication during the Assyrian Empire from roughly 1200 – 400 BCE, the time period that many major Biblical events took place.
With the almost invisible strings of Fort Washington’s eruv stretching from pole to pole above us, we followed Rabbi Adam Mintz and Brother John Glasenapp, OSB up the hill where we found welcome refuge from Manhattan’s May heat inside the medieval walls of The Cloisters. An unlikely tag team, the rabbi and the monk were leading a group of 25 on a two hour walk and discussion sponsored by Yeshiva University Museum and The Cloisters museum to tease out the public/private nature of the eruv and Cloister, and how they create religious structures and community.
The Jewish Book Council has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award in past years on literary figures Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick. This year’s award, however, went to someone not as well known in the world of literature, but who has contributed to the Jewish community as well as the world of literature and science.