Posted: Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:26 | Posted by: Emily Snyder | Well Versed
David Hayes conducts the New York Choral Society.  Courtesy Dan Dutcher Public Relations

Carnegie Hall on a Sunday afternoon.  A young child sits next to an old man, while a young couple slides in next to a pair of stately aficionados. There are a few out of town visitors, but this afternoon’s presentation by the New York City Choral Society of Mendelssohn’s rarely performed “Saint Paul” is for us: the citizens of this great, and diverse city.

Posted: Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:50 | Posted by: Gloria Kestenbaum | Well Versed
Courtesy Jewish Lights Publishing

I try to avoid books about the Holocaust, especially those about children of survivors. As a member of the latter group, I find the books either too painful and too familiar or insufficiently painful and somehow not enough.

Posted: Tue, 01/20/2015 - 17:03 | Posted by: Diane Cole | Well Versed
Two-handled jug (amphora) signed by Ennion. Roman, 1st half of 1st century A.D. Ardon Bar-Hama

Long before the acclaimed Seattle glass artist Dale Chihuly exhibited his colorfully light-infused work in a highly popular installation in Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum in 1999, another master glass blower was well-known in the ancient city: Ennion, who lived and worked in the coastal region of Phoenicia in the  early part of the first century C.E. 

Posted: Fri, 01/16/2015 - 09:31 | Posted by: Gloria Kestenbaum | Well Versed
Men's evening learning program in Makarov Kollel. Anna Chana Demidova

Chabad on the Bowery recently played host to a group of young Jews, some wearing kippot or long skirts, others less clearly Jewish-affiliated. What made this event singular was that most of its attendees were speaking Russian or Russian-tinged English.

Posted: Thu, 01/08/2015 - 23:25 | Posted by: Elana Maryles Sztokman | Well Versed
Courtesy of Blue Thread Communications

In the many communal conversations about shifting Jewish identities and trends -– swelling ultra-Orthodoxy, burgeoning indie-groups, religious escapees, religious returnees, denominational switching and more –- one of the missing narratives is of those who leave religion but then come back in another way. It’s a version of Jewish identity that requires years or decades to truly understand and appreciate, and may apply to thousands of Jews, though we wouldn’t know because such a trajectory does not (yet) have a name. It’s a story about those who leave their religious lives because of abuse or tyranny or a need for freedom and independence, yet still cling to aspects of the heritage that they never really intended to leave behind. It is a story of longing and pain that holds up a mirror to the complexity of Jewish life

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