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

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

Posted: Thu, 01/08/2015 - 00:21 | Posted by: Gloria Kestenbaum | Well Versed
Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Although Karl Marx is frequently recalled today, both to his credit and discredit, as the founder of Communism, his youngest daughter Eleanor has mostly been forgotten. But in her time, Eleanor was a figure of world renown, respected both as the primary editor and expounder of her father’s works, and in her own right as a social activist, leader of the burgeoning trade unions, a pioneering feminist, and translator and proponent of such defining works of the 19th century as Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” and Ibsen’s entire oeuvre. Her story is finally given the attention it deserves in Rachel Holmes’ exhaustive biography, “Eleanor Marx:  A Life” (Bloomsbury Publishing).

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