I fear death. I think about dying frequently and often try to make meaning of my mortality. Until recently, if someone had mentioned reincarnation to me, I would have dismissed it as a non-Jewish theological belief. I imagine most people share my visceral skepticism of the possibility of reincarnation and of its authentic Jewish roots, but perhaps we can temporarily suspend this disbelief and explore the idea together in search of a theology that can improve us. Perhaps, this thought experiment can even promote certain moral virtues.
For Tim Sparks, it’s a long way from Southern Baptist North Carolina to Tzadik records.
Special To The Jewish Week
It is a cliché to say that music can change someone’s view of the world. But in the case of guitarist Tim Sparks, it’s true.
Sparks, who will be performing at The Stone on June 14, grew up in North Carolina where he was “exposed to a lot of heavy-duty Southern Baptist culture,” he said in a telephone interview last week from his home in Minneapolis. “I’ve spent most of my life trying to work my way out of that.”
Abride prays at the Kotel, seen from behind, in a poufy white dress and cascading veil; someone with tzitzit hanging out of a pair of jeans stands next to a Jewish memorial stone in Chalkida, Greece; a brick side of a building in disrepair includes the sign “Synagoga.”
Hillel Halkin’s new biography of the poet-philosopher does him justice.
Jerome A. Chanes
Special To The Jewish Week
Who was Yehuda Halevi? Generations of Jewish schoolchildren here and in the Palestine Yishuv grew up with his classic poetic line, “Libi ba-mizrach, v’anochi b’sof ma’arav” — “My heart is in the East (the Land of Israel), but I, my body, is in the furthest reaches of the West.” Living and working in the 11th and 12th centuries in Spain, he was one of the giants of Hebrew poetry. That he was a significant figure in the history of Jewish thought is unquestioned.
What are the biggest mistakes in Jewish history? We asked Rabbi Charlie Buckholtz, senior editor at the Shalom Hartman Institute and author, to describe regrettable moments in Jewish history where a do-over might have been helpful. Part 1 of our Regrettable Moments series ran a few weeks ago and we received great feedback. Here is Part 2. What do you think? Any regrets on our regrets? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the Israeli historian Shlomo Sand released his book “The Invention of the Jewish People” in America a few months ago, journalists here wondered if it would attract the same attention it did abroad. It was a bestseller in Israel upon its initial release in 2008, and later won the French journalists’ highest honor, the Aujourd’hui Award. So far, however, the book has made little impact here.
Yeshiva University Museum exhibit features a dazzling array
of mostly hand-written Hebrew books.
About six years ago, the curator Sharon L. Mintz was looking for rare printed Talmuds for an exhibit she was organizing at the Yeshiva University Museum. She came across the name of a little-known collector in Switzerland who said he could help. Mintz was flown out to the private home of the collector, but discovered that he had much more than Talmuds.
The scent of cardamom and rosewater wafted through the hallways of Manhattan Day School last Thursday, as the Upper West Side yeshiva held a festival to culminate several weeks of study about Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews.Youngsters at MDS, where most students are Ashkenazi, dressed in embroidered caftans, sequined chadors and elaborate turbans.
The elderly Jews are gone now, the ones who carried their Yiddish cadences and stories of the rag trade and the Old Country with them down to the tip of Miami Beach. Throughout the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s and even into the ‘80s, they sat in rickety, rainbow-striped folding chairs on the warm sand, sweet Atlantic breezes tousling their white hair. Or they sat on the front porches of the many small Art Deco-style hotels and apartment buildings they called home in their autumn years, whiling away the hours in their Southern shtetl.