How do you measure intellectual influence? Richard Posner, author of the hotly debated new book “Public Intellectuals,” rates 546 public intellectuals by media mentions, Web hits and scholarly citations from 1995-2000. Certainly, top scorers like Henry Kissinger (12,570) and Salman Rushdie (7,688) occupy large space in current public discourse, but what about someone like Robert Warshow, a cultural critic who died in 1955 at the age of 37? He nets a paltry cumulative score of 190.
With his odes to Italian restaurants and songs about Catholic girls, most Billy Joel fans may never have pegged the "Piano Man" for the scion of a once-thriving German-Jewish mercantile family whose fortunes were swept away in the Holocaust.
In this corner: a loose affiliation of young Jewish social activists working to transform Judaism "into a more loving, inclusive and radical culture." In this corner: a team of New York-based theater promoters and PR pros marketing merchandise and events to hip Jews and others aspiring to "kosher-style fabulosity" through a Web site called "Jewcy.com."
The stakes in this battle of attitude: legal rights to the name "Jewcy," a title both contenders claim.
Albert Einstein’s combination of scientific genius, humility, good humor and distinctive grooming made him a cultural icon. An illuminating exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History provides remarkably lucid explanations of the shock-headed scientist’s theories that changed the way light, time, energy and gravity are understood.
“Einstein” also demonstrates how the Nobel Prize-winning physicist used his celebrity to promote his other passionate concerns: pacifism, socialism, disarmament and Zionism.
Museum Mile — the stretch of Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 104th — offers an intriguing paradox this fall. The Jewish Museum, at the corner of 92nd Street, is presenting a retrospective of works by a Jewish painter who eschewed Jewish imagery in his embrace of the universal. A few blocks south, the National Academy of Design exhibits the work of a painter who rejected Judaism, but uses explicitly Jewish symbols as expressions of spiritual transcendence.
Westchester school trims price tag for lower grades; freezes more widespread.
Eighteen months into the Great Recession and with record numbers of stressed middle-class parents requesting financial aid from day schools, one area school has taken the rare step of actually lowering tuition for next academic year.
Late last month, parents at Westchester Hebrew Day School got some welcome news in their mailboxes: a letter announcing that “for the first time in memory,” tuition would be reduced for the lower grades and held flat for all other grades.
I was first baffled, then amused, and then finally inspired when I woke up this morning and read “The Daily Show” writer Rob Kutner’s blog entry on The Huffington Post: “My new book, ‘Apocalypse How,’ is about how the world is about to end ... and why we should be psyched! It’s the first-ever work of apocalyptic literature that ‘accentuates the positive’ — and teaches you how to not just survive, but thrive....”
On the Thursday night before my Shabbat bar mitzvah all those years ago in Annapolis, Md., it snowed, heavily and unexpectedly. More than 20 inches by the next morning.
As a result, almost all of the out-of-town guests, including close relatives, couldn’t get there; my parents had to pay for dozens of guests who never made it to the luncheon at a local hotel; and an elderly congregant attempting to walk to shul for the occasion fell and broke her leg — a fact she reminded me of for years, every time I saw her.
Recently one of the great American newspapers carried a long guide to recent recordings of world music in its arts pages. The article was thoughtful, intelligent and, for the most part, a splendid introduction to the field, covering everything from sub-Saharan Africa to Celtic music.
There was only one striking omission: the author didn’t discuss a single recording of Jewish music of any kind.