Judaism can come in the most unexpected of packages. At first glance, a nearly seven-foot-tall painting of a single thick black stripe running vertically across a black canvas signifies nothing but itself: a profound meditation on color and form. Yet Barnett Newman titled his 1949 painting "Abraham," after his father, who had died two years earlier, and the Jewish patriarch.
Speaking before several dozen people munching on babaganoush and taboule and chatting away in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and English, the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury invoked the hallowed name of Al-Andalus.
"And if we do not find it, we can build it in our hearts," he said at the reception for a literary event last week in the Soho studio of Iraqi-born sculptor Oded Halahmy.
Washington, D.C. — Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe had just begun hitting the shores in 1883 when a small group of American professors founded the Modern Language Association to advocate tongues other than ancient Greek and Latin. But they probably weren’t thinking of Yiddish, Hebrew or Ladino.
In March 1953, Maurice Wilkins of the King's College London announced the departure of his colleague Rosalind Franklin in a private letter to his friend Francis Crick, a scientist at the rival Cavendish Laboratory. "Our dark lady is leaving us next week," Wilkins wrote.
Just after the attacks of 9-11, as the intifada simmered outside, Peter Cole, a poet and publisher living in Jerusalem, sat down at the breakfast table to read the morning e-mail from New York. One message contained a verse by the great scholar Gershom Scholem, and it represented one of the first translations of Scholem's poetry into any language.
Thunderous applause greeted the first proposal for rebuilding the World Trade Center site unveiled last week by seven international design teams at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center.
The enthusiastic response by the victims' relatives, officials and reporters gathered under the indoor garden's palm trees might have been a collective expression of relief. The initial round of proposals, released in July, had been tossed out for lack of imagination and failure to inspire.
New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka says he will fight legislation aimed at removing him from the state-appointed position, telling The Jewish Week Tuesday he was prepared to take legal action if a bill being drafted this week in the state Senate passes. “I certainly will sue,” he said Tuesday by phone from his home in Newark.
Legal experts say the controversial poet could have a good case on free-speech grounds.
The two penguins, singing Hebrew songs, watched in awe as their magic sukkah took off from the zoo, flying high over the city and the countryside, their long journey to Israel interrupted by a quick stop at the ruins of Macchu Picchu....
My kids interrupt me. Lior, who is 4, asks me: “Are the penguins magic?” Aviv, my 7-year-old, waves off this old, tired question. Despite his inquisitive innocence, he goes for the ontological jugular: “Who told you the story? And how do you know it’s true?”