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.
I recently experienced the Hollywood blockbuster "Spider-Man," and was delighted to see mild-mannered Queens high school student Peter Parker turn himself into a crime-fighting superhero. Jews invented the modern superhero 60 years ago, developing the concept of a well-intentioned but unempowered person transformed through accident into a powerhouse. Their creations (Superman, Spiderman and the like) are descendents of the golem, which was created to protect Jews from pogroms.
Billy Wilder used to joke about his former compatriots in Austria. He would say, “The Austrians are a marvelous people: they have convinced the whole world that Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German.” Axel Corti, a Paris-born, half-Italian, half-Austrian filmmaker, would have undoubtedly appreciated this jibe. Corti, who died of leukemia in 1993, spent his entire career as a film, theater and radio director putting the Austrian-Jewish connection under the microscope of his art with scathing results.
Poet, translator and publisher Peter Cole is among this year’s recipients of MacArthur Foundation fellowships, or genius awards, as they are popularly known. The no-strings-attached award, honoring creativity, includes a $500,000 stipend that is paid over five years.
Monday, July 28th, 2008
Everyone one of us who cares about news is familiar with Reuters. But until I heard “The Writer’s Almanac” on NPR the other day, it never occurred to me that there was a man, Paul Reuter, who started it all, let alone that he was the son of a rabbi who converted to Christianity. You can hear Garrison Keillor tell you about the man by clicking here:
Israeli academic Miriam Shlesinger received a devastating e-mail last May from her old British friend and editor Mona Baker.
Shlesinger, an interpreter at Bar Ilan University, was checking to see whether she should finish a writing assignment for Baker, editorial director of St. Jerome Publishing in England. St. Jerome publishes the prestigious journal The Translator, where Shlesinger sat on the editorial board.
In response, Baker told the Israeli to get lost.
Prague, Czech Republic — Pavel Dostal could hardly contain his anger. The nattily attired Czech minister of culture sat in his conference room, arms folded and jaw tight, as he explained how he felt betrayed by the Jewish community he was trying to help.
Dostal, bearing a resemblance to Kurt Vonnegut and dressed in gray bow tie, matching silk shirt and jacket, spoke with reserved bitterness last week while relating through a translator how he had become the victim of a worldwide misinformation campaign by the haredi and Orthodox Jewish communities.
Inside the front door of Viktor Bash's apartment at the Arlene and David Schlang Pavilion in Brownsville, Brooklyn, are two pages of detailed safety instructions to be used in the event of an emergency.
In the fifth-floor hall hangs a notice that a Dec. 4 tenants' meeting has been canceled. The federally subsidized housing project's management recently distributed detailed instructions about the city's new recycling laws.
Your blogger has had a wonderful, spiritually uplifting visit to Israel, but you know what they say about all good things.
During a break in the International Jewish Bloggers’ Conference Sunday night, I checked in with our olim one last time to see how they had spent their first weekend and how things looked on the road ahead.