This week, I wrote about the retirement of The Jewish Museum's director Joan Rosenbaum, who's led the museum for 30 years. But the story of her career raises a few fundamental questions that The Jewish Museum, and indeed all ethnic museums, must grapple with: Should ethnic museums advance the consensus opinions of their constituent group, or should they challenge those beliefs? And if the latter, where do you draw the line?
This Sunday I went to see Alvin Ailey American Dancer Theater at City Center. It's the 50th anniversary of its landmark piece, "Revelations," created by the company's founder, Ailey, who died of AIDS in 1989. And each night of the company's month-long stay they're staging the work.
'Kissinger, in addition to being the quintessential court Jew, is also a hypocrite.'
Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Special to the Jewish Week
I cannot remember reading anything as despicable or callous as Henry Kissinger’s observation, captured for posterity on secret White House recordings newly released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, that “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
It was a downer to hear that the U.S.-led Israel peace talks fell through this morning. But then I was reminded of some sunny news: Israeli artists, one of the bright spots on the country these days, are breaking out far beyond New York. Adi Nes, Sigalit Landau, Yael Bartana, Mika Rottenberg--all were represented at Miami's Art Basel last weekend. And then there was fast-rising Elad Lassry, who is having his limelight momen
Just like the return of the clothing fashion styles of yesteryear, many things on the Web tend to make a comeback too. It seems like every few years the same hoaxes, urban legends, videos, jokes and funny photos get recycled around Cyberspace.
I noticed that this is the case with a photo of ham -- yes, ham! Through Facebook, hundreds of users are recirculating the photo of the boneless spiral ham on sale at a store with the sign "Delicious for Chanukah."
Chabad Lubavitch has always been out in front when it comes to using the Internet for publicity. Back in the 90's, Chabad took full advantage of the virtual communities on America Online (AOL) and then launched some of the most impressive websites once everyone migrated to the Web. For years, Chabad has been a strong force in Cyberspace with "Ask the Rabbi" websites, online distance learning, and viral videos.
Okay, that was me being sarcastic, but the problem with the Jewish tradition of sarcasm is that it doesn't translate well in Cyberspace where tone of speech doesn't come through in text. That's why it makes sense that the ability for computers to detect sarcastic speech has been developed in the Jewish homeland.
We all know that Jews can rock. After all, you only need to listen to Bob Dylan or Gene Simmons of Kiss to know that. But there are also some Jewish singers who are rocking Jewish music... and I don't mean Jon Fishman leading Phish in "Avinu Malkeinu."
Tonight the New York Philharmonic begins the first of three "Elijah" performances. They should all be magnificent, on purely aesthetic grounds. But there's a deep theological divide embedded in this work too, and one that has profound implications for our understanding of how Jewish a composer -- if one at all -- Felix Mendelssohn was.