Jewish

Another Kiefer Controversy?

The Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea will open its Anselm Kiefer exhibit, "Next Year in Jerusalem," this week.

I can't wait.

Kiefer has been courted controversy ever since he established himself in the '60s, taking pictures of himself doing the Nazi salute. As a non-Jewish German born the year the war ended, in 1945, there was always a layer of suspicion added to any explanation he gave.  But he always gave one, maybe frustratingly plain to some, but never coy.

Object Lesson

In ‘Great House,’ Nicole Krauss explores the connections between memory and weighty things.

10/26/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

A Hungarian-born antiques dealer with a fine eye for furniture helps people find pieces of their past — perhaps a chest from a living room broken up by the Nazis or a porcelain mantel clock. In his own stone house in Jerusalem,

Nicole Krauss says her plots are influenced by what's on her mind — the burden of inheritance. Joyce Ravid

Pew poll showing atheists know more about religion is flawed, scholar says

Remember that Pew survey a few weeks back with the surprising conclusion that Americans, while claiming to be oh-so-religious, don't know very much about religion, and that the folks who seem to know the most are atheists?

iPhone App for Jewish Organizations

Applaud Mobile creates iPhone apps specifically for Jewish organizations like synagogues, temples and Jewish schools. I recently reviewed the app it created for the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts. Tamir and Marcia Borensztajn, active lay leaders in their community and parents at SSDS, came up with the Applaud Mobile app.

Applaud Mobile: An App to Help Jewish Organizations & Congregations Connect to their Mobile Community

Making Your Website Work for Your Synagogue or Jewish Organization

Quite often I get asked to consult synagogues on their Web presence. The first thing I do is take a look at their current Web site and try to determine in which year it was created. I can usually tell its production date within a few years based on several factors. I then explain what a Web site should do today. After I explain its function, I let them know that the look of the site matters less today than its functionality. Today's Web site needs to be an extension of the community the synagogue is trying to create (or in some cases, has already created). 

synagogue-website.jpg

Disappearing Hillels, Invading Students and Killer Videos

10/20/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

History is being made! The first woman-written Torah scroll made its worldwide debut on campus last week. The Big Easy is getting ready for the biggest onslaught of Jewish college students in its history. Two Hillels have disappeared from the map and students want to know why. And students at two Israeli universities produced must-watch videos from Israeli universities that feature air-guitaring professors, Albert Einstein, underwater camera work, roller ballet and, yes, more. They’ll make you go Gaga.

 History is Written Into Parchment

Meira Kirschbaum

Synagogues and New Technology

Yoram Samets, of Jvillage Network in Burlington, Vermont, wrote an interesting essay for the eJewishPhilanthropy blog titled "Purposeful and Passionate: Synagogues in the Age of Facebook."

Subversive Swastika: Or, Is Nara's Art Innoncent?

Years ago, on a trip to Japan, I came across a swastika.  Dozens of them, actually, in museums across the country.  I was shocked, what Westerner wouldn't be? 

No doubt this has happened to many Western travelers in Asia, and no doubt many have gotten the re-assuring answer from tour guides or friends: don't worry, it just means "good luck." Buddhists have been using it as a symbol for luck for more than 2,000 years.

The Curious Case of Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Laureate 2010

Mario Vargos Llosa, the Peruvian writer who today won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was not Jewish. But he nevertheless often wrote about them: in "The Storyteller," (1989), about a Jewish anthropoligist in Lima who shacks up with a  tribe deep in the Amazon; as a contributer to the Commentary; and, recently, as an outspoken critic of Israel.

Given his not infrequent association with Jews, it is worth asking what he actually thinks of them. 

Simchat Torah Mysticism in the Age of YouTube

Google Images and YouTube videos are helping Jewish educators create new midrash and bring sacred meaning to age-old traditions. Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz created an innovative, interactive experience for the seven hakafot (circles) of Simchat Torah.

Her "Seven Dances for Simchat Torah in the YouTube Era" is available on the Sh'ma Koleinu website. Sh'ma Koleinu is an online center for spirituality and connection from Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, which seeks to bring sacred meaning to convey something of the deeper meanings of the High Holy Day liturgy.

"The Dance of Eternity" brings spirituality to Simchat Torah (Artwork of Francene Hart)
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