"100 Percent Palestinian And 100 Percent Jewish"

I was very sorry to learn of the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, an actor who famously described himself as “100 percent Palestinian and 100 percent Jewish.”

Born in Nazareth to a Jewish mother and Arab-Israeli father (making him halachically Jewish), Mer-Khamis, a onetime paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, co-created and ran The Freedom Theatre, a company for Palestinian children and youth from the refugee camp of Jenin.

Haredi Orthodox Rabbis Ban Internet

Late last year, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbis banned the popular blog Voz Iz Neias and even went so far as to try to have it taken down. Now, reports that the Agudath Israel of America's Moetzet Gedolei HaTorah has issued a ban prohibiting its adherents from using the Internet without a filter.

Internet is Forbidden for Ultra-Orthodox

Esther's in Vegas

That's right, Esther's in Vegas. No, not THAT Esther? We'll shift our focus to Queen Esther in less than two weeks. For now, the focus is on another Esther.

The King & Queen of the Jewish Twittersphere: William Daroff & Esther Kustanowitz

New York Nights: Three Things To See This Week

If you haven't heard the pianist Mitsuko Uchida play, do.  She's performing tonight at Carnegie Hall -- solo works by Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven -- but even if you miss it, check out some of her albums online.

A Steve Reich Reader

This week I wrote about the minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose groundbreaking Jewish chorale piece "Tehillim" (1981) is being performed by the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music next Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. (They'll perform "Tehillim" at other locations over the next few months as well.)

Will Hitler Kill "The King's Speech"?

The New York Times today raised an interesting question about the Oscar front-runner for best picture, "The King's Speech." It wondered whether the real King George--who aggressively endorsed a policy of appeasement toward Hitler, something the film entirely ignores--might derail the film's chance for capturing the golden statuette.

Chaos and Classicism, The Music!: A Night with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra

A classical music program that includes works by Haydn may not strike you as radical.  After all Haydn--friend of Mozart, teacher of Beethoven--virtually invented the classical symphony as we know it. When newcomers think "classical music," it is probably the sounds of Haydn they hear in their head.

Kanye's Antidote: On Yefim Bronfman, Fame and Humility

The star pianist Yefim Bronfman performs in New York often, but I have never seen him. That was rectified last night: I caught him in the first of three concerts with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.  He was remarkable. Performing Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, he captured the full range of emotions in the piece--its subtle bits of humor, the breezy wistfulness, the heroic ambition--without drawing much attention to himself.

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