Lewis Cohen’s documentary centers on the Ilan Halimi case but delves into Jews’ place in the global economic system.
Special To The Jewish Week
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In winter 2006, a young Jewish-French man, Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped, held prisoner for 24 days, tortured and brutalized, then murdered and dumped handcuffed and naked near a railroad station outside Paris. He had been seized for ransom, allegedly because, as a Jew, he would have easy access to money. His captors were led by an emigre from the Ivory Coast, a Muslim warlord wannabe named Youssuf Fofana.
The Jews as a chosen people is one of the most fundamental ideas in Judaism, historically, philosophically and culturally. The very nature of our national and religious identity, as defined in the Bible, is bound up with the story of the Divine revelation at Sinai and the election of the Jewish people as a chosen and special people (Exodus19:5/6). Our prayers are replete with references to this, particularly on the holidays when the primary blessing of the Amidah, or silent devotion, opens with the declaration, “You have chosen us from all the nations.”
The tales of Caligula’s reign over Rome are so rich with gore, sadism and opulence that few bother even to check if they’re true. That blithe disregard for factual accuracy is hard not to excuse, what with stories like this: one contemporary, writing in the first century A.D., wrote that the Caligula once had the father of a man he was executing watch his son die. Then, he had the father eat with him at dinner. Other contemporary sources tell of Caligula’s alleged madness: he is said to have talked to horses, and insist that his own be installed in the Senate.
As a child, Symi Rom-Rymer heard stories about her great-grandfather’s 1911 journey from Russia to the U.S.
“I was very aware of the immigrant experience,” says Rom-Rymer, who is a founder and director of the Global Muslim Jewish Friendship Forum, an Internet-based grassroots organization that tries to unite members of both faiths in discussion about politics, culture and religion.
Hofesh Shechter often gets annoyed when people only see Jewish or Israeli references in his choreography. “It’s a very interesting, conflicted way the world sees Jews,” he told me a while back. “People [in England] refer to me as Jewish rather than Israeli. There’s this pigeonhole, this file that says ‘Jewish’ on it.”
Jews have a long history revising liturgy they find offensive. The Reform movement has often led that charge, doing away with, for the most part, patrilineal prayers they think should be gender-neutral, and thus more inclusive.
If the death this weekend of Adam Yauch, 47—the Beastie Boys founder, nicknamed MCA—was not enough, today came another blow: the death of Maurice Sendak, at 83. Both were Jewish artists, pioneers in their respective genres, and both were Brooklyn-born. That they were born some 35 years apart, and came from worlds quite diff
For years, German scholars and the country’s most prominent Jewish organizations have argued that Germany should allow “Mein Kampf” to be published in Germany before the copyright expires, in 2015. It is not illegal to publish the book in Germany, but the state of Bavaria, which holds the copyright, had adamantly refused for decades, saying that the longer the book was out of print, the better.
Gertrude Stein’s collaboration with the fascist Vichy government was never a secret. But, until now, many have simply ignored it; or, to use the critic Frederic Jameson’s phrase, given over to the “innocence of intellectuals.” Stein’s avid support for Petain, the Nazi collaborator who headed the Vichy government, has often been written off as merely the tragic consequence of many a brilliant artists. What mattered was her prose, not her politics.
Dave Eggers, the literary wunderkind, almost mustered some courage. This week he refused to go to Germany to accept the prestigious, $50,000 literary award created by Gunter Grass—the Nobel laureate who recently caused on international uproar over his poem chastising Israel for threatening global stability. But Eggers’ seeming act of courage was more apparent than real. Essentially, he declined the award because he didn’t wan
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.