Jews

On "Death of a Salesman", Arthur Miller, and Goldman Sach's Greg Smith

When Arthur Miller’s “Death of A Salesman” first opened on Broadway, in 1949, Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times’ chief theater critic, could not have been more enthusiastic—“masterly,” he called, “heroic” and “superb.”  It is safe to say that the same adjectives can be used to describe the current Broadway revival that opened this week.  Philip Seymour Hoffman, in the lead role of Willy Loman, brings renewed complexity to a classic American character who

On Peter Novick, Albert Abramson, and the Death of Two Feuding Holocaust Figures

This week brought news of two shocking deaths: the first of Albert Abramson, 94, an important figure in building the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  And then there was Peter Novick, 77, an historian who wrote a withering attack of the Holocaust’s undue influence on American Jewish identity.  The two would probably have had little to agree

Bibi Netanyahu: On History and Its Abuse

All eyes were on Bibi Netanyahu yesterday as he delivered his AIPAC speech.  At times he was disarming, at others bellicose, both emphasizing that Obama has Israel’s back, but that if need be, Israel would go it alone.  “The purpose of the Jewish state is to secure the Jewish future,” he thundered. “That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.”

On Being a Jewish Rapper: Musings from Drake and Co.

It used to be the case that when you mentioned Jews and hip-hop, it was Jews who did the producing, and blacks who did the rapping.  That’s changed.  Now every rap great still living—which is to say, most—are running things: Jay-Z, Kanye, Lil Wayne are all producing giants.  While Jews, on the other hand, are rapping: forget Matisyahu (but him too), there’s Drake and Mac Miller and, to my surprise, even DJ Drama.

Richard Taruskin and Classical Music: Good for the Jews

Perhaps the greatest irony of classical music is that, while Jews have excelled in the genre as both composers and musicians, they have left very little notable music with an identifiable Jewish strain.  Many have tried, to be sure—Leonard Bernstein and Steven Reich, to name two.  But both those greats will be forever famous for their non-Jewish work.

What Jews Can Learn From Jeremy Lin

If you have anything like a normal human heart, you have probably fallen in love with Jeremy Lin.  I have yet to find any criticism of the break-out New York Knick star—or at least any that doesn’t feel merely contrarian or just plain cruel. Almost every ethnic group seems to identity with his story too, and how couldn’t they?

Scenes from a Village: The Ugly Truth about the Israeli Occupation

When Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967, virtually no Jews lived there.  Most had fled their homes after Jews had been massacred by a group of marauding Arabs in 1929.  But now that Israelis are in control of certain cities--notably Hebron, home of the tomb of Abraham--things have gone terribly awry. A new and essential report in the New York Review of Books shows what a disaster the Israeli occupation has become.

My Problem With David Brooks (and the odd company he keeps)

Like many liberals, David Brooks is a conservative I can like.  But every now and then he falls in with the wrong conservative crowd.  And this week it was in his swooning endorsement of Charles Murray and his new book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.”

The Oscars and Me: On "Pina" and Other Hopefuls

From a Jewish point of view, the Oscar nominees announced this week gave a lot to be excited about.  There was Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar’s nomination for best foreign film, with “Footnote,” about an intellectual feud between father and son, both Talmudic scholars.  There was “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” an adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel about 9/11.  And there was “In Darkness,” another nomination for best

Athens and Jerusalem: The Case for Knowing the Classics

In our secular, liberal age, the Bible and the classics often get a bad rap.  The Bible represents everything modernity is not—free inquiry, divested of hoary beliefs—while the classics are often snidely dismissed as the hubristic fantasies of aging, if not already dead white males.

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