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.
Despite the general approbation for this summer's Shakespeare in the Park staging of "The Merchant of Venice," the production was dealt a serious blow this week. Stephen Greenblatt, America's leading Shakespeare scholar, wrote a scathing review of Al Pacino's performance in the New York Review of Books.
(JTA) -- The European Union's trade chief apologized for saying that rational discussion about Israel was impossible with Jews and that the Jewish lobby is the most influential in Washington.
Karel De Gucht, a former Belgian foreign minister who is now the E.U.'s Trade Commissioner, had been asked in a radio interview on Thursday for his opinion on renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched in Washington.
Praying on Rosh HaShanah poses a challenge to a devoted Jew for whom god is not on a throne.
Special to The Jewish Week
I am not a learned Jew. I am neither “religious” nor secular. I grew up in a religious household, and studied for a short time in a Jerusalem seminary. And though I eventually decided Orthodox Judaism was not a good fit for me, I did not entirely abandon Judaism either.
Now that he is an established potentate of American theater, David Mamet has had no trouble saying what he really thinks. Jews may remember his 2002 essay in The Forward, where he lambasted Jews for over-sympathizing with Palestinians. They will probably remember better his 2006 book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish Self-Hatred and the Jews," where he took it further, arguing that liberal Jewish antagonism toward Israel was simple self-hate.
Now that the Russian government permits the practice of religion, I often wonder what is happening to the Jews of Russia. This past May I found out. I spent the month in Moscow teaching Talmud at the Moscow State University for the Humanities.
The crisis in Israel over the so-called Rotem Bill regarding conversion practices and who should control them has been averted, at least for now. The bill was not brought to the floor for a vote because its sponsor realized he was short of the votes needed for passage.
Only the truly naïve about how these things work believe that this is the end of the story. Like a retrovirus, this issue of “who is a Jew” will surely rear its ugly head again in the not too distant future.