Jews

Violence and Israel: Yael Hedaya Responds

When HBO's third season of "In Treatment" premiered this week, one story line was that it lost its main writer, the Israeli novelist Yael Hedaya.  (To fans of the show, don't worry: Jhumpa Lahiri is her replacement.) The HBO version was really an adaptation, nearly verbatim, of the Israeli hit series Bi'Tipul, where Hedaya wrote some of the best shows.  Now in her mid-40s and still living in Israel, Hedaya is releasing her third novel in English translation this month, "Eden.&

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. 

Does Franzen's "Freedom" Suck?

I do not know about you, but I've been riveted by the debates surrounding Jonathan Franzen's latest novel, "Freedom".  In the new issue of The Atlantic, B.R. Myers strikes a devasting blow against a book that has been otherwise roundly praised.

Stephen Greenblatt to Al Pacino's Shylock: Dead on Arrival

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.

EU Commissioner Apologizes for ‘Irrational Jews’ Remark

09/03/2010

(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.

Choosing Soul Over Mind

Praying on Rosh HaShanah poses a challenge to a devoted Jew for whom god is not on a throne.

Special to The Jewish Week
08/31/2010

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.

The author will be in synagogue on Rosh HaShanah, “using the prayers others are saying as the backdrop to my own meditation.”

David Mamet: Before He Was Conservative, He Was Jewish. Discuss.

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.

Jewish Connectivity, Old And New

07/27/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

What does a chasidic rebbe’s tisch (literally, table, a large gathering of chasidim around their spiritual leader) have in common with a Birthright mega-event? At first glance, not much.

Teaching Talmud In Moscow

07/27/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

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. 

Oliver Stone apologizes for Jewish accusations

07/27/2010

(JTA) -- Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone apologized for saying in an interview that the Jewish lobby controls Washington's foreign policy and that Hitler's actions should be put "into context."

Stone in an interview with the Sunday Times also had said that "Jewish domination of the media" has prevented an honest discussion about the Holocaust.

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