Culture View

10/19/2016 - 12:59 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

It’s the sort of story that gets totally lost in weeks of war, presidential election campaigning and the Zika virus. Ironically, it’s the sort of feel-good story that American news-gathering organizations usually crave. For Jews, it encompasses themes of forgiveness and reconciliation that chime well with the Days of Awe.

09/21/2016 - 12:59 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

It’s a bit of a schlep from our home in Baltimore to Camp Ramah in the Poconos, where my wife is on staff and our three daughters go to summer camp, but, come road work or stormy weather, I’m almost never late for Shabbat services when I drive up on weekends. That’s because the camp is on Chicago time; the extra hour makes it possible for the campers to stay up late on Friday night. At the celebration of the end of summer, the director, Rabbi Joel Seltzer, brings out a big clock and pushes the hands forward. It’s a jolting reminder that the camp has existed for eight weeks in its own surreal realm, serenely out of step with the surrounding world.

09/13/2016 - 10:30 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

In the end, every nation gets the history it deserves, if only as it is reflected in art. Consider the latest freshet in the seemingly never-ending river of films about the Shoah and its aftermaths, and how they relate to local political events.

08/23/2016 - 13:25 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

While the vast majority of Israelis are secular, one would never know it from the rock and pop songs that are dominating the country’s music scene these days — tunes that are filled with religious references, efforts to connect with divine energies and longing for release and redemption. As the renowned Israeli intellectual Yossi Klein Halevi (author of the award-winning “Like Dreamers,” about the Israeli paratroopers who reconquered the Western Wall during the Six-Day War) put it last month at a rabbinic conference in Jerusalem, “Israel’s most secular art form is becoming its most religious one. And its most Israeli art form is becoming its most Jewish one.”

08/09/2016 - 16:30 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

We are bombarded daily by images and data. You could hardly call the plethora of numbers and text “information.” That would imply that some utility attaches to it.

07/26/2016 - 12:00 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Culture View

A rabbi, a priest and an imam are hurtling down Fifth Avenue in a taxi when it crashes, instantly killing the driver and his three passengers. As the members of the clergy are waiting impatiently on line to get to the Pearly Gates, they are astonished to see the taxi driver ushered straight into heaven with great fanfare. When they finally arrive at the head of the line, they ask the reason for the driver’s preferential treatment. “While he was doing his job, his passengers were always praying,” they are told. “But when you were doing yours, your congregants were put to sleep.”