I’m always fascinated by what art we take with us when we move. and what art says about personal identity. That’s the clinical psychologist in me speaking. But if I had to analyze myself (which is never a good idea), I’d look at one picture which has traveled with me from office to office and which recently got a new location here in New York City. It’s a copy of a painting that I bought for a hundred rubles in 1993 on the banks of the Neva River. Significantly, I bought it on the first trip I made back to the FSU after I left permanently for the United States.
The top 10 moments (in no particular order) of 2010 in arts and letters.
PETER BEINART FIGHTS FOR LIBERAL ZIONISM
As the former editor of The New Republic, a liberal magazine, but one with a strong pro-Israel bent, Peter Beinart shocked Jews of all stripes when he published a scathing critique of the organized Jewish community in May in The New York Review of Books. Beinart, 39, argued that groups from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, to the Anti-Defamation League have failed to make Zionism an attractive ideal for young American Jews, who are mostly liberal.
SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Journalist and author Lisa Alcalay Klug flew across the country this month to present at Limmud NY, the annual New York version of the worldwide Jewish learning extravaganza.
The Jan. 14-17 conference in upstate New York will be Klug’s seventh Limmud gathering in 12 months. Like the hundreds of other Limmud presenters whose paths she crosses, she doesn’t get paid for her time.
Q - I am a traditional Jew who subscribes to the traditional definition of Jewish identity (you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted). By this definition, Gabrielle Giffords is not Jewish. But by other definitions, including her own, she is. Given all she has done and what she has gone through, and given the strong possibility that her assailant attacked her in part because of her self-declared Jewish identity, what is the proper ethical response to all this?
I wish Debbie Friedman had been alive to hear what was said about her at her funeral.
A similar thought occurs to me when I attend other people's funerals but never did I feel it so acutely as I did this past Tuesday as I watched the live-streaming of Debbie's memorial service on-line along with seven thousand other people who, like me, were singing and crying at their desks, on their iPhones, in their living rooms, and sending messages to each other simultaneously of sorrow, comfort, and gratitude for her life.
Two years ago, during my freshman year at Queens College, I found my passion for Jewish social justice when I started a Challah for Hunger chapter on campus, an organization that raises money and awareness for hunger and disaster relief through the production and sale of challah bread.
Weekly, a group of students gather to knead and braid dough and discuss social justice issues. The next day, the fresh bread is sold to Jews and non-Jews alike to benefit both Darfur relief efforts and local hunger initiatives.
Theater and religion have overlapped since ancient Greek dramas were performed at religious festivals. For the Argentine Jewish director and playwright, Vivi Tellas, synagogue-going and theater-going are still flip sides of the same coin. In her new avant-garde play, “Rabbi Rabino,” two real-life Conservative rabbis from Queens, Hyman Levine and Moses Birnbaum, expose aspects of both their professional and personal lives. Erik Piepenburg of The New York Times Artsbeat blog called the show an “irreverent mini-variety show about Judaism and modern identity.”
Members of the Tribe have a presence at the Rose Bowl-winning campus — and at many other Protestant and Catholic universities.
Edmon J. Rodman
Los Angeles (JTA) — Texas Cristian University may have seemed out of place at this season’s Rose Bowl — but not as much as a few of its fans.
The notion of Jewish students at Texas Christian may seem like a mismatch, but don’t tell that to the several dozen Jewish students at TCU who are now basking in the glory of their team’s 21-19 victory over Big Ten power Wisconsin on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif. Who says the Horned Frog, TCU’s mascot, can’t wear a kipa?
Beloved singer, writer, musical game-changer dies at 59.
To a broken generation, Debbie Friedman delivered a mystical truth: You don’t have to be cured to be healed.
She, who suffered for so long from elusive, debilitating neurological illnesses that finally took her life Sunday after 59 years, understood, with humor and faith, that she was singing and writing with one foot in Heaven and the other on a banana peel. It was as if from Heaven, however, that her most ethereal music seemed to come, transforming not only lives but whole denominations.