the jewish week

Choosing Your Cups Wisely

A few guidelines for selecting wines for the seder.

Special To The Jewish Week
03/01/2012

In the traditional Jewish liturgy, Passover is referred to as the “Festival of Matzah, the time of our freedom.” And during the seder, that ceremonial celebration of the Jewish people’s freedom, no single food is more symbolic of freedom than the four glasses of wine that are imbibed. While matzah is the “bread of affliction,” wine is the drink of free men.

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?

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.”

Huh?, an Israeli "West Wing"?

With a name like “The Prime Minister’s Cabinet,” you’d think this television show was yet another British drama, a “Downton Abbey” sequel starring, say, Winston Churchill.  But it’s not—no, it has nothing to do with Brits, but with, of all things, Israelis.  Yes, in a culture story today, The New York Times devotes a full piece to an obscure Israeli political drama, made for T.V., that even critics in Isra

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

How Bad Was the Inquistion? What Adam Gopnik Gets Right--and Wrong--about Our Jewish Nightmare

[Update: The book discussed in this blog, "God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World," by Cullen Murphy, gets a nice review in today's New York Times. Check it out here.]

Eugenics Today: Or, Guess What Nazi Germany and North Carolina Share in Common

A couple of months ago, I wrote a story about the excellent and horrifying exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race,” now on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.  It describes how Nazi Germany took the pseudo-science of eugenics—or “racial hygiene”; attempting to create a purer race through breeding, sterili

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