People seem to love author and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens for precisely the reason other people seem to hate him: he has an opinion, and a strong one, about almost everything. His new memoir, “Hitch-22,” is chock full of them, too. And when he appeared at at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday night, in a chat with his close friend Salman Rushdie, that fact was not glossed over.
Sitting on a train approaching Manchester, England, recently, my friend Arron and I leafed through a copy of MetroNews — Britain’s biggest free paper — and came across an article about recent violence in Jerusalem caused by the latest settlement controversy.
I began to read the article aloud, nonchalantly voicing the words “Israel” and “Palestinians” as they passed by in the sentence.
The ongoing war between the cantors and the congregants usually turns to a cease-fire when the High Holy Days arrive. For a few days each year, even the most fervent would-be singers are content to let the pros handle the more difficult repertoire. (Especially on an empty stomach.) But on the CD turntable, the tension between liturgy as performance and liturgy as prayer goes on. These recent recordings, mostly of prayer and Biblical texts run the gamut from “follow the bouncing chazan” to “shut up and listen.”