Special Sections

Counter-Revelations

In his subtle translations of the Bible’s Wisdom Books — Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job — Robert Alter highlights the canon’s subversive side.
02/22/2011

Robert Alter’s ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible into a new, more accurate and forceful English version is one of the most ambitious literary projects of this or any age. Turning the Bible into Greek, in the second century BCE, required 72 sages — which is why the Greek version is called the Septuagint (after the Latin word for 70) — and the King James Version, in the early 17th century CE, was produced by a committee of 47 Anglican divines.

JACK JANO, Shomer (Guard it), 2009, Sculpture. Courtesy of Artspace Gallery, Jerusalem.

Canon Fodder

With newly discovered documents and innovative approaches, how do we decide which Jewish texts and values remain at the core?
02/22/2011

One of the curiosities of the world of scholarship is the fixation with the arcane. This is why, somewhat regrettably, the word “academic” finds its kin in the thesaurus with the adjectives “donnish,” “pedantic” and “trivial.” When this is at its worst, it seems like a terrible waste; our universities are the places where young adults go to learn, think and become citizens of the world. If their mentors and role models are only interested in the marginal, what does that portend for how we value ideas?

The Trial of the Jews of Trent, Trent, 1478-1479, ink, gouache and gold on paper. Collection of Yeshiva University Museum.

Editor’s Note

02/22/2011

At a recent meeting of people involved in Jewish life, we began by introducing ourselves with our names and the titles of the books we’re now reading. There was very little overlap (other than a few parents of young children who admitted their last book was “Good Night, Moon”), with mentions of fiction, history, business, works of Jewish content, even cookbooks. After everyone spoke, the buzz was that we all wanted a copy of the book list we had created.

JACK JANO, Lech Lecha (Go forth, toward thyself), 1997 	Sculpture. Courtesy of Artspace Gallery, Jerusalem

Text Context February 2011

The Books Issue is dedicated to the idea of Jewish books and their history. Contributors look at books as windows into Jewish cultre, as bridges between people, as repostitores of knowlege and wisdom, as expressions of identity, as home.
Staff Writer
02/22/2011
Text Context February 2011

The Visual Arts List

Staff Writer
02/15/2011

“The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from The Jewish Theological Seminary Library.” The JTS Library lends some of its most significant ketubot, or marriage contracts, some of them almost 1,000 years old, to The Jewish Museum. (The Jewish Museum, March 11-June 26)

“Impressionism from South Africa, 1965 to Now.” This group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art features the works of 29 South African printmakers, among them the prominent Jewish artist William Kentridge. (MoMA, March 23-Aug. 14)

From “Finding Home: The Art of Siona Benjamin,” at the JCC in Manhattan in May.

Visual Arts

Israeli Eye On America: ‘Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations”
Staff Writer
02/15/2011

The illustrations of Maira Kalman have become synonymous with a certain type of knowing New Yorker — particularly the kind that reads The New Yorker, where she’s been a contributor for decades. But people often don’t realize Kalman isn’t from here. She’s from Tel Aviv, where she was born in 1949. Even though she’s made Manhattan her most enduring muse, she travels back to Israel often and frequently makes it the subject of her whimsical, subtly erudite illustrations.

Maira Kalman’s stylish illustrations are the subject of a Jewish Museum show opening next month.

Books

Jewish Week Book Critic
02/15/2011

NON-FICTION

The award-winning non-fiction writer Melissa Faye Greene is now in her 21st year as an elementary school parent. She’s someone who feels most alive, “most thickly in the cumbersome richness of life, with children underfoot.” She loves the Atlanta Symphony, but is moved to tears by a sixth-grade band “when the children play the C scale together for the first time.”

David Bezmozgis’ first novel, “The Free World,” is set in Italy.

The Music List

Special to the Jewish Week
02/15/2011

Feb. 22: Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic celebrate the 75th year of the orchestra and the 50th year of Mehta’s conducting career with a program that features the North American premiere of a new orchestral version of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s “Azerbaijani Dance,” as well as Lizst’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with guest artist Yefim Bronfman and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall (57th Street and Seventh Avenue). For information, (212) 247-7800, www.carnegiehall.org

Youthful Harmonies: ‘The Cantorial Trio’

Special To The Jewish Week
02/15/2011

It is, one imagines, a ritual common to almost all cultures. A bunch of young men get together casually, someone starts humming a tune they all know and — wham — you have voices raised in dulcet, close harmonies. A lot of very, very fine music has come out of such encounters, and when someone pulls a few such voices together in a more formal way, the result is frequently enchanting.

Sway Machinery’s Jeremiah Lockwood with Malian music giant Khaira Arby.

Out Of The Ashes A Century Later:

PBS documentary ‘Triangle Fire’ looks back on the tragedy.
Special To The Jewish Week
02/15/2011

They were, as the narrator puts it, “the forgotten cogs in America’s vast industrial machine,” the human sacrifices whose blood kept that contraption running smoothly. Conversely, you could argue that it was their sacrifice that awakened a nation to the human cost of America’s growing prosperity. They were mostly young Jewish and Italian girls, the youngest of them only 14, and it took the death of 146 of them to sound an alarm that still needs to be rung regularly.

Scene from Eran Riklis’ “The Human Resources Manager.”
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