Well Versed

Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel Honored For Bridging Worlds of Science and Literature

The Jewish Book Council has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award in past years on literary figures Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick. This year’s award, however, went to someone not as well known in the world of literature, but who has contributed to the Jewish community as well as the world of literature and science. 

Tracking Tenement Gems


The stone faces that look at us from New York City buildings are called grotesques. On the Lower East Side, they form another layer in the city’s immigrant history.

Scouting the Armory Show

It’s the 100th anniversary of the legendary 1913 Armory Show, which took place in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue and is widely credited for bringing Modern art to New York. A slew of shows are planned during 2013 in celebration. 
 

A Painter’s Meditation on Sinai


My painting of the giving of the Torah on Sinai appears on the book jacket of a terrific new book that’s said to be secular. I’ve been wondering about this.

And I Will Write on These Tablets, Exodus 34:1 (from Seeing Sinai), Jill Nathanson 2005. Malcolm Varon

Crowning Lena Dunham

Esther as Eloise?  Makes sense when Lena Dunham channels the parentless and precocious Eloise - “I am Lena and I am six” -- for a modern retelling of the Purim spiel.

Lena Dunham. Photo by Matthew Carasella/The Jewish Museum

The Eruv: Staying within Bounds

An exhibit at the Yeshiva University Museum, “It’s a Thin Line,” describes the history of the eruv and its evolution both nationally and across the globe, but it is the story of the Manhattan eruv, established in 1907 -- and a source of controversy since its inception -- which makes up the core of the exhibit.

"Tightrope" by Yona Verwer. Photo courtesy Yeshiva University Museum

Purim Spiel: Social Justice, Burlesque And The Whole Megillah

It all started when the puppeteer Randy Ginsburg went to Bali at the age of 22 and his orthodox Jewish friends expressed fears that he would worship pagan gods.

 From The Whole Megillah. Photo courtesy Randy Ginsburg

Carlo Ginzburg On Jewish Identity

Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg held a packed audience spellbound last Monday at the New York Public Library where he gave the Joy Gottesman Ungerleider lecture. Ginzburg, whom the New York Times has called “the preeminent Italian historian of his generation,” is best known for his pioneering work in microhistory, the study of finely delimited times and events. He turned that evening to his own microhistory with a talk entitled “Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish.”

Carlo Ginzburg, courtesy of the New York Public Library

Jews And Words: Leaving Nothing Un-debated

What is it that identifies secular Jews as a people -- be they Israeli or of the Diaspora, progressive or neo-con, early feminists or members of the Larry David fan club -- across generations and throughout the world?

Looking Anew At Holocaust Literature

Definitions can be tricky. Just try to find agreement on what qualifies (or not) as “Jewish literature.”

Photo courtesy Brandeis University Press
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