Well Versed

Sharing A Dream Of Peace

Passion. Love. Pain. Yearning.  Palpable emotions common to the songs of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Andalusia during the Golden Age of Spain, a time when our communities shared philosophy, poetry and musical cadences and lived in peace with one another -- a time past and, last Sunday evening, a brief taste of the world to come. 

Courtesy Noche Flamenca

2015 National Jewish Book Awards Announced

Jewish Week theatre critic Ted Merwin was named winner of the 2015 Jewish Book Award in the category of  Education and Jewish Identity for  “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli,” a well–researched and lively work of cultural history.

Courtesy NYU Press

Jewish Museums Leave Nostalgia In The Dust

A lively, sometimes contentious symposium at the Center for Jewish History on Sunday emphatically showed that Jewish museums in Central and Eastern Europe have reached a state of fruition worthy of celebration and vigilance. The symposium celebrated a new double issue of East European Jewish Affairs. Its participants threw themselves into exploring the move of Jewish museums “away from nostalgia and toward … a new self-definition,” as Judith Siegel, director of academic and public programming at the CJH put it.

David Shneer, Olga Gershenson, Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, Anna Manchin and Ruth Ellen Gruber

For The Time Being

So what do we mean when we talk about Jewish time? Always late by ten minutes? Days divided by requisite prayer services, weeks punctuated with the slowing down of Shabbat, years marked by yahrtzeits? Or is Jewish time always set in different time zones, as the Jewish people are dispersed throughout the world?  Or, as my grandmother would ask, Are you keeping time with anyone? To her, time meant sharing hours and it meant being together, in sync.

Installation view of "Using Walls, Floors and Ceilings: Valeska Soares." The Jewish Museum, NY. David Heald.

You Don't Have To Be Jewish...To Perform In Yiddish

It’s a well –worn joke: A couple dining in a Jewish deli on the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century are astonished when their Chinese waiter takes their order in flawless Yiddish. “Shh,” the manager tells them. “He thinks that I’m teaching him English!”

Cast of “Di Goldene Kale.” Ben Moody

Record Breaking Judaica Sale At Sotheby’s

An antiquarian book dealer based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Stevenson, Maryland is the new owner of Daniel Bomberg’s 16th century Babylonian Talmud, bought last week in auction at Sotheby’s New York. The $9.3 million sales price set a new world record for a single item of Judaica.

The Complete Babylonian Talmud, printed by Daniel Bomberg in Venice, 16th century. Courtesy of Sotheby's New York

Very Close-Up In Israel

Is an exhibit with more than fifty photos highlighting exclusion, violence, racial barriers, poverty and brutality in Israel good for the Jews and the future of Israel?

 Nir Kafri. Brothers Ahmed and Mahmoud of Yatta village, near Hebron. 2012. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Revisiting A Nutcracker Prince

A fairy tale within a fairy tale, the dancers playing the roles of the Prince and Marie in Gelsey Kirkland  Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” are newly husband and wife, and dancing together for the first time.

Dawn Milatin and Erez Milatin in rehearsal for Gelsey Kirkland Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

Shooting The Jewish Sow

Evil and rebellion lurk beneath the surface of Ilit Azoulay’s “a 7th Option,” on view at the Andrea Meislin Gallery. Initially, the single photomontage looks like a building undergoing renovation. On second look, it is a bizarre assortment of objects -- a shrunken head, a carving of a “Jewish Sow,” a pile of stones at a worksite and more. I thought I stepped into someone’s weird dream.   

Ilit Azoulay, "Seventh Option," 2014. Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery

Seasons Readings For Kids

For Chanukah 2015, young readers are treated to romance in the Atlas Mountains, stories of the real lives of Israeli kids, tales of helping others in this holiday season, easy-to-follow recipes and, as always, new spins on the Maccabee story.

Courtesy of Penguin Random House
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