Well Versed

Babi Yar and the Rose Art Museum: Things Worth Seeing

Brandeis' Rose Art Museum is not dead yet.  Despite the university's much publicized--then reneged--decision to sell off much of the museum's permanent collection last year, the museum itself has been chugging along just fine.  At least that's the indication from the upcoming symposium the Rose Art Museum is hosting on March 10, dedicated to the Babi Yar paintings of the stellar if little known painter Felix Lembersky.

Who's Lembersky?, and what's Babi Yar again? You're forgiven for asking.

Should Christians Read the Bible More Like Jews?

In his usually precise and incisive way, critic Adam Kirsch tackles a thorny issue: should Christians read their Bible like Jews read theirs?  The occasion is a new book--"The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book"--by Case Western religion professor Timothy Beal, who is also the child of evangelical parents. 

To the End of Haaretz? David Remnick Reports

The New Yorker does a fine job, usually, of deciding which feature articles to give out free on its website.  Their logic seems obvious enough: if the story is of broad political or social importance, make it free.  Keep all the other stuff--about the arts, food, sports, or other "soft" stories--behind the pay wall.

City Opera's "Jew Number Twelve"

For subscribers to Harper's, there's a fantastic essay by Christopher Beha about his stint as a City Opera "super." Read it, a must. Beha, an editor at the magazine, reports on the comical, often infuriating but ultimately riveting experience of being an extra ("super") in the City Opera's 2009 production of Hugo Weisgall's "Esther."

What Do Digital Books Mean for the People of the Book?

This week I wrote an essay about how Jewish culture will change in light of the coming e-book revoluion.  I talked to at least a dozen Jewish book experts, from scholars and publishers, to readers and rabbis, and there was clearly no consensus about what might happen--only unanimous agreement that something important will.

The Jewish Influence on Egypt's Glorious Revolution: A Gene Sharp Reader

If you are anything like me, you've been transfixed by the Egyptian revolution.  If you value political freedom, human dignity and non-violent resistance as means to achieve both, than this was an event impossible not to love.  We all know the future is uncertain--if a legitimate democracy will takes Mubarak's place, and if that democracy will mesh with its former allies, America and Israel among them--but the short history of the revolution itself is what both conservatives and liberals alike in the U.S.

New York Nights: Three Things To See This Week

If you haven't heard the pianist Mitsuko Uchida play, do.  She's performing tonight at Carnegie Hall -- solo works by Schumann, Chopin and Beethoven -- but even if you miss it, check out some of her albums online.

Missing: The Super Bowl's Most Interesting Man

You would have waited in vain during last night's Super Bowl if you were expecting a new installmant of Dos Equis beer's new iconic Most Interesting Man ads.  There were no spots given to those campaigns--the ones featuring a tanned, slightly weathered older man with an ironic baritone voice-over saying things like: "The police often question him just because they find him interesting," "His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body," and "His blood smells like cologne."

A Steve Reich Reader

This week I wrote about the minimalist composer Steve Reich, whose groundbreaking Jewish chorale piece "Tehillim" (1981) is being performed by the teenage new music ensemble Face the Music next Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. (They'll perform "Tehillim" at other locations over the next few months as well.)

Will Hitler Kill "The King's Speech"?

The New York Times today raised an interesting question about the Oscar front-runner for best picture, "The King's Speech." It wondered whether the real King George--who aggressively endorsed a policy of appeasement toward Hitler, something the film entirely ignores--might derail the film's chance for capturing the golden statuette.

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