We are delighted that Eric Herschthal took time to research the state of arts funding in the Jewish world (“The Mixed Canvas Of Jewish Arts Funding,” Sept. 23). A few clarifications are in order.
The commissioning of the work, “Monajat,” itself cost $10,000, not $100,000 — a relatively modest amount as these things go. The entirety of the New Jewish Culture Network, including stipends for presenting the work at venues across the country, national marketing and PR, and staff costs, came to about $100,000.
On the cusp of the Jewish New Year, we offer this update on the state of The Jewish Week, with news of exciting plans and a request for your help so that we can continue to provide you with high-quality journalism, and more.
We appreciate your support and note with gratitude that as the largest Jewish newspaper in the U.S., we plan to continue to inform, entertain and at times provoke you for many years to come with our award-winning work.
What happens when two Jewish imperatives — the tribal instinct to ensure the survival and growth of the Jewish people, and the Torah-based mandate to maintain our highest ethical standards — clash?
I saw those tensions played out last week at The Conversation, the Jewish Week-sponsored, two-day annual conference that brings together a cross-section of 50 American Jews, lay and professional, leaders and emerging leaders representing a wide range of ages, interests, backgrounds and beliefs.
The holidays are late this year.” We hear that expression often, especially when Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur fall after mid-September. But what does that expression mean? What can it tell us about who we are as American Jews, and how can it help us find what we need from our tradition?
For starters, how can Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur be “late?” They always come on the same two dates — the 1st and the 10th of Tishrei. Of course, that is according to only one of the calendars on which most of us rely.
Some Jews have a medieval custom to sacrifice a chicken before Yom Kippur, “kaporos.” One grabs the chicken’s legs while pinning its wings back and swings it around one’s head. These chickens are packed into crates before this procedure and then usually sent to be slaughtered after. Others are often just left in crates to die.
In Paris, last week, when a Muslim cab driver picked me up I noticed a slight discomfort came over me. I realized, at that moment, that American religious fanatics had succeeded at convincing me to be afraid. Religion, at its best, furthers deep value formation and creates bridges and connections whereas religion at its worst is destructive and spreads fear throughout society. There is a growing religious fanaticism, with diverse manifestations, that seeks to promote fear of the other and that fear almost inevitability leads to hate. This fear and hate is unfortunately not absent from major segments of the Jewish communal discourse.
Human attempts to peer into the future, to borrow a metaphor from philosopher J.L. Austin, are like a miner’s hat. A small area is illuminated in front of us so we can adjust our footing. Yet when we project far into the future, darkness reigns and the shadows deceive. The only way to know more of the future is to move forward; with each step the light advances and the next patch of ground becomes visible.