Mass gatherings of Israeli youth known as "raves," may bring to mind a besotted Bacchanalia, but a proponent of the popular celebrations says present a spiritual side of Israeli life that can combat the negative images being broadcast from the region.
Berlin: The memory of World War II crops up in unexpected places here. In idyllic-looking neighborhood parks, at busy intersections and along the streets in lively neighborhoods, one is suddenly confronted with a reminder of the city's bloody past: plaques, small monuments and conceptual art installations recall Berlin's former life as the home of some 173,000 Jewish citizens and their fate under the Third Reich.
Berlin: Construction cranes seem to hover everywhere in the skyline of this capital city. Since the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, startling new buildings designed by some of the world's most acclaimed architects (Frank Gehry, Rienzo Piano and Richard Rogers) have gone up, particularly in the formerly deserted zone that bordered the wall.
Franz Kafka displayed theatrical flair from an early age, composing plays for his three younger sisters to perform. Cabarets and other popular entertainment fascinated him as a young man, and Kafka was especially influenced by the Yiddish theater, an emerging art form in prewar Prague: where he spent most of his short life.
Charly Rodriguez plays Latin jazz. So does Charly Schwartz: which may come as a surprise to his fellow band members in La Onda Va Bien. Schwartz and Rodriguez are the same person: the Brooklyn-born son of Cuban Jewish immigrants who raised him on equal parts Havana rhythms and "Hava Nagila."
Vera Felice won't do nudity. She won't work on Shabbat. But the 21-year-old actress and model can do accents. A native of Copenhagen, the shapely blonde has no trouble slipping from thick-tongued Russian to saccharine Southern. For her next role, however, the recent graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute says she won't have to learn a new accent, "just a new language."
Yiddish is the "mama loshen" to most Jews, the "mother tongue" spoken by generations of parents and grandparents. To David Roskies, Yiddish is also the language of his schooldays: the "lehrer loshen," or teacher language.
In print, the Middle East is a political hotspot of clashing ideologies. The music streaming out of the region, however, reveals that a harmonious cross-cultural interchange is also at work there and in countries to the west along the Mediterranean coast.