The culture wars in Israel these days makes you pine for the ones we had here, in the States, some 15 years ago. In America, it all seemed like grand theater--Giuliani, for instance, catering to hard-core Christians aghast at a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in feces. But in Israel the state has a far stronger hand in culture. So when the current Likud Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, threatened to withhold money to artists who refused to perform in the Ariel performing center, in the occupied West Bank, it meant something.
I don’t know about you, but I made a lot of mistakes this past year. I forgot to pick up my kids at school once. I gained weight in all the wrong places. I was consistently late in writing this column — and in just about everything else of importance in my life.
This is par for the course, and most of the time, after purging myself on Yom Kippur, I can make it at least to Sukkot before a new mistake haunts me — usually in the form of an injury to myself or a small child during the construction of the sukkah in our backyard.
In the new film “Higher Ground,” there’s a scene where Vera Farmiga, the film’s director and star, fitfully tries to pray in her bathroom. She’s trying out a method — speaking in tongues — that she recently saw performed by her close friend. Like the friend, Farmiga’s character is an oddity in their Christian fundamentalist group: a free-spirited iconoclast with a highly inquisitive mind.
Computer-based games like Farmville or Angry Birds or Grand Theft Auto, available on laptops and phones and game consoles, have become almost as ubiquitous as social media sites like Facebook.
Whether you are a teacher or principal, a parent or grandparent, a marketer or consumer, a smartphone user or a paperback-reading commuter, you can’t help but notice how these games fill the downtime minutes of millions of people, and increasingly are the first thing they connect to when they boot up their machines.
If you’re an arts journalist these days, it’s hard not to feel a pang of envy at your colleagues covering the media and politics. For the past few weeks, the media beat has basked in the glory of taking down one of journalists’ favorite villains, Rupert Murdoch, after the relentless pursuit of The News of the World’s phone-hacking scandal.
It doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative--if you're European, "mutliculturalism" has become a dirty word. The New York Times ran an op-ed today by a British writer attacking multiculturalism as form of public policy.
I recently inhaled Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole’s new book Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza. Part of the Jewish Encounters series from Schocken and Nextbook, this headlong excavation into one of the greatest literary finds in Jewish history opened my eyes to the complex drama behind the sudden “appearance” of this storehouse of medieval Hebrew documents.
It often seems that we’ve become emotionally numb to talk about Nazis and Hitler. We toss around the word “Nazi” with such impunity these days that the essential meaning of who Hitler was and what the Nazis represent appears entirely lost.
Some worry that ignorance and latent anti-Semitism lurks behind our lax standards, but many suggest otherwise: it’s Holocaust fatigue, they say, a culture saturated not with too little knowledge about Nazis, but rather, too much.
The other day I interviewed writer Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” as part of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s 100th anniversary celebration.
Here’s a dirty secret about Jewish journalism: a number of the stories we write aren’t really Jewish in nature. A story may be about a Jew, but other than that, there often isn’t much else of Jewish substance in many of the stories we print.
Editors hate it when you pitch a story whose sole qualification for being published is that your subject is Jewish. But the reality is that mainstream Jewish publications would not exist if we didn’t run these stories.