You may remember the uproar Cornel West, the Zelig-like black scholar, caused last year when he viciously attacked Obama on the liberal website Truthdig. The big news was that West—a prominent voice in American public life, but especially within the black community—had turned against the man he spent much of the 2008 campaigning for. But there was a lesser-noticed quote in that interview that raised many Jewish eyebrows. Embedded in his criticism that Obama wasn’t quite black enough, he said that Obama seemed “most comfortable with upper-¬middle
Gustav Mahler was Jewish though not religious. Yet he was superstitious. When he began composing his ninth symphony, in 1908, he refused to name it by its number. Many of his artistic heroes—Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner—died before they could finish their ninth symphonies, so Mahler thought he would out-do fate and simply call it by another name. He dubbed it “Das Lied von der Erde,” and its one of his best.
Umberto Eco's latest novel, "The Prague Cemetery," has received tons of attention. But few reviewers have added anything interesting in their criticism, other than the usual banal stuff (not necessarily untrue) of it being "boring" or "over-stuffed" or intellectually ambitious, but less successfully executed. If you want something interesting, check out Neal Ascherson's take in The New York Review of Books. He actually has plenty
My colleague George Robinson wrote an insightful piece on the upcoming "Babi Yar" symphony being performed by the New York Philharmonic this weekend. I've never heard the symphony in full, but I look forward to hearing it this Thursday night.
Every time you watch the New York City Ballet, you are under the heal of George Balanchine, the company's founding choreographer and the 20th century's greatest dance-maker. Many people know how he got there: Lincoln Kirstein, the son of a wealthy Jewish businessman and the company's co-founder, brought him over from Europe. But what many don't know is that there was another heir to a Jewish fortune--Rene Blum--who tried to get him first.
From noon this past Sunday to noon Tuesday forty-eight hours later, I was privileged to participate in a program called “The Conversation,” held in the lovely Pearlstone Conference Center just outside of Baltimore. Sponsored by The Jewish Week and made possible through the generous support of UJA-Federation, the program brought together some fifty Jews active in one way or other in the Jewish community of New York for what seemed like an odd purpose- to talk to one another.
The Jewish Week finds itself, unfortunately, in a war of words with Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.
To be clear: we have no animus toward the Brooklyn-based social service agency or any other Jewish organization; our mission and goal is to report the truth and inform and strengthen the Jewish community. Sometimes that makes for hard feelings.