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Destroying the Chametz Within and Truly Preparing for Pesach
 
Terrorists Greet Hamas-Fatah Unity with Rocket Attacks on Israel

April 23, 2014 - 11:12 PM
 
Jerusalem Woman Injured in Stone Throwing

April 23, 2014 - 10:50 PM
 
Jeb Bush Considering the White House

April 23, 2014 - 10:36 PM
 
Arabs Going Wild in Jerusalem

April 23, 2014 - 10:17 PM
 
Egypt Receives $700 Million in Oil Aid – Monthly

April 23, 2014 - 10:13 PM
 
Kerry’s Talks Achieve Peace Between Hamas and Fatah

April 23, 2014 - 5:56 PM
 
Ex-Met Council Chief Rapfogel to Plead Guilty in Financial Scam

April 23, 2014 - 3:44 PM
 
Fatah Official’s Family Disowns Him over Censure of Murder of a Jew

April 23, 2014 - 3:30 PM
 
2 Tortured Bodies Found Dumped in Slaviansk, Ukraine

April 23, 2014 - 3:16 PM
 
Suffolk University Defends Honoring Foxman as Commencement Speaker

April 23, 2014 - 2:39 PM
 
Eyewitness Report from Ukraine: ‘You Can Feel the Tension in the Air’

April 23, 2014 - 1:32 PM
 
Common Blood Pressure Drug Prevents Post-TBI Epilepsy

April 23, 2014 - 12:46 PM
 
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas

April 23, 2014 - 12:06 PM
 
Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine

April 23, 2014 - 11:24 AM
 
Egypt Plays US off Russia, Gets Military Aid Back

April 23, 2014 - 11:18 AM
 
Shas Continues Petty Attacks Against Rav Amar for Control Over Sephardim

April 23, 2014 - 10:34 AM
 
More Jewish Sites Vandalized in Ukraine

April 22, 2014 - 9:53 PM
 
Syria to Hold Presidential Elections

April 22, 2014 - 9:25 PM
 
Egypt Signing Unprecedented $3 Billion MiG-35 Deal with Russia

April 22, 2014 - 8:44 PM
 
Missouri’s Jew-Hating Mayor Quits (Video)

April 22, 2014 - 8:00 PM
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Arts
 

In the Dog House: Gabriel Metsu’s Dismissal of Hagar

Posted on: April 28th, 2011

SectionsArts

Hagar and Ishmael, as imagined by the 17th century Dutch Catholic painter Gabriel Metsu, are literally in the doghouse.

 

Siona Benjamin’s Megillas Esther

Posted on: March 23rd, 2011

SectionsArts

There is nothing funny about Siona Benjamin's Megillas Esther (2010). Unlike some contemporary illuminated megillas that emphasize the absurd and outlandish nature of the corrupt Persian court and the buffoonish character of the king, Benjamin takes the Book of Esther quite seriously. She is obviously deeply sensitive to the terrible consequences of God's hester panim (hidden face) in our own time.

 

Landscapes That Devour Their Inhabitants: Ludwig Blum’s Jerusalem Works At Ben Uri Gallery

Posted on: March 16th, 2011

SectionsArts

When the spies Moshe sent to scout the land of Canaan returned with their report, they testified (Numbers 13:32) that the land "eats its denizens," many of whom happen to be giants. In fact the spies, to the extent that their propaganda can be trusted, felt so dwarfed by the Israeli landscape that they claimed they must have resembled grasshoppers to the giants, and even felt like locusts themselves. The description of Canaan in Leviticus 18:28 is no rosier; the land has an allergic reaction to disobedient citizens and literally "spits them out."

 

A Jewish Lip: New book On Lipman Emanuel Pike Explores Baseball Player’s Career, Religious Identity

Posted on: March 2nd, 2011

SectionsArts

Early in Ernest Thayer's poem Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888, a "sickly silence" has fallen on the patrons of the game. But when "mighty Casey," with his "sneer curled" lip and defiance gleaming in his eye, comes to the plate, 5,000 throats and tongues cheer for him and 10,000 eyes focus on his every move.

 

Doll (Haunted) House: Two ‘Naïve’ Holocaust Artists at GW’s Brady Gallery

Posted on: February 2nd, 2011

SectionsArts

In an interview for an article published in these pages (Aug. 25, 2004), Jewish Bombay-born painter Siona Benjamin discussed her technique of hiding troubling imagery in the seemingly inviting floral and decorative borders of Indian and Persian miniature-influenced paintings. "Under the beauty of miniatures you can hide danger," she told me of her "Finding Home" series. "The beauty of miniatures draws you in-veiling and revealing."

 

Moriah’s Illuminated Torah

Posted on: January 26th, 2011

SectionsArts

Avner Moriah, the well-known Israeli artist, has illuminated the Book of Genesis. No small feat, he has conjured images for all the major narratives as well as alluding to other analogous stories throughout the Torah. He sees the first book of Torah as nothing less than "a poem," a minimalist text that yields an unending series of explorations of the mysteries and conundrums of the human condition. While this is hardly the first nor largest of his explorations of biblical and Jewish narrative, it is easily the most ambitious.

 

In Loco Templum: Amsterdam’s Esnoga/Portuguese Synagogue

Posted on: January 19th, 2011

SectionsArts

One of the aspects of the biblical construction narratives - both those about the Tabernacle in the wilderness in Exodus, and in 1 Kings about Solomon's Temple in the Holy Land - that most troubled and confused me when I was young was the aesthetic status of the structures.

 

A Tale of Four Synagogues: Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum

Posted on: January 5th, 2011

SectionsArts

Even a poor, unfortunate Jew stranded on an otherwise deserted island, the joke goes, builds two synagogues - one that he attends semi-regularly and the other he wouldn't set foot in if you tried to make him.

 

Sotheby’s Jewish Vision

Posted on: December 30th, 2010

SectionsArts

Every year in the early winter the world-renowned auction house, Sotheby's, presents an auction of Israeli and International (Jewish) Art and Judaica. It is always a delight and Sunday, December 12 was no exception. Since it is an international affair, the foremost experts assemble the finest artworks available. The efforts of specialists Rivka Saker, Sigal Mordechai, Daria Gluck, Esta Kilstein and Jennifer Roth of Sotheby's Israel and Jennifer Roth, Sharon Liberman Mintz, David Wachtel, Elizabeth Muller, John Ward, Jill Waddell, Kevin Tierney here in New York were well rewarded. It was a truly exciting exhibition that frequently surprised one with new insights into many familiar artists.

 

Hidden In Plain Sight: The (Jewish) Hague

Posted on: December 22nd, 2010

SectionsArts

Beneath Baruch Spinoza's smiling bust on his tombstone on the grounds of the Nieuwe Kerk in the Hague is an inscription of his famous motto, "caute" (written cavte on the stone, see image one), or "cautiously" in Latin. Between that admonition and the dates of his life - 1632 to 1677, cut short by an illness whose identity is hotly debated - is the Hebrew word "amcha" or "amach", Hebrew for "your people" or "your nation."

 

The Portuguese-Jewish Cemetery In Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

Posted on: December 8th, 2010

SectionsArts

There is something profound and soothing in the ancient Jewish practice of using the euphemism beit chaim, "house of life," to refer to a cemetery. It is as if the rabbis did not even want to coin the phrase beit mavet, "house of death," for fear of inviting the evil eye.

 

Interbellum Art

Posted on: November 17th, 2010

SectionsArts

"By breaking statues one risks turning into one oneself," says a caption in Jean Cocteau's 1930 film, "The Blood of a Poet." The statement could be a postmodern take on Psalm 115, which declares that those who make idols (which have mouths but cannot speak, eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, noses but cannot smell, hands but cannot feel and feet but cannot walk), "shall become like them, all that place their faith in them."

 

A Jewish Art Salon Exhibit

Posted on: November 11th, 2010

SectionsArts

In many ways, it should be a no-brainer for readers of The Jewish Press to make the decision to visit the latest Jewish Art Salon exhibit, Seduced by the Sacred, or, if the trek to Hartford is prohibitive, to immerse themselves in the works online. After all, most readers of this publication are surely already seduced by the sacred - however problematic the definition of both terms may be - and, particularly if they are regular readers of this column, they will be intrigued by the question of new Jewish art.

 

Landscapes for Humanity: Paintings by Batya F. Kuncman

Posted on: November 3rd, 2010

SectionsArts

The world is complicated. Surely it seems that Divine justice is elusive. God's role is frequently masked and our human situation is terribly fragile. Yet according to artist Batya F. Kuncman our condition is "most promising." Her optimistic artwork is designed to illuminate this shadowy nature of our existence and strives for clarity and ultimate closeness to God. In "Landscapes for Humanity," currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, images of infants are the tools she uses to explicate her belief.

 

The Jewish Art Enthusiast’s Guide To WNET/Channel Thirteen’s ‘Art Through Time: A Global View’

Posted on: October 27th, 2010

SectionsArts

Jewish art buffs might be disappointed by channel Thirteen's new 13-part series, Art Through Time: A Global View. It takes two entire episodes (one half an hour each) and part of the third episode for a reference to Jewish art to surface. This comes in the person of Shimon Attie (born in Los Angeles, 1957), whose The Writing on the Wall (1991-3) projected pre-Holocaust photographs onto the walls of buildings in the Jewish quarter of Berlin, the Scheunenviertel. Attie's projections, which were effectively before-and-after photos of particular buildings, are particularly haunting because they reveal how much the neighborhood has changed. Another work of Attie's that is discussed in the episode is Portrait of Exile (1995), which involved submerging light boxes with portraits of Danish refugees (who fled to Sweden during the Holocaust) in a canal in Copenhagen.

 

The Jewish Art Enthusiast’s Guide To WNET/Channel Thirteen’s ‘Art Through Time: A Global View’

Posted on: October 27th, 2010

SectionsArts

Jewish art buffs might be disappointed by channel Thirteen's new 13-part series, Art Through Time: A Global View. It takes two entire episodes (one half an hour each) and part of the third episode for a reference to Jewish art to surface. This comes in the person of Shimon Attie (born in Los Angeles, 1957), whose The Writing on the Wall (1991-3) projected pre-Holocaust photographs onto the walls of buildings in the Jewish quarter of Berlin, the Scheunenviertel. Attie's projections, which were effectively before-and-after photos of particular buildings, are particularly haunting because they reveal how much the neighborhood has changed. Another work of Attie's that is discussed in the episode is Portrait of Exile (1995), which involved submerging light boxes with portraits of Danish refugees (who fled to Sweden during the Holocaust) in a canal in Copenhagen.

 

The Adventure of a Jewish Photographer: Miriam Mörsel Nathan’s Photo-Paintings

Posted on: October 13th, 2010

SectionsArts

In Italo Calvino's short story "The Adventure of a Photographer," part of his collection Difficult Loves (1985), the "non-photographer" and bachelor Antonino Paraggi, finds himself increasingly alienated from his married friends who go out with their families and cameras each Sunday and "come back as happy as hunters with bulging game bags," their photographic catch of the day.

 

The Adventure of a Jewish Photographer: Miriam M?rsel Nathan’s Photo-Paintings

Posted on: October 13th, 2010

SectionsArts

In Italo Calvino's short story "The Adventure of a Photographer," part of his collection Difficult Loves (1985), the "non-photographer" and bachelor Antonino Paraggi, finds himself increasingly alienated from his married friends who go out with their families and cameras each Sunday and "come back as happy as hunters with bulging game bags," their photographic catch of the day.

 

Would the Real (And Kosher) Sukkah Installation Please Stand Up?

Posted on: September 28th, 2010

SectionsArts

out half a year ago, my friend Miriam asked if I knew of any artists or architects whose repertoires included sukkahs. My thoughts immediately turned to the gorgeous sukkah my grandfather designed and built every year and to the retractable roof in the dining room at the Bostoner Rebbe's synagogue, Congregation Beth Pinchas. But for the life of me, I couldn't think of any artist who had developed an interesting aesthetic approach to the sukkah, which is the only Jewish experience (save mikvah perhaps) that completely surrounds us.

 

Would the Real (And Kosher) Sukkah Installation Please Stand Up?

Posted on: September 28th, 2010

SectionsArts

out half a year ago, my friend Miriam asked if I knew of any artists or architects whose repertoires included sukkahs. My thoughts immediately turned to the gorgeous sukkah my grandfather designed and built every year and to the retractable roof in the dining room at the Bostoner Rebbe's synagogue, Congregation Beth Pinchas. But for the life of me, I couldn't think of any artist who had developed an interesting aesthetic approach to the sukkah, which is the only Jewish experience (save mikvah perhaps) that completely surrounds us.

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