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‘Media Be Dead’ and Other Mild Observations

3 Sivan 5772 – May 24, 2012
MEDIA BE DEAD Almost 200 years ago, French painter Paul Delaroche declared, allegedly, "From today painting is dead," after he had learned about Daguerre's discovery...

Holocaust Days of Remembrance and Traditional Coconut Pyramids

10 Iyyar 5772 – May 1, 2012
Here's the text that accompanies this image on the Pentagon-run website DefenseImagery.mil: "During the Holocaust Days of Remembrance U.S. Air Force Capt. Jennifer McGee, with the 12th Contracting Squadron, helps Madison Angelito and Alex Barner make coconut pyramids, a traditional Jewish dessert, at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas." There are Days of Remembrance? More than one? Needs checking. Also: traditional Jewish coconut pyramids? Whose tradition? Help...

1 Shekel Sells for a Million Dollars

17 Adar 5772 – March 11, 2012
We knew the Israeli economy was in good shape, but this is ridiculous. Well, not if the shekel in question was minted just under...

Matisyahu Goes Blonde in Jerusalem

15 Adar 5772 – March 8, 2012
The 32-year-old ultra-Orthodox rapper Matisyahu has surfaced in Jerusalem with a new bottle-blonde hair, AFP reports. He is sporting a completely new image, with bleached...

Seeing Israel Anywhere, Every Day

25 Shevat 5772 – February 17, 2012
I haven’t been to Israel in six years. That might not sound like a lot of time to some people, but might sound like an eternity to others

Arab ‘street artists’ Graffiti Jerusalem with anti-Israel Propaganda

24 Tevet 5772 – January 19, 2012
anti-Israel Arab graffiti increasing in Jerusalem.

Anguish That Does Not Go Away: The Singles Problem (Part Three)

4 Tevet 5772 – December 29, 2011
The woman in her mid-thirties who initiated this discussion a few weeks ago bemoaned what she considers the indifference and the insensitivity of most people to the plight of singles.

Divine Encounter and the Sacred Doorway

29 Tishri 5772 – October 26, 2011
Our encounters with the Divine are precious moments of personal religiosity. We believe that when we pray we are speaking directly to God and that at that moment we are in the Divine presence. And yet we are seldom conscious of the awe and fear we should also feel.

Norway: Image And Reality

3 Av 5771 – August 3, 2011
The two despicable terror attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoya carried out by Anders Breivik propelled Norway onto center stage. Norway is a country that normally draws little attention - even Swedes and Danes who can read Norwegian are generally uninterested in what happens there. The only annual event that regularly generates publicity for Norway is the awarding of the Noble Peace prize.

Lilith by Siona Benjamin

11 Tammuz 5771 – July 13, 2011
Siona Benjamin's exhibition "Finding Home: The Art of Siona Benjamin" is simply beautiful. Set in the spacious lobby gallery of the JCC Manhattan, it allows for a peaceful (when the kids, nannies and crowds subside) contemplation of this complex artist's meditations on biblical women, war, exoticism and contemporary society.

Hidden In Plain Sight: The (Jewish) Hague

15 Tevet 5771 – December 22, 2010
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."

Airbrush Makeup – What’s The Hype About?

11 Kislev 5771 – November 18, 2010
What's so special about airbrush makeup? Is this a new technique in makeup application? These are a couple of questions I commonly get from my readers and clients. Airbrush makeup application has been used in Hollywood on models and actors for over 30 years. For approximately ten years, makeup artists have been using this on brides, businesswomen, or anyone that wants to look great for an event.

Landscapes for Humanity: Paintings by Batya F. Kuncman

26 Heshvan 5771 – November 3, 2010
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 Adventure of a Jewish Photographer: Miriam M?rsel Nathan’s Photo-Paintings

5 Heshvan 5771 – October 13, 2010
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.

A Mohel’s Siddur by Aryeh ben Judah Leib

24 Av 5770 – August 4, 2010
Imagine you are a mohel and, thank God, business is booming. It's a good living and you even have time to sit and learn in between the jobs that seem to crop up at least once a week. In addition, you do a bit of doctoring and tutoring a few children in heder. You think, "Perhaps I should have a siddur to replace my father's worn-out printed volume that he got from his father and then from his father oh so many years ago. Here I am in Trebitsch who can help me find something...nice. Oh, I know, Aryeh ben Judah Leib. He is getting really famous for making hand written books with beautiful decorations over in Vienna where he has set up shop. He makes his seforim for important people, even those Yidden who serve at the royal Court - just like they used to do maybe two hundred years ago before we had Hebrew printing. Why not, I'm doing well, doing God's work. It's a hiddur mitzvah."

Bloom’s Bittersweet Vision: Paintings by Lloyd Bloom

27 Sivan 5770 – June 9, 2010
Upon entering Lloyd Bloom's exhibition at the Chassidic Art Institute one is confronted by the sweet beautiful image of a lamb skipping through the air in a puffy cloud landscape. Right next to it is an image of a goat kid cuddled up in the lap of a young shepherd. Further down the wall we see paintings depicting a young man leining from the Torah, then women lighting Shabbos candles and finally a father and son at the seder table, all candidates to be the most emblematic scene of Jewish life imaginable.

Toby Cohen’s Hovering Hassidim

4 Sivan 5770 – May 17, 2010
One of my favorite characters in all of literature is the senile patriarch Jos? Arcadio Buend?a, of Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, who, before getting tied to a tree for his own protection, decides he would like to capture God in a daguerreotype. Jos?'s ultimately unsuccessful design solution is to jump out from around a corner hoping to catch the deity unawares.

Toby Cohen’s Hovering Hassidim

One of my favorite characters in all of literature is the senile patriarch José Arcadio Buendía, of Gabriel García Márquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, who, before getting tied to a tree for his own protection, decides he would like to capture God in a daguerreotype. José's ultimately unsuccessful design solution is to jump out from around a corner hoping to catch the deity unawares.

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