web analytics
August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘work’

Fractured Epics: Joel Silverstein Paintings

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The Columbia/Barnard Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life 606 West 115th Street, NYC December 4 – January 13, 2013 Opening Reception: Wdensday, December 12th: 6-8pm

Joel Silverstein is a comrade-in-arms. We share many ideas about the creation and nature of contemporary Jewish Art, as well as a commitment to the growing Jewish Art community, exemplified by the Jewish Art Salon of which we are both founding members and curators. This exhibition of his recent work at the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life at Columbia/Barnard gives us the crucial opportunity to examine the complex richness of his artwork.

His ideas about Jewish Art are inherently radical as he expressed in 2006: “It is our assertion that Jewish thought is a precursive factor in the formation of Modernism and postmodernism… [postulating] the relationship of artistic creativity to Jewish thought [and maintaining that] Jewish thought is demonstrated to predate and augment the advent of modern aesthetics.”

His belief in “the Jewish Sublime” flies in the face of most Jewish intellectuals denial that Jewish contemporary art exists at all. Nevertheless Silverstein persists in his beliefs; writing, curating and creating works of art that reflect a vibrant synthesis of his Brooklyn Jewish upbringing, Torah narratives and postmodern visual sensibility without succumbing to a postmodern emotional emptiness.

I Saw the Miracle of the Snakes (2012) Acrylic and collage on canvas by Joel Silverstein
Courtesy the artist

At first glance his biblical work is obsessed with miracles: the miracle of the plagues, the snakes, the Golem coming alive, even the miracle of Superman who flies.

RM: What is it about the miraculous that appeals to you?

JS: In a secular way, I can’t stand the limits that contemporary cultures put on us: if the miraculous is not possible and everything is material, i.e. materialistic, then I don’t think I can live with that, I can’t accept that. So then I need to invent the miraculous, even if it doesn’t exist, but I feel it does. I feel it is the kind of thing you have to seek in order to find it. It is necessary in fighting the limits our rationalistic culture imposes.

I believe in God but I’m not a fundamentalist; my belief in something greater than myself and the imagination merge. And that’s where I really groove to Jewish texts; the Hebrew Bible, commentaries and more contemporary commentaries… i.e. the point where postmodern discourse, writing, the idea of religion and God, and the idea of the imagination all merge.

I don’t need to feel the imagination is merely the imagination. I don’t need to categorize it because the miraculous is beyond categorization. That is very important. The fact that I interpret something that happened to me in a vision with the Hebrew Bible, with a memory, a memory of my parents who have died, with something I’m looking for, with my relationship with my family, with all those things are the raw material of my artwork.

What about the “magic of time” that seems to permeate many of your works?

In the study of literary myth there is the simultaneity of time. But also in Torah study, time doesn’t exist. So they are more than similar.

You have said that seeing Ceil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” as a child was a theophany. A Theophany?

This colored my visual life a lot. In Judaism there were no traditional visions of Moses and at that age that hit me hard. The DeMille Exodus narrative made a big impact on me. Charlton Heston looked like the Michelangelo sculpture. Visualizing the whole back story and the way DeMille went to Egypt to film in Egypt fleshed out the biblical in a way that brought the narrative alive.

High Priest (Arnie) (2012) Acrylic and collage on canvas by Joel Silverstein
Courtesy the artist

The surface of almost all your artwork is distressed, rough, and broken up. Why?

I have a personal love of surface. Its just my personality, an existential dread. To try to make meaning out a chaotic surface. I love early Byzantine and early Italian altarpiece painting…now so troubled after 500 years. But it is also the modern expressionist tradition I am drawn to, i.e. anxiety as a form of modernity. Additionally it expresses the existential experience of living in the now, and trying to come to some kind of idea that is centered on something greater than yourself. It also makes the work feel modern in a modernist way, not postmodern. Part of the problem of the modern world, the postmodern denial of feeling, emotional deadness and materiality is something I want my work to fight against.

Richard McBee

Hamas Already Repairing Gaza’s Smuggling Tunnels, Preparing for Next War

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Reuters reported on Friday that the Rafah smuggling tunnels, pummeled by the IAF over 8 days, in an area described as resembling a moonscape, are already being rebuilt.

“As you can see there is complete destruction, the tunnels are all destroyed because of the missiles. We will rebuild them and bring in food, flour lentils and sugar and building material such as cement and metal so that the people can break the siege on Gaza,” Mohamad Omar told Reuters on Friday while his friends were busy clearing up their camp.

A Rafah tunnel that has been bombarded by the IAF will be re-dug this week.

A Rafah tunnel that has been bombarded by the IAF will be re-dug this week.

The Rafah border crossing with Egypt, like the crossings to Israel remained closed to traffic most of the day Friday.

Local workmen said the IAF attacks destroyed more than two-thirds of the cross-border tunnels which are used to bring in cement, fuel, food, and the rockets and mortar shells used against Israeli civilian enclaves only a few miles away.

“We are trying to fix the tunnel in order to return to our normal life which we need the tunnel for work. It costs a lot but what can we do, we have to fix it. For example this tunnel of ours which has been hit it will cost no less that 40 thousand dollars to fix,” Mohamad Aladwan said.

According to Reuters, none of the tunnel workers interviewed said they had handled military materiel, and all of them said they were dedicated to bringing through only harmless consumer goods and medical supplies.

Jewish Press Staff

Boys And Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

In a recent New York Times article, Robert Lipsyte, a sports author, posed the following question: “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” For years, I have been dealing with this question in my office. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education’s reading tests for the last thirty years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.

A few months ago, a boy who I will call Mordechai came to my office with his mother. Mordechai was struggling with kriyah and English reading and his mother wanted to know if there was something deeper going on.

After a thorough evaluation, I was able to rule many things out. Mordechai did not have dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), or sensory processing disorder (SPD). What Mordechai was exhibiting was not a difficulty with reading, but rather a reluctance to read. He simply saw no value in the enterprise and was therefore not interested in learning the skill. Even as a second grader, he had decided what his priorities were: sports and math. Sports was not only physical, but social as well and math factored into his everyday life in a way he felt reading did not.

Now, came the tricky part. How can you get someone to learn something if they have decided that they do not want to? After all, as Robert Lipsyte points out, “boys’ aversion to reading, let alone to novels, has been worsening for years.” First, we should discuss why it is that boys feel that reading has little significance in their lives:

Fiction vs. non-fiction. Many English teachers, who also happen to be female, teach reading through works of fiction. Unfortunately, studies show that boys tend to relate better to non-fiction. Thus, during the formative reading years, children are exposed to reading materials that are better suited to one gender over the other.

Role models. Boys will often see their mothers reading on Shabbos afternoon or in the evenings, but many rarely see their fathers engaged in a book. This is not because their fathers do not read. Rather, frequently, this is because their fathers will be learning in shul or with a chavrusah – experiences that boys do not have until they are beyond the elementary stages of reading.

Biology. On the whole, boys develop fine motor skills (such as hand-eye coordination) slightly later than girls. This can create difficulty with reading and writing at a young age.

Limited selection. Teachers don’t always know what is out there for boys that will engage them on to interact with a text with empathy and sincerity. Schools tend to work with books that are classics because they will encounter less resistance from parents. However, this sometimes means that books that boys might find engaging never make it into the classroom.

Filling The Reading Gap

Why do we care so much about reading? Why is it important to get our boys reading to their greatest potential? The most basic reason is that reading is the most important skill that people have in order to enhance their intelligence. Through reading, people improve their vocabularies and memories, become better writers, and even relieve stress. On a more practical level, literacy levels are correlated with financial success. In sum, we need to ensure that our boys are reading because their lives will be more fulfilling, relaxed and comfortable.

Therefore, how can we help boys learn to read? Below are some time-tested solutions:

Instruction tailored to boys’ learning style. Teachers should create lessons that have clear, structured instruction with short bursts of intense work. When teachers set specific goals and praise students for their success, the boys will be more likely to push themselves in the future. In addition, hands-on learning models that are coupled with a sense of humor are great tools for getting boys involved in reading.

Role models. Young boys need to see male role models who are reading. Remember, any text is reading – including fathers studying Gemara at the dining room table after lunch on Shabbos or reading the newspaper on a weekday morning. The idea is that boys see their fathers reading and understand that this is an activity valued by both male and female role models.

Rifka Schonfeld

Evacuating Jewish Homes and Yishai Live With Nachum Segal

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai presents an interview with Gilead Mooseek, a resident of Kiryat Malachi.  Mooseek, who had to evacuate his home in Kiryat Malachi, discusses firsthand what it is like to be forced from your home and also what it is like to work in an environment where many co-workers are Arabs.  At 13:00 Yishai presents an interview that he gave earlier this week to Nachum Segal on his show JM in the AM.  Yisahi talks with Segal about Iron Dome, the call up of IDF reserve soldiers, and whether a peace deal between Israel and Hamas would even work.  Don’t miss this segment!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

A Famed Political Pundit’s Musical Side: An Interview with Charles Krauthammer

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Charles Krauthammer is widely regarded as one of the most influential political commentators in America today. A contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, Krauthammer is also a nightly commentator on Fox News’s Special Report with Bret Baier and a weekly panelist on PBS’s Inside Washington. Close to 250 newspapers carry his weekly column, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1987.

In addition to his political prowess, Krauthammer maintains a love for Jewish music. Several years ago, he and his wife Robyn founded Pro Musica Hebraica, devoted to “bringing Jewish music to the concert hall.”

On December 2, the organization will hold a concert of cantorial masterpieces at the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The Jewish Press recently spoke with Krauthammer about the concert, among other topics.

The Jewish Press: What led you to found Pro Musica Hebraica?

Krauthammer: About eight years ago, my wife and I decided there was an area of Jewish culture that had been fairly widely neglected, and that was the presentation of great Jewish music in a classical setting. We wanted to do something to bring it out to the world.

Is the classical music Pro Musica Hebraica presents really Jewish music or just music that happens to have been composed by Jews?

The idea is to bring Jewish experience, feeling, and history – “Jewish soul,” if you like – as expressed through classical music.

So it doesn’t matter who the author is. One of our concerts a few years ago was baroque Jewish music from 17th- and 18th-century Italy and Holland. It included the famous Sephardic Jewish composer Salamone Rossi, but it also had a selection by a Jesuit priest who was a philo-Semite and who set Psalms to baroque music. He was so much of a Hebraist that he actually wrote the music from right to left when he was transcribing it.

So we don’t care about the origin of the composer although, of course, most of the music is by Jews self-consciously reflecting their own heritage, past, and memories.

Why has this music been neglected?

Well, I’ll give you one example. One of the major schools of this music was called the St. Petersburg school. Founded in 1908, this school consisted of students of Rimsky Korsakov. They were in the Russian conservatories, and their teacher basically said to them, “Why are you trying to compose Russian music? You’re Jews, compose the music of your own people.”

So they sent ethnographic expeditions into the shtetl, listened to the music, and transcribed it. That was their inspiration for composing classical music with Jewish themes – the same way that Bartok, for example, produced classical Hungarian music from Hungarian folk themes.

This school thrived for 10 years. They put on concerts all over Russia, but then the Russian revolution came in 1917, and they were all scattered to all corners of the world. Their music was largely forgotten, but we brought it back with Itzhak Perlman on the 100th anniversary of its founding to an amazing critical review in the Washington Post and tremendous public response.

This upcoming concert on December 2, though, will feature chazzanut.

Yes, it’s our first venture away from classical music towards more traditional liturgical music. It’s also our first time in New York; we’re usually in the Kennedy Center in Washington. Cantor Netanel Hershtik of The Hampton Synagogue, who is just exquisite, is performing, and the venue will be the Eldridge Street Synagogue, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Cantor Netanel Hershtik

One theme that runs through this concert is redemption. It’s a theme that’s so prevalent in the liturgy that you can’t go three pages in the siddur without coming across it. I think it’s very important, particularly for those who may not be religious or aren’t even Jewish, to understand that the idea of return, restoration – the idea of Zion – is not a modern creation but a theme going back to “Im eshkacheich Yerushalayim,” which was written 2,500 years ago….

One of the reasons I wanted to do this was because when I was growing up we would spend our summer in Long Beach where, once a year, Moshe Koussevitzky would perform at one of the synagogues at the far end of Long Beach. My father would take my brother and me, and we would walk for about an hour to hear him. I have never forgotten that. It was the most moving music or religious presence.

Elliot Resnick

Palestinians: We Rejected Israel’s 90-Day Ceasefire Offer

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Sources in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership have told the newspaper Al-Hayat that Israel offered them a cease-fire for 90 days, during which it would examine their goodwill efforts prior to a discussion of Palestinian demands. But the Palestinians said they refused the offer, and stuck by their three points: a mutual ceasefire, an end to targeted assassinations and the opening all the entrances into Gaza as soon as the ceasefire takes effect. Those entrances include the Gaza port, which is blockaded by the Israeli navy.

The rejection came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem. that “in the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.”

All those nice things will have to wait. Or, as Prime Minister Netanyahu told Clinton: “If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that, but if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.”

Yori Yanover

And Now for Something Completely Different: Accountability and Unity in Israeli Politics

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The National Union will choose its list for the fifth time. I’ve been around for all five cycles and unity in our nationalist camp is more important now than ever.

I have been doing my best over the past couple of months to use my “neutral” position as the Manager of the National Union Knesset Faction, as well as the position of the next MK in line on the National Union list, to unify the ideological, nationalist parties for a joint run in the 2013 general elections.

Years ago, in 1999, I had the privilege of standing alongside Rechavam Ze’evy, Rav Chanan Porat and Benny Begin when they joined together to form the original National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi). Subsequently, as the Chair of the Moledet Party’s Executive Board, I constantly fought for running for Knesset on united lists, against those who, in each election cycle anew, demanded that we break away and run on our own as a soloist party, even at the expense of my own seat. As such, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that we all work together to make sure that the National Union, in its entirety, runs together with the Bayit Yehudi-Mafdal HaChadasha in the upcoming elections.

In 2006, I supported the joint list with the National Religious Party even though that meant my slot as 3rd in Moledet meant 16 on the joint list. I supported running with them in 2009 and I support running with them now in 2013. Once again, I have turned down opportunities to run on a breakaway list because I believe it is crucial to maintain unity in the national and national-religious camp, this time it was the option of running with MK’s Eldad and Ben-Ari. I remind our friends in the nationalist camp that it was these very political splits that enabled the advancement of the Oslo Accords.

Today, the Tekuma party will choose the National Union’s list for the 2013 election. I have decided to run because I feel that I bring three things to the table that no other candidate does – Unity, Experience and Anglos.

With Eldad and Ben Ari choosing to run on their own, it is of the utmost importance that Moledet, the only other constant in the National Union, choose the side of unity versus divisiveness. Only political alliances and running on joint lists will give us the power we need to have a real influence on the decision making process in Israel. This is the very clear lessons of the 1992 and 2009 elections. Together, we are strong. Divided, totally impotent.

I am among a handful of veteran political Knesset parliamentary experts. I started working in the Knesset in 1996 and have held just about every appointed job in Knesset or government, including top level parliamentary and senior ministry positions. There are few people like myself who can step into the position of Knesset member without the need for any on-the-job training or grace period.

I have been the National Union’s official English-speaking candidate for the last three general election campaigns. I was number 10 in the Liberman led list of 2003, number 16 in 2006 and number 5 during this term, in which the National Union won 4 seats. I have been one of the most recognized English-speaking candidates for over a decade.

My friend and neighbor, Jeremy Gimpel, dedicated his high-profile Bayit Yehudi campaign towards connecting with the large voting block of English-speakers in this country. Gimpel’s attempt at bringing accountability to the Knesset echoes my same attempts of the past and is not lost. Although he did not win a realistic slot in Habayit Hayehudi, I hope the National Union chooses me in a high spot to be the strong Anglo candidate that the nationalistic camp knows and deserves. There is no doubt that an Anglo at a high spot will translate into more votes for the party.

If I am selected to a high enough spot in the joint National Union-Bayit Yehudi list, I will be in a position to continue to work towards unifying the joint list with MK’s Eldad and Ben Ari. I will also work towards being your “Congressman” in the Knesset, with the level of connection and accountability that Anglos are accustomed to. Who knows? Maybe some of that will finally even rub off on my Israeli colleagues…

Uri Bank

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/and-now-for-something-completely-different-accountability-and-unity-in-israeli-politics/2012/11/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: