In the forward of "After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity," Michael Meyer explains: "This book is directed especially to a broader readership ... that is not likely to have read these essays when they first appeared in scholarly journals..."
A few weeks ago I found myself spellbound while watching "Girl With a Pearl Earring." This film, based on the excellent Tracy Chevalier novel, is a fictional account of the history behind Vermeer's famous painting of the same name.
The novel revolves around a servant girl, Grete, who became a secret assistant to the painter in his studio. In one scene, Vermeer accidentally glimpses Grete with her hair uncovered. The moment is electric. Grete, like all women of her social station, covered her hair at all times. It was as if Vermeer had caught her unclothed.
It was odd to feel such a kinship with a fictional character, and one who lived in the 17th century at that. But, like Grete, I also keep my hair covered in front of all but family members.
n this week's portion, Lech Lecha, we learn about a fight between the shepherds of Abraham and his nephew, Lot. There was plenty of space for everyone, but they weren't getting along so it seemed too crowded. Our rabbis teach us that when two people get along, they can be happy together sharing even the smallest of spaces, but when they don't, the whole world can seem too small.
"The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage," edited by Loolwa Khazzoom (Seal Press, $16.95)
On the last night before her family would flee Libya in 1967, Gina Bublil Waldman recalls that she had to choose between taking her only warm sweater or a photo album with the words "Souvenir of Libya" on the cover. Its hand-painted image of a peaceful seascape was in absolute contrast to the political turbulence and danger her family faced. She packed the photos, remnants of a life she wouldn't know again.
Her essay is included in a compelling collection, "The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage," edited by Loolwa Khazzoom.
JDate is the largest Jewish singles site, but for those interested in swimming in smaller ponds, below is a sampling of some of the other offerings on the web.
You know that harmless-looking body part inside your mouth? The tongue? It sure looks nice enough, but it gets a lot of Israelites into trouble in this week's parsha.
Themes for this year's submissions to the fourth Holocaust writing contest by Chapman University's Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education ranged from defiant public protesters in Berlin to the instigators of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to hate mongers from Hitler to Osama bin Laden.
Passover is our holiday of words -- words to study and ponder, lines that evoke memories and also inspire hope of better times. Every year, publishers bring out a significant number of new books related to the holiday -- new editions of the haggadah, books of essays and commentary, children's books and cookbooks. This season, there's plenty to read geared to the weeks leading up to the holiday, throughout its duration and afterward. What's common among the new titles are stories, whether reminiscences about great scholars or accounts of unusual circumstances for seders. Here are stories that weave history and transcend it.
Fertility therapy, Jewish identity, pressure to marry, single parenting. All are themes that flow through both the personal life and creative work of playwright Wendy Wasserstein, who won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony in 1998 for "The Heidi Chronicles."
In a rare peek behind the curtains on Broadway, Wasserstein will share some scenes out of her own theater experience at the Newport Beach Public Library on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. The $36 cost per person includes a complimentary copy of Wasserstein's latest book, "Shiksa Goddess (Or How I Spent My Forties)," essays chronicling challenges facing contemporary women in America.
Last month, we asked our young Journal readers to answer that question. Since we got so many great essays, we decided to publish sections from some of them. And Congratulations to the winners of our drawing!