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Art and Torah

IN Talia Carner’s newest novel, Jerusalem Maiden, Esther Kaminsky, a young teenage girl growing up in the old world neighborhood of Meah Shearim at the turn of the last century, is gifted with a talent that, when expressed freely, goes against her community’s values. The thrust of Jerusalem Maiden becomes: Is religious devotion and expression of one’s passion irreconcilable?

To set the stage for this philosophical dilemma, Carner creates the insular world of a Jerusalem inhabited by devout, Ashkenazic Jews whose roles for men and women, and girls and boys, are prescribed; some of which are laws from the Torah, and others are the community’s attempts at controlling its adherents.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:35 )

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Fiction portends pain, recreates home

IT is hard to know what kind of story David Grossman would have written in his newest novel, To the End of the Land, if his own son Uri wouldn’t have gotten killed in the final hours of the 2006 Lebanon War. In the novel, Grossman creates an Israeli mother, Ora, whose son Ofer has volunteered to go back into active duty at the outset of the war. She decides that if she goes away from home on a walking trip in the Galilee, she can protect her son from harm, and herself from having to answer th...
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The world to come

The world to comeWITH all the hoopla surrounding Dara Horn’s newest novel All Other Nights, I thought I would take a look back at some of her previous work, specifically, The World to Come. It is a must read. There’s a reason why everyone is excited about this doctoral candidate in Yiddish and Hebrew Literature at Harvard.  Horn is a novelist whose imagination at once inhabits its own universe while simultaneously dissecting the worlds of philosophy, history, psychology, mythology and faith. In The World ...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 March 2011 03:11 )

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Wherever you go

IN her first novel, Wherever You Go, Joan Leegant attempts to address an aspect of Jewish contemporary life — American religious Judaism and extremism in Israel — that has not yet gotten a full literary analysis. Through separate stories of three main characters, Leegant brings a number of questions to the fore: What function does Israel play for American Jewry in 2010? How can a Jewish state attempt to be a Democratic Jewish state with all the obstacles inherent in that oxymoron? Do presc...

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 November 2010 09:53 )

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Class distinctions

I NEVER thought much about Bombay, India, until I read Thrity Umrigar’s most recent novel, The Space Between Us. When I was done, I couldn’t help but realize that while she infuses her book with the real Bombay, in all of its color and contrasts — the red hot chili peppers and squalid water running through the streets, the dark slums and the gleaming luxury buildings — in truth Umrigar really wants to take the reader past her native city to a mental space we all occupy, the space we put ...

Last Updated ( Friday, 12 November 2010 09:17 )

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Shabbat Times

JTA News

Israel revokes residency permit of Jerusalem synagogue attacker’s wife

Marcy Oster Interior Minister Gilad Erdan announced that Nadia Abu Jamal will be required to leave Israeli territory, and will be stripped of any financial benefits she receives from the state. ... [Link]

Polish town plans to turn Jewish cemetery into apartment complex

Marcy Oster The mayor of Grodzisk Mazowiecki has suspended action on the plan pending clarification of the cemetery’s boundaries. ... [Link]

Jewish construction worker killed in terror attack, police say

Marcy Oster Nathaniel Arami fell 11 stories from the side of a high-rise building where he was doing exterior work when both of his rappelling cables snapped; police initially called it an accident. ... [Link]

Police chief: Keep right-wing lawmakers off Temple Mount

Marcy Oster Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino called Israel Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s decision to allow Moshe Feiglin and other lawmakers to visit the Temple Mount a “mistake,” ... [Link]

With Iran talks extended, some in Congress are rushing to step in

Ron Kampeas The talks with Iran have been extended, giving Congress an opportunity to wield its influence. ... [Link]

Shoes of Majdanek inmates stolen from concentration camp’s museum

Marcy Oster There is no monitoring in the former barrack where the shoes are displayed. ... [Link]

Iran’s supreme leader tweets: ‘arrogant’ powers won’t bring country to its knees

Raffi Wineburg The Twitter message on nuclear talks between Iran and world powers runs counter to statements by Iran’s president, who spoke of narrowing gaps at the Vienna negotiations. ... [Link]

Israeli lawmakers peeved by U.S. criticism of ‘Jewish state’ bill

Ron Kampeas Naftali Bennett and Zeev Elkin see the raps as an unnecessary interference in Israel’s domestic affairs. ... [Link]

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