Gli Ebrei

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, Josh Lambert takes a literary trip to Italy for his weekly update on forthcoming books of interest.

On the Bookshelf

A Good Dentist Is Hard To Find

Huppah Dreams

Rebecca Wyman and Lee Gold.(NYT)

Each Monday, we choose the most interestingly Jewish announcement from that Sunday’s New York Times Weddings/Celebrations section. This week, our winner proclaimed the nuptials of Rebecca Burke Wyman and Dr. Lee Adam Gold. They met because the bridegroom was the bride’s dentist, and when she first visited him—having not been to the dentist in several years—she had a root canal and multiple cavities, necessitating several follow-ups and the development of a relationship, albeit of the strictly dentist-patient variety. Indeed, Wyman knew that dating Gold would necessitate ending the toothy affair, but it seemed worth it: As she told her mother, “There’s lots of dentists in Manhattan, but good guys are hard to find.” Mazel tov!

Rebecca Wyman, Lee Gold [NYT]

Tefillin Prompts Panic on Plane, Again

Phylactery: It comes in peace

A tefillin-wrapping.(Israeltripsandother/Flickr)

Yesterday, on an Alaska Airlines flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles, three Jewish men wrapping themselves with tefillin prompted the pilots to lock down the cabin and alert authorities at LAX, who met the men for questioning afterward. Turns out plain wood leather boxes connected with wrapping are innocuous prayer paraphernalia, and not a way for Orthodox Jews to bomb an Alaska Airlines flight as payback for inflicting Sarah Palin on the world in an extremely indirect manner.

Folks will remember this all happened last year in Philadelphia, too.

U.S. Pilots Trigger ‘Terror’ Alert over Orthodox Jews’ Tefillin Ritual [AP/Haaretz]
Earlier: After Tefillin Scare, A Need for Education

Reach for the Stars

Today on Tablet

(Liana Finck/Tablet Magazine)

Liana Finck draws the story of “respondent” I.M.N. Vented (hint, hint), a would-be astronaut who becomes disenchanted with the stars, today in Tablet Magazine. In keeping with the theme of invention, she asks: Who, or what, are you planning to be for Purim this year? Leave your answer in the comments, and maybe Liana will respond in next week’s “Tell Me.”

Space Case

Five Jews Murdered in West Bank

Attack prompts Israeli outrage, muted Palestinian response

The funeral today in Jerusalem.(Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

To say that five people died sounds bloodless, literally and otherwise. So to be more specific: Five members of the Fogel family—father Udi, a rabbi; mother Ruth; children Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (3 … months)—were murdered, stabbed, in their home Friday night in Itamar, a settlement in the northern West Bank. Blessedly, three of the Fogel children survived: Tamar, 12, was sleeping at a neighbor’s, and in fact was the first outsider to realize that something had happened; and two other siblings, in the house, were spared—one, 7, survived by hiding under the covers.

According to news reports, the baby’s throat was slashed but she still had a pulse—was, still alive, three months old—when the ambulance arrived at the scene long after the reported attack. The thought that she spent hours in physical and perhaps psychological torture before dying is unbearable, which is why this was terrorism at is purest.

There are a lot of questions and political implications packed into the above event, and they aren’t unimportant, and they deserve scrutiny. I’ll explore them after the jump. But first, please do whatever it is you do—whether you pray, meditate, or just take a moment—before you click ahead. And you can first click here, which the Israeli Public Ministry is trying to publicize to see photos of the slain Fogel family. (more…)

Daybreak: March 14 Is Their Day

Plus Gross sentenced in Cuba, and more in the news

The crowd in Beirut yesterday.(Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images)

• Today is March 14, and yesterday supporters of Lebanon’s March 14 movement rallied to supported outsed ex-prime minister Saad Hariri and to demand that Hezbollah give up its weapons. [AP/NYT]

• Alan Gross, the 61-year-old American contractor who was helping Cuba’s Jewish community and was accused of being a spy, was sentenced to 15 years in jail over the weekend. The United States condemned the punishment. [JTA]

• Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that if Israel didn’t quickly move to help establish a Palestinian state, it would face “a diplomatic tsunami.” Holy innapropriate metaphors, Batman! [Haaretz]

• The sides are gearing up in Egypt for next Saturday’s constitutional referendum. Hosni Mubarak’s old party and the Muslim Brotherhood support the proposed reforms; most of the other parties do not. [NYT]

• Foreign policy expert Anne-Marie Slaughter argues that the U.S. should maneuver the Security Council into authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya—something which the Arab League endorsed over the weekend. [NYT]

• Tawfik Toubi, 88, the last surviving member of Israel’s first parliament, died. Somehow it’s fitting that he was also the founder of the Israeli Communist Party. [AP/Vos Iz Neias?]

Sundown: Jews Come to Japanese Aid

Plus hip prayer shawls, McCain calls for Pollard’s release, and more

A tallis (and a cute ankle-length dress) for sale at an Upper East Side H&M.(Jezebel)

• Israeli and American Jewish groups are mobilizing to help respond to the Honshu earthquake. To donate through the Jewish Funds of North America, go here. [JTA]

• Sen. John McCain came out in favor of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s release. [JTA]

• Aaron David Miller on why 2011 “is going to be a great year for Middle East peace initiatives, but likely a very bad one for Middle East peace”—“a lot of process but not much peace.” [IHT]

• H&M sells tallit now. Punch-line not necessary. [Jezebel]

• The new Israeli left. [The Nation]

• Porn (artistic porn!) collides with neighboring Hasidim on the Lower East Side. [Art Info]

• Some Orthodox Israeli rabbis are marrying gay men to lesbians. [Haaretz]

News of Dan Snyder’s evil has reached Taiwan. This can only be for the good.

A Most Un-Banal Trial

Your Vox Tablet preview

(Eric Molinsky)

Fifty years ago next month, a trial riveted television spectators all over the world. It provoked heated debate over Israel’s right to represent all Jews, and to try those responsible for the Final Solution (which, detractors noted, was carried out before the state existed). It also established the idea that survivors of genocide are not only victims, but valuable witnesses. In Monday’s episode of Vox Tablet, host Sara Ivry speaks with history professor Deborah Lipstadt, author of Nextbook Press’s latest volume, The Eichmann Trial.

Most of you, we’re guessing, were not around for the trial, which makes Lipstadt’s new book all the more important; at the same time, we’d love to hear from those of you who were, and have recollections of it.

The Eichmann Trial [Nextbook Press]

The Eagle Has Landed

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, Liel Leibovitz uses this week’s parasha to look at the question of whether Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick deserved his shot at redemption, which, kennahurra, he has so far made good use of.

Man Bites Dog

Jews … They Win Awards!

The National Book Critics Circle and Jewish Book Council’s fêtes

Cynthia Ozick (L) accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award.(Jewish Book Council/Facebook)

Last night, the National Book Critics Circle announced its 2010 award-winners, and Best Autobiography went to novelist Darin Strauss’s Half a Life, which he discussed on the Vox Tablet podcast last year. Other notable honorees were the Dalkey Archive, which won the Lifetime Achievement Award; David Grossman, whose To the End of the Land (reviewed in Tablet Magazine by Daphne Merkin) was a Fiction finalist; and Tom Segev’s biography of Simon Wiesenthal, reviewed in Tablet by Ron Rosenbaum, which was a Biography finalist.

Wednesday evening saw the Jewish Book Council awarding the 2010 National Jewish Book Awards. Gal Beckerman’s When They Come For Us We’ll Be Gone took top honors: Books critic Adam Kirsch praised it, and Beckerman discussed it on Vox Tablet. Hillel Halkin won best biography for his Nextbook Press tome on Yehuda Halevi. And the evening’s host was our intrepid editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse. Photos here (spoiler: There are lots of Jews).

The National Book Critics Circle Announces Award Winners [NBCC]
Related: In the Rearview [Tablet Magazine]
Self-Made Golem [Tablet Magazine]
Consolation Prize [Tablet Magazine]
Last Exit [Tablet Magazine]
Back in the USSR [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Halkin Wins National Jewish Book Award

Beautiful Contracts

Today on Tablet


Today in Tablet Magazine, Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, has an essay about ketubot prompted by a new exhibit at the Jewish Museum.


Moses Supposes

Comment of the week

(Ravi Joshi/Tablet Magazine)

Winner gets a free Nextbook Press book appropriate to his or her comment (provided he or she emails me at with his or her mailing address).

This week’s winner is Steve Stein, who remarked, of Rush Limbaugh’s comment that Tablet Magazine is a “radical left-wing operation,” “He probably would have said that about the original 2 Tablets as well.” BURN!

Steve Stein will receive Ruth R. Wisse’s Jews and Power, because Tablet published three excellent articles by her this week, and I doubt that any actual “radical left-wing operation” would have published any of them.

Jews and Power [Nextbook Press]
Earlier: Limbaugh Labels Tablet ‘Radical Left-Wing’

Foreman Fights Saturday Night

Orthodox rabbi-in-training is on Las Vegas card

Yuri Foreman (L) and Miguel Cotto (R) last June at Yankee Stadium.(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Saturday night, after sundown, Belarus-born Orthodox boxer Yuri Foreman will take on New Jersey’s Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand. Their 154-pound bout is the co-main event along with a match between Miguel Cotto—last seen, last year, stopping Foreman in nine rounds at Yankee Stadium—and Ricardo Mayorga, who appears to be hoping that pre-fight trash talking will make up for Cotto’s actual boxing superiority. I wouldn’t bet on it.

But I would consider betting on Foreman. His loss to Cotto was decisive, but Cotto is among the very best, and a bum knee that gave out on Foreman in the seventh round did not help matters. How the knee holds up is the main question leading into this fight, according to Kevin Iole, one of the most widely read boxing journalists. Iole’s profile of Foreman is must-read (if only because it will convince you that Foreman is newsworthy independent of his Jewishness). Here’s a taste:

He’s not just normal in relation to the narcissism that pervades professional athletics. He’s as down-to-earth and as genuine as any man anywhere, virtually absent of any ego. …

No big purchases, but he does frequently speaks to Jewish groups in New York and sheepishly admits he’s begun to rate the food at his various stops. At some appearance stops, the food is tastier and more abundant than it is at others.

“Here in America, at the Shabbos dinner, you’ll say, ‘What’s on the table today? What’s there to eat?’ ” Foreman said. “In Russia, for example, you’re happy if you have some bread on the table and some vodka and maybe a little bit of meat. People are happy with that.”

So, don’t forget: Saturday, Showtime pay-per-view (your local sports bar will probably have it on—admittedly, because of the Cotto fight). Go Yuri!

Rooting for Yuri Foreman is Cheering on Greatness [Yahoo!]
Related: In Training [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Cotto Beats Foreman in Nine

Filipino Philosemitism

Today on Tablet


Mya Guarnieri talks today in Tablet Magazine to Filipinos, both evangelical Christian and Catholic, in both Tel Aviv and the Philippines, who happen to love Israel and Judaism. The Israelophilia of those Filipinos who reside in the Jewish state—they came as migrant workers, and now incorporate Hebrew and even Jewish rituals in their religious services—is especially remarkable given that members of their community have been targeted for deportation.

“We are standing, Lord, in awe of you, in awe of you, in the very heart of the whole world—Israel,” the pastora, says. “In your holy and chosen nation.” I find myself moved by her words, not because they show devotion to my country and my people, but because the pastora and her congregants still have faith in Israel, despite everything it has done to them in the past year.


Maira Kalman in Residence

Artist literally sweeps the streets at her Jewish Museum exhibit

Detail of Self-Portrait (with Pete), 2004-5, gouache on paper.(Courtesy of the artist)

The first thing Maira Kalman does as we enter the west-facing room of the Jewish Museum gallery is have us sit on two chairs facing the windows.

“A view of Central Park. What’s better than that? We don’t even need to do anything.”

And with that practical meditation, we are in the world of artist, writer, designer, and Tablet Magazine contributor Maira Kalman, where narratives, small observations, poignant letters, and found objects collide around us. Her new exhibition, Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World), which opens today at the Jewish Museum, displays a smart narrative of her work as an artist and designer, with salon-stacked paintings, textiles, quotations written on walls, and presentations of the seemingly random, sublime objects that she curates within her life. After a year of touring, the exhibit finally found its way home. On this occasion, Maira is nesting in the museum itself, as she plans to attend to a “pop-up store” within the gallery every Friday to sell “egg slicers, cans of mushy peas, bouncing balls from Argentina.” (more…)

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