Dreaming of Web Design?

Become a summer intern for Tablet Magazine and Nextbook Inc.


Tablet Magazine and its parent, Nextbook Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture, and ideas, seek a part-time Web design intern for eight weeks beginning June 1. The intern will get hands-on experience working with fast-paced daily content in a lively magazine environment in downtown Manhattan, and will receive a paid stipend.

Working closely with the art directors, the web design intern will help design, program, and produce web pages for and The intern will also attend editorial meetings and learn the various production systems used. Interns will gain CMS experience (especially in WordPress), and should be fluent in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube). A working knowledge of HTML, PHP, and Photoshop is desirable. Software fluency in Flash, InDesign, and Illustrator is encouraged. Graduate students and undergraduate juniors and seniors are welcome to apply.

Web design applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and portfolio that includes layouts, typography, or working website URLs, by April 30. All application material should be sent to

Emanuel Wants to Be Chicago Mayor

Rahm admits he’s got his eye on Daley’s seat

Rahm Emanuel looks on at a Blair House diplomatic meeting earlier this month.(Olivier Douliery—Pool/Getty Images)

It’s official: Rahm Emanuel wants to take the helm of the Windy City. “I hope Mayor Daley seeks reelection. I will work and support him if he seeks reelection,” Emanuel told PBS’s Charlie Rose yesterday. “But if Mayor Daley doesn’t, one day I would like to run for mayor of the city of Chicago.”

NBC blogger Edward McClellan seems to support the possibility, asking readers, “Are you ready for a mayor who can speak in complete sentences, even if those sentences can’t always be aired on television?” McClellan points out that Richard M. Daley, 68, will have already beat his father’s record as longest-serving mayor of the city, and that he and Emanuel have a history of mutual support. “While Daley is a character out of Chicago’s past—an inarticulate Irishman from Bridgeport, raised in a political dynasty—Emanuel represents the modern Chicago that Daley built,” he writes. “Emanuel doesn’t eat Polish sausage at a White Sox game. He races triathlons and roots for the Cubs…The best thing about Emanuel is that inside that professional-looking package is a man as profane and greedy as any of Chicago’s old-time mayors.”

Emanuel once aspired to be Speaker of the House, and has been denying his interest in the mayoral position since January. He is committed to remain President Obama’s chief of staff until the end of the year, but could be running for office as soon as the next mayoral election in February, 2011. Your move, Daley!

Rahm Emanuel Wants to Run for Chicago Mayor [HuffPo]
Rahm Emanuel Is Daley 2.0 [NBC]

‘Hipsters and Hasids’ Finds Parallels Between Two Worlds

Exhibit by Brooklyn artist on display now

"2 a.m. Hassid Farbrengen," by Elke Reva Sudin(

Last night’s weekly Monday night chevruta learners at the Aish center in New York City were greeted with new paintings adorning the walls of the lobby and lecture room. Elke Reva Sudin’s colorful series “Hipsters and Hassids” illustrates the parallels lives of the two overlapping Williamsburg, Brooklyn communities; the 22 paintings will be on display for the next month.

Although the differences and grievances, rather than the similarities, between the two groups are hot topics these days, Sudin uses side-by-side pieces to highlight the parallels between the adjacent worlds. “Rocker” and “Hassid Dancing” each show an individual spiritedly engaged with music, while “Gottleib’s Deli” and “Kellog’s Diner” portray the two cornerstone eateries. Sudin’s two favorite works, “2am Hipster Party (Where’s Waldo)” and “2am Hassidic Fabregen” are meant to evoke “the same party, the same enthusiasm,” explained Sudin. She also brings a sense of humor to her work: her “Hipster Bible” bears the word “Irony” in biblical script, and in a depiction of Williamsburg’s controversial bike lane, she makes the composition of Bedford Avenue look like a game of Frogger.

Sudin got the gig by responding to a posting by Aish looking for Jewish art. “It occurred to us that we have all these walls,” explained Adam Jacobs, Managing Director of the Aish Center, who saw an opportunity to meet new groups of people and “let them know about what we do.” Jacobs said the organization is looking for artwork “consistent in our messaging: innovative, true to tradition but artistic and modern.” He aims to start collating Jewish artists on Aish’s website and let them sell their artwork from there. Sudin, originally from the greater Springfield, MA, community, based this series, which has also shown at the Workman’s Circle Building in Murray Hill, on one of her graduating theses from the Pratt Institute. “I see myself as standing in between. I feel connected to both sides, but I’m neither and I can sympathize with both sides,” she said, her hair completely covered in a vibrant yellow scarf, but nose ring showing. “I started college right when hipsterdom started to take off…I lost some friends because of the hipster community.”

Hipsters and Hasids

British Jewish Vote ‘Alive and Well’

Despite what anyone said in the 1970s, declares columnist

A rally in Trafalgar Square, January 2009.(Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Guardian columnist Geoffrey Alderman recalls researching a textbook on the British electoral system in the 1970s and being stonewalled by “an organisation calling itself the Board of Deputies of British Jews”: “I was ordered—repeat ordered—to cease forthwith my investigation of Jewish voting habits. Jews, I was told, voted just like everyone else. … There was, therefore, no ‘Jewish dimension’ to an election, and to suggest otherwise was to place the entirety of British Jewry in some (ill-defined) jeopardy.” Never mind that the BOD of British Jews has been an influential body since its founding in 1760 and may have been skeptical of a researcher unfamiliar with their community, or the fact that this encounter took place nearly 40 years ago. Alderman is sticking with at least one of the conclusions he drew from it: “Within British Jewry, image is everything.”

Whether or not this generalization holds any merit (for a more nuanced perspective on British Jews, check out today’s Tablet article by Margaret Drabble), it certainly seems to be the case, as Alderman states, that Jewish voters have been “pivotal” in the careers of many politicians in his nation’s history. He cites “the epic struggle of Lionel de Rothschild”; MP Samuel Montagu, “a Yiddish speaking banker”; Britain’s last Communist MP Phil Piratin; and Maurice Orbach, “a self-proclaimed Labour Zionist who had conspicuously failed to support Israel during the Suez crisis.” However, Alderman’s disdain for complexity is evident in his willingness to define the Jewish vote as akin to the Zionist vote in discussing the current run of MP Andrew Dismore as well as his smug conclusion that “Whatever the present Anglo-Jewish leadership may wish, the Jewish vote, in other words, is very much alive and well.” Although we’re inclined to agree on that point, we’re not sure why the author of The Communal Gadfly: Jews, British Jews and the Jewish State—who, one imagines, has had some further dealings with the BOD since 1970—seems stubbornly determined to make his case with few statistics and no sources.

The Jewish Vote Really Does Count

Today on Tablet

Non-Jewish writers take on the big topics


Novelist Margaret Drabble holds forth on the roles of Jews—and anti-Semitism—in British culture, from Shakespeare to Howard Jacobson to the BBC. Adam Kirsch reviews Crossing Mandelbaum Gate, a new memoir by Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian Kai Bird about growing up all over the Middle East with a diplomat father, and finds it more historical than personal. And here on The Scroll, we’ll have updates of all sorts.

Daybreak: Mixed Messages on Israel’s Independence Day

Promises, moodiness, and pressure

Fireworks over Jerusalem's Old City last night.(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

• President Obama issued a statement marking Israel’s Independence Day, promising that the two nations’ ties “”will only be strengthened in the months and years to come” and wisely avoiding the word “borders” altogether. [JTA]

• Regardless, the New York Times reports that as Israel marks the holiday, “there is something about the mood this year that feels darker than usual.” [NYT]

• And meanwhile, Egypt is beseeching the UN to pressure Israel to join in “an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.” [Reuters]

• A Neo-Nazi rally in Los Angeles, counterprotestors threw “rocks, bottles, eggs and other items,” injuring two white supremacists; five assailants (of various races) were arrested. [L.A. Independent]

Sundown: What’s the Deal With Jews?

Plus minutes, stats, and zippers


• Writer and historian Tony Judt asks the big post-Holocaust Jewish Question: “Jews in America are more successful, integrated, respected, and influential than at any place or time in the history of the community. Why then is contemporary Jewish identity in the US so obsessively attached to the recollection—and anticipation—of its own disappearance?” [NYRB]

• Josh Nathan-Kazis responds to a letter written by 13 Jewish organizations trying to secure protection for American college students faced with anti-Semitism with an even bigger, older Jewish question: “Are Jews an ethnic or a religious group?” [Haaretz]

• The minutes from the first meeting of Israel’s provisional government on May 16, 1948, have just been made public. The gathered focused on what to call the officials now known as “ministers”; also in the running was “governor,” about which future Prime Minister Moshe Sharrett said: “This word may have the connotation of bragging, but it is a nice Hebrew word with a pleasant sound to it.” [Ynet]

• On the eve of its 62nd birthday, Israel’s population is 7,587,000—137,000 more than last year—made up of 75 percent Jews. [Ynet]

• The New York Times profiles Eddie Feibusch, a zipper merchant who “overcame not just the Nazis but also Velcro” (hyuk!) and once filled an order for Bernard Madoff in prison. [NYT]

Sincerely Saul Bellow

A thrilling cache of the late writer’s letters

Bellow at the Miami Book Fair in 1990.(

This week, the New Yorker treats us to a selection of colorful letters from Saul Bellow to his fellow writers, including Bernard Malamud, Alfred Kazin, and John Cheever. A sample of choice moments:

To William Faulkner, responding to a defense of Ezra Pound: “What staggers me is that you and Mr. Steinbeck, who have dealt for so many years in words, should fail to understand the import of Ezra Pound’s plain and brutal statements about the ‘kikes’ leading the ‘goys’ to slaughter. Is this—from the ‘Pisan Cantos’—the stuff of poetry? It is a call to murder.”

To Philip Roth, in apology for some perceived slight from a People magazine interview: “If I had been interviewed by an angel for the Seraphim and Cherubim Weekly I’d have said, as I actually did say to the crooked little slut, that you were one of our very best and most interesting writers.”

And to Cynthia Ozick, a high compliment: “[A]lthough we have never discussed the Jewish question (or any other), and we would be bound to disagree (as Jewish discussants invariably do), it is certain that we would, at any rate, find each other Jewish enough.”

We also highly recommend the accompanying podcast, featuring Nextbook alum Blake Eskin interviewing Bellow’s wife Janis, who is responsible for having saved the letters—her husband, she says, would just as soon have “used them to make paper airplanes with.” Janis offers some insight into the mindset that led Saul to correspond extensively with those who found fault with his work: “He was never under the misapprehension that anything he wrote was finished.”

Among Writers (subscription only)
The Great Dictator [New Yorker]

Wiesel Sparks Feud Between Living and Dead

With newspaper ad espousing reverance for Jerusalem


This past weekend, newspaper readers were met with an ad by Elie Wiesel entitled “For Jerusalem.” The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times all featured the message from the Nobel Laureate beseeching politicians and activists to handle the issue of Jerusalem (“the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul”) with time and sense:

What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?

The ad appeared the same week as the article “The Living and the Dead” by New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who extolled the virtues of examining history and the dead before making decisions in the present day (the International Herald Tribune ran them the same day). He provocatively categorized the dead as the “majority” and the living a “minority.”

In his Talking Points Memo, Bernard Avishai featured a response crafted by his wife, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, blasting both authors. Where Ezrahi had expected Wiesel to take a stand against the oppression Israelis are inflicting on displaced Palestinians, instead, she noted with derision, he rooted for the dead over the living by lauding history while glossing over present day issues, fulfilling Cohen’s statement that the dead are the chosen ones:

Not only do the settlers here and all over the West Bank undermine the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence (if Jews have a right to land owned across the Green Line before the War of Independence, then surely so do those thousands of Palestinians who were displaced from West Jerusalem—including, presumably, the very house from which I write these words), but they consign all of us, sooner rather than later, to join the phalanx of the dead who died because people like Wiesel prefer mythical references to History and Eschatology over the real people who want to live together in peace.

Elie Wiesel’s Jerusalem [TPM]
Elie Wiesel: Jerusalem is Above Politics [Arutz 7]
The Living and the Dead [NYT]

Tablet Magazine’s New Internship Program

Come work with us


Tablet Magazine is looking for interns.

Next month, Tablet Magazine is inaugurating a paid internship program. If you have experience in journalism and are familiar with the landscape of American Jewish life, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll be hiring three times a year—spring, summer, and fall—for two- and three-day-a-week internships at our office in New York City. Interns will assist the editorial staff with research and administrative tasks, as well as contributing blog posts and, potentially, full features. If you’re interested in applying for the upcoming summer term, which starts May 15, please send a résumé and three writing clips to our internship coordinator, Marissa Brostoff (, by Monday, May 3. We look forward to hearing from you.

Clinton’s Word Choice Raises Questions

Her controversial Independence Day message for Israel


In a video greeting marking Israel’s Independence Day, Hillary Clinton promised that the U.S. stands “in solidarity” with the nation. Using a classic trope, she expressed her awe at watching “the desert bloom,” and offered a (slightly martyrish) vow to Israel that she and President Obama will continue “sharing your risks and helping shoulder your burdens.” She also stated that “pursuing peace and recognized borders for Israel is one of our top priorities.”

A history lesson from the website American Thinker highlights a potential problem with Clinton’s message: “U .N. Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after the 1967 Six-Day War called on Israel to withdraw from some—but not all—captured territories in exchange for ‘secure and recognized’ borders for the Jewish state. Ever since, UN Res. 242 has been the international template for a permanent peace agreement.” So by using only the word “recognized” in her speech, was Clinton suggesting that Israel should be “settling” for less than secure borders, as suggested by American Thinker, Politico‘s Laura Rozen, and others? Maybe her word choice reflects a shift in perspective, or maybe she thought she had it covered when she said “Our nation will not waver in protecting Israel’s security.” As Clinton mentions, “In 1948 it took President Truman only 11 minutes to recognize your new nation.” If only we could parse her message as quickly.

Hillary Clinton Drops ‘Secure’ Borders For Israel From Independence Day Message To Jewish State [AT]

Why, My Darling, Have You Barred All News

Your daily poetry fix


In 11th century Spain, where the great Hebrew poet Yehuda Halevi composed many of his masterworks, poetry was, for the educated classes, the language of everyday life. In his biography of Halevi, published this year by Nextbook Press, Hillel Halkin describes the young Halevi improvising poetry (about the pleasures of wine, of course) in a busy tavern—which, Halkin explains, would not have been an unusual way to spend an evening. “If calling an age ‘poetic’ refers, not to some supposed collective sublimity or imaginativeness of mind, but, more mundanely, to the widespread use of poetry in ordinary life as a medium of communication and social exchange, the young man was born in one of the most historically poetic of ages,” Halkin writes. “Poems were an everyday vehicle for the expression of emotion; for the sending of messages and requests; for the carrying of news from one encampment to another; for the recording and remembering of unusual events; for the wooing of the opposite sex; for the enhancement of celebrations; for the flattering of authority; for the vaunting of one’s exploits; for the praising of one’s friends and the derogation of one’s enemies, and the like.”

20th century America is a little bit different. For most of us, poetry is something outside of the everyday—but to celebrate National Poetry Month, Tablet is trying to be a bit more like medieval Spain by including a Halevi poem, in Halkin’s new translation, on the Scroll each afternoon. In today’s poem, a young Halevi accuses a former lover of becoming his “murderess” by abandoning him: “That you have shed my blood, I have two witnesses—/Your lips and cheeks. Don’t say their crimson lies!” Enjoy your daily drink of Andalusian wine below—or download and print out a pocket-sized version here. Plus, check out a bonus poetry feature from our archives, and don’t forget to enter Nextbook Press and Tablet Magazine’s Yehuda Halevi poetry contest!

Why, my darling, have you barred all news
From one who aches for you inside the bars of his own ribs?
Surely you know a lover’s thoughts
Care only for the sound of your hellos!
At least, if parting was the fate reserved for us,
You might have lingered till my gaze had left your face.
God knows if there’s a heart caged in these ribs
Or it has fled to join you in your journeys.

O swear by Love that you remember days of embraces
As I remember nights crammed with your kisses,
And that, as through my dreams your likeness passes,
So does mine through yours!
Between us lies a sea of tears I cannot cross.
Yet should you but approach its moaning waves,
They’d part beneath your steps,
And if, though dead, I heard the golden bells
Make music on your skirt, or your voice asking how I was,
I’d send my love to you from the grave’s depths.

That you have shed my blood, I have two witnesses –
Your lips and cheeks. Don’t say their crimson lies!
What makes you want to be my murderess
When I would only add years to your years?
You steal the slumber from my eyes,
Which, would it increase your sleep, I’d give you gratis.
My vaporous sighs are stoked by passion’s flames,
And I am battered by your icy floes,
And thus it is that I am caught, alas,
Between fire and the flood, hot coals and cold deluges.
My heart, half sweetness and half bitterness,
Honeyed kisses mixed with hemlock of adieus,
Has been shredded by you into pieces,
And each piece twisted into curlicues.

Yet picturing your fairness —
The pearl-and-coral of your teeth and lips;
The sunlight in your face, on which night falls in cloudy tresses;
Your beauty’s veil, which clothes your eyes
As you are clothed by silks and embroideries
(Though none’s the needlework that vies with Nature’s splendor, Nature’s grace) –
Yes, when I think of all the youths and maidens
Who, though freeborn, would rather be your slaves,
And know that even stars and constellations
Are of your sisters and your brothers envious –
Then all I ask of Time’s vast hoard is this:
Your girdled waist, the red thread of those lips
That were my honeycomb, and your two breasts,
In which are hidden myrrh and all good scents.

O would that you wore me as a seal upon your arms
As I wear you on mine! May both my hands
Forget their cunning if I forget the days,
My dearest, of our love’s first bliss!
Hard for the heart made vagrant are the memories
Of your ambrosia on my lips – but could I mix
My exhalations with their perfumed essence,
I would have a way to kiss you always.
Are women praised for their perfections?
Perfection in you is praised for being yours.
The fields of love have many harvesters —
And your harvest is bowed down to by their sheaves.
God grant that I may live to drain the lees,
Once more, of your limbs’ sweet elixirs!
Although I cannot hear your voice,
I listen, deep within me, for your footsteps.
O on the day that you revive Love’s fallen legions
Slain by your sword, think of this corpse
Abandoned by its spirit for your travels!
If life, my love, will let you have your wishes,
Tell it you wish to send a friend regards.
May it bring you to your destinations,
And God return you to your native grounds!

Ex-Footballer Now Motivational Jew

Alan Veingrad inducted into National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame


Reporter John Kalish says “professional Jewish athletes are eagerly embraced” by the Jewish media, “because they refute the stereotype of the Jew as weakling or nerd.” (Of course, we bloggers might argue that we embrace them because they are our way into talking about sports, a welcome break from political conflict.) Whatever the deeper motivation, football player-turned-Orthodox Jew-turned-motivational speaker Alan “Shlomo” Veingrad was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend. Kalish, a Vox Tablet contributor, reported on Veingrad’s second career for National Public Radio’s show Only a Game.

Maybe because Veingrad had long left any connection to his religion behind—as he says in one of his engagements, his bar mitzvah was his “exit out of Judaism”—he wasn’t creeped out when a stranger named Lou Weinstein called him out of the blue while he was playing for the Green Bay Packers in the 1980s. Rather, he went with the guy to High Holiday services and, says Kalish, Weinstein “instilled in him an obligation Jews have to reach out to their fellow Jews.” By the time he got transferred to the Dallas Cowboys in 1991, Veingrad went eagerly, hoping there he would “have a better chance at finding a Jewish wife.”

“If he wasn’t 6’5″ and dressed in a conservative business suit,” says Kalish of Veingrad, “he might be mistaken for a member of ZZ Top because his beard is that long.” More interesting to us is the fact that, as Kalish reports, Veingrad’s mother “altered his football resume” to give him a better time on the 50 yard dash and help him get onto the team at East Texas State. What Kalish calls “this ‘by any means necessary’ spirit,” reminds us of the good old days when the family would gather to “help” with someone’s school assignment or college application. We can only hope Veingrad inspires his fellow Jews to keep up the tradition.

Alan Veingrad [Only a Game]

Tablet Today

Books on Israelis and Palestinians for young and old alike, Némirovsky’s world, and more


After the brouhaha over The Shepherd’s Granddaughter, Tablet parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall compiles a list of recommended books about the Israeli Palestinian conflict for young adults. A new one for adults, Almost Dead, was written by Assaf Gavron with “humor and empathy”; our podcast Vox Tablet features host Sara Ivry’s interview with the novelist and translator. Books columnist Joshua Lambert checks out volumes on Irène Némirovsky and the Paris she inhabited, the latest from Robert Alter, and more. Plus, much more to come, here on The Scroll.

Daybreak: Memorial Day Finds Tourists, Uncharacteristic Frankness in Israel

Plus Blair stranded, books in Italy, and more in the news


• European tourists stranded in Israel by the volcanic ash cloud had “an opportunity to witness the most Israeli day of the year—Memorial Day.” [Ynet]

• For former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, being stuck in Jerusalem is a disruption to his schedule of campaigning for his successor Gordon Brown. [AFP]

• Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak took the national holiday as an occasion for frankness, saying that Israelis “shouldn’t delude ourselves”: “The growing alienation between us and the United States is not good for the state of Israel…The world isn’t willing to accept—and we won’t change that in 2010—the expectation that Israel will rule another people for decades more.” [AP]

• On Saturday night, the first Jewish book fair in Italy opened in Ferrara, the city that will host the future Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah. [JTA]

• A nuclear conference in Iran concluded with a statement demanding that “the Zionist regime” join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. [AP]

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