JBuzz Reviews May 31, 2013: New York Times Reviews Ruth R. Wisse: No Joke: Making Jewish Humor

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‘No Joke,’ by Ruth R. Wisse

Source: NYT, 5-31-13

No Joke: Making Jewish Humor
Ruth R. Wisse

Princeton University Press

Reviews | Table of Contents | Introduction [PDF]

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“No Joke,” a subtle and provocative new book by Ruth R. Wisse, who teaches Yiddish literature at Harvard, recounts the long history of Jewish humor and brings it up to date. She includes the effects of the Holocaust and Stalin on Jewish storytelling; she discusses American humorists from the borscht belt stand-ups of the 1940s to Larry David, and novels from Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” to Howard Jacobson’s “Fink­ler Question,” which won the Man Booker Prize in 2010. And she reviews the lively state of humor in Israel today….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 7, 2013: Ted Merwin: Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

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Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, 5-7-13

The University of Scranton Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute hosted a lecture by Ted Merwin, Ph. D., entitled “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish: Non-Jews’ Growing Investment in Jewish Life” in Brennan Hall’s Pearn Auditorium….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 1, 2013: No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

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No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (blog), 5-1-13

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a commemoration first recognized by President George W. Bush in 2006. Since then, hundreds of programs have taken place nationwide annually to honor the rich contributions of Jews to American culture and society….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 31, 2013: Historic Jobar Synagogue in Damascus was looted and burned

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Historic Damascus synagogue looted and burned

Source: JTA, 3-31-13

The 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in the Syrian capital of Damascus was looted and burned to the ground. ….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 23, 2013: 101 Years of the Maxwell House Haggadah

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101 Years of the Maxwell House Haggadah

Source: Forward, 3-23-13

If you’ve been to a Seder in the United States some time in the last 80 years, you’ve probably come across the Maxwell House Haggadah.

The iconic blue cover and dual-column Hebrew and English translations have arguably become almost as emblematic of the holiday as the Seder plate and Elijah’s cup among Jews of the Diaspora. It has appeared in the suitcases of Soviet immigrants bound for Israel, been carried onto every battlefield the US military has fought on since 1933, and been the guest of honor at the Obamas’ White House Seder….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 23, 2013: Passover and the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story

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Passover and the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story

Source: Toledo Blade, 3-23-13

Detail from  "The Four Questions" as depicted in Arthur Szyk's "The Szyk Haggadah".  Leonard Baskin's "A Passover Haggadah", Ben Shahn's "A Haggadah for Passover", and Arthur Szyk's "The Szyk Haggadah"  all owned by the Toledo Museum of Art. Detail from “The Four Questions” as depicted in Arthur Szyk’s “The Szyk Haggadah”. Leonard Baskin’s “A Passover Haggadah”, Ben Shahn’s “A Haggadah for Passover”, and Arthur Szyk’s “The Szyk Haggadah” all owned by the Toledo Museum of Art. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Many Jews and other religious people mark Passover with the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story, which tells about the Hebrew people during the scriptural time of their captivity in Egypt and their exodus to freedom. It is a time for family, including children, and friends.

Seder meals are often served the first two nights of Passover; Hasidic and other Orthodox Jews might have a third meal on the last day, for the messiah who has not yet come. Passover, or Pesach, begins at sundown Monday and the holiday lasts eight days, ending when daylight is over April 2….READ MORE 

JBuzz News December 6, 2012: Rabbi Elijah Schochet: Humility vs. humiliation

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Humility vs. humiliation

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., 12-6-12

“Humility is a quality that Judaism emphasizes to an extraordinary degree,” said Schochet, a professor of Talmud at the Academy of Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA), speaking during the panel discussion “Humility and Humiliation,” at AJRCA on Nov. 26….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 25, 2012: Jews: A religious group, people or race?

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Jews: A religious group, people or race?

Source: Jerusalem Post, 8-25-12

Now, Prof. Harry Ostrer has produced a 264-page, English-language volume melding together science, history and biography to better understand the complex subject….READ MORE

JBuzz News July 15, 2012: Devin Naar: Rushing to Preserve Ladino Legacies with First Digitized Library

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Rushing to preserve Ladino legacies

Source: JTA, 7-15, 12

Devin Naar, a University of Washington assistant professor in Jewish studies, is creating the first digitized library of Ladino source materials….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 30, 2012: Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: A Ten-Volume Look at Jewish Culture

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A Ten-Volume Look at Jewish Culture

Source: NYT, 4-30-12

Yale University Press and the Posen Foundation are embarking on a 10-volume anthology that covers more than 3,000 years of Jewish cultural artifacts, texts and paintings. “This monumental project includes the best of Jewish culture in its historical and global entirety,” the editor in chief, James E. Young, a professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a news release. “It will provide future generations with a working legacy by which to recover and comprehend Jewish culture and civilization.”

The series, called the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, is starting at the end, with Volume 10, a collection of works that date from 1973 through 2005 and include cultural figures like the writers Saul Bellow and Judy Blume, the architect Frank Gehry, the sculptor Louise Nevelson, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Harvard law professor Alan M Dershowitz. (Volume 1 will begin in the second millennium B.C.) More than 120 scholars are expected to work on the project, according to John Donatich, director of Yale University Press.

Volume 10 is scheduled for publication in November, as is a companion book titled “Jews and Words” by the Israeli author Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, a history professor.