• From the Editors: Art and the Artist

    From the Editors: Art and the Artist

       

    By Max Daniel \\ Can we separate the artist from his work? 21st media culture heralds an era of unprecedented access to the inner lives and thoughts of our favorite filmmakers, musicians, and public figures. These celebrities can tell us hourly their thoughts via social media, or we can access them through paparazzi world fueled by the American consumer’s insatiable desire to get as close as possible to their admired celebrity. From whatever angle we look at it, we know more about our favorite...

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  • Lucy in the Smog with Diamonds [Creative]

    Lucy in the Smog with Diamonds [Creative]

       

    By Isidore Seville \\ Self-undermining in a good way.  I think that’s what’s en vogue these days, and it feels natural, even necessary.  Certainty is as outmoded and painfully boring as internet dial-up.  What’s considered clever and funny is so steeped in irony and self-deprecation that you can never really know who the fuck means what they say—and people actually like it that way.  And maybe I do, too.  But a new type of problem has arisen in light of that reality, a modern problem...

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  • Oranianburgerstrasse [Creative]

    Oranianburgerstrasse [Creative]

       

    By Ezra Wyschogrod \\ I was about six. It was the year 1999, when Y2K and a presidentially stained dress were America’s chief concerns, and it was clear who was going to win the World Series.  My parents, sister and I had moved a few miles west to the sleepy Boston suburb of Newton, a city still coasting on its culinary masterpiece—the Fig Newton— and the success of its native son, Matt LeBlanc. It was at this time, and in this place, that my grandfather sat me down and told me about where...

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  • Deep Roots and Budding Branches: Renewal and Rejuvenation at Yiddish Farm [Essays]

    Deep Roots and Budding Branches: Renewal and Rejuvenation at Yiddish Farm [Essays]

       

    By Max Daniel \\ First, the land was settled by a local Native American tribe. Then it would be built on by Polish-American farmers. It would become a Chabad bungalow colony for a time before it was turned over into a pagan commune, later transferring hands to a Jewish couple, who then gave it over to its current proprietors, Naftali Ejdelman and Yisroel Bass. This is the pedigree of the parcel of land in Goshen, New York, currently settled by Yiddish Farm – a place as richly diverse as its history. What...

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  • Talking Genocide: Paul Kagame and the Crisis of Politics and Human Rights [Essays]

    Talking Genocide: Paul Kagame and the Crisis of Politics and Human Rights [Essays]

       

    By Camille Peterson \\ An audience assembled last September at New York University’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life to hear Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and activist Elie Wiesel talk about genocide in the 20th century. Nothing was supposed to be controversial. It was the other half of the conversation – the less famous man on the stage sitting a few feet from Mr. Wiesel – that called into question clear-cut theories about this subject. Rwandan President Paul...

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  • The Spread of the Skullcap: A Look at the History of the Yarmulke and Multiculturalism [Essays]

    The Spread of the Skullcap: A Look at the History of the Yarmulke and Multiculturalism [Essays]

       

    By Aminadav Grossman \\ The Quebecois, the French-Canadien party governing Quebec, has recently sought to prohibit public officials from wearing religious symbols to work. As part of an attempt to preserve the cultural unity of Quebec, hijabs, yarmulkes, crucifixes and other religious paraphernalia will be forbidden with large public, historical symbols left alone for the foreseeable future. Bill 60 is proposed in the name of preserving neutrality and affirming the state value of secularism, but...

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  • On Hope in the Horror: A Film Review [Reviews]

    On Hope in the Horror: A Film Review [Reviews]

       

    By Lily Wilf \\ Bethlehem Yuval Adler and Ali Waked Adopt Films, 2014 At 30,000 feet in the air, halfway from Tel Aviv to Paris, a plastic water bottle exploded ungracefully all over my lap. The owner of the bottle was a middle-aged woman dressed in an all black, billowing cotton outfit, black Prada glasses, and with her black hair pulled back tightly from her face. Black shoes, black bracelets, black eyeliner, and the tiniest glimmer of gold from her wedding band. She was typing ferociously...

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  • A Design of the Not-So Modern Woman: A Review of Two Exhibits [Reviews]

    A Design of the Not-So Modern Woman: A Review of Two Exhibits [Reviews]

       

    By Stephanie Goldstein \\ Designing Modern Women 1880-1990 (on display through fall 2014) Walker Evans American Photographs (ended March 2014) Museum of Modern Art, New York \\ Two of the MoMA’s 2014 exhibits, “Designing Modern Women 1880-1990” (through Fall 2014) and “Walker Evans American Photographs” (through March 2014) depict women in diverse yet ultimately restricted artistic spaces.  They both represent the modern woman as un-modern—defined solely by her traditionally domestic...

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  • Hitting the Wall: The Self-Defeating Battle of Religious Feminists [End of the World]

    Hitting the Wall: The Self-Defeating Battle of Religious Feminists [End of the World]

       

    By David Ben Zur \\ A poll conducted several years ago by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies found that an overwhelming 96% of Jewish Israelis would refuse to relinquish Israeli control over the Western Wall in any possible peace agreement between Israel and Palestine — a rare consensus among an otherwise fragmented Israeli society. The Western Wall, or “Kotel” as it is referred to by Israelis, was conquered by Israeli paratroopers during the Six Day War and has been an important national...

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  • From the Editors: China, Academic Freedom, and the Failure of Columbia’s Global Program

    From the Editors: China, Academic Freedom, and the Failure of Columbia’s Global Program

       

    By Max Daniel & Joshua Fattal \\ This past October Peking University fired Xia Yeliang, an economics professor and vocal supporter of democracy and human rights, citing “teaching evaluation scores” that were among “the lowest of the entire university.” Despite the university’s claim, there is no precedent for a dismissal based on academic performance; in fact, a firing on these grounds hasn’t occurred at Peking in the past 30 years. Along with verbal threats and warnings Xia received...

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  • Nuages [Creative]

    Nuages [Creative]

       

    By Kalman Victor \\ I breathe in and the air is saturated with the smell of the canal and leaking gasoline. I’ve been here many times before, but only by peeking from the margins of a page into imaginations outside of myself.  Being in Paris is like falling into a coal-engine.  Everything I think and do is fodder for a project that’s totally beyond my apprehension, the industrial manufacture of countless Parises to be shipped off in neat little packages for people who need a place with a name...

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  • Once Upon a Time [Creative]

    Once Upon a Time [Creative]

       

    By Daniella Greenbaum \\ Their story had all the makings of a fairytale, except that the villains were real and the evils that were committed couldn’t be righted with the flicking of a wand. But ultimately, my grandparents experienced a happily ever after. There was no shadchan (matchmaker). There were no dates, and there was no father-in-law from whom to ask permission. It was Bergen-Belsen, after the end of World War II, and Avraham Greenbaum, my paternal grandfather, had become fixated on an...

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  • It’s Greek to Me: A Tale of Two Cultures at the Western Wall [Essays]

    It’s Greek to Me: A Tale of Two Cultures at the Western Wall [Essays]

       

    By Ethan J. Herenstein \\ There I was at the Western Wall Plaza on a clear sunny morning in October, skipping school to celebrate my brother’s Bar Mitzvah in Israel. I was skimming through my bright blue copy of The Odyssey with the naive hope that I might keep up with my Lit Hum readings while I was away. In my peripheral vision, I surveyed the ocean of black-and-white clad men that had entirely engulfed the Western Wall plaza, when suddenly, a bearded man emerged from the crowd and briskly made...

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