Divide and Rule?

June 30, 2010

by Hyam Corney

Another Way, Another Time

Another Way, Another Time

Another Way, Another Time
By Meir Persoff | Academic Studies Press | 398 pages | $32

There are three years to go before the British chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, has to retire on reaching 65. Many who know him well believe that with his recent elevation to the House of Lords he will be happy to do so and to concentrate on matters other than the bitter religious divisions within the Anglo-Jewish community. Others think he enjoys the challenges which his position inevitably poses and the respect he deservedly enjoys from the non-Jewish world and that he will therefore be reluctant to step down.

If and when he does retire, the big question is who will succeed him. There appears to be no natural successor in Britain and the search may be widened to overseas, notably America or perhaps even Israel. The even bigger question is whether the post of chief rabbi is really needed and, if so, whether its parameters will be changed.
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Not Sent From My iPad

June 29, 2010

By Simon Holloway

I don’t care how popular the iPad becomes, or even the ubiquitous E Ink devices: nothing will ever replace the joy of holding a book. The tactile and olfactory feast that is an ancient tome cannot possibly be exchanged for the cold glare of a lifeless screen. While carrying a library in my backpack might be handy on vacation, I hope that I will always be able to come home to a house filled with books.

At the time of writing this, I am in possession of well over a thousand texts, some of which are very old. The oldest volume that I have is a Hebrew Bible from 1701, but I also own large facsimile editions of the two oldest Hebrew Bibles ever written: the Aleppo Codex (10th century) and the Leningrad Codex (11th century). It is a guilty pleasure of mine to point to my large and densely packed Primary Literature shelf and to tell visiting non-Jews, “these are just the important ones”. To people unaccustomed to the Judaic reverence for printed literature, the sheer number of books that Jews hold dear must seem mind boggling and bizarre.
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Coming Soon: First Annual New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair

June 28, 2010

First Annual New York Sephardic Jewish Book Fair
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Noon–5 p.m.
Center for Jewish History

The book fair, hosted by the American Sephardi Federation, will bring together authors and book lovers that write about and enjoy books relating to the culture, history, philosophy, religion, languages and experiences of the Sephardic Jews, past and present. Hundreds of titles of Sephardic-oriented books, including many rare titles, will be available for sale by the Sephardic House bookstore, as well as by unique vendors that specialize in Sephardic Judaica.
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Two New Books from ArtScroll

June 27, 2010

We all want the blessings of peace and harmony. What this remarkably enjoyable and transformative book shows us is that those blessings, and many more, often begin with small words of greeting or a tiny act of kindness.

One Small Deed (can change the world) is an unusual book, combining great true stories with a vital and inspirational message for today. Compiled by bestselling author Nachman Seltzer, here are stories of both the amazing and the everyday miracles that a few small words or actions can bring about. We read how a man’s daily greeting to a factory guard saves four lives and how a badly-pronounced “‘allo” brings a young man back to his Jewish roots. A Jewish grocer extends credit to a poor Irish family and four decades later the Jewish world reaps the benefits; a businessman is saved from financial ruin by a casual twenty-dollar donation to an annoying old man. All these acts were “one small deed.”
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Major Jewish collection to move to UC Berkeley

June 25, 2010

Via The Associated Press

The University of California, Berkeley will soon be home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of Jewish history and culture.

University officials said Monday the 10,000-piece collection will be transferred to UC Berkeley this summer from the Judah L. Magnes Museum, which is in south Berkeley.

The collection of precious music, art, rare books and historical archives will be housed in a newly renovated building in downtown Berkeley starting this fall.
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Yours, Insincerely

June 24, 2010

by Etgar Keret

When I was a kid, I always thought that Hebrew Book Week was a legitimate holiday , something that fit comfortably amid Independence Day, Lag B’Omer, and Hanukkah. On this occasion, we didn’t sit around campfires, spin dreidels, or hit each other on the head with plastic hammers, and, unlike other holidays, it doesn’t commemorate a historical victory or heroic defeat, which made me like it even more.

At the beginning of every June, my sister, brother, and I would walk with our parents to the central square in Ramat Gan where dozens of tables covered in books were set up. Each of us would choose five books. Sometimes the writer of one of those books would be at the table and would write a dedication in it. My sister really liked that. I personally found it a little annoying. Even if someone writes a book, it doesn’t give him the right to scribble in my own private copy—especially if his handwriting is ugly, like a pharmacist’s, and he insists on using hard words you have to look up in the dictionary only to discover that all they really meant was “enjoy.”
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New Books from OU Press

June 23, 2010
The Nach Yomi Companion

The Nach Yomi Companion

by Gil Student

THE BIBLE IN BRIEF
The Nach Yomi Companion, Volumes 1–2

Xlibris; OU Press

When I was young I received as a gift a book called The Children’s Bible that was a thousand-or-so page condensed version of Tanach. I found it fascinating and read the thick book – not once but twice. Its attraction was due to its simple language. It certainly lacked the thee’s and thou’s of old translations but also much of the complexities of the narrative and poetry that make navigating Tanach difficult. It was a simplified and shortened Bible that was easy to digest and even entertaining. The closest you can find to that today is The Living Torah (Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan) and The Living Nach (Rabbi Yaakov Elman), both of which contain an idiomatic translation of Tanach into contemporary English. But even these works provide a word-by-word translation so they contain – forgive me for expressing something we have all guiltily thought at some time – the less engaging parts as well.
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