Edition 36
February 2001   Shevat 5761 Vol. 4 Edition 2
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TOPIC OF THE MONTH      Miracles
This month: SHEVAT


     Samuel Bak

     Voice of the Turtle

     Synagogues without Jews

     Ethical lesson

     Samuel ha-Nagid





Through word and over 300 exquisite photographs, Synagogues Without Jews tells the colorful histories of over thirty Jewish communities — in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, northern Italy, Greece, and the Czech and Slovak Republics — that thrived before World War II. It is filled with floor plans, elevations, full-color photographs, and descriptions of the synagogues that were the pride and joy of their congregations. And there are stories of people — of Jews of the past and of Jews of the present who remain...

The Iron Tracks
by Aharon Appelfeld

How does one live after surviving injustice? What satisfaction comes from revenge? Can the past be left behind? The Iron Tracks is a haunting exploration of one survivor's complex, wrenching inner world....


The Castle
by Franz Kafka

On the occasion of the publication by Schocken Books of a new translation of Franz Kafka's The Castle, PEN American Center sponsored an evening of tribute, reflection, and re-examination of Kafka's work. Important writers and actors (including David Remnick, Thulani Davis, Aharon Appelfeld, E.L. Doctorow, Cynthia Ozick, Paul Auster, Susan Sontag, Norman Manea, Mark Harman, David Remnick) participated in the program, which was held on March 26 at New York City's Town Hall and directed by Tom Palumbo. You can listen to any section of this important literary event, using RealAudio.

In The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has combed the Bible, the Talmud, and the whole spectrum of Judaism's sacred writings to give a manual on how to lead a decent, kind, and honest life in a morally complicated world. Telushkin speaks to the major ethical issues of our time, issue that have, of course, been around since the beginning. The range of the book is as broad as life itself.


The Sunflower:
On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness,

by Simon Wiesenthal

While imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, Wiesenthal was taken one day from his work detail to the bedside of a dying member of the SS. Haunted by the crimes in which he had participated, the soldier wanted to confess to and obtain absolution from a Jew. Faced with the choice between compassion and justice, silence and truth, Weisenthal said nothing. But even years after the war had ended, he wondered: Had he done the right thing?

Psychologist and researcher Dr. Michele Klein has curated the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora (Beth Hatefutsoth) exhibition, "Be Fruitful and Multiply," shown on America Online throughout 1996. In this RealAudio interview recording, Klein discusses Jewish sources and traditions about Jewish grandmothers.


In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Israel, photograper Frederic Brenner has produced an exquisitely crafted book of black and white photographs of members of some fourteen recent immigrant families, all of whom he had previously photographed in their native countries. His photograph essay, Exile at Home (Harry N. Abrams Publishers, 1998), evokes questions regarding the definitions of "exile" and "home." Enjoy an audio webcast interview with the photographer.

Documentors of the Dream: Pioneer Jewish Photographers in the Land of Israel 1890-1933 (Magnes Press and Jewish Publication Society, 1998) is the first comprehensive book to chart the origins and development of local photography seen through the eyes of Jewish photographers. The material is based on primary research mostly from Israeli archives, and interviews with descendants of the early photographers. Documentors of the Dream is the work of photographer and photo historian Vivienne Silver-Brody, of the Silver Print Gallery in the Israeli artists' village of Ein Hod on the Carmel. Enjoy also an audio webcast interview with Ms. Silver-Brody.



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