Monday, May 25, 2015 Sivan 7, 5775
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I had long considered it a rule of thumb that great artists in whatever field of endeavor are generally excellent writers -- splendid diarists, say, or incisive letter-writers at the very least. There are so many creative types who fit the bill -- Vincent Van Gogh, for example, or Hector Berlioz. But I've recently met the example that undermines my...
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A Holocaust memoir penned by someone who would go on to a career in the arts
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It's rare that the mails bring news of a small, independent press of note, and rarer still that the books it publishes are of interest to the Exponent . Rarest of all is that these works are of superior quality, ones that any press would be proud of having on its list. Such was the case with a small but...
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The short and tumultuous life of German Jewish critic Walter Benjamin
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Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish writer, critic and theorist who was known, in his brief lifetime, to only a small circle of admirers and friends. His posthumous fame has grown over the years, inside and outside of academia, despite the difficult nature of the bulk of his writings. The burgeoning of interest in Benjamin has been due in no...
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How religions grapple with the dilemma of evil
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Philadelphia's estimable Jewish Publication Society has returned one of its classic works to its backlist this season. Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm was first issued in the early 1950s, and has now been reincarnated in a paperback edition. Long recognized as a definitive piece of scholarship on the belief in fallen angels in three of the world's great religions...
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How a shadowy figure became a medium for dealing with fear
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I've always thought of the golem -- the hulking, servant-like creature that's forever saving the Jews in the course of various myths, short stories and plays -- as the Jewish version of Frankenstein, even though those who know better tell me I'm mistaken. But it seems obvious to me. A bit of clay is brought to life and obeys its...
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