Valentine’s Day and Linsanity are both, at best, tangentially related to anything in the way of Jewish culture, but their collective awesomeness (mostly Lin) collaborated to spill over into the Yiderati. Apparently, if you try hard enough you can actually connect anything, even Lin, to Judaism. Check out this post on ethnicity and basketball which reminds us, mostly, that normal people in the 1930s thought in pretty racist terms. Here, Jesse Eisenberg, of Zombieland and playing a Hasidic-Jew-pretty-badly fame, writes a great and playful satire of the Linsanity. David Brooks, in his new Op-Ed discusses his perceived tension (I don’t buy it,) between a religious ethos and a sports ethos quoting non-other than the giant of modern Orthodox thought, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik from his book, Lonely Man of Faith and his essay, Majesty and Humility. Last in this category, and I’m still shocked by this, Dr. Ruth uses Lin as a way to talk about sex, of course.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce Esther C. Werdiger: a Jewish, talented, rising comic artist whose humorous and intelligent comics appear regularly on The Hairpin. More in the vein of great Valentine’s stuff – 10 of the greatest kisses in literature, yes please; McSweeney’s has a video of a love competition held by a Stanford MRI lab in which participants have five minutes to neurochemically love someone as hard as they can. I won’t lie, I was skeptical, but it’s an oddly brilliant and endearing video. Someone put together a great list of “dirty” love letters from famous authors. Lastly, an insightful excerpt on seduction from Pascal Bruckner’s upcoming book entitled the Paradox of Love.
Speaking of Valentine’s, I’m falling in love with The New Republic’s series in which they unearth old New Republic articles. This week they give us Upton Sinclair reviewing a book on Hitler and Lionel Mordechai Trilling on Willa Cather, which, obviously, is a great essay.
Ethan Bronner, a great journalist, stepped down as head of the Jerusalem section for the New York Times. Bronner, criticized by both sides, and called, a while back, to step down because his son chose to go into the Israeli army, I thought, did a great job with an impossible job. For one last hurrah here’s an interesting article from Bronner about a resurgence in Holocaust interest. In that vein, apparently, Israel has a great exhibit about the capture of Eichmann capture on display in Tel Aviv. If you live there, check it out, if not check out this article.
One a final note, in recent weeks with Oprah visiting a Hasidic community and the publication of Deborah Feldman’s memoir, there’s been a lot of discussion about the Hasidic community. This roundtable discussion from unpious.com is a refreshing conversation from people who actually lived inside the community. To end on a slightly more playful note, the New York Times has a slideshow of photographs from a Hasidic wedding in Israel.