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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 21, 2012/ 8 Teves, 5773

Illumination From Medieval Manuscripts

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | NEW YORK CITY — It hasn't been an easy time — year, decade, early century — for organized religion. Books by atheists proliferate, some meaner than others. Fewer men and women attend church or synagogue services. The season highlights Christmas and in recent years Hanukkah, but the cultural emphasis is more materialistic than meditative. Confidence in organized religion has declined to 44 percent, as measured by Gallup.

When tragedy strikes, as in Newtown, Conn., prayer resides mostly in the shadows of those personally affected. The public ritual requires politicians to assure survivors of their thoughts and prayers — what one cynical commentator calls "political T&P." The media is saturated with discussions of what to do about guns and how to put more money in mental health programs. These are appropriate for a secular society in search of public solutions. Solace is harder to find.

If we look to a larger world picture, we focus mainly on the divisions between the three major religions. They're easy to find. The Internet, with its speedy technology, animates conflicts in the Middle East in real time, and we all become witnesses to the different ways the Arab Spring skipped summer and soured into Arab Autumn. It's hard to avoid the fear that accompanies the knowledge that Iran continues to develop a bomb to animate the rhetoric of its leaders to wipe Israel off the map.


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In Middle East history, where Judaism, Christianity and Islam identify their roots, current events focus on conflict not harmony. Although Pope Benedict XVI now twitters and writes a book about the ways the holiness of love encompasses universality, that we're all related in the Divine's image, we're increasingly aware of the shifting relationships between the three major religions. The shifts cloud the image.

The three religions have rarely enjoyed true love for long in the other's company, but now the Jewish Museum in New York City offers an oasis for the contemplation of beauty in the Middle Ages, when a conversation could be conducted through sacred texts.

The exhibition is called "Crossing Borders: Hebrew Manuscripts as a Meeting Place of Culture," and its website of digital images could usefully be required reading for high school students and adults, or anyone eager to see both the medium and the sacred messages of another time, another place, before the invention of the printing press revolutionized communication.

Style and substance are both important in the manuscripts, which were inscribed in the period from the end of the Roman Empire through the Middle Ages up to the beginning of the Renaissance.

There's legal commentary in Arabic with Hebrew letters from the 12th century, written by the Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides. There's a beautifully decorated Quran from the 16th century, as well. The whimsical unicorn of folk art appears in different manuscripts as a transformative religious symbol for suffering and redemption. Moral fables, biblical stories, prayer books, filled with abstract art and illustrations of Adam and Eve and the Virgin Mary demonstrate "fertile exchanges among Christians, Muslims and Jews in the fields of religion, art, science and literature."

Though they often speak in different languages — Hebrew, Arabic and Latin — the manuscripts show that cultural exchanges and practical cooperation sometimes occurred between Jews and Gentiles in both Muslim and Christian communities. They drew on each other's skills and contributions, brilliantly expressing artistic minds from overlapping faiths.

Although computer technology had not entered the fantastic imaginations of even the most brilliant artists and inventors, the museum curators have scanned and put online the entire text of the jewel of this exhibition, the 922-page Kennicott Bible — described as "the most lavishly illuminated Hebrew Bible to survive from medieval Spain."

Its scribe and artist were Jews who drew on Christian, Islamic and popular motifs. A Jewish observer will inevitably note that it was completed in 1476, only 16 years before Jews were expelled from Spain. The copying and illustrating of Hebrew texts brought Jews and Christians together, but could not keep them together.

All of the works in the exhibition come from the Bodleian Library at Oxford, England, founded by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598 after he retired as a foreign diplomat for Queen Elizabeth I. Although he was a Protestant, whose father took his family into exile during the Catholic reign of Queen Mary, the son's vision was to include works transcending the boundaries of ideology and theology.

A large online section encourages teachers to inspire their students with the accounts of how manuscripts were taken from scrolls that read from top to bottom, like today's tablets to the codex. These first books were printed on parchment inscribed with text on both sides.

Some things, however, don't change. In three separate manuscripts, Euclid's "Elements" appears in Arabic, Latin, Hebrew. With a computer search engine we find it English, too. Illumination thus comes to those who seek it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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