Lucy Barker. ‘What Once Was.’ Photo: Menachem Wecker
My article about Lucy Barker’s “Apple graveyard,” which I saw at Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach in Sydney, appears in First Things.
Jon Berkeley’s illustration for a January 2010 Economist cover depicts Steve Jobs as a modern Moses with a saintly halo. One of his trademark black turtlenecks peeks through his biblical robe, as Jobs displays an iPad instead of the twin stone tablets of Exodus. Joan Schneider, a publicist, told Harvard Business Review in 2010 that Jobs was like a specter, which “appears when there’s something big going on and then fades back from view. It almost gives you goosebumps when you see him.”
Apple’s Nativities are much more hyped than its Passions. As Apple developed a storied habit of manufacturing artificial need for new devices that weren’t necessarily all that different from the products they were designed to replace, it also created an environment where those “old” devices became virtually invisible. The question of what happens to mobile devices after they’ve outlived their shelf life is the subject of Sydney artist Lucy Barker’s sculpture “What Once Was,” which was on view at Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach from October 24 to November 10, 2013.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on December 6, 2013
Bambi. Disney, via Forward
My article on the Jewish backdrop to Bambi (the book and the movie) appears in the Jewish Daily Forward. It is also mentioned in David Gibson’s religion news roundup on the Religion News Service website.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on December 2, 2013
Clarence Slockee at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Photo by Menachem Wecker
It took a trip to Sydney, Australia, to appreciate part of the Thanksgiving story that had previously evaded me.
Read more about it in Washington Post On Faith.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 27, 2013
Detail of Artemisia Gentileschi, ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes,’ c. 1620, Uffizi
“Here’s the short version of the story. Apparently unaware of Jael’s successful strategy — detailed in Judges 4 — of lulling Sisera to sleep with a jug of milk and then pounding a tent peg through his temple, Holofernes invites Judith (Yehudit in Hebrew) into his tent one night while he is in one of his drunken stupors. That mistake costs him his head, which Judith brings back to the Jewish camp.
Although Holofernes gets decapitated in every telling of the story — whose canonical status is questionable in the Hebrew scriptures — artistic representations of the political assassination prior to the 17th century were relatively tame…”
Read the full Jewish Daily Forward article here.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 23, 2013
Here’s the lede of my article in the Jewish Daily Forward
EVANSTON, ILL. — It was on December 28, 2008, soon after Israel launched its punishing military campaign in Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead, that Rabbi Brant Rosen hit the “send” key for a blog post that he believed could well pitch him out of his pulpit.
“We good liberal Jews are ready to protest oppression and human-rights abuse anywhere in the world, but are all too willing to give Israel a pass,” Rosen had typed out as Israel’s bombs were falling on Gaza — part of a massive response, with numerous civilian casualties, to rockets fired into Southern Israel by the Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls the territory.
“What Israel has been doing to the people of Gaza,” Rosen, 50, wrote on his blog, Shalom Rav, “is an outrage.”
The young rabbi, then a decade into his tenure as spiritual leader of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, a 520-household synagogue in Evanston, Ill., concluded his 221-word post with these sentences: “There, I’ve said it. Now what do I do?”
The full article can be viewed here.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 20, 2013
My article on biblical comics and graphics appears in the latest issue of the scholarly journal IMAGES (6) 2013. The piece appears below.
Graphic and Comic Torahs Are Fruitful, Multiply by Menachem Wecker
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 14, 2013
Below the statue of Rameses II are pictures of captive slaves.
About a month ago, I wrote to Jewish Daily Forward
columnist Philologos on an expression I was seeing often on Twitter, some variation on being worked “like a Hebrew slave
.” (As I post this, there have been 10 references on Twitter in the last 24 hours.)
As I wrote Philologos,
I monitor certain search items related to Judaism on social media, and recently I came across the expression ‘worked like a Hebrew slave’ for the first time. It looks like it might be more frequently used in the African-American community. I wonder what are your thoughts on it.
The question is the subject of Philologos’ fantastic new article, “Did Tennessee Titans Bernard Pollard Slip Up on ‘Hebrew Slaves’ Remark?“
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 10, 2013
Installation view, Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age
Reached by phone in New York, Micha Bar-Am — who was born in Berlin in 1930 and lives in Israel — said, “There were a number of Jewish photographers that were part of the founding members of Magnum, but I think it was on the basis of their photography, and not necessarily anything to do with their Jewishness.”
… But David “Chim” Seymour’s nephew — Ben Shneiderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, College Park — was more comfortable discussing Magnum in Jewish terms. “Magnum was strongly influenced by its many Jewish members,” he said, noting that they were “very much devoted to tikkun olam.”
Read the full piece at the Jewish Daily Forward.
Posted by Menachem Wecker on November 2, 2013
Nuns. Flickr/vas vas
From Julie Andrews’ performance as Maria in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music” to Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Sister Aloysius Beauvier in “Doubt” (2008), many Hollywood actresses are particularly conspicuous for their habits. But although habits or veils are thought to symbolize purity — and especially chastity — some films presented a more complicated portrait of nuns.
Read more in Religion News Service. (The piece also appears on the Washington Post website, the Sojourners site, and U.S. Catholic magazine.)
Posted by Menachem Wecker on October 17, 2013