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Jewish culture

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An 'Unorthodox' Approach to Cabaret

The musical band What I Like About Jew started out as a tongue-in-cheek cabaret act that sold out at New York venues such as The Knitting Factory and Fez. Now, the two-man act has a new CD, Unorthodox.


Rite On: An Ode to the 'Bar Mitzvah Disco'

Leisure suits, big hair and the Bee Gees are just part of the draw of a new book, Bar Mitzvah Disco. With essays from Jonathan Safran Foer, Sarah Silverman and others, the book documents bar and bat mitzvahs from the 1970s through the '90s.


Arthur Green's 'Guide' Delves into Kabbalah

Historian and theologian Arthur Green has long studied Jewish religion and culture. Among the many books he has written is his latest, A Guide to the Zohar.

The Zohar is a collection of writings and teaching that appeared in the 13th century. It is the basis of kabbalah, a mystical extension of Judaism identified with alphanumeric codes and esoteric symbols. Green's Guide to the Zohar is an overview of modern studies of kabbalah's medieval origins.


Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg

The 82-year-old historian and rabbi has been at the center of events that shape American Jewish life for more than 50 years. He is the former president of the American Jewish Congress, and helped to found the movement called Peace Now in Israel. His 1959 book, The Zionist Idea, is considered a classic. Last year he wrote his memoir A Jew in America: My Life and a People's Struggle for Identity. His new book is The Fate of Zionism: A Secular Future for Israel and Palestine.


Novelist Chaim Potok

Novelist Chaim Potok died Tuesday at the age of 73. Potok was raised in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, was ordained as a rabbi, and later became a best-selling author of the novels The Chosen, The Promise and My Name is Asher Lev. Much of his writing explored the conflict between spiritual and secular worlds, a subject that earned him readers from all faiths. This interview first aired in 1986.


Host of NPRs 'Talk of the Nation,' Neal Conan

Host of NPR's Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan. During the summer of 2000, he took a hiatus from his duties at NPR to follow the fortunes of the Aberdeen Arsenal, a minor league baseball team. Conan pursued a lifelong dream: to become a baseball announcer. He writes about it in his new book: Play by Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League (Crown Publishers).


Biblical theologian Rabbi Burton Visotzky

Biblical theologian Rabbi Burton Visotzky teaches at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He's best known for his Genesis seminars, attended by novelists, poets, editors, filmmakers, CEOs, and attorneys to understand the relevance of Genesis to modern life. It became the basis of a 10-part PBS series in 1996. He is also the author of The Road To Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community.


We Remember Mordecai Richler

We remember Mordecai Richler, Canadian social critic and novelist. He died Tuesday at the age of 70. Hes best known for his work chronicling Jewish life in Montreal in works like the book The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. He died of complications from cancer.


Cantor Philip Sherman

Cantor Philip Sherman is a mohel who performs the Jewish rite of circumcision on the eighth day of a baby boys life. In his twenty-two year career hes performed about nine thousand. His grandfather was also a mohel.


"Jew vs. Jew."

Writer Samuel Freedman. He’s just written a book about the state of the American Jewish Community called “Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the soul of American Jewry." (Simon & Schuster) Freedman believes that three fundamental questions are rending the American Jewish community today: "What is the definition of Jewish identity? Who decides what is authentic and legitimate Judaism? And what is the Jewish compact with America?" We talk with Freedman following the recent nomination of the first Jewish vice presidential candidate, Democrat Joe Lieberman.

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