Browsing 63 posts in News
by Habitus · 11/08/12As New York continues to face extreme weather and massive recovery challenges, we wanted to make one more way for our readers to help.
For any copies of our New York issue sold in November, we will donate 70% of the sale price to local organizations working on rebuilding and serving New Yorkers in need after Hurricane Sandy.
For a preview of what’s inside, read the 1923 essay by Konrad Bercovici on “The Greatest Jewish City in the World.” His caustic look at Jewish life in New York has a lot of relevance today:
There is an old European saying that every country deserves the kind of Jews it has.
If so, New York does not know what it deserves, for it has every kind—gangsters, social workers, philanthropists, corrupt politicians, patriotic capitalists, preaching socialists, anarchists, bigots, atheists, ignorant illiterates, highly educated men. Every kind of Jew, from the lowest strata of humanity to the peak of culture, is represented here—a complete nation.
Also, take a look at our interview with World Trade Center designer Michael Arad, who has many timely reflections on trauma and recovery in our city.
Here’s the link to purchase. Please share with your friends!
by Habitus · 11/02/12Our hearts are with our friends and neighbors who are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Please consider a donation to help those in need.
This week, we are re-reading our interview with World Trade Center Memorial designer Michael Arad. It’s an interesting reminder of how New York has dealt with trauma and recovery in its recent past:
All of a sudden, by going through the crucible of this experience, I felt a tremendous sense of kinship to my fellow New Yorkers. All my neighbors, the people I saw on the subway, the people I saw on the street, and the people I saw gathering in public spaces like Union Square and Washington Square: we were one. That was very powerful and moving. In particular, I recall going to Washington Square a couple of days after the attacks—I was living in the East Village at the time—and our neighborhood, like everything south of Fourteenth Street, was shut off from the rest of the city. There were no cars, hardly any people outside. I went for a bike ride in the middle of the night—two, three in the morning—in an ever-widening circle, starting in my neighborhood, making my way over to Chinatown and TriBeCa and the West Village. I eventually ended up in Washington Square Park and I walked up to the fountain. There were candles surrounding the fountain and there were people standing there. I think people came there the same way that I did, alone or maybe with one other friend, but people stood there together. And when I walked up to that fountain, that circular fountain, I joined that circle of people and I didn’t feel alone anymore. I don’t think I understood the significance of that moment, but in many ways it was a very transformative moment for me: I felt that I became a New Yorker, realizing that this is my home.
Best wishes to our friends, colleagues, contributors, and readers in New York and the throughout the northeast.
by Habitus · 07/10/12
The act of traveling is an impossibly broad category: it can encompass both the death march and the cruise ship. Travel has no inherent moral character, no necessary outcome. It can be precious or worthless, productive or destructive. It can be ennobling or self-satisfied. The returns can be only as good as what we offer of ourselves in the process. So what distinguishes meaningful, fruitful travel from mere tourism? What turns travel into a quest rather than self-serving escapism?
by Habitus · 04/24/12
Habitus editor Joshua Ellison read an essay for NPR’s Berlin Stories, drawing heavily on his explorations of the city for our Berlin issue. His essay, titled “Germans in the Mirror,” recalls our conversation with Turkish-German writer Zafer Şenocak.
Get your copy of the issue here. You can also follow the excellent series on Facebook. The season-premiere episode is online in its entirety. Thanks to Anna Winger, Victoria Gosling, and the rest of the Berlin Stories team for including us.
Give a listen and tell us what you think!
by Justine Poustchi · 03/13/12Politics and Literature
Hungarian Jewish writer Akos Kertesz’s recent condemnation of Hungary’s role in the Holocaust has led to a “political campaign” against him, forcing the 80 year old writer to seek asylum in Canada.
Sam Jordison muses on the future of literary translation, noting the success of the works Hans Fallada, a German writer whose work explores his country’s dark political history, that leaves Jordison wondering what else he may have been missing out on.
Adam Gopnik takes a look at the dramatic and often hallucinatory ending of the Christian Bible: The Book of Revelation. Decoding the mystical vision, Gopnik reveals the text’s satirical caricature of the Roman Empire that, as Elaine Pagels argues in her latest book, is the result of a distinctly anti-Christian polemic that strived to maintain the early Jesus movement’s Jewish roots.
Fragments of Human Existence
Drawing connections between Victorian pseudo-science and surrealist photography, Jacob Mikanowski’s article paints a complex portrait of the creation of writer Bruno Schulz’s cosmos and his obsession with matter.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a relief and rescue organization, is embarking on a project to digitize their extensive archives of the 20th Century Diaspora that includes over 500,000 names and 100,000 photographs. Take a look at some gems from their collection, which includes photos of painter Marc Chagall a young Leonard Bernstein, here.
New York contributor Arnon Grunberg “embeds” himself in different social groups that range from a Dutch family’s vacation to armies in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a part of a recent exhibition of his work in Amsterdam, Grunberg is seeking interesting ideas for new journalistic projects that you can be a part of. More information on the competition, which closes on March 18th, here.
by Justine Poustchi · 03/05/12
Albert Kahn, one of the earliest color photographers, traveled to over fifty countries to document the rich cultural diversity in the years before the First World War. Taking a look at his work, Maria Popova explores the way his photographs helped frame complex cultural narratives that had been reduced to “caricatures.”
For a group of Catholic Hispanos in Colorado, a breast-cancer gene reveals an ancient Jewish past, forcing the women to confront changes not only to their bodies but also their heritage. Elie Dolgin takes a look at Jeff Wheelwright’s exploration of the gene that plagues the women as religion, race, and DNA intersect.
Home to the shrine of three faiths, Jerusalem has a history that is characterized by prophetic utterance—or more recently, pseudo-prophetic babbling. The phenomenon, labeled Jerusalem Syndrome, provokes a fascinating look at the psychosis engendered by the holy city on the people who believe God is speaking to them.
Ruminating on the future of Holocaust literature Stuart Kelly praises the work of Nathan Englander and Shalom Auslander, calling for more work that subverts the “monolithic narrative of victimhood.”
by Justine Poustchi · 02/26/12
Alan Brit sheds light on the Frankists: Polish Jews who converted to Catholicism to gain rights and land in the 18th Century. Brit reveals a brand of Catholicism that deeply reflected Jewish roots in its acknowledgement of the importance of the Sabbath and a vague sense of kashrut.
In response to harsh criticism of the religiosity of the Israeli public, Dr. Samuel Lebens warns against “oversimplification of theism,” and advocates a deeper understanding of Jewish literature as an imaginative tool to promote change from within.
Relics of Totalitarianism
Recently, Poland has been turning its attention to its complicated past. The rising generation is ready to ask “inconvenient questions” through film, literature, and the establishment of the Institute of National Remembrance.
Architectural plans for Hitler’s imagined capital city, Germania, reveal not only a grand fantasy but also a pervading misanthropy. Robert Moorhouse looks at the fraction that was completed and the devastation that enabled its creation.
Imre Kertész’s reflections on Nazism and totalitarianism continue to be brought to English readers by the independent publisher Melville House. Sohrab Ahmari takes a look at Roberto Bolaño’s “The Third Reich,” as the author pushes the boundaries of literary interpretation of Nazism by constructing a character who fetishizes the Third Reich and then challenging his character to a board game.
Voices of the Literary Past
As a part of the New Yorker’s Fiction Podcast Series, Nicole Krauss reads Bruno Schulz’s story “Father’s Last Escape”: a surreal musing on “the genealogy of spirits.”
Another look at Joseph Roth’s letters probe deep into his complex political persuasions as both a socialist and a monarchist who dreamed perpetually of yesteryear.
This Friday, Annie Kantar will be reading from her translations of Israeli poet Leah Goldberg at NYU.
by Justine Poustchi · 02/21/12
On our minds this week:
Literature in the City
A performance of “The Merchant of Venice” in Hebrew, as a part of London’s Cultural Olympiad, ignites controversy and leads to an exploration of its performance by the Habima Theater of Israel throughout history.
Lulling us further back in time and space, Berlin contributor Susan Bernofsky’s translations of Robert Walser’s vignettes animate the rush of the city while capturing the joy of Aschinger, a restaurant, and even the electric tram.
BOMBLOG’s Page Break series turns its attention to New York contributor Irina Reyn’s “Blood”, a short story that examines the role of the past in fostering Jewish-Armenian identity. Photographer Ana Yam explores the tension between memory and forgetting in a new collection of photographs entitled “Habitat” on display in Tel Aviv until the 23rd. Challenging conventional modes of observation, her work occupies the space between her Russian and Israeli identity, creating images that demand closer attention. Probe deeper into the scientific, legal, and fictional intricacies of memory with this fascinating look at our understanding of the way we remember.
The death of Nobel laureate Wislawa Syzmborska provokes an exploration of a “Brilliant Age of Polish Poetry”, drawing our attention to the works of Czeslaw Milosz, and Zbigniew Herbert. Adam Kirsch’s look at “Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters” illuminates the complexities of a cosmopolitan whose life “fit into three suitcases” as he grappled with his place in the world and his Jewish identity.
Claude Cahun, a forgotten surrealist artist and writer, has been garnering attention recently in conjunction with a traveling exhibition of her work. The retrospective, entitled “Entre Nous: The Art of Claude Cahun,” is opening in Chicago on the 25th and will feature over 80 photographs from her oeuvre. Cahun was known for her multiple identities – French, Jewish, writer, photographer – that as Lauren Elkin wrote “she put on and took off at will, like costumes for her portraits.”
by Habitus · 01/27/12
We are thrilled to share our latest issue, New York, in which we turn our attention homeward. Get yours today.
Click here to see the full Table of Contents.
More previews and additional New York material will be posted soon, so keep visiting our site.