Moment’s 2022 Benefit & Awards Gala

     Auction       Donate Gala Program    Watch 2022 Gala Thank you to everyone who helped make Moment's 2022 benefit and awards gala a success! You can watch the broadcast here and read through the event program here. We have some auction items available for purchase here. And of course we always welcome your support, which helps ensure that Moment’s important work continues during these challenging times. Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism RBG Human Rights Award Ambassador Oksana Markarova Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Women & Power Award Max Weinberg Drummer, E Street Band Moment Creativity Award Mindy Weisel Artist and Writer Moment Creativity Award Cynthia Ozick Writer & Public Intellectual Levitas Literary Journalism Award Emily Bazelon New York Times Journalist Greenberger Journalism Award Connie Krupin Artist and Board Member Community Leadership Award Robert Siegel Master of Ceremonies Former NPR Senior Host

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Book Review | The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, 3 vols. by Robert Alter

The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, 3 vols. by Robert Alter W. W. Norton 2018, 3500 pp, $125 When I first learned that Robert Alter had completed the task of singlehandedly translating the entire Bible, a project he commenced around 1995, my mind went to Lawrence of Arabia. In one scene of that spectacular movie, Peter O’Toole, playing T. E. Lawrence, enters British military headquarters in Cairo, dusty and exhausted from the long trek across the Sinai, and says to his commanding officer, “We’ve taken Aqaba.” The officer asserts, “It’s impossible,” to which Lawrence replies, “Yes, it is, I did it.” And so it is with Alter’s The Hebrew Bible: What had been thought to be impossible—a complete modern Bible translation with expert commentary, not by committee, but by a single individual—is indeed possible. Unlike Lawrence, though—who,...

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Author Interview | Judea Pearl

Does the rooster’s crow cause the sunrise? The answer seems obvious, if you’re a human—but a machine can only understand that the rooster’s crow and the sunrise are related, not which causes the other. This problem is at the heart of The Book of Why, written by Israeli-born UCLA professor Judea Pearl, 82, and science writer Dana Mackenzie. Pearl is a renowned computer scientist and winner of the Turing Award, the highest honor in computer science, and his new book explores a revolutionary new way for scientists to explain cause and effect—and how computers should understand it. Pearl speaks with Moment about the importance of cause-and-effect relationships, why science has neglected them for so long and how they shape everything from elections to Jewish ethics. Why are cause-and-effect relationships so critical—and so misunderstood? They are misunderstood...

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Book Review | Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land by Amos Oz

Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land by Amos Oz Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018, 138 pp, $15.31 Amos Oz’s modest new book of nonfiction is a container for some somber thoughts and for scraps left over from earlier lectures and books—refined and re-sorted, though ultimately not completely resolved. The book is written with intimacy in the Israeli style, where much is left unsaid and there’s little need for formal transitions or explanations. The title, of course, suggests a letter, with emphasis on the word “dear.” And the epigraph, a poem by Yehuda Amichai, warns about the futility of winning a familial argument: “The place where we are right/is hard and trampled/like a yard.” Dear Zealots is actually composed of three essays pivoting around the subject of extremism. It includes observations about radical Islam, Europe and America, but mostly it concentrates...

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Jewish Word | Shamash

n the 1946 film The Big Sleep, based on the Raymond Chandler mystery of the same name, Carmen—the promiscuous, drug-addicted younger sister of Lauren Bacall’s character—sizes up Philip Marlowe, played by Humphrey Bogart, and asks him, “What are you, a prizefighter?” Bogart responds, “No, I’m a shamus.” “What’s a shamus?” she inquires. “It’s a private detective,” he answers. Yes, Bogart is using the Yiddish version—more popularly spelled “shammes”—of the Hebrew word, “shamash.”

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Book Review | The First Book of Jewish Jokes edited by Elliott Oring

The First Book of Jewish Jokes Edited by Elliott Oring Translated by Michaela Lang Indiana University Press 2018, 176 pp, $65 It’s the inherent vice of joke books that their jokes are stale, wizened, practically in full beards. Paper doesn’t just flatten the delivery; it kills. (Take my joke—please!) There’s no joke teller, no emphasis on sound or detail, no voice. Lenny Bruce’s now-canonical “Jewish and Goyish” is funny because of the rhythm, and because of the intense personality it barely restrains. Joke books have no rhythm and no persons; they are disembodied words. The surprise of The First Book of Jewish Jokes is that a joke book from 1812 still sometimes shows a faint pulse. After all, when’s the last time you heard a good one about the learned philosopher Moses Mendelssohn? Edited by Elliott Oring, an anthropologist and...

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film festivals

Moment’s Guide to Film Festivals

Films You Shouldn’t Miss By Isaac Zablocki A notable theme that emerged from the film festival lineups was movies about the Orthodox community. This includes Red Cow by Tsivia Barkai-Yacov, a movie about a young woman maturing and coming out as gay in a family of settlers in an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Redemption by Yossi Madmoni and Boaz Yehonatan Yaacov follows the story of a rock band attempting to get back together after the lead singer becomes religious. The Unorthodox by Eliran Malka follows the establishment of the Shas Party—the Sephardic/Mizrachi religious social-political movement. The film is engaging, though it downplays the dramatic outcry that led to the rise of this party. One of the films relating to Arab life in Israel is the documentary Cause of Death by Ramy Katz, which could not...

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alfred moses

Author Interview | Alfred Moses

When Alfred Moses, an attorney and prominent national Jewish leader, traveled behind the Iron Curtain to Romania in 1976, the impoverished country was under the thumb of the ruthless and corrupt dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The trip changed Moses’s life, inspiring him to fight for the freedom of Romania’s Jews.

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Poem: The State of Things

On the day after Yom Kippur, I ride my bike along the waterfront. Pious men build their sukkah before sunset. Will they invite me to be their guest? Priests and prophets are oblivious of emptiness. The past is with me, an unhappy house in my old neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Across the river, platinum flickers. There is a difference between dream and vision. I want to describe the moon behind olive trees, sunflowers against a black sky. I want to keep the light that fills my bedroom with the memory of a vacation home. I want to fix what is broken before I can let it go. The rabbi said one embrace can heal the world. Cut off and childless, I want to know: What sin did I commit? Which mark did I miss? No one asks for forgiveness at the waterfront. Longshoremen dance in Amsterdam. The factory is gone. I hear laughter in...

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