It is too easy to dismiss or ignore popular culture, especially that addressed to children. A new collection of personal and critical essays, “Artifacts of Orthodox Jewish Childhoods” (Ben Yehuda Press), helps combat that dismissal, and might even inspire us to think seriously about the cultures of our own childhoods. Uri C. Cohen reviews the volume and applauds its blurring of boundaries between the scholarly and the personal, suggesting it proves to be a positive development when scholars are open about their subjectivity.
Gershon Albert writes on what we can learn from a particular funk-band: Vulfpeck has mastered the art of creating culture. Every part of the musical experience is considered, from cinematographic decisions that focus on 70s video nostalgia, to self-made fonts and minimalist instruments. These elements all contribute to a sense of communal belonging. Those of us who are tasked with creating sense of belonging for Jewish institutions can learn from this approach to culture, using elements like language, aesthetics, and “shtick.”
Certain that this will provide a meaningful read for Tisha B’Av we share Dr. Yael Ziegler’s essay “The Midrashic Filling of Eikha’s Void.” This essay appeared in TRADITION’s Summer 2020 issue and subsequently in Dr. Ziegler's "Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World."