Your culture fix for March 17, 2010

By Sarah Breger

IN CELEBRATION OF ST. PATRICK-STEIN’S DAY

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Wall Street Journal reviews If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews, a new album recreating music from the days of vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley when Jewish and Irish music collided in New York. These songs immortalize the success of the era’s new immigrants: “McDonald built the subway and his name we’ll not forget / A word of praise is due to Nathan Straus / For pasteurizing baby’s milk the world owes him a debt / He’s a friend to every kid in the house.”

GUN CONTROL AND THE HOLOCAUST

Did you know that guns would have prevented the Holocaust? So claims Aaron Zelman, president of  “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” in The New Republic. To learn more about this hot button issue read Moment’s profile of Sandra Froman, the first Jewish president of the National Rifle Association and an accompanying piece on the Jewish take on gun control.

ISRAEL AND GERMANY FIGHT OVER FRANZ KAFKA’S PAPERS

Israel is in a heated legal battle over Franz Kafka’s papers. The inheritors of Kafka’s papers, which are mostly in safe deposit boxes in Switzerland and Israel, want to sell the remainder to museums in Germany and have already sold a few manuscripts to the German Literature Archive in Marbach, Germany. Israeli scholars insist the documents should be in Israel, reports BBC news.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, THREE WEEKS ONLY

For the first time, Albert Einstein’s handwritten manuscripts, including those detailing the theory of relativity, are on public display. They are at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem for only three weeks. “We have set it up like the Dead Sea Scrolls, to protect them but also to give the feeling of entering a kind of holy of holies, which is how we view it,” said Hanoch Guttfreund, a physics professor and former president of the Hebrew University. In a feature piece Moment asked if Einstein was a Jewish saint. The accompanying piece details his views on God and religion.

MARTHA NUSSBAUM ON THE “POLITICS OF DISGUST”

The Nation sits down with Martha Nussbaum, the prominent law and ethics professor at the University of Chicago, to discuss the extent to which the emotion of “disgust” has shaped the policy debate over gay rights in America. Earlier this year Nussbaum told The New York Times Magazine, “I converted to Judaism when I got married. I had kind of gotten to the end of my rope with Christian otherworldliness. I wanted a religion in which justice was done in this world.”

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