The Conspiracy

Jewish ‘Avengers’; Maurice Sendak passes at 83; Coalition governments, and more [Required Reading]

Jewish ‘Avengers’ [JTA]

As the latest round of superhero adaptations makes its way into theaters, JTA harks back to its Jewish roots, which this time, go further than the creators. The Avengers was a handle taken on by a group of Jewish resistance fighters in Lithuania during World War Two.

“So as you’re chewing on your popcorn, just remember that lurking behind the colorful costumes, special effects and superhero banter is a deeper real-life storyline.”

Maurice Sendak, beloved children’s book author, passes at 83 [NY Times]

Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, was well known for revolutionizing his field, introducing bratty protagonists and situations that did not end in a neat moral. His crude and lovely illustrations defined the childhoods of many.

“A largely self-taught illustrator, Mr. Sendak was at his finest a shtetl Blake, portraying a luminous world, at once lovely and dreadful, suspended between wakefulness and dreaming. In so doing, he was able to convey both the propulsive abandon and the pervasive melancholy of children’s interior lives.

His visual style could range from intricately crosshatched scenes that recalled 19th-century prints to airy watercolors reminiscent of Chagall to bold, bulbous figures inspired by the comic books he loved all his life, with outsize feet that the page could scarcely contain. He never did learn to draw feet, he often said.”

Netanyahu forms new coalition government [Haaretz]

In a move that stunned many Israeli citizens, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached out to leaders of Israel’s Kadima party. The new coalition controls 94 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, making it the broadest government in Israeli history. Netanyahu stated that he hopes the new government will bring much needed stability to Israel, however, opposition leaders have levied their own criticisms of the move.

“Earlier on Tuesday, Netanyahu and Mofaz reached a surprise agreement to form a national unity government, a decision which came as the Knesset was preparing to disperse for early elections, which were expected to be scheduled for September 4.”

Greek Jews warn of return to Facism [JTA]

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece condemned Sunday’s elections, in which Golden Dawn, an extremely conservative right wing party which ran on an anti-immigrant platform, won 21 seats in Greece’s coalition government. The Jewish community believes that this party carries strong Nazi overtones, and released a statement urging tolerance and vigilance.

“Sunday’s elections resulted in a fractured parliament as voters protested against the mainstream parties they blame for the country’s financial crisis and accepting harsh European austerity measures. If no party can put together a coalition, the most likely scenario, then Greece will hold a new vote.”

Beinart vs. Gordis [Tablet]

A debate over Zionism and its future between two heavyweights – Peter Beinart, a senior writer for The Daily Beast, and Dr. Daniel Gordis, the senior vice president of the Shalem Center – was hosted by Tablet and Columbia’s The Current last week. Though the two rehashed many points they’d already made, the event gave both men the time to sit down in the arena and hash out their differences, an act that, in American Jewry, will always be appreciated.

“Beinart…Gordis had for weeks been engaged in an acrimonious argument in print over Beinart’s controversial new book, The Crisis of Zionism. Gordis…had written in the Jerusalem Post that his earlier belief that Beinart “loved Israel” was dashed by Crisis. ‘This book convinced me I was horribly mistaken.'”

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