Friday, May 05, 2006

Lively Jewish Arts and Culture

What Is Authentic? Today I was in a discussion about Jewish arts and culture. The crux of the discussion was that what usually passes as Jewish culture is not authentic.

What does that mean? Does it mean that Jewish culture has to justify itself? Does it mean that culture from outside of the Jewish religion isn't authentic? It gets to what I wrote before, is there such a thing as pure Jewish culture? When Leonard Bernstein wrote Kaddish and was influenced by Western music, was it not Jewish?

I happen to like the word authentic. It implies a search for something. So, a search for Jewish arts -- what shape would that take?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When authenticity comes up I'm always left in mind of Yehudah Gellman's article "Teshuvah and Authenticity": "Consider the first human being ever to have danced a dance. It was surely a complete expression of the person's reason for dancing. But consider now the second person ever to have danced a dance. For him it was harder to dance his own dance. Why? Because he had once seen someone else dance, and now there was a danger of dancing not his own dance, but someone else's. There was a danger of allowing the form of the dance to replace its essence. And the more manking has danced, the harder it has become to dance one's very own dance." (Tradition, 20(3) Fall 1982)