rhu: (torah)
I got a sneak peek at the new Koren/Steinsaltz English Talmud Bavli this week. Regular readers of my blog know that I admire both Rabbi Steinsaltz and Koren Publications greatly. I am very pleased to report that this project blew me away, exceeding my expectations. Although I'm sure acquiring the entire set won't come inexpensively, I will find some way to afford to buy these as they come out. They're that amazing. [Disclaimer: Although Koren has been sending me review copies of some of their books, this review is based on a copy that I borrowed for a few days from my rabbi.]

My review -- long, and with pictures )

I look forward to getting my own copy so I can learn from it. When I do, I'll update this review.

My understanding is that Koren Publishers plans to release the entire set over the course of the next four years, faster than the Daf Yomi schedule. I wish them the financial success they deserve; this edition merits to become the new standard for English-language Talmud study.
rhu: (torah)
I got a sneak peek at the new Koren/Steinsaltz English Talmud Bavli this week. Regular readers of my blog know that I admire both Rabbi Steinsaltz and Koren Publications greatly. I am very pleased to report that this project blew me away, exceeding my expectations. Although I'm sure acquiring the entire set won't come inexpensively, I will find some way to afford to buy these as they come out. They're that amazing. [Disclaimer: Although Koren has been sending me review copies of some of their books, this review is based on a copy that I borrowed for a few days from my rabbi.]

My review -- long, and with pictures )

I look forward to getting my own copy so I can learn from it. When I do, I'll update this review.

My understanding is that Koren Publishers plans to release the entire set over the course of the next four years, faster than the Daf Yomi schedule. I wish them the financial success they deserve; this edition merits to become the new standard for English-language Talmud study.
rhu: (torah)
The month of Nisan has started, and in a few weeks we will be sitting down to our sedarim. As you may know, I collect haggadot, and each year I try to add at least one to my collection. This year, Koren Publishers sent me a review copy of their newest haggadah, The Koren Ethiopian Haggada: Journey to Freedom / The Gould Family Edition, edited by Rabbi Menachem Waldman. It is a welcome addition.

The title is somewhat misleading, though. The text of the haggadah is the standard Ashkenazi text; this is not an "Ethiopian Haggada" because a fixed rite of seder narrative did not exist, apparently, in their community. What makes this excellent volume "Ethiopian" is that the additional readings and graphic elements tell the story of the modern-day exodus of the Jews from Ethiopia.

(Cut for length) )

Of course, the mark of a successful seder is that you leave with more questions than you came in with. I opened this Haggadah not knowing that there were questions to be asked, and it has brought me up to the level of "What's this?"

If the worst that can be said about The Koren Ethiopian Haggada is that it leaves me with a world of new questions, then it is a very successful Haggadah indeed.
rhu: (torah)
The month of Nisan has started, and in a few weeks we will be sitting down to our sedarim. As you may know, I collect haggadot, and each year I try to add at least one to my collection. This year, Koren Publishers sent me a review copy of their newest haggadah, The Koren Ethiopian Haggada: Journey to Freedom / The Gould Family Edition, edited by Rabbi Menachem Waldman. It is a welcome addition.

The title is somewhat misleading, though. The text of the haggadah is the standard Ashkenazi text; this is not an "Ethiopian Haggada" because a fixed rite of seder narrative did not exist, apparently, in their community. What makes this excellent volume "Ethiopian" is that the additional readings and graphic elements tell the story of the modern-day exodus of the Jews from Ethiopia.

(Cut for length) )

Of course, the mark of a successful seder is that you leave with more questions than you came in with. I opened this Haggadah not knowing that there were questions to be asked, and it has brought me up to the level of "What's this?"

If the worst that can be said about The Koren Ethiopian Haggada is that it leaves me with a world of new questions, then it is a very successful Haggadah indeed.
rhu: (Default)
"How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)" by Ross W. Duffin. A fairly short and readable treatise. I could have done without the sidebars and cartoons, which were a distraction and interrupted the text. And I can't say I really learned much new from this book --- in college, I learned about how equal temperament ruined harmony, and I already care, but as a singer I have the luxury of tuning each interval by listening to the other singers, so I don't really need to be sold on having my instrument re-tuned to, say, meantone.

One thing that I was hoping Duffin would include, but he didn't, was a discussion of how the "blues third" fits in with all the other thirds that he writes about, since the interval of the third that really suffers the most from equal temperament and differs the most in the various other tunings.

And for those who care, the frequencies in my userpic are in a pure 9:1 ratio.
rhu: (Default)
"How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)" by Ross W. Duffin. A fairly short and readable treatise. I could have done without the sidebars and cartoons, which were a distraction and interrupted the text. And I can't say I really learned much new from this book --- in college, I learned about how equal temperament ruined harmony, and I already care, but as a singer I have the luxury of tuning each interval by listening to the other singers, so I don't really need to be sold on having my instrument re-tuned to, say, meantone.

One thing that I was hoping Duffin would include, but he didn't, was a discussion of how the "blues third" fits in with all the other thirds that he writes about, since the interval of the third that really suffers the most from equal temperament and differs the most in the various other tunings.

And for those who care, the frequencies in my userpic are in a pure 9:1 ratio.
rhu: (rhu)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] introverte and I went on a double-date with [livejournal.com profile] mabfan and [livejournal.com profile] gnomi to see MITGSP's production of The Gondoliers, with inter alia [livejournal.com profile] chanaleh and [livejournal.com profile] greenlily.

I could tell from the first "List and Learn" that we were going to have a wonderful evening. Cut for length -- There was a lot to love ) I want to "leave you with feelings of pleasure" --- this is an excellent Gondoliers and the best show I've ever seen MITGSP perform. Congratulations to the excellent cast, crew, and production staff. We enjoyed ourselves completely, and I commend the show to your attention.
rhu: (rhu)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] introverte and I went on a double-date with [livejournal.com profile] mabfan and [livejournal.com profile] gnomi to see MITGSP's production of The Gondoliers, with inter alia [livejournal.com profile] chanaleh and [livejournal.com profile] greenlily.

I could tell from the first "List and Learn" that we were going to have a wonderful evening. Cut for length -- There was a lot to love ) I want to "leave you with feelings of pleasure" --- this is an excellent Gondoliers and the best show I've ever seen MITGSP perform. Congratulations to the excellent cast, crew, and production staff. We enjoyed ourselves completely, and I commend the show to your attention.
rhu: (Default)
Over Pesach, I read "The Lexicographer's Dilemma" by Jack Lynch. Overall it was quite good; many chapters were utterly fascinating while others were a predictable retread of stuff I already knew, but even then it rarely bogged down. Lynch's topic is how lexicographers, and specifically lexicographers of English, have handled the tension between descriptivism and prescriptivism. His position seems to be that neither absolute is correct -- a dictionary serves both those who need to understand the language "as she is spoke" and those who are looking for a guide to generally received "proper" usage.

I recommend it (as a library book) to all those who enjoy words. Be warned, though, that the waiting list in the Minuteman system is quite long -- I reserved my copy in January and just got it.




I finished the Percy Jackson series recently. Enjoyed them through the end, and really appreciated the final twists and how Riordan kept the suspense ratcheted up. These aren't just good YA books; they're good books. And now Tani wants to read Homer.
rhu: (Default)
Over Pesach, I read "The Lexicographer's Dilemma" by Jack Lynch. Overall it was quite good; many chapters were utterly fascinating while others were a predictable retread of stuff I already knew, but even then it rarely bogged down. Lynch's topic is how lexicographers, and specifically lexicographers of English, have handled the tension between descriptivism and prescriptivism. His position seems to be that neither absolute is correct -- a dictionary serves both those who need to understand the language "as she is spoke" and those who are looking for a guide to generally received "proper" usage.

I recommend it (as a library book) to all those who enjoy words. Be warned, though, that the waiting list in the Minuteman system is quite long -- I reserved my copy in January and just got it.




I finished the Percy Jackson series recently. Enjoyed them through the end, and really appreciated the final twists and how Riordan kept the suspense ratcheted up. These aren't just good YA books; they're good books. And now Tani wants to read Homer.
rhu: (Default)
So apparently there's this wildly successful series of books about a kid named Percy Jackson; I'm told the first one has been made into a film that was just released. (What do I know? The last film I saw was Frost/Nixon, and before that, Wordplay.)

The first I'd heard of Percy Jackson was when Tani read the first book, The Lightning Thief by Ron Riordan. He loved it, and his description of it at the dinner table sounded interesting. Since I like to spot-check what my kids are reading anyway, I picked it up.

And?

Whoa!

That was a well-written, entertaining book, reinterpreting and evoking classic Greek mythology without "dumbing it down" at all or coddling the reader. I'm impressed, and looking forward to the rest of the series.
rhu: (Default)
So apparently there's this wildly successful series of books about a kid named Percy Jackson; I'm told the first one has been made into a film that was just released. (What do I know? The last film I saw was Frost/Nixon, and before that, Wordplay.)

The first I'd heard of Percy Jackson was when Tani read the first book, The Lightning Thief by Ron Riordan. He loved it, and his description of it at the dinner table sounded interesting. Since I like to spot-check what my kids are reading anyway, I picked it up.

And?

Whoa!

That was a well-written, entertaining book, reinterpreting and evoking classic Greek mythology without "dumbing it down" at all or coddling the reader. I'm impressed, and looking forward to the rest of the series.
rhu: (Default)
Yesterday, H and I saw the matinee of Fela! on Broadway. My review )
rhu: (Default)
Yesterday, H and I saw the matinee of Fela! on Broadway. My review )
rhu: (Default)
At the NPL con, someone recommended "My Father's Paradise" to me. It's a non-fiction book by an assimilated American Jew searching for his father's roots in Kurdistan. The reason someone recommended it was because the hook is that the father is a world expert in "neo-Aramaic" --- i.e., the language he grew up speaking --- and I had listed "Babylonian Aramaic" as a language that I can read when we did introductions.

The book was a snooze and I bailed 30 pages and three weeks in when the library sent me a reminder email that it was due the next day.

On the other hand, at the same con, [livejournal.com profile] rikchik mentioned that his eponymous (epo-LJ-userid-ous?) language was mentioned in a new book by Arika Okrent titled "In the Land of Invented Languages", and I also took that out of the library and devoured it in two days. It's well-researched, well-written, funny, touching, and enlightening. Mi rekomendas ĉi tiu libro. [No, I don't know Esperanto, I used an online translator.]

And Alissa has been reading "The Monster in the Backpack" to me. It's quite charming and funny.
rhu: (Default)
At the NPL con, someone recommended "My Father's Paradise" to me. It's a non-fiction book by an assimilated American Jew searching for his father's roots in Kurdistan. The reason someone recommended it was because the hook is that the father is a world expert in "neo-Aramaic" --- i.e., the language he grew up speaking --- and I had listed "Babylonian Aramaic" as a language that I can read when we did introductions.

The book was a snooze and I bailed 30 pages and three weeks in when the library sent me a reminder email that it was due the next day.

On the other hand, at the same con, [livejournal.com profile] rikchik mentioned that his eponymous (epo-LJ-userid-ous?) language was mentioned in a new book by Arika Okrent titled "In the Land of Invented Languages", and I also took that out of the library and devoured it in two days. It's well-researched, well-written, funny, touching, and enlightening. Mi rekomendas ĉi tiu libro. [No, I don't know Esperanto, I used an online translator.]

And Alissa has been reading "The Monster in the Backpack" to me. It's quite charming and funny.

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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

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