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March 21, 2017 12:35 pm

New York Times Blog Item Acknowledges ‘Sacred’ Torah

avatar by Ira Stoll

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One of the pieces in the exhibit on the Lodz Ghetto. Photo: Henryk Ross/Art Gallery of Ontario.

The New York Times has acknowledged the holiness of the Torah — but in a blog item that appears unlikely to run in the print newspaper.

The acknowledgement comes in an item by Clyde Haberman, the former Times columnist and former Jerusalem bureau chief of the paper, about an exhibit of photographs from the Lodz Ghetto. The exhibit — the Times, which in January publicly announced plans to employ “fewer editors,” misspells as “eshibition” — will open March 25 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

A slideshow accompanying the article captions a picture of matzah-baking as “Baking flatbread.”

The Times article, which appears in the “Lens” blog about photography, concludes, movingly:

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Ultimately, of course, death awaited nearly everyone.

Still, some things are eternal. One photo in the exhibition is particularly striking. It is also, appropriately, the last image in a book of Mr. Ross’s work that the Ontario gallery published with Yale University Press in 2015. It shows a man standing atop the rubble of a destroyed synagogue in Lodz. He is carrying a Torah scroll that he had managed to save from the ruins.

A building may have been gone, but that which is most sacred endured.

I tweeted at Mr. Haberman that it was a lovely piece that I hoped would appear in the print newspaper. He replied, “I’m not confident about it being in print.”

Today’s New York Times arts section front page did include a review of a book that was published 30 years ago and is now out of print. The book is by a musician who, the Times reports, “had fetishes… he was found to have videotapes of women using the toilet in his restaurant.”

Also on the front page of the arts section is a theater review of a play. The review appears under the headline “Plunging Into Polyamory With ‘How to Transcend a Happy Marriage.’” The review begins, “In 1969, two married couples took off their clothes and jumped into one accommodatingly wide bed.” The review isn’t particularly enthusiastic, but there it is.

The print Times arts section, in other words, manages to find plenty of room for plenty of things that fall somewhat short of what one might call “sacred.”

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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