‘Inheritance’

By Juliet Lapidos

Published March 30, 2007, issue of March 30, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

‘The rich are different than you and me,” F. Scott Fitzgerald reportedly told Ernest Hemingway.

“Yes, they have more money,” Hemingway quipped.

It’s a telling, if apocryphal, exchange that delineates two basic understandings of wealth — one aristocratic, the other democratic. In her first book of photographs, “Inheritance” (The Monacelli Press), Andrea Stern advances Hemingway’s democratic side of the debate. Stern belongs to a wealthy Jewish family from New York. For 15 years she kept a photographic journal, chronicling family gatherings (bar mitzvahs, holiday dinners, weddings) and daily life (breakfast, cigarette breaks, afternoons by the pool) before sorting through thousands of images to create “Inheritance.” As the title suggests, affluence is Stern’s backdrop. In the forefront, however, the photographic subjects are startlingly ordinary: They get bored and irritated; they play videogames and then doze off with their sneakers on.

“Inheritance” does not, as one might expect, encourage voyeurism: It is not an exposé of the Stern household, but an examination of family as a concept. There is a universal quality to the images that prompts viewers, whatever their background, to feel a spark of recognition — to find something familiar in an ostensibly foreign situation.

Stern’s work has been published in The New Yorker, GQ, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere. Her photographs are part of collections in Philadelphia at its Jewish Museum and its Museum of Art. They are also at the Jewish Museum of New York and in numerous private collections.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.