A few weeks ago, on a sultry day in the western reaches of Hanoi, I crocodiled with an Australian. I also alligatored with a Nepalese and, with a charming young woman from Madagascar, I caymaned — in French.
In my synagogue, the Jewish Center of Princeton, the lobby where mazel tovs drop like manna doubles as an art gallery. Often the art provides a demure backdrop for well-heeled congregants — a still life of lilacs here, a lithograph of the Old City over there. But not The Jewish Shtetl Today, an arresting exhibit of 51 black-and-white photographs
Kafka By Nicholas Murray Yale University Press, 440 pages, $30. ——–Kafka may have died childless, but Kafka’s biography is a series of begats, with each generation turning on its elders. In the beginning was Max Brod’s Judaic saint, a rapt visionary; the visionary Kafka begat the ironical Kafka of the absurdists and existentialists;
Writers are famous for their demons, whether they battle alcoholism, depression or the savage pain of a rotten youth. Isaac Bashevis Singer was no exception, except that his demons were demons. Unlike many writers, he made no secret of them: “I am possessed by my demons,” he declared to Commentary. Later, he made a telling comment to