New York Times columnist Roger Cohen explores his family history from Lithuania to Africa and Israel in a new memoir. At the center is his mother’s tragic battle with depression.
Shemi Zarhin is best known for his films. With “Some Day,” set among the working class people of Tiberias, he makes a memorable transition into novel writing.
It was Barbra Streisand’s 100th performance in 50 years and the first time she performed in Israel—and most likely her last—when she took to the stage inside Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium last Saturday night. The 71- year-old doesn’t like performing, she revealed, while explaining the presence of a giant teleprompter which broadcasted both lyrics and stage cues for all to see. “I performed in Central Park in 1967 and forgot the words to three songs, so I didn’t sing again for 30 years until I realized that a teleprompter would work, but hopefully you will look at me,” she explained with grace and humor to 14,000 very-accepting fans. I don’t think any of us had any trouble looking at her.
Samar Yazbek’s memoir is a diary of the first 100 days of the Syrian uprising. It’s an urgent and graphic chronicle of a people’s urge to fight for freedom.
In her newest book, University of California Professor Judith Butler makes the case for a Jewish critique of Zionism. Jo-Ann Mort isn’t impressed with the argument.
Jerusalem lives in the past and present simultaneously, which makes figuring it out so frustrating and difficult. Three new books take a crack, with uneven results.
‘The personal is political” was the political headline for the international feminist movement, and it could just as well be the takeaway phrase of this intriguing new work by British novelist Linda Grant. Chronicling three generations among families, Grant, a former journalist-turned-novelist known for her reportage and fictional accounts of lefty Jews in North London, writes here about a couple who were at Oxford together and lived their married life in Islington, a gentrified neighborhood of London similar to Brooklyn’s Park Slope or Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1990s. These were neighborhoods that went from seedy to chic, where former leftists became real estate millionaires and a certain sort of Jewish intellectual struggled for a settled sense of normalcy.
Though their styles are distinct, poets Adonis and Mahmoud Darwish are two of the Arab world’s modern literary giants and were once part of the same group of writers in 1970s Beirut that clustered around the magazine Mawaqif (Arab for “Attitudes”). Their differences are pronounced in two newly translated collections: Adonis’s “Selected Poems” and Darwish’s “Journal of an Ordinary Grief.”
The kibbutz, one of the grand social and economic experiments of the past century, was once a symbol of a liberal, humanistic Israel. Today, the kibbutzim, in their 100th year, have been profoundly transformed, and the face of Israel is a different kind of settlement — the West Bank settlement that seeks to build “facts on the ground” from a biblical perspective. The pendulum of Zionism, which was once weighted heavily toward a socialist-Zionist perspective, has shifted to a right-wing Zionism.