Alexa Bryn


A Poet of Israel’s Pain, And Its Hope

By Alexa Bryn

It is written in the Talmud that after the destruction of the Second Temple, Rabbi Akiva and three prominent rabbis saw a fox scavenging through the Holy of Holies. Though the other rabbis wept, Akiva began to laugh, reminding his colleagues of Zechariah’s prophecy that one day, Jewish men, women and children will return to the streets of Jerusalem. Like Akiva, Israeli poet Rachel Tzvia Back has not abandoned hope. She, too, sees the promise of renewal in Israel’s pain. And though her newest collection, “On Ruins & Return,” shatters and stings, though her images force readers to confront unsavory scenes and to broach sore subjects, ultimately her words comfort.Read More


Retracing Van Gogh’s Footsteps, Camera in Hand

By Alexa Bryn

Retracing Van Gogh’s Footsteps, Camera in Hand
In 2000, six months after the death of her husband, philanthropist Ted Arison, author Lin Arison took her granddaughter on a month-long journey through France, hoping that immersion in art would soothe their grief. While saddened by Van Gogh’s unrequited yearning for an artistic community, Arison was stricken by the intense connections between the other Impressionists. Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Manet and Morisot often painted together, painted one another and mentored one another’s artistic expression. Noting the resemblances between “Papa Pissarro” and her husband, Arison had a unique book idea in mind when she approached Israeli photographer Neil Folberg, with whom she had just collaborated on “A Love Story in Mediterranean Israel.”Read More


Second Home

By Alexa Bryn

Second Home
Although he never actually lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, for much of his life, Isaac Bashevis Singer visited almost daily, and the neighborhood became his “second home.” The relationship between writer and geographical muse is the focus of the exhibit Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side, a series of nearly 40 images taken by photographer Bruce Davidson between 1957 and 1990, at the Jewish Museum in New York City from September 16 to February 3, 2008. The images were first shown in 2004 at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, and they were highlighted in a catalog that includes critical essays, an interview with Davidson and Singer’s story “The Beard.”Read More


One Tale, Many Ways To Tell It

By Alexa Bryn

One Tale, Many Ways To Tell It
“A Historical Chronicle: The Life of the European Jew in the 20th Century,” an exhibit that runs until September 18 at the Krasdale Gallery in White Plains, N.Y., depicts the rocky journey of Eastern European Jews from the shtetl to the concentration camps to modern-day Israel. The show consists of drawings, collages, photography and sketches, all by prominent Jewish artists: Roman Vishniac, Aaron Morgan, Tamar Hirschl, Elias Mandel Grossman, Abel Pann, Saul Raskin and Reba Rottenberg. Each brings to the canvas a deep responsibility to the past.Read More


Eat Sweet In Style

By Alexa Bryn

These aren’t your mother’s honey dishes, but the New Year is the perfect time to try something new. These six pieces from the United States and Israel range from sleek to funky and breathe new life into the holiday table. Like Rosh Hashanah guests, each with different customs and traditions, these dishes can add a unique flavor to your holiday meal.Read More






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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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