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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  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
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