Malka Percal


Scenes From a Marriage Contract

By Malka Percal

Scenes From a Marriage Contract
The current exhibit at New York’s Jewish Museum, “The Art of Matrimony: Thirty Splendid Marriage Contracts from the Jewish Theological Seminary Library,” is, essentially, a room full of contracts. True, they are beautifully decorated, restored and mounted. But their raison d’être is as legal documents — each stipulating the conditions of a marriage.Read More


Sotheby's to Auction Historic Gibraltar Judaica

By Malka Percal

Sotheby's to Auction Historic Gibraltar Judaica
Sotheby’s New York sale of important Judaica, an annual event featuring ceremonial metalwork, manuscripts and printed books, takes place this year on December 15. Leading the auction are a pair of Italian-made silver Torah finials belonging to Sha’ar HaShamayim, the Great Synagogue of Gibraltar. Other items such as 15th-century Torah scroll from Poland are also for auction.Read More


Artist in Extremis

By Malka Percal

Artist in Extremis
Even in self-imposed exile in France, Avigdor Arikha is one of Israel’s best-known artists. He is a master draftsman, a BBC lecturer on art history and a knight of the French Légion d’Honneur. In November, a painting of his library, called “Books,” fetched $134,000 at Sotheby’s annual New York auction of Israeli artists. So it is a surprise to find a rare complete set of his 18 wood prints, “Pages de Guerre — Israel 1948-1949,” on display at the corporate headquarters of grocery distributor Krasdale Foods in White Plains, N.Y. The man behind the exhibition is curator Sigmund Balka, a New York attorney and art collector who has staged more than a hundred innovative exhibits at the Krasdale Galleries over the past two decades.Read More


The Art Of Memory

By Malka Percal

The Art Of Memory
The sparkling glass walls of the new Derfner Judaica Museum look out across the Hudson River by way of a sculpture garden on a rolling green lawn. Look back, and you see the impressive contemporary art collection of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. The museum’s clean, modern design, by architect Louise Braverman, looks to the future as it displays the historic pieces of the inaugural exhibition, Tradition and Remembrance: Treasures of the Derfner Judaica Museum. The theme — the importance of collective and individual memory — is reinforced throughout the exhibition by both showing the rare objects alongside their stories, and by the associations they trigger in viewers.Read More


Not Written in Stone

By Malka Percal

Not Written in Stone
The Ten Commandments have served as a guide for human behavior and outlook for thousands of years, yet rarely, says artist Rudi Wolff, have they inspired visual artists. In the exhibit Ten Commandments/Ten Images: A Visual Journey, presented in New York City through April 29 at Saint Peter’s Church’s Narthex Gallery, at 54th Street and Lexington Avenue, Wolff offers a modernist take on “the rules.”Read More






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  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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