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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  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
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  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
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  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
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