Richard Mcbee


Light Show; At the Israel Museum, Refreshing Looks at a Potentially Tired Cliche

By Richard Mcbee

From “Let there be Light” of biblical fame to modern sound-and-light shows, the notion of light as a metaphor or aesthetic tool is worn and tedious at best. Even as pietists, who claim dominion over Divine emanations, battle with the modernists who assert visual primacy, the serious metaphorical concept of light is clichéd andRead More


‘Women of the Book’: A Photo Essay

By Richard Mcbee

The nature of Jewish women’s creativity in artists’ books is brilliantly explored in a traveling exhibition, Women of the Book: Jewish Artists, Jewish Themes, curated by Judith A. Hoffberg. This contemporary art form, conceptually based on illuminated manuscripts, includes 73 artists’ books — all handmade or limited editions — thatRead More


An Exhibit Invites Viewers Into The Mikveh

By Richard Mcbee

For many modern Jewish women, there is no more contentious image than the waters of the mikveh. The ritual bath is fraught with notions of uncleanliness, impurity and inferiority that traditional male-dominated Judaism has imposed upon Jewish women. The curse cast upon menstrual blood is seen as a primitive and punitive denigration of the femaleRead More


The Devil Maid Me Do It

By Richard Mcbee

The plot is simple, even seductively coy, but it reverberates into the year ahead. In Isaac Bashevis Singer’s only Yiddish play, “Devil’s Play,” it seems the devil is bored and is looking for a little fun with an easy victim. He settles on a remote shtetl, Frampol, where he finds a happily married older couple, Noson and Royze Temerl, onRead More


Synagogues Without Jews: Walking the Streets of Italy

By Richard Mcbee

Italian Jews have a proud 2,000-year history. They were there when the Second Temple still stood and Rome ruled the Mediterranean. More arrived as prisoners after the devastating destruction of the Temple, and soon there were close to 50,000 Jews in First- century Italy, almost half in Rome alone. And they created a vibrantRead More



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