Robin Cembalest


A ‘Child of Daumier’ Confronts the 1990s

By Robin Cembalest

Jack Levine died at his home on Monday, November 8, aged 95. An American Social Realist painter who disliked the expressionism and abstract painting he saw become popular during his lifetime, Levine depicted, with visceral force, the social interactions between people. Often these skewered the powerful, as described in this 1997 profile and studio visit written by then arts editor of the Forward (and current executive editor of ARTnews), Robin Cembalest.Read More


Marrying I.B. Singer and Grandma Moses

By Robin Cembalest

Welcome to the Chassidic Art Institute, the only institution devoted to teaching, exhibiting and promoting Chasidic art. Located at 375 Kingston Ave. (just down the street from the International Messiah Center), CHAl holds classes, distributes art materials, sends mailings, publishes catalogs and organizes exhibitions. It houses seven shows each year in its gallery (open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.) and sends many others on the road.Read More


Eban Gets Plastered — With George Segal

By Robin Cembalest

Abba Eban has endured countless situations fraught with danger, discomfort and uncertainty, but none quite like the one he faced when George Segal wrapped his body in plaster-impregnated bandages. This was the first step in the making of the cast that was to become “Portrait of Abba Eban.” “It’s quite an ordeal, actually,” Mr. Eban told the Forward. “You’re surrounded. You just hope they’ll know when to take it off.”Read More






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    • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • 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."
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