Arts & Culture


The Art of Disaster

By Elizabeth Kiem

The Art of Disaster The Catastrophist By Lawrence Douglas* * *Other Press, 276 pages, $24.95.When we first meet Daniel Wellington, the protagonist of Lawrence Douglas’s debut novel, he is lying awake, waiting for the 3:30 a.m. passage of Amtrak’s Montreal to Washington express. He gets out of bed, witnesses the diesel engine asRead More


Classical Training A Conversation With Allan Greenberg

Next month, Allan Greenberg will be the first American to receive classical architecture’s highest honor, The Richard H. Driehaus Prize, awarded by the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. For Greenberg, the prize is not only a recognition of his success as an architect, but also a validation of his great claim that in our republicanRead More


From a Popular Composer, More Than Meets the Ear

By Alexander Gelfand

If you had to choose a single word to describe the contemporary Jewish music scene, “eclectic” would be a good one. The klezmer revival of the 1970s begat klezmer-jazz, which in turn begat klezmer-funk, klezmer-punk and scores of other klezmer-hyphenates, all of which now coexist happily with Sephardic pop, Mizrahic hipRead More


Fame’s Good Fortune

By Philologos

Recently I came across an article in a Hebrew newspaper that bore the caption “Children of Celebrities Are Fed Up With Strange Names Given Them by Their Parents.” The article began with the complaint of Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, the 16-year-old daughter of singer Bob Geldof, that she would have preferredRead More


The Choice of Staying In Or Getting Out

By David Curzon

Exodus 21:2-6 (and, with small variants, Deuteronomy 15:12-18) prescribes that a Hebrew slave, after six years’ servitude, must be offered the opportunity to regain freedom, and the consequences if he chooses to stay in servitude: If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married then his wife shall go out with him. If hisRead More


‘The Accidental Empire’

By Gershom Gorenberg

‘We are divided,” Haim Gouri’s mother had taught him, “between those with meager spirits and those with torn souls.” That night, more than ever, Gouri counted himself as one of the raggedly ripped souls, and he envied the other sort.A solitary Israeli army jeep growled north from Jerusalem on the road winding through the dark hillsRead More


For This Mother and Daughter, The Family Business Is Culture

By Joshua Cohen

Blood might be thicker than water, as the adage goes, but paint is thicker than both. Immigrant artist Miriam Laufer, who died in 1980, was the mother of Manhattan Upper West Sider Susan Bee, and matriarch to one of the most experimental and intense artistic dynasties of Jewish New York. Besides the mother and daughter, the father, Sigmund Laufer,Read More


Suffering the Peculiar Fate of Being a Poet’s Poet

By David Kaufmann

The Poems of Charles Reznikoff, 1918-1975 Edited by Seamus CooneyDavid R. Godine, 400 pages. $21.95.* * *Charles Reznikoff, who was born to Russian parents in Brooklyn in 1894 and lived the bulk of his life in Manhattan, suffered the peculiar fate of being a poet’s poet: He was well respected and little known.Not surprisingly, he often toldRead More


Tracking Change, and the Lack of It, In New York’s Garment Industry

By Gerald Sorin

A Coat of Many Colors: Immigration, Globalization, and Reform In New York City’s Garment Industry Edited by Daniel Soyer Fordham University Press, 312 pages, $75. * * *‘What’s the difference between a Jewish clothing worker and a Jewish psychiatrist?” an old joke goes. Answer: “One generation.”Actually it was more like two orRead More


Ansky, Pushkin’s Nanny and the Revival Of Jewish Life in St. Petersburg

By David G. Roskies

The roomful of stunning photographs currently on display in Russia at the European University at St. Petersburg is dedicated to the theme of “Jewish Children.” It is triply wondrous: first, on account of the European University itself, one of several funded by George Soros in the former Soviet empire; second, on account of the artistic qualityRead More





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