Arts & Culture


Two Lawyers, Three Opinions

By Jay Michaelson

Lawyers: Are they good for the Jews? It doesn’t take a statistician to observe that there are a lot of Jews in the legal profession, and even more in the legal academy. But why are there so many Jews in the American legal world, and what significance, if any, do the numbers have?Read More


Left Out?

By Rebecca Spence

Over a seven-month period in the fall of 2004, filmmakers and activists Konnie Chameides and Irit Reinheimer crisscrossed America, crashed on people’s couches and interviewed more than 60 of their fellow Jewish social activists working outside of the mainstream. The resulting documentary, “Young, Jewish and Left,” explores the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, Zionism and Judaism. Chronicling the struggles and ultimate triumphs of their subjects — 25 of whom made it into the final cut — Chameides, 27, and Reinheimer, 28, posit today’s activists as the progeny of the old Jewish left: a new generation of organizers working at a time when progressive politics are often relegated to the margins. Chameides spoke with the Forward’s Rebecca Spence.Read More


Excavating the Old Jewish New York

Beginning November 9, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at New York University will host an exhibit of photographs by Forward contributor Julian Voloj, titled “Forgotten Heritage: Uncovering New York’s Hidden Jewish Past.” (The exhibit opens on Thursday with a reception celebrating the publication of PresenTense magazine, to which Voloj also contributes.) An immigrant from Muenster, Germany, Voloj sought out the city’s forgotten Jewish landmarks, from the Ten Commandments etched into the façade of a supermarket to a Star of David above the entrance of a Baptist church. For more information, please visit www.julianvoloj.com.Read More


Setting the Beat for a New Generation of Jews

By Dan Levin

What a difference four years can make. In 2002, Aaron Bisman was a 22-year-old New York University graduate with the unlikeliest of goals: to nurture a Jewish community through music. Four years later, Bisman, along with his partner, Ben Hesse, sits at the helm of one of the most promising ventures in contemporary Jewish culture: JDub Records.Read More


The Rise of David Levinsky

By Abraham Cahan

My landlady was a robust little woman, compact and mobile as a billiard-ball, continually bustling about, chattering and smiling or laughing. She was a good-natured, silly creature, and her smile, which automatically shut her eyes and opened her mouth from ear to ear, accentuated her kindliness as well as her lack of sense. When she did not talk she would hum or sing at the top of her absurd voice the then popular American song “Climbing Up the Golden Stairs.” She told me the very next day that she had been married less than a year, and one of the first things I noticed about her was the pleasure it gave her to refer to her husband or to quote him. Her prattle was so full of, “My husband says, says my husband,” that it seemed as though the chief purpose of her jabber was to parade her married state and to hear herself talk of her spouse. The words, “my husband,” were music to her ears. They actually meant, “Behold, I am an old maid no longer!”Read More


Creator Remorse

By Sasha Weiss

The creation of the world in the first chapters of Genesis happens quickly and with seemingly little effort. God merely has to speak, and the sky, the earth, the seas — entities that have formed the basis of human curiosity and contemplation — snap into place. In just seven days, according to this version of the beginning, God has wrought the ultimate work of art.Read More


Talking Cure?

By Gal Beckerman

The irreducible element at the end of every Israeli-Arab argument is always psychology. Looking at a map, any two reasonable partners could easily delineate the borders. Even the impasses over refugees and settlements, even Jerusalem, seem at least conceivably surmountable — though maybe only in a universe slightly different from our own. Still, these don’t compare with the problem of victimhood, to the pride and paranoia that taint every conversation between the two people. Approach the psychology, and you slam, face first, into a wall higher than any that will ever run along the Green Line.Read More


Boxing Writing That Pulls No Punches

By Gerald Eskenazi

Back in the early 1990s, The New York Times asked if I might be interested in leaving my football beat to become the boxing writer. The decision was easy — boxing had always been the most lyrical beat in the sports dodge — and I was not disappointed. The surge of excitement at a heavyweight championship fight, in a darkened arena hazy with cigar smoke, knowing that one punch can change the course of two men’s lives — boxing is the kind of sport that cries out for a literary hand. Even after 40 years in the business, I loved those ringside moments. They remain my most illuminated remembrances of sports writing. It’s no wonder the ring has attracted writers from Norman Mailer to Damon Runyon to Westbrook Pegler.Read More


Yet Another Look At Bashevis

By Ilan Stavans

By now, the English-speaking world’s embrace of the Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer should be evident to all. Beginning in 1953, when his story “Gimpel the Fool,” translated by Saul Bellow, was published in Partisan Review, to his centennial celebration in 2004, which included his induction into the literary canon of the Library of America, he has become one of the most well-known authors of the last century.Read More


When Reality Overwhelms Creativity

By Mark Oppenheimer

‘Awake in the Dark,” Shira Nayman’s collection of short stories about American children of Holocaust survivors, is being launched into the chain stores with the highest of book-club hopes. The publisher’s press release features praise from Ursula Hegi (“brilliant and mystical stories”), and printed on the reviewer’s galleys is a strangely obtuse encomium from Mary Gordon: “Shira Nayman’s stories risk strong emotion and always clear the sentimental.” Is that good? It must be, because, according to the press release, when the lead story, “The House on Kronenstrasse,” was printed in The Atlantic Monthly’s 2005 fiction issue, composer Ben Moore was so moved that he created “an original piece of music to tell the story alongside the words.” Moore’s piece debuted October 10 at Nayman’s book party in Brooklyn, where actress Andrea Masters also gave a dramatic reading of the story.Read More


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