Arts & Culture


Hollywood’s War on Hate

By Caroline Lagnado

An exhibit at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion shows Hollywood movie posters from the Holocaust era. The posters, part of lawyer Ken Sutak’s personal collection, offer a glimpse into the Hollywood of the 1930s and ’40s, revealing how the film industry independently went to war against the Nazis starting in 1935 — six years before the United States.Read More


A Physician Examines His Profession’s Blind Spots

By Zackary Sholem Berger

Jerome Groopman is a physician and clinical scientist at Harvard, a specialist in AIDS and cancer. He’s also a writer for The New Yorker, with a successful and thought-provoking series of books on such topics as the intersection of spirituality and medicine and the importance of a physician’s intuition. His new book “How Doctors Think” asks the question: Why do doctors make mistakes, and how can we keep them from happening? Zackary Sholem Berger asked him about Judaism, medicine and the doctor-patient partnership.Read More


The Other Disappeared

By Jay Michaelson

The architecture of Jewish memory has undergone explosive growth in recent years: Holocaust memorials and museums, plaques, donor walls — and works of literature, like “The Ministry of Special Cases,” Nathan Englander’s new novel about Argentina’s “disappeared,” the thousands of students, dissidents and labor leaders tortured and killed during seven years of military dictatorship. Between 10% and 20% of those victims were Jews, and Englander’s novel is the (fictional) story of one of them.Read More


Chinese Open New Chapter With the People of the Book

By Xu Xin

The Chinese and Jewish cultures are both great, rich civilizations. These two major societies developed highly civilized forms in ancient times and persist until today, keeping continuous recorded accounts of their origins. Each of them has had a significant impact on world history, although the two cultures seldom met. As a result, not much was known in China about Jews, Jewish culture and Israel until recently. During my first visit to Israel and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in 1988, I made the sweeping statement thatRead More


Jewish Noir

By Mark Oppenheimer

On January 1, 2008, sovereignty over the Federal District of Sitka, the Jewish homeland in Alaska, “a crooked parenthesis of rocky shoreline running along the western edges of Baranof and Chichagof islands,” will revert to American control. When that happens, the Sitka District Police will be dissolved, and Jewish police officers, whose kind have been walking the beat in a Jewish state for 60 years — since their Godforsaken homeland was reluctantly created at the sufferance of the United States — may get thrown out of their jobs. “Nothing is clear about the upcoming Reversion,” Michael Chabon writes in his new novel, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” “and that is why these are strange times to be a Jew.”Read More


Exploring Eastern Europe, Via America and Israel

By Gabriel Sanders

Last month, Rutgers University staged a conference devoted to examining the ways in which the Eastern European Jewish experience has been reformulated and reimagined in Israel and in the United States. Titled “Beyond Eastern Europe,” the gathering was jointly sponsored by Rutgers’s Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and the Hebrew University’s Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry.Read More


One Man’s Persistent Empathy

By Gal Beckerman

One day, at the end of 1987, Sari Nusseibeh was walking out of a lecture hall at Birzeit University, just having taught his students John Locke’s concepts of liberalism and tolerance, when he was set upon by five young men in kaffiyehs who pummeled him with their fists, a broken bottle and penknives. Word had gotten out that the absentminded Palestinian philosophy professor — “luftmensch,” he sometimes called himself, using the Yiddish unselfconsciously — had engaged in shocking and ultimately failed secret peace negotiations with members of Israel’s right-wing Likud party. Just as young Palestinians were collecting rocks to wage the first intifada, Nusseibeh was sitting with Israelis and working out a draft for a two-state solution.Read More


The Appeal of Alternate History

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Few subgenres of literature have been subjected to such longstanding critical scorn as alternate history. Despite the occasional publication of such masterpieces as Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel, “The Man in the High Castle,” the more frequent appearance of duds like Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen’s much-maligned 1995 novel, “1945,” has reinforced alternate history’s reputation as the domain of armchair historians and literary hacks.Read More


Three Strangers, But Not for Long

By Leah Hochbaum

There’s no set, no props and no intermission, yet “Rearviewmirror,” the newest offering from playwright Eric Winick, keeps audiences captivated from the moment it begins. In fact, the Reverie Productions show, playing at the 59E59 Theaters on New York City’s Upper East Side, is almost barren in its simplicity. It features just three characters — Penn, Agatha and Inez — who though at first seem too different to have anything to do with one another, gradually tell an interweaving tale so strangely mesmerizing that 90 minutes are up before you even realize it.Read More


Easy Reading for the Serious Music Set

By Joshua Cohen

Golden-brown and beautiful, curvy in all the right places: a generous bottom, a bounteous top; the waist nicely pinched. Her measurements: 355 millimeters for the length of her back, 130 millimeters for the length of her neck. Ebony and ivory. What a body. And that’s just the violin!Read More


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