Arts & Culture


Celebrating a Composer Who Celebrates Multiple Cultures

By Raphael Mostel

Composer Osvaldo Golijov is being celebrated at New York City’s Lincoln Center with a month-long series of performances of his works, titled The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov. Musical America named Golijov composer of the year. His latest release, “Ayre” — based on traditional songs and poems in Ladino, Arabic and Hebrew — evokes the periodRead More


A Babel Biographer Chases His Moving Target

By Ilan Stavans

Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel By Jerome Charyn Random House, 224 pages, $24.95. * * *Isaac Babel was an iconoclast whose small, mysterious oeuvre, delivered in a deft, compact Russian shaped at a time of revolution, becomes more alluring with the passage of time. As Jerome Charyn puts it in his meditationRead More


Not Your Mother’s Neil Diamond

By David Kaufmann

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A hip and really hot music producer seeks out an old and established artist — perhaps a bit past his prime — and talks him into working on an album. The point of the collaboration is to emphasize the singer’s craft and the song itself, and so everything is stripped down to the merely essential —Read More


America Gets a New Tocqueville

Following in the footsteps of his countryman, famed French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy — or BHL, as he is widely known — will release “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville,” the result of a yearlong journey through America. Though Lévy is careful not to compare himselfRead More


A Writer, a Woman And a Jew

By Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Feminist writer Letty Cottin Pogrebin discusses the secret to unlocking one’s creative voice, which, she says, lies in owning the particularities of your identity. In this personal essay from our archives, she discusses finding her voice as a woman, a writer, and a Jew.Read More


La Petite Jerusalem

By Saul Austerlitz

Religious practice, especially of the Jewish kind, is often an iffy matter on screen. As dramatized in such recent films as “A Stranger Among Us” and “A Price Above Rubies,” Orthodox Judaism is rendered tantalizingly foreign. When the modern world intrudes in these films, as it inevitably does, the result is a clash of matter andRead More


The Chosen People

By Steven Zeitchik

Give Igal Hecht credit for trying. Making a movie about theology is tricky enough; making one about a fringe theology requires a miracle. In his ambitious but frustrating documentary, the Canadian filmmaker has taken on that perpetual urban curiosity, Jews for Jesus. By the choice of subject, one expects a flurry of proselytizing and street-sideRead More


Love Iranian-American Style

By Steven Zeitchik

In “Love Iranian-American Style,” director Tanaz Eshaghian tackles the subject of marriage in the Persian-American community, where she interrogates, challenges and otherwise needles her relatives over their views on coupling. The Eshaghians fled the ayatollah’s brutal regime after the 1979 revolution, but the totalitarians they leftRead More


Best Sister

The charms of Ira Wohl’s family documentary, “Best Sister,” sneak up on you in the manner of a good deli sandwich, which may sound weird but for the fact that the film devotes key scenes to the pursuit of fine cured meats and other (deceptively important) banalities.The film is the final in a trilogy that focuses on Fran Reiss of JewelRead More


Pork and Milk

By Steven Zeitchik

Breaks from tradition also weigh on the mind of Valérie Mréjen, director of the pleasingly low-key French documentary “Pork and Milk.” Through a series of interviews, Mréjen throws a light on a number of young Israeli men who also happen to be have left the fold of ultra-Orthodoxy: a chef, a cantor with the radical sect Neturei Karta, aRead More





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