Arts & Culture


Jacob’s Finale

By Deidre Levinson

This final portion of Genesis is chiefly concerned with Jacob’s preparations for his approaching death. These occupy three successive scenes. In the first he has Joseph, in private, swear to bury him, not in Egypt where he will die, but in the burial place of his fathers in Canaan. In the second, again in private audience with Joseph, heRead More


Iron-fisted in Politics, Velvet-gloved in Fiction

By Saul Austerlitz

The Five: A Novel of Jewish Life in Turn-of-the-Century Odessa Vladimir Jabotinsky, translated from the Russian by Michael R. Katz Cornell University Press, 203 pages, $17.95. * * *The tradition of the statesman-writer is one with a long history — particularly in Britain, where Benjamin Disraeli and Winston Churchill (winner of the 1953Read More


Reading Kafka’s Love Letters as a Key to His Mind

By Steven G. Kellman

Kafka: The Decisive Years By Reiner Stach, translated from the German by Shelley Frisch Harcourt, 592 pages, $35. * * *‘I am nothing, absolutely nothing,” declared Franz Kafka, who longed to contract his life into a perfect sentence. Eighty-one years after his death, we’ve got plenty of nothing. Posthumous publication of thousandsRead More


When The Streets Were Paved With Tragedy

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Bodies and Souls: The Tragic Plight of Three Jewish Women Forced Into Prostitution in the Americas By Isabel Vincent William Morrow, 288 pages, $25.95. * * *Memory is a central concept in Judaism. When someone dies, we say that he or she lives on in how he or she is remembered by others. Countless museum exhibits, oral histories,Read More


An Israeli Filmmaker Finds an Unlikely Muse

By Adam Stern

What do “Easy Rider,” Johnnie Walker, Walt Disney and the State of Israel have in common?Allow me to introduce Ami Ankilewitz. Born in Laredo, Texas, Ankilewitz was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy as an infant, and his mother was told that he would not live past the age of 6. Now 34, he lives in a small apartment alongRead More


Fortunately Unfortunately

By Lore Segal

Joseph dreams and interprets dreams that are understood to be communications from God. They foretell God’s intention and move God’s narrative forward. If we want to look for human motive, we had better do it in the form of suppositions: Was it innocence, was it a phenomenal lack of tact, or was it testosterone that made youngRead More


Ron Howard’s Moving Images

By Masha Leon

The celebrity-filled Museum of the Moving Image December 4 gala salute to actor-director-producer Ron Howard was akin to a photographer-frenzied Hollywood premiere. Herbert Schlosser, museum board of trustees chairman, and Rochelle Slovin, the institution’s director, welcomed the stellar crowd at The Waldorf-Astoria. A beaming attendee wasRead More


Israel’s Walter Cronkite Finds Himself at a Crossroads

By Gal Beckerman

Chaim Yavin, rightly referred to as Israel’s Walter Cronkite, has an odd face for a news anchor. Though his presence has comforted millions, delivering the news nightly on Israel’s state-run channel — with an almost exaggeratedly perfect diction — since 1968, his features seem to betray a slight befuddlement, a tinge ofRead More


Holy Feast, Holy Fast

By Jay Michaelson

Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah By Joel Hecker Wayne State University Press, 296 pages, $44.95.


Holy Men and Hunger Artists: Fasting and Asceticism in Rabbinic Culture By Eliezer Diamond Oxford University Press, 240 pages, $49.95. * * * To put it mildly, Jews have a complicatedRead More


Yeah, but the Book Is Better

By Thane Rosenbaum

Whenever a film is adapted from a favorite novel, serious readers of fiction are prone to say, “Yeah, but the book is better.” True partisans of the written page are always in conflict with those who like their stories cinematically revealed, projected onto wide screens that illuminate the darkness and pierce the quiet with DolbyRead More





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