Arts & Culture


Shelumiel — The First Schlemiel?

By Peretz Rodman

In the German Colony neighborhood of Jerusalem, a leafy residential lane bears the name Yitzhak Crémieux Street. If that name sounds only half-familiar, perhaps the name Adolphe Crémieux rings a louder bell? A prominent Jewish political figure in 19th-century France, Crémieux combined a long career in elective office with service to theRead More


Jewish Life Under the Microscope

By Toby Appleton Perl

Video can be a harsh, unforgiving and literal medium. But Israeli artist Michal Rovner’s work is refreshingly distinct from much of the contemporary crop of edgy video art that is designed to offend and upset. In Fields, her current exhibit at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, she has transformed the medium into a subtle and sensual instrument for theRead More


Adventures in the American Southwest

By Noel Pugach

They lived the adventure, excitement and dangers of the Southwest frontier. Outside of Pueblo, Colo., 5-year-old Clara Goldsmith was kidnapped by Indians and traded back to her anxious father, Henry, for some calico, flour and hickory; teenage Levi Herzstein was gunned down in 1896 by Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum, New Mexico’sRead More


French Writers’ New Renaissance

By Samuel Moyn

In Lieu of Memory: Contemporary Jewish Writing in France By Thomas Nolden Syracuse University Press, 264 pages, $29.95. * * *I n the novels of Patrick Modiano, one of his famous peers, a leading French Jewish writer once told me to look for something: telephone books. The advice seemed strange at the time: What literary power could flowRead More


Woman of Letters, Woman of the World

By Allison Hoffman

‘Femme de lettres” — “woman of letters” — is how Sybille Bedford once listed her profession on a customs form, following a conceit suggested to her by Aldous Huxley years before she found success as a writer of travelogues, novels and court-trial journalism. But in truth, Bedford — a renowned novelist, journalist and biographer whoRead More


Cycles of Poverty

By Daniel M. Jaffe

WASHINGTON, D.C. —A woman holding a placard stating “Behar, Leviticus 25” marched down the center aisle of the United States Senate, disrupting this afternoon’s session. As Senators scurried to hide beneath their seats, the protester paced before the podium for five minutes until Capitol police, guns drawn, surrounded her. Only after oneRead More


Dissecting the Body and Soul of the Common Man

By Jerome Groopman

Everyman By Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin, 192 pages, $24. * * *My grandmother Rebecca lived to 100, but, as was typical for a person of her time and place, from an early age she witnessed severe illness. Born on the outskirts of Vilna, she arrived at Ellis Island in 1901 as a young woman, worked in a sweatshop on Rivington Street, marriedRead More


Lust, Faith and Phylacteries

By Steven Zeitchik

‘Mendy: A Question of Faith” is cinematic proof that putting faith and sex in a movie doesn’t make the film about religion, and doesn’t necessarily make it sexy.In this cheesily staged feature, which is showing through May 26 at Cinema Village in Manhattan, the titular character (Ivan Sandomire) is a Satmar Hasid who has developed someRead More


Disjointed Poetry

By Joseph Carman

When Heidi Latsky was 11 years old, her mother suffered a meningioma, a brain tumor that led to her slow and ultimately fatal physical decline. For the next 35 years, the odyssey that Latsky, her family and her mother experienced until her death in 2004 elicited a maze of thoughts, memories and emotions. From May 11 to May 14 at Danspace ProjectRead More


A Bohemian Poet Seen in Rare Spotlight

By David Kaufmann

New and Selected Poems By Samuel Menashe, edited by Christopher Ricks Library of America, 191 pages, $20. * * *Samuel Menashe might well be the most recognized unrecognized American poet of the past 40 years. Although his first book appeared in England in 1961, he was not able to find an American publisher for another decade. To this day, theRead More





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