Arts & Culture


What We Know, and Don’t, About Eichmann

By Mindy Aloff

Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, And Trial of a ‘Desk Murderer’ By David Cesarani Da Capo Press, 464 pages, $27.50. * * *Most of what we know – or think we know – about Adolf Eichmann, a notorious Nazi functionary, may be wrong. Or so readers will surmise from “Becoming Eichmann,” David Cesarani’sRead More


Klezmer in the East Looks to the West for Guidance

By Joshua Yaffa

Midway through its hauntingly minimalist performance on the opening night of Moscow’s second-annual klezmer festival, the vocal quartet Ashkenazim took a dramatically long pause to introduce the song “Dem Shokhens Meydl.” The group’s tenor, Alina Ivakh, explained that song is an allegorical tale of two young pioneer girls — theRead More


Jewish Mobsters Amble From Text to the Panel

By Eddy Portnoy

With 8 million stories in the Jewish naked city, artists Joe Kubert, Neil Kleid and Jake Allen have given us two riveting ones. With the growing interest in graphic novels and the pictorial evocation of historical events, it’s not surprising that more and more Jewish tales are ending up in panels instead of in type. The latest motif to be pickedRead More


Immersion in Reality

By Miriam Udel-Lambert

The mikveh attendant in a town where I often visit but do not live was always the same: towheaded, horsy wig, vast muumuu, thick accent and brusque, brusque, brusque. Her job was to assist women preparing for ritual immersion in observance of the ambitiously named Laws of Family Purity. Assistance is necessary because these laws, developedRead More


Reconnoitering Translations

By Leonard Greenspoon

In the view of many biblical scholars, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, the fact-finding expedition narrated in Numbers 13-14 is a composite account from several sources. In the first, Caleb is among the scouts sent by Moses to the Promised Land, but only as far north as Hebron; Caleb alone remains loyal to God when hisRead More


Celebration Of The Arts

By Sarah Kricheff

A 1925 silent movie about boxing, a pop-musical tragicomedy focused on obsessive behavior and a play that examines the life of a glamorous Hollywood actress may not seem like three things that have much in common, but they are all part of the National Yiddish Book Center’s second annual Paper Bridge Summer Arts Festival.TheRead More


Dumb Luck

By Dorothy Gallagher

On my way to Moscow last September, I stopped off in the Ukraine. Since I was going in that direction anyway, I wanted to take a look at my mother’s hometown. The town is called Murafa, and it is a very small town, not even a dot on most maps. If, by some chance, you want to locate it, find Kiev on the map, then move yourRead More


The Whole Story on Being Half-Jewish

By Sana Krasikov

Half/Life: Jewish Tales

From Interfaith Homes Edited by Laurel Snyder Soft Skull Press, 280 pages, $14.95. * * *Much has been written about intermarriage in America, from informal polls and academic research to vituperative op-eds and book-length explorations. And yet, a surprisingly small portion of this literature actually documents theRead More


What’s in This Name?

By Philologos

Paul Baron writes in an e-mail:“Ikh bin a higer geborener un ikh bin fier un akhtzig yor alt. [I was born in this country and I’m 84 years old.] My father came from what is now Lithuania. He told me that his father, my grandfather, was a shafer (with the ‘a’ pronounced ‘ah’) and that he worked for a German firm thatRead More


The Clouds Lift

By Daniel M. Jaffe

‘Y know Torah, Leah Kleinbaum?’“There was a time.” Leah sighs at this Yiddish-speaking stranger on her doorstep. Only three weeks here and already half of Haifa knows she’s a widow just arrived from Kiev. Who is this man? A farkakte suitor? More chins than she can count, and look how he leans on that cane — not exactly an advertisement forRead More


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