Arts & Culture


Close Encounters of the Middle East Kind

By Steven Zeitchik

The most surprising thing about Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” a conversation piece long before it even got out of production, is the limpness with which it lands. There’s something trumped-up about the whole enterprise that actually renders it less substantial — scenes milking the extra second before an explosion, assassins debatingRead More


Narrative History in the Grand Tradition

By David Kaufmann

A History of the Jews in the Modern World By Howard M. Sachar Knopf, 848 pages, $40. * * *Narrative history is all about plot. At its best, it marshals its facts and then marches them out to tell orderly tales. It cannot really concern itself with complicated social structures because its linear organization favors relatively simpleRead More


A Jewish Boy With a Memphis Tale Visits a New York Stage

By Shelly R. Fredman

If you believe that stories are the sinews binding us to one another, creating whatever remnants of communion we have, then you might want to walk the well-worn path to 42nd Street and take in Jonathan Adam Ross’s one-man show, “Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew.”It’s a celebration of storytelling, as Ross, who wrote the show,Read More


Berlin Wrestles With the Jewish Culture it Banished

By Michael Levitin

Out of the rubble of the First World War emerged a mythic culture in Berlin: modern and erotic, brimming with arts and ideas; a city that attracted writers, actors, painters and musicians to its aura of progress and creativity.That’s half the picture. The other half is the Depression, National Socialism and antisemitism that hung like a shadowRead More


From ‘The World To Come’

By Dara Horn

Each month, in coordination with our reading series in New York, the Forward publishes an excerpt from the work of that month’s series guest or guests. This month, we will feature readings by Dara Horn and Aviya Kushner (for full details, please see sidebar). Below, please find an excerpt from Horn’s new novel, “The World To Come” (W.W.Read More


The Sacred and the Profane

Like her prize-winning debut novel, “In the Image” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), Dara Horn’s remarkable second work spans generations, continents and languages. “The World To Come,” which will be published in January 2006 by W.W. Norton, centers on former child prodigy Ben Ziskind and hisRead More


Writing New Texts in an Ancient Land

By Jon Papernick

A number of years ago, when I was still an aimless, lovesick student, I traveled to Israel for the first time — not so much to fulfill a great Zionist dream that had suddenly surfaced from the depths of my subconscious, but to escape the drab reality of my bar-hopping downtown existence, to escape a reckless woman who thought she’d stepped outRead More


Fragmented Memories

By Joseph Carman

Throughout her childhood, Deborah Damast heard bits and pieces of stories about her father’s escape from Krakow, Poland, before the Nazi invasion. As a choreographer, she felt that there was an important statement in dance to be gleaned from that material, but she didn’t want to exploit anyone else’s experience. The brutal assault ofRead More


Like Father, Like Son

By Ami Eden

Dr. Haran: So, how are things?Jacob: It’s been a good week.Dr. Haran: Why do you say that?Jacob: I finally left my father-in-law’s house. It was a big step.Dr. Haran: How come?Jacob: What’s the big riddle? After two decades of letting Laban walk all over me, I finally let him have it.Dr. Haran: But you snuck away in the middle of theRead More


One Man Chronicles Centuries of Synagogue Music

By Alexander Gelfand

Appearances can be deceiving, especially online. For example, one would never guess from its plain vanilla Web site that Google is a hyper-capitalized behemoth worth more than General Motors and Ford put together.Conversely, the Web site of the Jewish Music Heritage Project gives the impression of a lavishly funded institutional undertaking.Read More





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