Arts & Culture


The Jewish Sylvia Plath?

By Jessica George Firger

Oscar Wilde adored her, calling the young writer “a girl of genius,” while modern critics, in their flippancy and an attempt to articulate who this virtually unknown Victorian author was, have coined Amy Levy the “Jewish Sylvia Plath,” referring to both her precocious talent and her early, tragic demise (Levy committed suicide by charcoal asphyxiation at the age of 27). And yet, to most of her readers her life and work remain unknown.Read More


Munich Redux

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

On November 9, Jews throughout Germany will mark the 68th anniversary of the notorious Nazi pogrom, Kristallnacht, with solemn commemorative ceremonies and with vows of “Never again.” Yet in Munich, the very city where the pogrom was first unleashed, a more hopeful tone will pervade the commemorative events: That same day, Munich will dedicate a major new synagogue that symbolizes the city’s ongoing effort to realize the elusive goal of “normalcy” in its relationship with the Jewish community.Read More


‘The O.C.’ Mystique

By Adam Wilson

Here’s a confession: I grew up in deep East Coast suburbia, with a song in my heart and a synagogue on every corner. As expected, I furthered my education at a local, semi-prestigious private university with a bunch of wannabe dentists who were bitter about not getting into Harvard. As an aspiring writer with a Raymond Carver obsession, these were not the humble beginnings for which I longed — beginnings that would inevitably lead to a romantic life of manual labor, alcoholism, domestic violence and transcendent minimalist prose. So after college, I decided to shed my suburban skin and move to Texas to be isolated and poor.Read More


Two Lawyers, Three Opinions

By Jay Michaelson

Lawyers: Are they good for the Jews? It doesn’t take a statistician to observe that there are a lot of Jews in the legal profession, and even more in the legal academy. But why are there so many Jews in the American legal world, and what significance, if any, do the numbers have?Read More


Left Out?

By Rebecca Spence

Over a seven-month period in the fall of 2004, filmmakers and activists Konnie Chameides and Irit Reinheimer crisscrossed America, crashed on people’s couches and interviewed more than 60 of their fellow Jewish social activists working outside of the mainstream. The resulting documentary, “Young, Jewish and Left,” explores the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, Zionism and Judaism. Chronicling the struggles and ultimate triumphs of their subjects — 25 of whom made it into the final cut — Chameides, 27, and Reinheimer, 28, posit today’s activists as the progeny of the old Jewish left: a new generation of organizers working at a time when progressive politics are often relegated to the margins. Chameides spoke with the Forward’s Rebecca Spence.Read More


Excavating the Old Jewish New York

Beginning November 9, the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at New York University will host an exhibit of photographs by Forward contributor Julian Voloj, titled “Forgotten Heritage: Uncovering New York’s Hidden Jewish Past.” (The exhibit opens on Thursday with a reception celebrating the publication of PresenTense magazine, to which Voloj also contributes.) An immigrant from Muenster, Germany, Voloj sought out the city’s forgotten Jewish landmarks, from the Ten Commandments etched into the façade of a supermarket to a Star of David above the entrance of a Baptist church. For more information, please visit www.julianvoloj.com.Read More


Setting the Beat for a New Generation of Jews

By Dan Levin

What a difference four years can make. In 2002, Aaron Bisman was a 22-year-old New York University graduate with the unlikeliest of goals: to nurture a Jewish community through music. Four years later, Bisman, along with his partner, Ben Hesse, sits at the helm of one of the most promising ventures in contemporary Jewish culture: JDub Records.Read More


The Rise of David Levinsky

By Abraham Cahan

My landlady was a robust little woman, compact and mobile as a billiard-ball, continually bustling about, chattering and smiling or laughing. She was a good-natured, silly creature, and her smile, which automatically shut her eyes and opened her mouth from ear to ear, accentuated her kindliness as well as her lack of sense. When she did not talk she would hum or sing at the top of her absurd voice the then popular American song “Climbing Up the Golden Stairs.” She told me the very next day that she had been married less than a year, and one of the first things I noticed about her was the pleasure it gave her to refer to her husband or to quote him. Her prattle was so full of, “My husband says, says my husband,” that it seemed as though the chief purpose of her jabber was to parade her married state and to hear herself talk of her spouse. The words, “my husband,” were music to her ears. They actually meant, “Behold, I am an old maid no longer!”Read More


Creator Remorse

By Sasha Weiss

The creation of the world in the first chapters of Genesis happens quickly and with seemingly little effort. God merely has to speak, and the sky, the earth, the seas — entities that have formed the basis of human curiosity and contemplation — snap into place. In just seven days, according to this version of the beginning, God has wrought the ultimate work of art.Read More


Talking Cure?

By Gal Beckerman

The irreducible element at the end of every Israeli-Arab argument is always psychology. Looking at a map, any two reasonable partners could easily delineate the borders. Even the impasses over refugees and settlements, even Jerusalem, seem at least conceivably surmountable — though maybe only in a universe slightly different from our own. Still, these don’t compare with the problem of victimhood, to the pride and paranoia that taint every conversation between the two people. Approach the psychology, and you slam, face first, into a wall higher than any that will ever run along the Green Line.Read More


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