Arts & Culture


A Witness To His Time

By A.J. Goldmann

‘A filmmaker must be a witness of his times,” said great French director Jean-Pierre Melville, widely acknowledged as the grandfather of the French New Wave, in an interview about his 1969 movie, “Army of Shadows.” The film, a gloomy existentialist set piece of espionage that details the heroism of French partisans in the face of certainRead More


The Incidental Advantage

By David R. Slavitt

Daniel C. Dennett’s recent book, “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” (2006), is a fascinating volume, but it is not my purpose here either to review it or even to try to summarize its highly original approach to what one might call the biology of religions — how they grow, develop, adapt and either benefit orRead More


Etgar Keret’s Unlikely Landscape

By Stephen Marche

The Nimrod Flip-out By Etgar Keret Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 176 pages, $12. * * *Etgar Keret’s fame in Israel is as unlikely as one of his own stories: A young writer of ultrashort, ultramodern fictions produces four straight best-selling collections. The stories in his collections go on to be translated into 16 languages and turnedRead More


The Jewish Goddess, Past and Present

By Jay Michaelson

‘The Da Vinci Code,” soon to be a major motion picture, is an old tale in new clothing: It is the story of the goddess, sometimes referred to as the “Divine Feminine,” the female aspect of — or counterpart to — the familiar male God of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles.In Dan Brown’s phenomenal best seller, She appears asRead More


Humbly Going About His Work

By Menachem Wecker

Jules Olitski, the subject of an exhibit opening May 10 at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery at the George Washington University, has been compared to nearly every artist in the canon — Rembrandt, Frederic Edwin Church, Picasso, Hans Hoffman, El Greco — as well as deemed the newest painting god to emerge from the stratosphere ex nihilo. It’sRead More


Donald Fagen Completes His Trilogy

By Alex Joffe

A ghostly presence with unknown intent has descended. The new album “Morph the Cat” isn’t so much a feline as a feeling — and a happy one at that, as the title song says, “bringing joy to New York City, Christmas without the chintzy stuff.” But don’t be fooled.With his musical partner of nearly 40 years, Walter Becker, Fagen isRead More


Stereotype This! Introducing Ethnic Superheroes

By Lisa Keys

Abraham begat Isaac. Isaac begat Jacob. Eventually, Noah begat Shem and, in due course, nerdy Jewish kids begat superheroes.In 1933, two nebbishes named Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Superman (birth name “Kal-El,” Hebrew for “All God”), and since then it’s been a source of pride that Jews created the culture of comicRead More


Tribeca Film Festival Offerings

By Steven Zeitchik

From a small festival in the wake of 9/11, the Tribeca Film Festival has blossomed over the past four years into one of New York City’s most anticipated cultural events. This year, there are an unusually abundant number of films with Jewish themes, from a consideration of female Israeli soldiers (“Close to Home”) to an explorationRead More


From ‘Absurdistan’ by Gary Shteyngart

Project Overview The greatest danger facing American Jewry is our people’s eventual assimilation into the welcoming American fold and our subsequent extinction as an organized community. Due to the overabundance of presentable non-Jewish partners in a country as tantalizingly diverse and half-naked as America, it is becoming difficultRead More


Six Degrees of Treyf: An Interview With Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Absurdistan,” comes out May 9, published by Random House. And since Shteyngart is one of only two novelists who have made me laugh out loud in the past year, it seemed time for an interview. We met in New York City at one of his favorite restaurants, the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Shteyngart wasRead More





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