Arts & Culture


Fiction About Israel

Two weeks ago, we asked readers to help us create a list of the best novels and short stories about Israel written by diaspora authors. The purpose was to push fiction as a complement to the newspaper, the television and the Internet in our quest for information and understanding about Israel. Here are your suggestions, along with a few of our own:Read More


Mozart’s Librettist Gets the Stage

By Robert Hilferty

An even better Mozart-motivated movie than “Amadeus” has yet to be made. The subject: Wolfgang’s magnificent collaborator, Lorenzo Da Ponte, the libertine librettist of “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Don Giovanni” and “Così fan tutte” — arguably Mozart’s greatest works, and watersheds in the history of music and theater, not to mention humanity. The episodic cinematic epic might be called “The Menace From Venice.”Read More


An Old Warsaw Paper In the News Again

By Hindi Diamond

A chance meeting at Village Shalom in Kansas between volunteer teacher Bob Becker and Yadviga Finkelstein, a 93-year-old student, sparked the beginning of a monumental project.Read More


A Trieste Tragedy

By Stanislao G. Pugliese

Although there has been a Jewish presence on the Italian peninsula for more than 2,000 years, it would be inaccurate to speak of a single Jewish identity. The community of Rome is as distinct from that of Ferrara as the community of Turin is from that of Milan. Silvia Bonucci’s “Voices From a Time” — a recipient of the Zerilli-Merimo Prize, which advances the translation of outstanding Italian works into English — examines the declining fortunes and tragic fate of family from Trieste, in the extreme northeast of the country.Read More


The Challenge of Defining Jewish Art

By Menachem Wecker

In 1966, art critic Harold Rosenberg gave a talk at The Jewish Museum in New York. “First, they build a Jewish museum; then they ask, ‘Is there a Jewish art?’ Jews!” he quipped. But Rosenberg went on to give his own response to the question. “The gentile answer is, ‘Yes, there is a Jewish art, and no, there is no Jewish art,’” he said. “The Jewish answer is, ‘What do you mean by Jewish art?’”Read More


After Delays, San Francisco Museum Finally Breaks Ground

By Josh Richman

The San Francisco Museum has endured long waits and sizable setbacks to get to where it is today — opening with a Daniel Libeskind-designed edifice under construction in the heart of a bustling tourism and cultural district; about $61 million of its $77 million comprehensive campaign completed, and a projected spring 2008 opening date.Read More


Grasping at Branches in a Search for Mideast Peace

By Gal Beckerman

Imagine that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be settled by a misery contest. Each side would be able to pick its most tragic, catastrophic story to go up against the other, and the whole long history could be settled in one no-holds barred, mano a mano fight between two narratives. Who would the Israelis choose as their Achilles? What about the Palestinian Hector? For my money, I’d take one Holocaust survivor who first lost his family in the war, and then his only son to a terrorist attack, versus a Palestinian refugee from 1948 whose house gets struck by a missile, killing her entire clan.Read More


The Forgotten Heroine

By David Kelsey

According to news reports, New York is taking steps to honor the late Jane Jacobs, the heroine who saved the city from a Lower Manhattan Expressway. A street, as well as perhaps a playground, seems likely to be named for her, memorializing this iconic urban activist for generations to come.Read More


The Maftir Chronicles

By William D. Kaufman

The complexities of married life, at least for my father, began the morning after the wedding — in, of all places, the synagogue.Read More


A Star Historian Opens a New Chapter: Jewish Slaveowners

By Eric Herschthal

More than a decade ago, pioneering historian Natalie Zemon Davis was trudging through German archives, performing research for her book “Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives.” Published in 1995 and universally praised, the book was seen as vintage Davis: scholarly, but not impenetrable; groundbreaking, but not immoderate.Read More


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