Arts & Culture

Easy Reading for the Serious Music Set

By Joshua Cohen

Golden-brown and beautiful, curvy in all the right places: a generous bottom, a bounteous top; the waist nicely pinched. Her measurements: 355 millimeters for the length of her back, 130 millimeters for the length of her neck. Ebony and ivory. What a body. And that’s just the violin!Read More

Leonard Cohen: Poet of the Holy Sinners

By Jay Michaelson

Leonard Cohen has long been a poet of the sacred and profane. Like his fellow Jewish pop troubadours, Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg,Read More

A Distant Sound Now Nearer

By Raphael Mostel

Of the “degenerate Jews” whose work and lives were erased in the Nazi deluge, one of the most remarkable is Franz Schreker. He is also among the least known.Read More

A Theater Stages New Show – and Controversy

By Leah Hochbaum

Even before the first performance of “Last Jew in Europe,” the Jewish Theater of New York’s play penned by Tuvia Tenenbom, the show already had people up in arms. Citing the tragicomedy’s use of photographs of antisemitic graffiti purportedly shot on the streets of Lodz, the Polish Embassy said the pictures could turn American Jews against Poles. The embassy even suggested that the wall-art was actually created by theater staffers.Read More

The Go-Between

By Rebecca Spence

Between 2002 and 2006, photographer Gillian Laub made more than a dozen trips to Israel and the Palestinian territories to shoot portraits of everyday people going about their lives. Those lives, often interrupted by violence and bearing the scars of the conflict, are explored in her new book, “Testimony” (Aperture). The Forward’s Rebecca Spence spoke with Laub about the process of making the book.Read More

The Ivy’s Barbed Embrace

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Thousands of American Jewish households were on edge this month awaiting a special guest. No, it wasn’t Elijah the Prophet. It was the college admissions office. Will Chloe and Jonah be headed for Princeton next fall? Or have they set their sights on Harvard? Yale? The University of Michigan, or is it Wellesley? What about Bowdoin? Bowdoin?!Read More

Taking Parnassus by Sheer Force of Wit

By David Kaufmann

Kenneth Koch has not received his due, in part because his Harvard classmates and close friends, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara, have overshadowed him, and in part because he could be rambunctiously funny. Poetry, after all, is serious business, and we have never really known what to do with comic poets beyond relegating them to the seventh circle of “light verse.” But Koch deserves better. As Ron Padgett’s handsome selection of Koch’s poems shows, the man aspired to take Parnassus by sheer force of his wit.Read More

Now 95, a Journalist Finally Looks Back

By Stephen J. Lyons

In a photograph that still haunts me weeks after I first saw it, a young girl, perhaps 7 years old, faces the camera, clutching a toy. An older boy — 9 or 10 — holds the girl’s wrist and smiles bravely. The girl does not smile. Her eyes look past Ruth Gruber’s camera into a place that holds terror and heartbreak.Read More

Primo Levi’s Second Language

By Gabriel Sanders

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Primo Levi’s death. To commemorate the occasion, W.W. Norton & Company is releasing “A Tranquil Star,” a selection of the author’s previously untranslated short stories. Though clearly a tribute, the book is also being touted as a kind of reintroduction to the Italian master: Not only was Levi the great chronicler of the horrors of Auschwitz, but he was also a satirist and stylist — a writer whose imaginative powers were as keen as his reporter’s eye.Read More

The Ghost Exhibition

By Marilyn Henry

When Max Stern, owner of the Dominion Gallery in Montreal, died in 1987, he was one of the most important art dealers in Canada. As his estate was liquidating the 5,000 works held at Dominion, representatives came across evidence of another, less voluntary liquidation: Fifty years earlier, Stern’s original gallery — Galerie Stern in Düsseldorf— had sold its artwork at a forced auction. Representatives of the Stern estate became determined to restore the legacy of the persecuted Düsseldorf dealer and to locate and recover more than 200 objects that he was compelled to sell in 1937.Read More

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