Arts & Culture


Color Me Jewish: One Group’s Quest For Whiteness

By Nathaniel Popper

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity By Eric L. Goldstein Princeton University Press, 320 pages, $29.95. * * *Last fall, researchers published a study claiming that higher IQ scores among Jews were a result of natural selection. This biological explanation for stereotypically Jewish traits was widely discreditedRead More


How Could I Feast?

By Peretz Rodman

Jewish law shows gentle consideration for mourners, but Moses, in Leviticus 10:16-20, seems to display no such compassion. There we encounter Moses acting as a sort of quality-assurance inspector at the newly inaugurated Mishkan (Tabernacle). He is checking on whether his priestly cousins, newly installed in their sacerdotal functions,Read More


Sowing the Seeds of Christianity

By Tom Freudenheim

You don’t need to be a born-again Christian to understand the critical role played by the Holy Land in the development of Christianity. That’s probably what the folks at Cleveland’s new Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, which opened last October, are counting on by showing Cradle of Christianity, a major exhibition from the Israel Museum inRead More


Musical Tributes to Tragedy’s Victims

By David Mermelstein

Music by those who perished in the Holocaust has lately enjoyed something of a vogue, with both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences discovering the work, and unfilled promise, of composers like Viktor Ullmann, Erwin Schulhoff, Pavel Haas and Hans Krása. But what of the music written in the aftermath the Holocaust to honor the dead?Such scores do inRead More


A Crowd of Voices Covers a Folk Legend

By Gabe Leibowitz

In last year’s “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” filmmaker Lian Lunson pays homage to the man often considered the Canadian equivalent of Bob Dylan by filming a succession of performers singing Cohen’s songs, in scenes that emphasize just how beautiful his songs are when sung by someone else. When Cohen sings his own works —Read More


State of Emergency: The Demise of Secularism

By Pearl Abraham

The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously By Jacques Berlinerblau Cambridge University Press, 232 pages, $19.99. * * *God, it turns out, is not dead, but secularism might be — unless it deigns to take another look at itself, at God and at God’s book, and seeks to study and know what it professes not toRead More


From the Stage To the Page

By Ethan Kanfer

Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays Edited by Ellen Schiff and Michael PosnickForeword by Theodore Bikel University of Texas Press, 587 pages, $24.95. * * *Published plays — especially those in anthologies — tend to be dismissed by the casual browser as specialty items, of interest only to students of theater history or to actors in searchRead More


A Lebanese Writer’s Palestinian Story

By Jo-Ann Mort

Elias Khoury has enough to deal with in his hometown. The editor in chief of the weekly literary supplement of An Nahar, the secular, leftist Beirut daily, recently lost two colleagues: columnist Samir Kassir and publisher Gebran Tueni, both of whom were presumably murdered by the Syrian government. “Everybody like me — intellectuals who areRead More


A ‘Matzo’ Mystery

By Philologos

We’re all eating it this week — in some cases, more than we’d like to — but why on earth do we spell it “matzo,” or “matzoh”? What Jew says, or ever did say, “mah-tso,” pronouncing the last syllable to rhyme with “oh” or “glow”? Ashkenazic Jews always have said “MAH-tse,” with the last syllable like the “e” inRead More


Is God Just?

By David Curzon

The portion read on the intermediate Shabbat of Pesach, Exodus 33:12-34:26, contains some of the most extraordinary passages in the Torah. Moses asks God to “show me now Thy ways, that I may know Thee” (Exodus 33:13) and gets the comforting response, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” But five versesRead More





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