Arts & Culture


Magen David: Shield or Star?

By Philologos

Chalk up a victory for the Star of David — or, as it is called in Hebrew, the magen David or “Shield of David.” Long boycotted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which refused to grant Israel’s “Red Shield of David” organization membership in its ranks because it did not recognize the medical and humanitarian use ofRead More


Korah; or, the Possibility of Change

By Burton L. Visotzky

This week’s Torah portion, Korah, tells a spectacular story of rebellion and punishment. Korah challenges Moses and Aaron’s rule with a deceptively simple argument: “All of the community is holy.… What makes you so special that you raise yourselves up?” (Numbers 16:3) Coming as it does from his very own tribe, Moses falls into despair.Read More


Ethical Designs

By Sarah Kricheff

You don’t need to be enrolled in art school to know that the philosophies of green design and smart design are becoming, in many circles, the only acceptable way to build anything from an apartment building to a pair of shoes. With social and environmental responsibility at the forefront of the minds of most contemporary visual thinkers,Read More


Metropolitan New York

ExhibitsResistance: The courageous stories of 27 men and women who, some 60 years ago, resisted Nazi occupation in Belgium are included in a documentary exhibition, Images of Resistance: Belgium, 1940-1945. The display features large-scale digital photographs, wartime images, contemporary portraits and personal testimonies of theRead More


Love and Hate In Wartime Italy

By Peter Orner

The Water Door By Rosetta LoyTranslated by Gregory Conti Other Press, 120 pages, $11.95. * * *The 5-year-old narrator of Rosetta Loy’s brief, death-haunted novel “The Water Door” is, to borrow Henry James’s graceful phrase, a girl upon whom nothing is lost. To read this book is to become immersed in the intensity of childhood as it isRead More


What We Know, and Don’t, About Eichmann

By Mindy Aloff

Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, And Trial of a ‘Desk Murderer’ By David Cesarani Da Capo Press, 464 pages, $27.50. * * *Most of what we know – or think we know – about Adolf Eichmann, a notorious Nazi functionary, may be wrong. Or so readers will surmise from “Becoming Eichmann,” David Cesarani’sRead More


Klezmer in the East Looks to the West for Guidance

By Joshua Yaffa

Midway through its hauntingly minimalist performance on the opening night of Moscow’s second-annual klezmer festival, the vocal quartet Ashkenazim took a dramatically long pause to introduce the song “Dem Shokhens Meydl.” The group’s tenor, Alina Ivakh, explained that song is an allegorical tale of two young pioneer girls — theRead More


Jewish Mobsters Amble From Text to the Panel

By Eddy Portnoy

With 8 million stories in the Jewish naked city, artists Joe Kubert, Neil Kleid and Jake Allen have given us two riveting ones. With the growing interest in graphic novels and the pictorial evocation of historical events, it’s not surprising that more and more Jewish tales are ending up in panels instead of in type. The latest motif to be pickedRead More


Immersion in Reality

By Miriam Udel-Lambert

The mikveh attendant in a town where I often visit but do not live was always the same: towheaded, horsy wig, vast muumuu, thick accent and brusque, brusque, brusque. Her job was to assist women preparing for ritual immersion in observance of the ambitiously named Laws of Family Purity. Assistance is necessary because these laws, developedRead More


Reconnoitering Translations

By Leonard Greenspoon

In the view of many biblical scholars, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, the fact-finding expedition narrated in Numbers 13-14 is a composite account from several sources. In the first, Caleb is among the scouts sent by Moses to the Promised Land, but only as far north as Hebron; Caleb alone remains loyal to God when hisRead More


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