Arts & Culture


The Portable Legacy

By Gabriel Sanders

Lubavitch Hasidim may be torn over the earthly status of their erstwhile rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, but if there is a matter on which the movement’s adherents can find common ground, it is the sacredness of the sect’s world headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.Read More


A South-of-the-Border Search for Identity

By Ilan Stavans

In my view, complaints about a film misrepresenting the source on which it is based miss the point. Once a writer sells the material and agrees to no longer be involved, the product is beyond his domain. He might as well sit back and enjoy the show, just like any other spectator.Read More


How Dunkirk Saved the Jews

By Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Each time the anniversary of the evacuation from Dunkirk and the fall of France comes round, more paeans of praise are written about the “miraculous” escape. But those eulogizing both the bravery on the beaches and the men who manned those celebrated little ships rarely stop to mention the consequences that would have followed if Operation Dynamo (the name given to the naval operation to evacuate the army from Dunkirk) had not succeeded and if a German invasion had followed.Read More


A Triumvirate of Evil

By Edna Nahshon

If Roman Polanski’s 2005 cinematic adaptation of “Oliver Twist” and Al Pacino’s performance as Shylock in the recent film “The Merchant of Venice” have not satisfied your cravings for Jewish malefactors, you’ll be delighted to hear that Theater for a New Audience is about to present us with a jam-packed program devoted to the upper echelon of drama’s Jewish villains: Shylock, Barabas and Fagin.Read More


Leopold Bloom’s Brothers

By Caraid O’Brien

My Irish Catholic grandmother fulfilled a life-long goal in her 80s when she traveled to the Holy Land; however, the story she told on her return was not of the sights she’d seen. Wandering around the Old City of Jerusalem, she walked into a shop and was amazed when the Orthodox Jew at the counter began speaking to her in Gaelic. Before going to Israel she had never met a Jew, and she did not know that there was a small but vibrant community in her own backyard.Read More


Jewish Punks Unite

By Michael Croland

To commence each show on the Eight Crazy Nights tour, a flame was colored in above the menorah drawn on a bass drum. The drum set was then shared by three Jewish-oriented punk bands that joined forces to celebrate Hanukkah in West Coast punk venues. The tour featured a magical world where Manischewitz wine flows like water, a limitless supply of bagels is available for noshing and throwing, and yarmulkes are worn just for fun.Read More


Double Vision

By Gabriel Sanders

Sometimes, when the traditional tools of the trade just don’t cut it, a scholar is forced to get creative. In the closing pages of “Freud’s Moses,” a 1991 study of Freud’s relationship with his Judaism, historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, fearful that traditional scholarly methods had not gotten him the answers he was after, brings back his subject from the dead and interrogates him face to face. Tell me, he says to his wordless interlocutor — “I promise I won’t reveal your answer to anyone” — did you ultimately believe psychoanalysis to be a Jewish science?Read More


Rattling the Chains Of American Poetry

By David Kaufmann

In the late 1970s, when I was studying creative writing at a fancy Eastern college, I spent a good deal of my time worrying about “finding my voice.” Like most of my friends, I dreamed of achieving a sincere and brandable style, one that would blend authenticity and real-time insight with fashionable touches of surrealist whimsy.Read More


The Israel Philharmonic Turns 70

By Robert Hilferty

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is older than the State of Israel. It was the brainchild of famous Polish-born, Vienna-based violinist Bronislaw Huberman. A perspicacious virtuoso, Huberman persuaded about 75 musicians from major European orchestras to make a bee-line to Palestine. It wasn’t out of fear of impending danger; it was just a nice cultural idea that he had formulated in 1931, when he was more Zen than Zionist. But by the time of Hitler’s rise, it had become an urgent mission.Read More


Buenos Aires Blues

By Noga Tarnopolsky

‘Family Law,” Argentine filmmaker Daniel Burman’s latest offering, is a movie about lawyers, so almost by necessity the issue of secrets and lies predominates. Only here, the prevarications are of a domestic sort: Ariel Perelmen, a young professor of law, son of Bernardo Perelman, a Buenos Aires criminal attorney, keeps secrets from his wife, Sandra.Read More


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