Arts & Culture


The Incidental Advantage

By David R. Slavitt

Daniel C. Dennett’s recent book, “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” (2006), is a fascinating volume, but it is not my purpose here either to review it or even to try to summarize its highly original approach to what one might call the biology of religions — how they grow, develop, adapt and either benefit orRead More


Donald Fagen Completes His Trilogy

By Alex Joffe

A ghostly presence with unknown intent has descended. The new album “Morph the Cat” isn’t so much a feline as a feeling — and a happy one at that, as the title song says, “bringing joy to New York City, Christmas without the chintzy stuff.” But don’t be fooled.With his musical partner of nearly 40 years, Walter Becker, Fagen isRead More


Stereotype This! Introducing Ethnic Superheroes

By Lisa Keys

Abraham begat Isaac. Isaac begat Jacob. Eventually, Noah begat Shem and, in due course, nerdy Jewish kids begat superheroes.In 1933, two nebbishes named Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created Superman (birth name “Kal-El,” Hebrew for “All God”), and since then it’s been a source of pride that Jews created the culture of comicRead More


Tribeca Film Festival Offerings

By Steven Zeitchik

From a small festival in the wake of 9/11, the Tribeca Film Festival has blossomed over the past four years into one of New York City’s most anticipated cultural events. This year, there are an unusually abundant number of films with Jewish themes, from a consideration of female Israeli soldiers (“Close to Home”) to an explorationRead More


From ‘Absurdistan’ by Gary Shteyngart

Project Overview The greatest danger facing American Jewry is our people’s eventual assimilation into the welcoming American fold and our subsequent extinction as an organized community. Due to the overabundance of presentable non-Jewish partners in a country as tantalizingly diverse and half-naked as America, it is becoming difficultRead More


Six Degrees of Treyf: An Interview With Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Absurdistan,” comes out May 9, published by Random House. And since Shteyngart is one of only two novelists who have made me laugh out loud in the past year, it seemed time for an interview. We met in New York City at one of his favorite restaurants, the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Shteyngart wasRead More


The Unclean Body

By Lore Segal

How interesting that the animal offered for sacrifice was required to be physically flawless, and that the Lord, looking into men’s hearts for a future king of Israel, elected the handsomest and tallest. Can man’s relation with the divine depend on the body‘s soundness and health? There are instances when un-health isRead 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





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