Arts & Culture

Jewish Book Award Winners

The following are the winners of the 2006 National Jewish Book Awards, announced last week by the Jewish Book CouncilRead More

Early Hitler, Late Mailer

By Joshua Cohen

What to say about what might be Norman Mailer’s last novel, except to voice hope for a novel that might’ve been better? Or maybe to ask the gods to give him more time — another year or two, or 10 — to produce another “last” novel? What to say, except that “The Castle in the Forest,” Mailer’s first fiction work in a decade, is fantastical and imaginative — for good, though mostly for bad. And, ultimately, for evil.Read More

Teddy’s Town

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The evening after Teddy Kollek lost his last race for mayor of Jerusalem in 1993, after 28 years at the city’s helm, I sat in an Arabic language class at the Hebrew University. The teacher, a Muslim from East Jerusalem, asked his students, a motley assemblage of young, chatty left-wingers, retirees and barrel-chested young men from the security services, what they thought. The young leftists rushed to condemn Teddy: He betrayed Jerusalem’s Arabs! He built illegally on Arab lands! He was obtuse about Jerusalem’s standing as an international city! He neglected the poor neighborhoods!Read More

Animating Hasidism

By Daniel Browne

Ukraine, 1876: In the shtetl of Lubavitch, a scribe named Sammy Harkham procrastinates at his job inking mezuzas, bickers with his wife and tries to avoid his disapproving rabbi.Read More

Sex and Survival on The Lower East Side

By Ilana Sichel

In 1966, the Jewish Daily Forward serialized Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yiddish novel, “Sonim, de Geshichte fun a Leib,” a tale of the psychological and sexual neuroses of Holocaust survivor Herman Cohen in 1940s New York, and those of the female company he keeps. The story was later published as “Enemies, A Love Story” and then adapted, 23 years later, by Paul Mazursky into a film that won three Oscar nominations. Now, 40 years after its initial publication, the story is being tackled yet again — this time for the stage, by author and playwright Sarah Schulman.Read More

From Berlin to Buffalo

By Tom L. Freudenheim

Growing up in the 1940s, when my family members and I were still relatively new Americans, there were various German words I heard often around the house:Read More

Encyclopaedia Judaica 2.0

By Gabriel Sanders

When the philosopher Denis Diderot set out, in 1750, to compile the French Encyclopédie — a work whose goal, he later said, was to “assemble the knowledge scattered over the surface of the earth” — he boldly announced that the project’s 10 envisioned volumes would be in readers’ hands in just four years’ time. The world’s knowledge, however, turned out to be scattered more widely than Diderot had thought. It was not until 1780 that the by then 35-volume opus was complete. Then again, in late 18th-century France, the very surface of the earth seemed to be in flux.Read More

The Graphic (Novel) Side of Israel

By Jay Michaelson

One of my fondest memories of the year I recently spent in Israel is of walking through the street fair on Emek Refaim, in Jerusalem’s German Colony. I know that for most Americans in the Holy Land, the highlight reel usually consists of Masada, the Western Wall and other places of sanctity. But for me, that street fair captured what’s best about Israel: a vibrant art scene, quite belying the country’s small size; a form of engagement with Jewishness that is fresh and challenging, and a realization of Herzl’s secularist dream of a European-style nation-state where Jewishness is the default rather than the anomaly.Read More

Jesse Owens, Man and Myth at the 1936 Olympics

By Peter Ephross

Hitler’s snub of sprinter Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is well known: Unwilling to recognize a black runner’s prowess, the story goes, Hitler refused to acknowledge Owens after the American athlete won the 100-meter dash. Indeed, Owens himself repeatedly recounted the incident late in his life.Read More

Critiquing Argentina’s Yellow Journalism

By Noga Tarnopolsky

Late in the evening of Friday, December 30, 2005, Pepe Eliaschev, a man renowned for his 20-year run as the sharp-tongued host of Argentina’s daily radio news show “Esto Que Pasa” — in rough translation, “This Is What’s Happening” — received what appeared to be a standard holiday-time phone call.Read More

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