Arts & Culture


Which Jewish State?

By Tony Michels

If the second intifada has achieved little else, it has reawakened furious disputes over questions seemingly settled long ago. Are Jews a nation? Are they entitled to political self-determination? Does the State of Israel have a right to exist? In recent years, a growing number of leftwing scholars, writers and activists have answered those questions with a resounding “no.” Israel, they declare, is an anachronism, a tragic mistake, even a horrible crime. Justice, they say, demands the eradication of Zionism so that Palestinian nationalism can be fulfilled. As the goal of Palestinian statehood remains elusive, more and more leftists call for an end to Jewish statehood. Those who disagree and suggest that maybe both Jews and Palestinians deserve statehood increasingly find themselves on the defensive.Read More


Turning Down the Light

By David Gedzelman

When Moses is clearly told that he will not enter the Promised Land because of a momentary failure in his ministry of national leadership and service, we might wonder whether Moses is, in the end, a tragic figure. After all, he has labored to bring the people of Israel to the land in which the teachings he has prophesied will become manifest andRead More


Cracking Gum –– and Stereotypes

By Andrew Furman

How This Night Is Different By Elisa Albert Free Press, 199 pages, $18. * * *‘In her backpack for Auschwitz, Shayna Markowitz packs the following,” begins one story in Elisa Albert’s debut fiction collection, “How This Night Is Different.” The sardonic, mischievous wit of such a line, and of the collection as a whole, setsRead More


An Experiment Becomes a Showpiece

By Wayne Hoffman

Something big is happening in the smallest room of the Judah L. Magnes Museum.When Alla Efimova was hired as chief curator of the Jewish art museum in 2003 — overseeing a venerable Judaica collection she calls “encyclopedic and global” — she first asked herself: “How can we renew the collection and make it relevant again?” AsRead More


Rediscovering Isaac Rosenfeld

By Benjamin Balint

This week’s 50th yahrzeit of Isaac Rosenfeld, a brilliant and unjustly forgotten writer who belonged to a brilliant moment in American Jewish writing, offers a good occasion to measure the distance between that moment and our own.Rosenfeld’s story is a strange amalgam of success and failure. Born in Chicago, Rosenfeld was a prodigy, at leastRead More


Filling in the Holes

By Adeena Sussman

Bagel boys, get ready for your close-up.Writer Matthew Goodman and veteran film director Joan Micklin Silver have begun collaborating on a documentary about the little-known history of the Local 338, the International Bagel Bakers Union of New York. The union, which was founded in 1907 and was one of the city’s most powerful in its heyday,Read More


The Least-known Modern Artist

By David Kaufmann

Reading Charlotte Salomon Edited by Michael P. Steinberg and Monica Bohm-Duchen Cornell University Press, 233 pages, $39.95.

Charlotte Salomon: Life? Or Theater?

The New Museum, Yad Vashem, June 16-October 1. * * *Charlotte Salomon, who was murdered by the SS in 1943, is perhaps the most moving of modern artists. She is also one of theRead More


My Friends and Me

By Steven G. Kellman

Friendship: An Exposé By Joseph Epstein Houghton Mifflin, 288 pages, $24. ‘What really knocks me out,” Holden Caulfield says in “The Catcher in the Rye,” “is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you feltRead More


Israeli Dance Invades Lincoln Center Fest

By Joseph Carman

The Lincoln Center Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, showcases globally diverse artistic troupes that have distinctive performance styles. In keeping with that ideal, Nigel Redden, the festival’s director, has booked performances by three contemporary Israeli dance companies that represent the vivid intensity and cerebralRead More


The Ghosts of Alfred Dreyfus

By Ronald Schechter

On July 12, France will celebrate the centennial of the acquittal of Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish military officer whose false indictment on a charge of treason set off a political scandal in the country.In a certain light, it would seem that the Dreyfus Affair — and the environment in which it emerged — has long since been buried. Yet DreyfusRead More


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