Arts & Culture


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


A ‘Matzo’ Mystery

By Philologos

We’re all eating it this week — in some cases, more than we’d like to — but why on earth do we spell it “matzo,” or “matzoh”? What Jew says, or ever did say, “mah-tso,” pronouncing the last syllable to rhyme with “oh” or “glow”? Ashkenazic Jews always have said “MAH-tse,” with the last syllable like the “e” inRead More


Is God Just?

By David Curzon

The portion read on the intermediate Shabbat of Pesach, Exodus 33:12-34:26, contains some of the most extraordinary passages in the Torah. Moses asks God to “show me now Thy ways, that I may know Thee” (Exodus 33:13) and gets the comforting response, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” But five versesRead More


Miami Vice Versa

By Glenn C. Altschuler

Saving South Beach By M. Barron Stofik University Press of Florida, 336 pages, $27.95. * * *Miami’s South Beach neighborhood is an urban icon. Bringing new meaning to the term multicultural, South Beach is one of the only places in the United States where a twenty-something can have morning coffee with Grandma and her bridge friends in anRead More


A Crowd of Voices Covers a Folk Legend

By Gabe Leibowitz

In last year’s “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” filmmaker Lian Lunson pays homage to the man often considered the Canadian equivalent of Bob Dylan by filming a succession of performers singing Cohen’s songs, in scenes that emphasize just how beautiful his songs are when sung by someone else. When Cohen sings his own works —Read More


State of Emergency: The Demise of Secularism

By Pearl Abraham

The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously By Jacques Berlinerblau Cambridge University Press, 232 pages, $19.99. * * *God, it turns out, is not dead, but secularism might be — unless it deigns to take another look at itself, at God and at God’s book, and seeks to study and know what it professes not toRead More


From the Stage To the Page

By Ethan Kanfer

Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays Edited by Ellen Schiff and Michael PosnickForeword by Theodore Bikel University of Texas Press, 587 pages, $24.95. * * *Published plays — especially those in anthologies — tend to be dismissed by the casual browser as specialty items, of interest only to students of theater history or to actors in searchRead More


A Lebanese Writer’s Palestinian Story

By Jo-Ann Mort

Elias Khoury has enough to deal with in his hometown. The editor in chief of the weekly literary supplement of An Nahar, the secular, leftist Beirut daily, recently lost two colleagues: columnist Samir Kassir and publisher Gebran Tueni, both of whom were presumably murdered by the Syrian government. “Everybody like me — intellectuals who areRead More


The Essential Louis Zukofsky

By David Kaufmann

Selected Poems By Louis Zukofsky, edited by Charles Bernstein Library of America, 191 pages, $20. * * *Louis Zukofsky, born into a pious, Yiddish-speaking household on New York City’s Lower East Side in 1904, seems to have jumped fully formed into American poetry. In 1928, when he was 24, his mentor and intellectual sparring partner,Read More


Allegra Goodman’s Science Fiction

By Zackary Sholem Berger

Intuition By Allegra Goodman The Dial Press, 352 pages, $25.* * *In her new novel, “Intuition,” Allegra Goodman invokes the world of medical research with the convincing detail of an insider and an outsider’s penetrating gaze. The book is a modern epic, a slimmed-down, suspenseful version of one of the 19th-century classics: a narrativeRead More





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