Arts & Culture


The Poetry of Mature Experience

By David Curzon

The Sights Along the Harbor: New and Collected Poems By Harvey Shapiro Wesleyan University Press, 288 pages, $29.95. * * *In his mother’s recollection, Harvey Shapiro’s first words were in Yiddish. Born in 1924 to an observant Jewish family, he lived as a child first on the Lower East Side, then high enough up on Riverside Drive for himRead More


Across the Boundaries of Language

By Joshua Cohen

Call It English: The Languages of Jewish American Literature By Hana Wirth-Nesher Princeton University Press, 256 pages, $39.50. * * *As we enter a world that will forever remain “multicultural,” the borders of our languages have become easier than ever to cross. Paradoxically, to understand all of what is said and what is written todayRead More


Reviving Jewish Ethics

By Joshua Halberstam

A Code of Jewish Ethics:

Volume 1: You Shall Be Holy By Rabbi Joseph Telushkin Harmony/Bell Tower, 576 pages, $29.95. * * *The seven deadly sins, codified most likely in the 13th century, have enjoyed sustained notoriety, both ecclesiastical and in the public imagination. What is most noteworthy about these “capital sins,” as they areRead More


Tracing the History of Jewish Autobiography

By Alyssa Quint

Being for Myself Alone:

Origins of Jewish Autobiography By Marcus Moseley Stanford University Press, 650 pages, $70. * * *‘This is the Life Story of Judah Aryeh…. Few and evil have been the days of my life in this world… on Monday the 28th day of Nissan — corresponding to the 23d day of April 5331 — between theRead More


Understanding the Philosopher of Auschwitz

By David Kaufmann

Adorno By Stefan Müller-Doohm; translated by Rodney Livingstone Polity Press, 667 pages, $75.


Adorno: A Political Biography By Lorenz Jäger; translated by Stewart Spencer Yale University Press. 248 pages. $35. * * *Although Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was one of the two most prominent German philosophers of the postwar periodRead More


A New Name for an Old Crime

By Noah Strote

Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe By Benjamin Lieberman Ivan R. Dee, 416 pages, $27.50. * * *While Serb paramilitaries were driving Muslims from their homes in Bosnia during the spring of 1992 in an effort to rid the region of its “Muslim fundamentalist” population, Serb radio stations proudly coined aRead More


Sex, Lies and the German Occupation

By Andrew Furman

The Mercy Room By Gilles Rozier Little, Brown and Company, 192 pages. $22.95. * * *The scaffolding of Gilles Rozier’s taut, affecting novel, “The Mercy Room,” has all the makings of a Sunday evening television melodrama. The scene: a small town in France during the German Occupation. The hero and narrator: a French ChristianRead More


Revisiting the Work of the First Emancipated German Jewish Artist

By Rebecca Spence

When Max Liebermann premiered “The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus in the Temple With the Scholars” — a historical painting based on the New Testament’s description of Jesus Christ debating with the rabbis in Jerusalem — at the 1879 Munich International Art Fair, the work was assailed by German critics. What right, after all, did a Jewish artistRead More


A Texan Cantor Infuses Jewish Music With New Orleans Flavor

By Michael S. Hurewitz

Austin, Texas, bills itself as the live-music capital of the world. But in a city usually known for its rock beat and country twang, Cantor Neil Blumofe has begun an exploration of Jewish music and themes played in a jazz idiom. His new CD, “Piety and Desire” — released on Valentine’s Day — looks at the Jewish weddingRead More


Jerry Lewis at 80

By Donald Weber

This may be hard to believe, but Jerry Lewis turns 80 on March 16. For more than 60 years, Lewis has loomed in our collective pop culture imagination as the perpetual “kid,” the 9-year-old “nudnik” to America: carrying on, driving us crazy, making us laugh — and wince.Whether you love or hate Lewis — and his utterly distinctive mode ofRead More


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