Arts & Culture


When The Streets Were Paved With Tragedy

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Bodies and Souls: The Tragic Plight of Three Jewish Women Forced Into Prostitution in the Americas By Isabel Vincent William Morrow, 288 pages, $25.95. * * *Memory is a central concept in Judaism. When someone dies, we say that he or she lives on in how he or she is remembered by others. Countless museum exhibits, oral histories,Read More


Israel’s Walter Cronkite Finds Himself at a Crossroads

By Gal Beckerman

Chaim Yavin, rightly referred to as Israel’s Walter Cronkite, has an odd face for a news anchor. Though his presence has comforted millions, delivering the news nightly on Israel’s state-run channel — with an almost exaggeratedly perfect diction — since 1968, his features seem to betray a slight befuddlement, a tinge ofRead More


Holy Feast, Holy Fast

By Jay Michaelson

Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah By Joel Hecker Wayne State University Press, 296 pages, $44.95.


Holy Men and Hunger Artists: Fasting and Asceticism in Rabbinic Culture By Eliezer Diamond Oxford University Press, 240 pages, $49.95. * * * To put it mildly, Jews have a complicatedRead More


Yeah, but the Book Is Better

By Thane Rosenbaum

Whenever a film is adapted from a favorite novel, serious readers of fiction are prone to say, “Yeah, but the book is better.” True partisans of the written page are always in conflict with those who like their stories cinematically revealed, projected onto wide screens that illuminate the darkness and pierce the quiet with DolbyRead More


Trying To Make Sephardic Music as Hip as Klezmer

By Alexander Gelfand

Benjamin Cardozo was one. So was Benjamin Disraeli. Some believe that FDR may have been one, at least on his mother’s side. Camille Pissarro, Harold Pinter, Murray Perahia… Sephardic Jews, every one.And yet, despite their notable achievements throughout the Diaspora, Sephardim have been noticeably absent from the North AmericanRead More


My Little Sister’s Wedding

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Why am I standing here at my little sister’s wedding, and glaring? Unlike you, Joseph’s brothers (and sister!) would have understood me. Go read Vayeshev, my favorite childhood Torah portion.I’m glaring because you stopped letting me crawl into bed with you after she was born, there not being enough room between you forRead More


SPIELBERG’S PREDECESSORS

By Saul Austerlitz

“Munich” is not the first film to take on the subject of anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish terrorism. Here’s a selection of notable past works on the subject: “VISIONS OF EIGHT” (1973)— The official film of the Munich Olympics, directed by a slew of international directors, including Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa and Arthur Penn.Read More


Close Encounters of the Middle East Kind

By Steven Zeitchik

The most surprising thing about Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” a conversation piece long before it even got out of production, is the limpness with which it lands. There’s something trumped-up about the whole enterprise that actually renders it less substantial — scenes milking the extra second before an explosion, assassins debatingRead More


Narrative History in the Grand Tradition

By David Kaufmann

A History of the Jews in the Modern World By Howard M. Sachar Knopf, 848 pages, $40. * * *Narrative history is all about plot. At its best, it marshals its facts and then marches them out to tell orderly tales. It cannot really concern itself with complicated social structures because its linear organization favors relatively simpleRead More


A Jewish Boy With a Memphis Tale Visits a New York Stage

By Shelly R. Fredman

If you believe that stories are the sinews binding us to one another, creating whatever remnants of communion we have, then you might want to walk the well-worn path to 42nd Street and take in Jonathan Adam Ross’s one-man show, “Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew.”It’s a celebration of storytelling, as Ross, who wrote the show,Read More





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  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
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  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
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  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
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