Arts & Culture


Windy City Offers a Window Into the Heart of America

By Saul Austerlitz

The Washington Story By Adam Langer Riverhead Books, 416 pages, $24.95. * * *Once may have been an honest mistake, but twice, it must be a trend. Adam Langer’s second novel is titled “The Washington Story,” though it has little to do with our nation’s capital — just as his debut, “Crossing California,” took placeRead More


Forced March

By Dan Kaufman

Sometime in early 1946, about one year after the Red Army liberated Hungary, local officials in the western Hungarian town of Abda unearthed a mass grave filled with the decomposing corpses of 22 Jewish slave laborers. Among the bodies lay the 35-year-old Hungarian-Jewish poet Miklós Radnóti, executed in November 1944 by a bullet to the neckRead More


The Dreaded ‘T-Word’

By Philologos

At least no one can say that someone at the British Broadcasting Corporation, better known as the BBC, isn’t consistent. After being criticized for years for its refusal to use the word “terrorists” to describe those folks who, generally of the Islamic persuasion, make a habit of doing things like flying airplanes into the Twin Towers orRead More


These Are the Journeys

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

The last portion in the Book of Numbers, Mas’ei, begins with an ancient version of a Triple-A guidebook:“These are the journeys of the Children of Israel, who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions, under Moses and Aaron.” (Numbers 33:1)During their 40-year sojourn, the Israelites decamped in 42 places — all of themRead More


Wild at Heart

By David Kaufmann

Maurice Sendak, the focus of a retrospective running at The Jewish Museum in New York until August 14, is the poet laureate of ambivalence. In a career of more than 50 years spent writing and illustrating children’s books, he has largely managed to avoid the sentimentalizing idealization that ruins so much of our thinking about kids. HisRead More


Masada’s Jazz Legacy Endures

By Fred Kaplan

John Zorn’s Masada is one of the tightest, wittiest, most energetic, most appealing — simply one of the best — jazz bands to emerge in the past 15 years. So it’s no wonder that Zorn, a man as cleverly entrepreneurial as he is creatively passionate, should turn the name into an infinitely expansive genre.The band cut its finalRead More


The Man Behind a Legendary Effort

By Ilan Stavans

Opportunities That Pass: An Historical MiscellanyBy Cecil Roth, edited by Israel Finestein and Joseph F. Roth, foreword by Raphael LoeweVallentine Mitchell, 256 pages, $28.95.* * *Of all the scholarly efforts in Jewish studies, none may be more influential than the 16-volume “Encyclopedia Judaica.” Since its publication in Jerusalem,Read More


Plumbing Berlin for Yiddish Fiction

By Nathaniel Popper

The Shadows of Berlin:

The Berlin Stories of Dovid Bergelson By Dovid Bergelson,Translated by Joachim Neugroschel City Lights Publishers, 120 pages, $14.95. * * *Berlin’s role as the capital of Nazi Germany has crowded out most other memories of the city’s 20th-century Jewish history. In the 1920s, though, the city was a placeRead More


Roman Holidays

By Noga Tarnopolsky

One thing to know about Alain Elkann, the much-discussed French-Italian-Jewish author, journalist, and man of Roman society, is that a lot of the talk is talk about his face. Think of a youthful, smoldering Richard Gere, then think one better. It is a face impossible to ignore, and it is not the face he has always worn.Read More


Two Albums Offer Gems of Gypsy Melodies

By Alexander Gelfand

Before the advent of the European Union and its open borders, long before Germany had been invaded by the Turks and France by the North Africans, two groups vied for the distinction of being the most despised people in Europe: Gypsies and Jews.More often than not, the Gypsies — or Roma, as they prefer to be known — were the unfortunate winnersRead More





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