Arts & Culture


Fame’s Good Fortune

By Philologos

Recently I came across an article in a Hebrew newspaper that bore the caption “Children of Celebrities Are Fed Up With Strange Names Given Them by Their Parents.” The article began with the complaint of Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, the 16-year-old daughter of singer Bob Geldof, that she would have preferredRead More


The Choice of Staying In Or Getting Out

By David Curzon

Exodus 21:2-6 (and, with small variants, Deuteronomy 15:12-18) prescribes that a Hebrew slave, after six years’ servitude, must be offered the opportunity to regain freedom, and the consequences if he chooses to stay in servitude: If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married then his wife shall go out with him. If hisRead More


Ansky, Pushkin’s Nanny and the Revival Of Jewish Life in St. Petersburg

By David G. Roskies

The roomful of stunning photographs currently on display in Russia at the European University at St. Petersburg is dedicated to the theme of “Jewish Children.” It is triply wondrous: first, on account of the European University itself, one of several funded by George Soros in the former Soviet empire; second, on account of the artistic qualityRead More


‘Priest Among Nations,’ Says Rabbi Among Priests

By Peretz Rodman

‘What do Jews think is the role of non-Jews in the world?” This is the question I was asked recently by a thoughtful priest, one of two-dozen Roman Catholic priests and nuns for whom I was teaching a survey course on rabbinic Judaism.I understood that the question was as much about Jews as about non-Jews, and so my answer was this: “WeRead More


For This Mother and Daughter, The Family Business Is Culture

By Joshua Cohen

Blood might be thicker than water, as the adage goes, but paint is thicker than both. Immigrant artist Miriam Laufer, who died in 1980, was the mother of Manhattan Upper West Sider Susan Bee, and matriarch to one of the most experimental and intense artistic dynasties of Jewish New York. Besides the mother and daughter, the father, Sigmund Laufer,Read More


Suffering the Peculiar Fate of Being a Poet’s Poet

By David Kaufmann

The Poems of Charles Reznikoff, 1918-1975 Edited by Seamus CooneyDavid R. Godine, 400 pages. $21.95.* * *Charles Reznikoff, who was born to Russian parents in Brooklyn in 1894 and lived the bulk of his life in Manhattan, suffered the peculiar fate of being a poet’s poet: He was well respected and little known.Not surprisingly, he often toldRead More


Tracking Change, and the Lack of It, In New York’s Garment Industry

By Gerald Sorin

A Coat of Many Colors: Immigration, Globalization, and Reform In New York City’s Garment Industry Edited by Daniel Soyer Fordham University Press, 312 pages, $75. * * *‘What’s the difference between a Jewish clothing worker and a Jewish psychiatrist?” an old joke goes. Answer: “One generation.”Actually it was more like two orRead More


Munich Evokes the Past in Future Museum

By Gavriel Rosenfeld

Mention “Munich” today, and people automatically think of Steven Spielberg’s controversial Oscar-nominated film. But if the city currently evokes disturbing images of international terrorism, it will soon also remind people of the sordid history of National Socialism.Change is afoot in Munich. In the heart of the city, behind a cheapRead More


A Daughter’s-eye View of a Man Who Was a Hero to Many

By Mark Oppenheimer

My Father Is a Book: A Memoir of Bernard Malamud By Janna Malamud Smith Houghton Mifflin, 304 pages, $24. * * *Perhaps it was silly of me to imagine a tame, tender, avuncular Bernard Malamud. But from the little I knew of his biography — and there is no biography of him, though an English critic is working on one now — Malamud hadRead More


Beating Swords Into Photographs

By Menachem Wecker

David Seymour’s photograph “Wedding in the Border Regions” (1952) has something of the prophet Micah in it. The picture doesn’t beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruninghooks, but it does sculpt a chupah of pitchforks and rifles. This move of combining the sacred and the profane captures a fundamental aesthetic of the IsraeliRead More


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