Arts & Culture


Heart-to-Heart Talk

By Jeffrey Fiskin

Moishe, a man of indeterminate age in doctor’s garb, stands before the massive statues of a pharaoh’s mortuary temple on the west bank at Luxor. As Amelia Edwards noted at Abu Simbel (“A Thousand Miles Up the Nile”), there is an instant at dawn as light flushes the temple that transforms the great stone colossi. “Those awfulRead More


Coincidentally Israeli Designers

By Menachem Wecker

To classify art based on geographical origin is to play a silly game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The Guggenheim exhibit The Aztec Empire recently showed the dangers of national taxonomies by including works of the Toltecs — whom the Aztecs sacrificed to their gods — and of the Olmecs, who are to the Aztecs what the Druids are toRead More


Celebrating a Composer Who Celebrates Multiple Cultures

By Raphael Mostel

Composer Osvaldo Golijov is being celebrated at New York City’s Lincoln Center with a month-long series of performances of his works, titled The Passion of Osvaldo Golijov. Musical America named Golijov composer of the year. His latest release, “Ayre” — based on traditional songs and poems in Ladino, Arabic and Hebrew — evokes the periodRead More


A Babel Biographer Chases His Moving Target

By Ilan Stavans

Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel By Jerome Charyn Random House, 224 pages, $24.95. * * *Isaac Babel was an iconoclast whose small, mysterious oeuvre, delivered in a deft, compact Russian shaped at a time of revolution, becomes more alluring with the passage of time. As Jerome Charyn puts it in his meditationRead More


Not Your Mother’s Neil Diamond

By David Kaufmann

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A hip and really hot music producer seeks out an old and established artist — perhaps a bit past his prime — and talks him into working on an album. The point of the collaboration is to emphasize the singer’s craft and the song itself, and so everything is stripped down to the merely essential —Read More


America Gets a New Tocqueville

Following in the footsteps of his countryman, famed French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy — or BHL, as he is widely known — will release “American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville,” the result of a yearlong journey through America. Though Lévy is careful not to compare himselfRead More


Protecting Jewish Health

By Jesse Aaron Cohen

A new exhibit at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York highlights the history of a little-known organization called Society for the Protection of Jewish Health. Assistant Curator Jesse Aaron Cohen offers a preview of “Fighting for a Healthy New Generation,” which was curated by Krysia Fisher. In 1912, the ObshchestwoRead More


How To Define Intolerance? A Roman Quandary

By Adina Lopatin

In late February 1997, a group of Roman artists and intellectuals met to prepare for the millennium. Unlike its cultish counterparts, this group did not expect any universal shifts to come with the year 2000. The members believed that life in the 21st-century would probably look much like it did in the 20th, and the 19th and before. Their task, asRead More


Shabbat Shalom

By Philologos

Berel Lang of Wesleyan University writes to ask if I would “consider tracing the genealogy of the Hebrew Sabbath greeting ‘Shabbat Shalom’ — specifically, when it entered popular discourse.” And he continues: “My hunch is that it is a) modern and b) secular, that is, deriving from the generally nonreligious world of Zionist pioneers inRead More


Coincidentally Israeli Designers

By Menachem Wecker

To classify art based on geographical origin is to play a silly game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The Guggenheim exhibit The Aztec Empire recently showed the dangers of national taxonomies by including works of the Toltecs — whom the Aztecs sacrificed to their gods — and of the Olmecs, who are to the Aztecs what the Druids are toRead More


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