Arts & Culture


From ‘Absurdistan’ by Gary Shteyngart

Project Overview The greatest danger facing American Jewry is our people’s eventual assimilation into the welcoming American fold and our subsequent extinction as an organized community. Due to the overabundance of presentable non-Jewish partners in a country as tantalizingly diverse and half-naked as America, it is becoming difficultRead More


Six Degrees of Treyf: An Interview With Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Absurdistan,” comes out May 9, published by Random House. And since Shteyngart is one of only two novelists who have made me laugh out loud in the past year, it seemed time for an interview. We met in New York City at one of his favorite restaurants, the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Shteyngart wasRead More


The Unclean Body

By Lore Segal

How interesting that the animal offered for sacrifice was required to be physically flawless, and that the Lord, looking into men’s hearts for a future king of Israel, elected the handsomest and tallest. Can man’s relation with the divine depend on the body‘s soundness and health? There are instances when un-health isRead More


Folk or Not, Sephardic Music for the Ages

By Alexander Gelfand

Just because something’s common doesn’t mean it’s easy. Classical composers, for example, have long mined folk music for inspiration: Brahms had a thing for German folk tunes, Chopin made the Polish mazurka a mainstay of Romantic piano literature and Bartok built much of his music atop a foundation of Magyar folk song. But turning folk musicRead More


Mad About Molly

By Andrew Ingall

Nearly 80 years ago, one of the most popular programs in the history of broadcasting debuted. “The Goldbergs,” a long-running series — first heard on the radio and later shown on television — about a Jewish matriarch and her family, offered some audiences their first introduction via airwaves to Jews, and others an opportunity toRead More


Color Me Jewish: One Group’s Quest For Whiteness

By Nathaniel Popper

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity By Eric L. Goldstein Princeton University Press, 320 pages, $29.95. * * *Last fall, researchers published a study claiming that higher IQ scores among Jews were a result of natural selection. This biological explanation for stereotypically Jewish traits was widely discreditedRead More


How Could I Feast?

By Peretz Rodman

Jewish law shows gentle consideration for mourners, but Moses, in Leviticus 10:16-20, seems to display no such compassion. There we encounter Moses acting as a sort of quality-assurance inspector at the newly inaugurated Mishkan (Tabernacle). He is checking on whether his priestly cousins, newly installed in their sacerdotal functions,Read More


Sowing the Seeds of Christianity

By Tom Freudenheim

You don’t need to be a born-again Christian to understand the critical role played by the Holy Land in the development of Christianity. That’s probably what the folks at Cleveland’s new Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, which opened last October, are counting on by showing Cradle of Christianity, a major exhibition from the Israel Museum inRead More


Musical Tributes to Tragedy’s Victims

By David Mermelstein

Music by those who perished in the Holocaust has lately enjoyed something of a vogue, with both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences discovering the work, and unfilled promise, of composers like Viktor Ullmann, Erwin Schulhoff, Pavel Haas and Hans Krása. But what of the music written in the aftermath the Holocaust to honor the dead?Such scores do inRead More


A ‘Matzo’ Mystery

By Philologos

We’re all eating it this week — in some cases, more than we’d like to — but why on earth do we spell it “matzo,” or “matzoh”? What Jew says, or ever did say, “mah-tso,” pronouncing the last syllable to rhyme with “oh” or “glow”? Ashkenazic Jews always have said “MAH-tse,” with the last syllable like the “e” inRead More


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