Arts & Culture


Finding Comedy in the Conflict

By Joseph Carman

When choreographer David Dorfman toured with his dance company, he often sought out local rabbis to ask, “Who are the chosen people?” After listening to a thoughtful response, Dorfman’s standard follow-up question was, “Does that mean everyone else is un-chosen?” An obsession with questioning belief systems — and a healthy sense ofRead More


A Look Back at a Different Book Burning

By Zachary Silver

Exactly 60 years ago, a group of individuals assembled to burn the prayer book of a Jewish leader and to ostracize him from community life. This event occurred not in Europe but in Manhattan, and the book burners were not Nazis. They were Jews.On June 12, 1945, at New York City’s Hotel McAlpin, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United StatesRead More


Generation Birthright Grows Up

By Paul Zakrzewski

The Task of This TranslatorBy Todd Hasak-LowyHarcourt, 272 pages, $13.* * Raymond and HannahBy Stephen MarcheHarcourt, 216 pages, $14. * Light YearsBy Tammar SteinKnopf, 272 pages, $15.95. * *There was a time when you hardly ever picked up an American novel or story collection that focused much on Israel — Philip Roth notwithstanding. Today,Read More


Fathers and Sons

By Daniel M. Jaffe

From across the kitchen table, Bobby asks, “You want your firstborn son to die on a battlefield?”“Don’t be ridiculous.” Phil Gutman shakes his head. “We’re talking registration with the Selective Service, that’s all. You’re 18. It’s the law.”“I’ll be drafted to Iraq. We already did the Babylonian exile thing a long timeRead More


Brown Shirts and Dirndls A New Book Explores the History of Nazis and Fashion

By Amanda Fortini

Nazi Chic?: Fashioning Women in the Third ReichBy Irene GuentherBerg Publishers, 320 pages, $28.95.* * *Was there an aspect of culture in which the Nazis did not take a fanatical interest? From numerous books and articles and films on the subject, we have become familiar with images of Nazis storming museums and galleries to confiscate artRead More


A Literary Easterner With a Hollywood Muse

By Mark Oppenheimer

The Golden West: Hollywood StoriesBy Daniel FuchsDavid R. Godine/Black Sparrow Books, 272 pages, $24.95.* * *In his introduction to “The Golden West,” a new collection of Daniel Fuchs’s writings about California, John Updike places Fuchs in the company of similarly gifted fiction writers who did lucrative stints as screenwriters inRead More


Before Fusion: A CD Plumbs Statman’s Archives

By Fred Kaplan

Andy Statman is a practicing Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn and a top-notch clarinetist who has spent the past three decades playing klezmer — not, as some have, for irony or wedding gigs or nostalgia, but rather to explore highly personal paths of connection with the music’s spiritual roots. A new CD, “Avodas Halevi: Archival RecordingsRead More


The God In the Translation

By Lore Segal

The sadness of reading Torah without benefit of Hebrew has small compensations: I’m forced to look for — to participate in — the struggle of translators wrestling every last meaning from the original in order not to miss the god in the detail.The first half of the first sentence of this week’s portion offers an example ofRead More


The Year in Pictures

By Leslie Camhi

On the first of March in the year 2005 (or the 20th of Adar I, 5765, according to the Hebrew calendar) some 200,000 Jews filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden and auditoriums around the world to celebrate the reading of the last page of the Talmud. For centuries, Orthodox Jews have studied Talmud daily, but these synchronized readingsRead More


Rethinking the Divine

By Miriam Shaviv

In 1982, noted Israeli thinker Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote that “the question of women and Judaism is more crucial than all the political problems of the people and its state. Failure to deal with it seriously threatens the viability of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth in the contemporary world.”Despite the passage of 20Read More





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