Arts & Culture


Inward Bound: State, Faith and the Jews

By David Kaufmann

The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism By Jean Daniel, translated by Charlotte Mandell Melville House, 214 pages, $14.95. * * *In “The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism,” an often impassioned, sometimes contradictory and always very French essay, Jean Daniel argues that contemporaryRead More


Entitlements

By Henry Bean

He is a boy of 8 or 9, sweeping out the entry to the master’s house. He hears his master, Abraham, within, speaking to someone he cannot see, worried that, as the only male born into the household, “this Eliezer of Damascus” might become heir to the household. It took him some moments to divine that this Eliezer was, in fact, himself.He isRead More


Israel Museum Donation

By Raphael Ahren

The photography department of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, recently received a $12 million gift from long-standing New York-based patrons Harriette and Noel Levine. The gift — the largest monetary donation that a visual-arts institution has ever received — will permit the museum’s already established photography department to conductRead More


The Silver Jews Return

By Benjamin Levisohn

This year, David Berman forgot when Yom Kippur was to begin. With his band, the Silver Jews, releasing a new album, “Tanglewood Numbers,” and Berman doing interviews to publicize it, he was convinced the holiday started a day later than it actually did. He realized his mistake an hour before the holiday began, andRead More


Goodbye to All That, Again

By Allison Hoffman

Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer, and Its Aftermath By Paul Berman Soft Skull Press, 314 pages, $23.95. * * *Pity the generation of 1968, those children born under the shadow of a catastrophe they did not make. In Germany and France, the children of the Third Reich and Vichy called their parents and grandparentsRead More


South African Challah?

By Philologos

Michael Cole from Toronto writes:“My wife’s South African relatives refer to a Shabbat or festival challah as a ‘kitke.’ This seems to be a uniquely South African term, unknown, as far as I am aware, even among other people of Lithuanian descent. [Mr. Cole is referring to the fact that South African Jewry originated largely in JewishRead More


A Life at Arm’s Length

Abraham was the perfect host. So was his nephew, Lot, the one who lived to the east, near the plains of Jordan. Those Terah boys come down from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan and Haran and back again may have left their father’s houses with only a few possessions, but they packed etiquette in their saddlebags.When you live among strangers,Read More


Saying Adios to a Jewish Book Series

By Ilan Stavans

In 1996, I received an invitation from Dana Asbury at the University of New Mexico Press to develop a series devoted to Jewish Latin America. I was entranced by the idea. Having come of age in the Mexico of the late 1960s and ’70s, I had made up my mind, in my early 20s, to make literature my raison d’être. My experience as a memberRead More


Seeing Stars

By Ami Eden

Stars of David: Prominent Jews

Talk About Being Jewish By Abigail Pogrebin Broadway, 400 pages, $24.95. * * *In 1994, comedian Adam Sandler evoked the joys of counting Jewish celebrities with his hilarious ditty, “The Hanukkah Song.” Now, journalist Abigail Pogrebin is taking it one step further. Unwilling to settle for a mereRead More


Teach Your Children Well: Tzedaka Restores Justice

By David A. Teutsch

The word tzedaka, often translated as “charity,” comes from the Hebrew root tzedek, meaning “justice.” Its current usage was developed by the early rabbis, who recognized that the distribution of resources that results from a free-market economy must be adjusted by other means to ensure a fair society. Tzedaka is an expression of justiceRead More


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