Arts & Culture


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


Chapter and Verse: Two Poets Explore Religion

By Isaac Meyers

The Insatiable Psalm: Poems By Yermiyahu Ahron Taub Wind River Press, 144 pages, $14.


Morning Prayer By Eve Grubin Sheep Meadow Press, 96 pages, $12.95 * * *Yermiyahu Taub named his first book of poems “The Insatiable Psalm,” a striking title that foretells the wealth of fine phrases that fill his poetry. Almost every line hasRead More


The Lord and His Children

By Lore Segal

We must not speculate about the motivations of the ineffable God, but there are the times when He chooses to explain them Himself. Speaking in the ear of Moses, the Lord says that He hardened Egypt’s heart — to its natural degrees of hardness, we might well suppose — so that it required His spectacular interventions to achieve the ChildrenRead More


Horror Flicks

By David R. Slavitt

At the start of this portion, we have a continuation of the plagues, with the threat — and then the carrying out of the threat — of locusts. This is already the eighth plague. And as my ex-brother-in-law used to remark, it is much like the early scenes in horror movies, where somebody turns on the faucet in the kitchen and, instead of water,Read More


Walking a Fine Line at Sundance

By Ron Dicker

Laughing in the face of tragedy is a time-honored theme in film. Yet joking about one of the ultimate tragedies of contemporary history, the Holocaust, is still a rare, potentially radioactive device (and, some would say, for good reason). Jerry Seinfeld made out with his girlfriend in a theater during “Schindler’s List,” and hisRead More


Avant-garde Painter Constructs Bridges Across the Diaspora

By Elissa Strauss

For his 1966 painting “Kibbutz Composition,” artist José Gurvich crowded the canvas with layers of muted colors and boldly outlined images. At first, the kinetic composition tells of the artist’s zeal for kibbutz life. Look at it a little longer, and the story expands beyond the kibbutz; it moves into Latin America, where Gurvich’s handRead More


To Move or Not To Move: A Monumental Decision

By Jeremi Suri

Aliya: Three Generations

Of American-Jewish Immigration To Israel By Liel Leibovitz St. Martin’s Press, 288 pages, $24.95. * * *The past four centuries of American history are dominated by one overriding trend: immigration. People from every continent have, for very diverse reasons, moved in large numbers to a self-proclaimedRead More


The Persistence of Memory

By Joshua Cohen

The Last Jew By Yoram Kaniuk, translated by Barbara Harshav Grove Press, 544 pages, $26. * * *To name a thing is to give it life. And to write is to name. As Adam, the first man, is referred to in Latin as prothoplastus, cognate to our protoplasm, tradition might call the last man standing by the name ultimaplastus. He will be a survivor ofRead More


‘Memoirs of a Muse’

Novel Jews is a critically acclaimed downtown reading series that presents provocative and enlightening new fiction and literary nonfiction by today’s literary superstars and by the emerging voices of tomorrow. The event is co-sponsored by the 14th Street Y and the Forward. This month, we present Lara Vapnyar and Ilana Stanger-Ross.

LaraRead More


Cabaret Comes Back to Life

By Ben Levisohn

As the 19th century drew to a close, the Jews of Eastern Europe were on the move. Fleeing oppression and searching for economic opportunity, thousands made their way to the United States in a great wave of immigration. But many others headed to Vienna, the heart of the Hapsburg Empire. They brought with them their language, songs and stories andRead More


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