Arts & Culture


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


Miami Vice Versa

By Glenn C. Altschuler

Saving South Beach By M. Barron Stofik University Press of Florida, 336 pages, $27.95. * * *Miami’s South Beach neighborhood is an urban icon. Bringing new meaning to the term multicultural, South Beach is one of the only places in the United States where a twenty-something can have morning coffee with Grandma and her bridge friends in anRead More


A Crowd of Voices Covers a Folk Legend

By Gabe Leibowitz

In last year’s “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” filmmaker Lian Lunson pays homage to the man often considered the Canadian equivalent of Bob Dylan by filming a succession of performers singing Cohen’s songs, in scenes that emphasize just how beautiful his songs are when sung by someone else. When Cohen sings his own works —Read More


State of Emergency: The Demise of Secularism

By Pearl Abraham

The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously By Jacques Berlinerblau Cambridge University Press, 232 pages, $19.99. * * *God, it turns out, is not dead, but secularism might be — unless it deigns to take another look at itself, at God and at God’s book, and seeks to study and know what it professes not toRead More


From the Stage To the Page

By Ethan Kanfer

Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays Edited by Ellen Schiff and Michael PosnickForeword by Theodore Bikel University of Texas Press, 587 pages, $24.95. * * *Published plays — especially those in anthologies — tend to be dismissed by the casual browser as specialty items, of interest only to students of theater history or to actors in searchRead More


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