Arts & Culture


A Texan Cantor Infuses Jewish Music With New Orleans Flavor

By Michael S. Hurewitz

Austin, Texas, bills itself as the live-music capital of the world. But in a city usually known for its rock beat and country twang, Cantor Neil Blumofe has begun an exploration of Jewish music and themes played in a jazz idiom. His new CD, “Piety and Desire” — released on Valentine’s Day — looks at the Jewish weddingRead More


Jerry Lewis at 80

By Donald Weber

This may be hard to believe, but Jerry Lewis turns 80 on March 16. For more than 60 years, Lewis has loomed in our collective pop culture imagination as the perpetual “kid,” the 9-year-old “nudnik” to America: carrying on, driving us crazy, making us laugh — and wince.Whether you love or hate Lewis — and his utterly distinctive mode ofRead More


The Shadow That Never Went Away

By Gal Beckerman

Yaacov Herzog: A Biography By Michael Bar-Zohar Gardners Books, 384 pages, $27.10 * * *If the Oedipal complex didn’t exist, we might have to invent it to explain the frustrated, stunted career of Yaacov Herzog. A shadow hovered over him from the day he was born — his father, Isaac Halevi Herzog, was the brilliant chief rabbi of PalestineRead More


Skilled Craftsmen

By Henry Bean

Urim and Thummim. The ineffable name of God was inscribed on some unknown material and placed in the fold of the breastplate. — Soncino Chumash—So what we’re making is the breastplate, the ephod….—What’s an ephod?—Like the linen apron you hang the breastplate over…?—Oh, right.—… the robe,Read More


Reminders of the Lost Ark

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Jonathan, a member of Temple Har Zion’s New Building Committee, has accepted the assignment of developing a design approach for its new ark. Jonathan figures that he might as well start at the beginning and be as authentic as possible, so he types “ark of the covenant” into his computer’s Internet search engine. He is chagrinedRead More


Life Among the Goyim

By Andrew R. Heinze

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is edited by everyone who wants to make an entry in it, can be outrageously wrong, but it is often surprisingly reliable. If you look up Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator and star of “Da Ali G Show,” you will find him categorized under “English comedians” and “Jewish comedy.”Baron Cohen isRead More


Seeing Double in Deadwood

By Haley Michaels Pollack

The HBO drama “Deadwood” chronicles its namesake: the historic gold-rush town of 1877, legendary for its alleged frontier lawlessness and for such infamous characters as “Wild Bill” Hickok and Calamity Jane. A rarity among Westerns, “Deadwood” depicts the gold rush’s multiracial and multiethnic community, including a tip of the hatRead More


Curb Your Judaism

By Michael Green

True, Larry David doesn’t much like whitefish. True, he makes fun of the Orthodox and — yes — he made far too public two dark, shameful secrets of Judaism: that we sell tickets for High Holy Day services and that Gina Gershon is one of us.But don’t be fooled.It’d be easy to dismiss Larry David — or at least his on-screen “LarryRead More


A Jew and a Lawyer Are Sitting in a Bar...

By Jay Michaelson

Watching “The Wire,” HBO’s serial drama about the gritty underbelly of the Baltimore streets, one sometimes gets the impression of honest men and women trapped in a hopeless machine of corruption, violence and despair. Many of the show’s most likable characters are killed off, while those who remain have a world-weary look in their eyes.Read More


The Couch Becomes Him

By Ami Eden

If leaders are measured by how they treat their Jews, then Tony Soprano qualifies as a world-class statesman.Of course, “The Sopranos” features its share of corrupt Jews — ultra-Orthodox and secular — as well as several marginally antisemitic wiseguys. Yet Tony has evinced a decidedly philosemitic streak — one that might,Read More


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