Arts & Culture


Wedding the Personal and Political

By Boris Fishman

Politics so comprehensively saturates Israeli life that even the most apolitical Israeli film ends up invoking it, if only by assiduous omission. In “The Syrian Bride,” opening November 16 in New York, Israeli director Eran Riklis not only acknowledges the elephant in the room but also gives it central billing. Ironically, he ends upRead More


Exploring What Binds –– and Divides –– Jews and Christians

By Bruce Chilton

Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western HistoryBy David KlinghofferDoubleday, 256 pages, $24.95—The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament’s Jewish Writers Created a Christian BookBy Julie GalambushHarperSanFrancisco, 352 pages, $24.95.—In the past few years, there has been a growing interestRead More


The Roman Era, Revised

By Benjamin Levisohn

In many Jewish imaginations, the Roman period — from the conquest of Judea in 64 BCE to roughly the sixth century C.E. — is remembered as a time of tragedy and catastrophe. The early years of the Common Era witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple and the devastation of the Jewish populace in Israel following the failure of the BarRead More


Coming of Age, in Frames

By Paul Buhle

The Quitter By Harvey PekarArt by Dean Haspiel with Lee Loughridge Vertigo, unpaginated, $19.99. * * *Anyone who has seen the 2003 award-winning film “American Splendor” or watched Harvey Pekar’s confrontations with David Letterman late at night back in the 1990s is almost certain to conflate or confuse the real-life Pekar with one orRead More


A View From the Stands

By Saul Austerlitz

Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports Jeffrey S. Gurock Indiana University Press, 248 pages, $29.95. * * *Many a sports-obsessed Jewish kid will remember a Saturday buried somewhere deep in the past spent flipping through a dusty volume of “Great Jews in Sports” or one of its equivalents, whistling every few pages and exclaiming,Read More


Abraham’s Gambit

By Joshua Cohen

Stalemate By Icchokas MerasTranslated by Jonas Zdanys Other Press, 176 pages, $13.95. * * *To stalemate a game of chess is no easy thing: One has to position the king in a square in which, although he is not in check, he can only move into check and no other piece can move, either. The king is safe, but only on his small square. AllRead More


Mourning with Freud

By Dinah M. Mendes

Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk By Matthew von Unwerth Riverhead, 256 pages, $23.95. * * *‘Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk” by Matthew von Unwerth is a meditation, a fugue — conceivably a psychoanalytic novella –– that hasRead More


Airing the Family’s (Blood-stained) Laundry

By Boris Fishman

Blood Relation By Eric Konigsberg HarperCollins, 288 pages, $25.95. * * *As a teenager at a boarding school, journalist Eric Konigsberg came across a groundskeeper who once had worked the mob beat as a New York cop. The man asked Eric if he was related to infamous mob hitman Harold Konigsberg. Thanks to his family’s well-meaningRead More


Fragments of a Lost Jewish World

By Jay Michaelson

Young Turk By Moris Farhi Arcade Publishing, 392 pages, $25. * * *Toward the end of Moris Farhi’s elegiac, ambitious novel, a professor of literature who is the voice of Turkish conscience in the book tells a budding Turkish Jewish writer: “One thing, young Turk: Don’t lose the young Jew. Cherish everybody’s difference. IfRead More


A Family Snapshot, in Black and White

By Ariella Cohen

Off-White: A Memoir By Laurie Gunst Soho Press, 288 pages, $25. * * * Rhoda Cobin Lloyd died in October 1986. Her funeral was a small, open-casket affair that ended with a eulogy by Laurie Gunst, Southern Jew and historian. The eulogy was short: All Gunst could say was that Lloyd’s parents, Sam and Julie, had been born as slaves andRead More





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