Arts & Culture


A Brief History of an Enduring Forgery

By Jerome Chanes

‘Lies have short legs” is a proverb invoked by historian Richard Levy in discussing historical frauds and forgeries. Clearly, in the case of a slew of antisemitic libels — most infamously “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” — such folk wisdom is just plain wrong. “Protocols” may well be the longest-legged lie of modern times, andRead More


A Late Pioneer Is Still Pushing Boundaries

By Josh Lambert

What’s so comic, exactly, about comic books? As far back as the Golden Age, when the form flourished in the hands of mostly Jewish American young men, relatively few of the word-and-picture narratives to which we ascribe this label have been primarily concerned with humor. The dominant modes have been action, mystery, horror and romance.Read More


‘My Version of the Facts’ By Carla Pekelis (Northwestern University Press)

One in a series of occasional excepts from books that catch our eye. Carla Pekelis was born in Rome in 1907, into a comfortably assimilated large extended bourgeois family. At 24, she married Alexander Pekelis, a Jewish Russian émigré who would become a seminal figure in American and international civil rights law. A founding member of the NewRead More


‘Chassidic’ Jazzman Strives for Authenticity

By Alexander Gelfand

In music, as in any art, intention and biography can be tricky things. For example, should Richard Wagner’s antisemitism be considered when judging his work? Is it fair to take the composer’s controversial writings into account when evaluating his operas? And does the value of his art really depend on the kind of person he was?Drummer ReubenRead More


Treif Wasn’t Always Non-kosher

By Peretz Rodman

Of all the words contributed by the Yiddish language to modern American English, “kosher” is one of the more common — and, as a term neither coarse nor derisive, an exception to a general rule. American dictionaries frequently also list its antonym, treif (spelled with or without the “i”), defining it as “not kosher and hence forbiddenRead More


Standing Firm Through Moscow’s Building Boom

By Paul Abelsky

From Mikhail Khazanov’s cluttered offices in central Moscow, he can see the city come into view as a vibrant and chaotic mosaic. But Khazanov is more than an observer. As one of Moscow’s premier architects, his projects have shaped the urban fabric of the place where he has lived and worked all his life.His current projects consistRead More


Counting the Gray Lady’s Sins

By Gal Beckerman

‘Photos don’t normally appear on this page. But it’s time for us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference.” And with that, Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times and its op-ed page’s most morally indignant voice, used his semi-weekly space this past February 23 to hold up before our eyes the images of four deadRead More


The Limits of Enlightenment

By David R. Slavitt

For a Jew of the Enlightenment, for one who believes, as I do, both in Judaism and in the intellectual and political benefits of the Haskalah, Metzora is a daunting and even a dismaying portion. Most of the time, I can find some middle way in which the voices of faith and reason do not directly contradict each other, but here, with these grotesqueRead More


Every Jew a Canny Yankee

By David Kaufmann

The American Poets Project seeks to present America’s most significant poets in inexpensive editions. In celebration of National Poetry Month, over the next three weeks David Kaufmann will look at the work of three Jewish poets included in the project, beginning with Emma Lazarus and followed by Karl Shapiro and Muriel Rukeyser. It has beenRead More


‘Women of the Book’: A Photo Essay

By Richard Mcbee

The nature of Jewish women’s creativity in artists’ books is brilliantly explored in a traveling exhibition, Women of the Book: Jewish Artists, Jewish Themes, curated by Judith A. Hoffberg. This contemporary art form, conceptually based on illuminated manuscripts, includes 73 artists’ books — all handmade or limited editions — thatRead More





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