Arts & Culture


Michigan Welcomes a New Department

By Josh Lambert

In the wide world of academia, $20 million isn’t all that much money. A check for that amount wouldn’t quite cover the down payment on a particle accelerator, after all, and universities tend to set their fund-raising targets in the billion-dollar range. Yet in the smaller academic niche of Jewish studies, $20 million is a colossal sum. It’sRead More


The Leftmost Poets Sing Songs of Love

By Zackary Sholem Berger

Proletpen: America’s Rebel Yiddish Poets Edited by Amelia Glaser and David Weintraub. Translated by Amelia Glaser. Illustrations by Dana Craft. University of Wisconsin Press,

192 pages, $45. * * *Proletpen, a new anthology of American Communist Yiddish poets, is a book divided against itself. Dovid Katz’s introduction,Read More


Wrestling

By David R. Slavitt

Abraham’s signature moment is his ascent of Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac, an extreme demonstration of obedience that few of us can contemplate without fear and dismay; Isaac’s moment is also up there on that mountain, where he realizes what is about to happen and experiences a terror that seems to be with him for the rest of his life.Read More


SPIELBERG’S PREDECESSORS

By Saul Austerlitz

“Munich” is not the first film to take on the subject of anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish terrorism. Here’s a selection of notable past works on the subject: “VISIONS OF EIGHT” (1973)— The official film of the Munich Olympics, directed by a slew of international directors, including Milos Forman, Kon Ichikawa and Arthur Penn.Read More


Close Encounters of the Middle East Kind

By Steven Zeitchik

The most surprising thing about Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” a conversation piece long before it even got out of production, is the limpness with which it lands. There’s something trumped-up about the whole enterprise that actually renders it less substantial — scenes milking the extra second before an explosion, assassins debatingRead More


Berlin Wrestles With the Jewish Culture it Banished

By Michael Levitin

Out of the rubble of the First World War emerged a mythic culture in Berlin: modern and erotic, brimming with arts and ideas; a city that attracted writers, actors, painters and musicians to its aura of progress and creativity.That’s half the picture. The other half is the Depression, National Socialism and antisemitism that hung like a shadowRead More


From ‘The World To Come’

By Dara Horn

Each month, in coordination with our reading series in New York, the Forward publishes an excerpt from the work of that month’s series guest or guests. This month, we will feature readings by Dara Horn and Aviya Kushner (for full details, please see sidebar). Below, please find an excerpt from Horn’s new novel, “The World To Come” (W.W.Read More


The Sacred and the Profane

Like her prize-winning debut novel, “In the Image” (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002), Dara Horn’s remarkable second work spans generations, continents and languages. “The World To Come,” which will be published in January 2006 by W.W. Norton, centers on former child prodigy Ben Ziskind and hisRead More


Writing New Texts in an Ancient Land

By Jon Papernick

A number of years ago, when I was still an aimless, lovesick student, I traveled to Israel for the first time — not so much to fulfill a great Zionist dream that had suddenly surfaced from the depths of my subconscious, but to escape the drab reality of my bar-hopping downtown existence, to escape a reckless woman who thought she’d stepped outRead More


Fragmented Memories

By Joseph Carman

Throughout her childhood, Deborah Damast heard bits and pieces of stories about her father’s escape from Krakow, Poland, before the Nazi invasion. As a choreographer, she felt that there was an important statement in dance to be gleaned from that material, but she didn’t want to exploit anyone else’s experience. The brutal assault ofRead More


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