Arts & Culture


The Young Face of Philanthropy

By Allison Hoffman

Jewish teenagers are learning that tzedaka involves more than slipping a few coins into the collection box at synagogue. In innovative programs around the country, teens are being given control over thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars in an effort to teach them the ins and outs of philanthropy —Read More


Birthright Israel Builds a Solid Foundation

By Nathaniel Popper

Birthright Israel is only six years old, but it already has established itself as one of the most successful programs in the Jewish world. Steps are now being taken to make it a permanent part of the Jewish landscape.When Birthright was founded by a handful of innovative philanthropists, “it was an experiment,” said Charles Bronfman, oneRead More


Joshua Venture: Gone for Good, or Ready for a Fresh Start?

By Jennifer Siegel

After helping to launch some of the Jewish world’s most buzzed-about fledgling organizations in recent years, Joshua Venture closed its doors last spring after only five years of operation. As supporters evaluate exactly what went wrong, some of the group’s major funders have already moved on to new projects. Nonetheless, thereRead More


Rabbi Sets a Message to Music

By Sarah Kricheff

Shawn Zevit is practicing what he preaches. A Philadelphia-based Reconstructionist rabbi who serves as a visiting rabbi at Pittsburgh’s Congregation Dor Hadash, Zevit is also a singer, songwriter and guitarist with two full-length CDs to his credit.With musical influences ranging from The Beatles to indie rock, from soul toRead More


Playing Fill-in-the-Blanks With a Father’s Life

By Tessa Brown

Not Me By Michael Lavigne Random House, 320 pages, $24.95. Between what one is told and what one is able to infer, there lies a distant and beckoning truth: the Parent as Human Being. It glimmers beyond our grasp, always sought after but never obtained, the object of conjecture but never of understanding. For some, seeking this truth isRead More


Confessions

By David Mamet

We human beings have a special adaptive mechanism called rationality. It allows us to prognosticate. We say “If A, then B.” If we wish to change B, perhaps we might change A. This is the good news.The bad news is that we are incapable of perceiving situations otherwise than as the syntheses of thesis and antithesis.This capacity often goesRead More


A Jewish Family Drama, Minus the Shmaltz

By Steven Zeitchik

Judaism and parental ambition have been inextricable since the early days — the really early days, back to when old Jacob let his hopes get too high for poor Joseph. (Had Ivy League law schools existed back then, one can only imagine the arguments.) Immigrant tenacity, a tradition of literacy and just plain genetic stubbornness have ensured thatRead More


Ladino: Alive in Song, If Not Speech

By Elissa Strauss

For centuries after their expulsion in 1492, Sephardic Jews kept their new homes sounding like medieval Spain. In places as disparate as Amsterdam, Turkey and Greece, the Sephardim continued to live and pray in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language, up until the 20th century. Today there are not many opportunities to hear the language spoken, butRead More


Food Fight

By David Kaufmann

The Great Latke-Hamantash DebateEdited by Ruth Fredman CerneaUniversity of Chicago Press, 184 pages, $18—As if we didn’t have enough on our plates, here’s something new to argue about. Not that Jews don’t have a fine history of conflict: Hillel vs. Shammai, Bundists vs. Zionists, Labor vs. Likud. But now, to have toRead More


A Novel Set on –– but Not Quite About –– September 11

By Shana Rosenblatt Mauer

The Days of AweBy Hugh NissensonSourcebooks, 320 pages, $18.—Hugh Nissenson is not the kind of writer who publishes a book a year. He doesn’t even publish one per decade. But when Nissenson does commit ink to page, he always engages the big issues. He’s ever ready to examine different pockets of American life, challenge God, critiqueRead More


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