Arts & Culture


‘Memoirs of a Muse’

Novel Jews is a critically acclaimed downtown reading series that presents provocative and enlightening new fiction and literary nonfiction by today’s literary superstars and by the emerging voices of tomorrow. The event is co-sponsored by the 14th Street Y and the Forward. This month, we present Lara Vapnyar and Ilana Stanger-Ross.

LaraRead More


Cabaret Comes Back to Life

By Ben Levisohn

As the 19th century drew to a close, the Jews of Eastern Europe were on the move. Fleeing oppression and searching for economic opportunity, thousands made their way to the United States in a great wave of immigration. But many others headed to Vienna, the heart of the Hapsburg Empire. They brought with them their language, songs and stories andRead More


Horror Flicks

By David R. Slavitt

At the start of this portion, we have a continuation of the plagues, with the threat — and then the carrying out of the threat — of locusts. This is already the eighth plague. And as my ex-brother-in-law used to remark, it is much like the early scenes in horror movies, where somebody turns on the faucet in the kitchen and, instead of water,Read More


A Little Too Intimate

By Tessa Brown

The Book of Trouble: A Romance By Ann Marlowe Harcourt, 288 pages, $23. * * *As Ann Marlowe painfully illustrates in “The Book of Trouble: A Romance,” finding intimacy is not as easy as finding one’s way into someone’s pants. Just as intellectual repartee does not necessarily make for an exciting sex life, a physical rapport can existRead More


The Unity of Opposites

By Jay Michaelson

Learning From the Tanya: Volume Two in the Definitive Commentary On the Moral and Mystical Teachings Of a Classic Work of Kabbalah By Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Jossey-Bass, 384 pages, $24.95.


We Jews: Why Are We and What Should We Do? By Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Jossey-Bass, 224 pages, $24.95. * * *Why has the Chabad-Lubavitch sectRead More


Heart-to-Heart Talk

By Jeffrey Fiskin

Moishe, a man of indeterminate age in doctor’s garb, stands before the massive statues of a pharaoh’s mortuary temple on the west bank at Luxor. As Amelia Edwards noted at Abu Simbel (“A Thousand Miles Up the Nile”), there is an instant at dawn as light flushes the temple that transforms the great stone colossi. “Those awfulRead More


A Beatnik Finds Treasure In His Grandfather’s Beats

By Jon Kalish

A Manhattan record label and a Minnesota distributor/publisher of spoken word audio, including books and radio programs, are among the companies that have expressed interest in a rare collection of Jewish liturgical recordings made in the 1950s, much to the relief of Lionel Ziprin, who has been trying to get the recordings out in the world forRead More


Aleppo on Ocean Parkway

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

From Baghdad to Brooklyn: Growing Up

In a Jewish-Arabic Family in Midcentury America By Jack Marshall Coffee House Press, 256 pages, $16. * * *To have an identity strung together with hyphens is to live in several worlds at once. “From Baghdad to Brooklyn,” Jack Marshall’s beautifully crafted memoir, evokes an entire galaxy.Read More


Elegy for a Fighter

By Paul Buhle

Barney Ross By Douglas Century Nextbook (Schocken), 205 pages, $19.95. * * *If attitudes toward Jewish boxers do not offer an all-encompassing symbol of continuing change in the social and cultural tastes of American Jewry, they probably come close. One of the many revealing anecdotes in this marvelously insightful study of the immigrantRead More


The Battle Over ‘Judea and Samaria’

By Philologos

One would expect someone as pro-Israel as The New York Times’ William Safire to know better. In his January 16 On Language column, he wrote:“In wartime, words are weapons; we have seen how Israelis and Palestinians are highly sensitive to connotations in their conflict. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon preferred to refer to land in dispute westRead More


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