Arts & Culture


The Cold War’s Strangest Bedfellows How Romania Sold Its Jews to Israel, and What It Got in Return

By Gal Beckerman

The Ransom of the Jews: The Story of The Extraordinary Secret Bargain Between Romania and Israel By Radu Ioanid Ivan R. Dee, 254 pages, $26. * * *Surely the Cold War never produced stranger bedfellows than Shaike Dan and General Ghe- orghe Marcu. Dan, a Jew from Bessarabia, parachuted into Romania at the close of World War II toRead More


Papa Was a Rolling Stone How One Young Woman Pieced Together Her Father’s Story

By Paul Zakrzewski

Assembling My Father By Anna Cypra Oliver Houghton Mifflin, 368 pages, $25. * * *The old chestnut about 1960s hedonism ran that if you remembered the decade, you weren’t really there. If the joke once reflected a popular perception of the times, it also missed a much more unpleasant truth. Released from social conventions, unmoored fromRead More


For Women, Middle Ages Might Have Been Golden

By Miriam Shaviv

Eight hundred years ago, thousands of Jewish Egyptian women refused to immerse in the ritual bath. Only Maimonides’s threat that they would lose their Ketubah money quelled the orchestrated rebellion, years after it began. A century later in Ashkenaz (Christian Europe), rabbis were astonished by the large number of Jewish women who refusedRead More


An Israeli Photographer Finds Holiness at the Rave

By John Valentino

In a whirl of light and color, Tomer Ganihar believes he has photographed holiness. And for this Israeli photographer, it lives at the rave.“In the clubs, holiness is everywhere.” Ganihar said. “It’s like a temple. The clubs are the new synagogues, and the DJs are the rabbis.”Using long exposures and only a simpleRead More


Dwelling Among Them

After the action-packed stories of the first one-and-a-half books of the Torah — all of Genesis and the first part of Exodus — the main narrative abruptly changes course in the middle of the book of Exodus. Stories such as the creation of the world, the flood, the lives of the patriarchs, the slavery in Egypt, the plagues, the Exodus and theRead More


From The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern

Last summer, the Forward dipped its toes into the world of fiction by co-sponsoring a monthly literary series in New York called “Novel Jews.” The series has become an enormous success, with one drawback: It is not available to the majority of our readers, who live outside New York. In an effort to include them, this month we initiate theRead More


He Wandered the Earth as an Exiled Man

By Jay Michaelson

Chronicles: Volume One By Bob Dylan Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, $24. * * *Toward the end of last year’s rambling, barely coherent film “Masked and Anonymous,” Bob Dylan, its masked and anonymous star, spoke in voice-over one of his most direct and self-revelatory addresses. Fittingly, it was about the limits of whatRead More


The Fate of Slaves in Ancient Israel

By Gary A. Rendsburg

With this week’s Torah reading, called Mishpatim or “Rules,” the presentation of the laws of ancient Israel formally commences. Earlier sections of the Torah have occasional laws imbedded in them, such as the law of circumcision in Genesis 17 or the laws pertaining to Passover in Exodus 12. But these items are few in number and areRead More


Plaut Redux: Reforming the Reform Commentary

By Eric J. Greenberg

Since its release nearly a quarter-century ago, the Reform movement’s first biblical commentary has sold 250,000 copies and helped fuel a revolution in Torah study. But, as more and more congregations in recent years began placing a greater emphasis on Hebrew and Torah reading during Sabbath services, the tome essentially fell out of step withRead More


Controversial Priests Tapped for Jerusalem Center

By Jason Berry

Pope John Paul II has awarded control of an important Catholic cultural center in Jerusalem to a controversial, right-wing priestly order whose founder has been accused of sexual abuse.The order, the Legionaries of Christ, received the administrative keys to the Jerusalem landmark, the Notre Dame Center, in a festive ceremony at the Vatican onRead More





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