Arts & Culture


Shmatte Chic

By E.B. Solomont

When Mamie Eisenhower prepared to take her place beside husband Dwight D. Eisenhower at his 1953 presidential inauguration, the notoriously fashion-conscious first lady knew exactly where to go for her outfit: Her ballgown was designed by Nettie Rosenstein, the Jewish designer who popularized the “little black dress” in the 1920s and ’30s,Read More


Beyond Bubbeleh: Reading Real Yiddish

By Alyssa Quint

These days, books about Yiddish have been hamming it up for the mainstreamers. A slew of new books have arrived to decode the cultural essence of the language of Ashkenazic Jewry for an audience of non-Jews and Jews (both of whom appear equally innocent of Yiddish these days). “Yiddish With Dick and Jane” is only the most ingenious andRead More


The Myth of Jewish Guilt

By Joshua Halberstam

What is it about Jewish guilt? One woman says she forever diets because of her Jewish guilt, while another blames Jewish guilt for her constant overeating. Jewish guilt is the culprit for why you are so tidy, or so messy, date too much, or too little, indulge your children or discipline them. Jewish guilt explains why you worry about your parents,Read More


So Mike Leigh Is Jewish After All. But Is It Good for the Jews?

By Nicole Taylor

Mike Leigh is responsible for some of the best British drama of the past 30 years — both theater and film, including “Abigail’s Party,” “Nuts in May,” Career Girls,” “Naked,” “Life Is Sweet,” “Secrets and Lies,” “Topsy-Turvy,” “All or Nothing,” and last year’s Oscar-nominated “Vera Drake.” But even for aRead More


Rehearsing for Reconciliation

By Jeffrey Fiskin

Two men approach each other from across a field. You would be surprised to learn they are twins, so different are they now. But even before their paths diverged, they were not alike.One strides purposefully forward with the confidence in his own element, at home. Well he might, as he is surrounded by 400 of his own men. He has the ruddy complexionRead More


Bukharan Vista

By Adam Stern

Over a period of seven years, photographer Zion Ozeri traveled to Uzbekistan, where he captured images of the Bukharan Jews, the Persian-speaking community that traces its history in the region back to the Middle Ages. The photographs are currently on display in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in an exhibitRead More


A Demanding Composer Meets His Orchestral Match

By Raphael Mostel

In between rehearsals at the Metropolitan Opera, composer Tobias Picker laughingly recalled another opera orchestra — which shall remain nameless — whose violinists, protesting his penchant for writing in the instruments’ extreme range, greeted him in rehearsal in mock submission, waving white handkerchiefs on the end of their bows.NothingRead More


A Tale of Two Trains

By Lev Raphael

I am on a train heading into Magdeburg in eastern Germany, an hour or so from Berlin. Sixty-one years ago, my late mother was on a train headed for Magdeburg. Hers didn’t have a dining car or changing electronic displays updating the train’s speed and distance from its next station. She was one of hundreds of internees being transported fromRead More


A Ladino Singer Rebels –– With Flamenco

By Eric Marx

Yasmin Levy should be a very happy woman. The Jerusalem-born singer is perhaps the most visible and popular performer of contemporary Ladino music. Critics gushed over her 2001 debut album, “Romance & Yasmin,” and well-received performances at the World of Music, Arts & Dance festivals in Singapore and Madrid in 2004 and 2005Read More


Inward Bound: State, Faith and the Jews

By David Kaufmann

The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism By Jean Daniel, translated by Charlotte Mandell Melville House, 214 pages, $14.95. * * *In “The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism,” an often impassioned, sometimes contradictory and always very French essay, Jean Daniel argues that contemporaryRead More


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