Arts & Culture


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


Like Father, Like Son

By Ami Eden

Dr. Haran: So, how are things?Jacob: It’s been a good week.Dr. Haran: Why do you say that?Jacob: I finally left my father-in-law’s house. It was a big step.Dr. Haran: How come?Jacob: What’s the big riddle? After two decades of letting Laban walk all over me, I finally let him have it.Dr. Haran: But you snuck away in the middle of theRead More


One Man Chronicles Centuries of Synagogue Music

By Alexander Gelfand

Appearances can be deceiving, especially online. For example, one would never guess from its plain vanilla Web site that Google is a hyper-capitalized behemoth worth more than General Motors and Ford put together.Conversely, the Web site of the Jewish Music Heritage Project gives the impression of a lavishly funded institutional undertaking.Read More


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


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