Arts & Culture


The Logic of Impurity

By David Kraemer

The ritual of the Red Heifer is one of the most mysterious rituals in the entire Torah. (I have no doubt that this first sentence has been written many times before, but the ritual is so mysterious — so contrary to “logic” — that it is virtually impossible to write about it without commenting on its mystery at theRead More


Tracing the Legacy of German Jews in America

By Mark M. Anderson

Who were the German Jews who came to America, and what have they become? Starting Over: The Experience of German Jews in America, 1830-1945, the recently opened exhibition at the Leo Baeck Institute, gives visitors a chance to meditate on these questions as well as to revisit some familiar and not so familiar faces and places: anRead More


Male and Female Created He Them

By Jay Michaelson

Hating Women: America’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer SexBy Shmuley BoteachRegan Books, 326 pages, $24.95.* * Sex and Character: An Investigation of Fundamental PrinciplesBy Otto Weininger, translated from German by Ladislaus Löb and edited by Daniel Steuer with Laura MarcusIndiana University Press, 440 pages, $75. * *‘TheRead More


This Month at Novel Jews

Ewa Zadrzynska-Glowacki is a writer, journalist and cultural consultant originally from Warsaw. Her journalism has been published in The New York Times and in New York Newsday, and in Poland by Polityka, Gazeta Wyborcza and Twoj Styl.

Irina Reyn is a writer and book reviewer whose reviews have appeared in such publicationsRead More


‘Vasilisa the Beautiful’ By Irina Reyn

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 writers from the former Communist bloc, Ewa Zadrzynska-Glowacki and Irina Reyn (for full details, please see sidebar), and the excerpt we have chosen toRead More


Divide and Concur

By Peretz Rodman

Although the portion is called simply Korah, the assault on Moses’ leadership was led by a coalition of opponents with different gripes and different goals. The portion begins with a list of the leaders: “Korah son of Yitzhar son of Kehat son of Levi, and Datan and Aviram sons of Eliav and On son of Pelet sons of Reuven” (Num. 16:1-2). OneRead More


Testing the Power of the Desert

By Saul Austerlitz

‘God’s Sandbox,” the latest Israeli film to make its way to American shores, depends in large part on the mystery and romance of the desert for its effect. This is evident from its very first moments, when a car, driving slowly along a winding desert road, stops at what appears to be no particular point, and lets out a passenger: aRead More


Holding Patterns

By Miriam Udel-Lambert

When sleep eludes me, I conjugate Spanish verbs. I begin with nice, regular verbs in the indicative mood. Hablar, comer, vivir: to speak, to eat, to live. I move methodically through the present tense, the preterit past, the past imperfect, the future and the conditional. Then on to forms requiring auxiliary verbs — theRead More


Bank Plays It Safe With Sophomore Effort

By Sheelah Kolhatkar

The Wonder Spot By Melissa Bank Viking, 336 pages, $24.95. —–This might be the year of the high-expectation second novel. After putting out a critical and commercial darling of a book at an impossibly young age, every new literary sensation must follow up with a second, and the path there is littered withRead More


A Century of Israeli Art, on View in Berlin

By Michael Levitin

Pogroms in Russia before and during the First World War sent waves of Jewish emigrants fleeing to Palestine. Around the same time, Jewish painters from across Europe settled in Tel Aviv, where an arts scene flourished in the 1920s, planting the seeds of Jewish national identity. It is this compelling chapter that opens “The NewRead More





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