Arts & Culture


Beyond Tumbala, Tumbala...

By Rukhl Schaechter

In Camp Hemshekh, a Jewish socialist summer camp in Mountaindale, N.Y., where Caroline Chanin first heard Yiddish music, singing was an integral part of the program. At breakfast, in the dimly lit dining room, campers belted out popular camp tunes to the accompaniment of an aging piano; during rest hour, selected campers would rehearse the YiddishRead More


Breaking the Mold of the Sitcom

By Andrew R. Heinze

Why are Jews such experts at laughter? Leo Rosten answered that question as well as anyone could when he characterized Yiddish, the quintessential Jewish tongue, as saturated with irony. When we speak about a Jewish perspective — aside from the religious one — what we often mean is an ironic view of a world known to be more complicated andRead More


South African Jews Begin To Tell Tales

By Anderson Tepper

A Time of Angels By Patricia Schonstein

William Morrow, 224 pages, $24.95.

The Persistence of Memory By Tony Eprile

W.W. Norton & Company, 288 pages, $24.95.

People Who Have Stolen From Me By David Cohen Picador, Trade paperback, 264 pages, $14. ——-In the decade since the end of apartheid, there’s beenRead More


Folksbiene’s ‘Romance’ Sings in the New Year

By Gabriel Sanders

Every Jewish girl has a list of criteria that her ideal man must meet. But Khane, the bookish heroine of Abraham Goldfaden’s “A Novel Romance,” which is playing — in Yiddish — at the Manhattan JCC until January 2, 2005, has a list longer than most.He must be romantic, of course. And passionate, too. But then she gets particular: HeRead More


Successors to Jacob, Successors to Arafat

By Deborah Slavitt

In this last portion in Genesis, the children of Israel are on the verge of becoming a people. The next portion opens the book of Exodus with Pharaoh afraid of the potential might of the people (Exodus 1:9) he calls “Ivrim,” and it is as a people that the Ivrim, the children of Israel, go up out of Egypt. The birth struggles of this shift fromRead More


From the Dawn of Printing Why Rare Hebrew Manuscripts Are Commanding Exorbitant Fees

By Jeannie Rosenfeld

Early in last month’s sale at Kestenbaum & Company, a New York auction house specializing in rare Hebrew books, when a single leaf of Rashi’s commentary on the Pentateuch came on the block, fevered bidding erupted. This first printed edition of the 11th-century French rabbi’s pre-eminent biblical commentary was producedRead More


A New Beginning for an Old Master

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The Autobiography of God By Julius Lester St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $23.95. ———Julius Lester is the author of more than 30 books, a diverse collection of novels, essays and children’s fables published over a period of 30 years. Now 65 years old and recently retired from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Lester’s latestRead More


Gazing at the Guggenheims

By David Kaufmann

The Guggenheims: A Family History By Irwin Unger and Debi Unger HarperCollins, 530 pages, $29.95. ——By the start of World War I, the Guggenheims had become so prominent that even their pets’ deaths were considered newsworthy. Ninety years later, they are chiefly remembered in the names of foundations and museums. In a heavilyRead More


What Is It About the Lower East Side?

By Adam Sol

Nothing has replaced it in our collective imagination. As a starting place, reference point and standard for community, the few square miles of New York City’s Lower East Side still loom with almost biblical significance over Jewish life on this continent. Even now, decades after the Jewish population of North America has movedRead More


Finding an Excuse To Celebrate Copland

By Benjamin Levisohn

No excuse is necessary to stage a concert of Aaron Copland’s works — over the last 60 years, his name has become synonymous with American classical music — but Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Kane Street Synagogue found one anyway. On November 14, it staged a tribute to the composer to coincide with the 91st anniversary of Copland’s barRead More





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