Arts & Culture


Plan To Revive Biblical Sanhedrin Receives Boost

By Steven I. Weiss

A nascent effort to re-establish the ancient rabbinical body of the Sanhedrin received a significant boost Monday when world-renowned scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz agreed to serve as the body’s president.The original Sanhedrin, the supreme legislative body in ancient Israel, comprised 71 leading scholars who issued rulings on a wide array ofRead More


‘Who Is a Taoist?’ Principal’s Job Hinged on Definition

By Jennifer Siegel

Academic politics are often esoteric and never pretty. But in what appears to be a first, the fate of a middle-school principal in West Orange, N.J., was determined by a rabbinic debate over the definition of “who is a Taoist.”For months, Aaron Kriegel, a pulpit rabbi in West Essex, N.J., has urged officials at Solomon Schechter Day SchoolRead More


The Man Behind The Equation

By Dan Falk

Albert Einstein looms over the 20th century. He was undoubtedly the greatest intellect of the past 100 years, a man whose very name is now synonymous with “genius.” His rise to fame began on June 30, 1905, when a German physics journal published a seemingly innocuous article titled “On the Electrodynamics ofRead More


Finding Comedy in the Conflict

By Joseph Carman

When choreographer David Dorfman toured with his dance company, he often sought out local rabbis to ask, “Who are the chosen people?” After listening to a thoughtful response, Dorfman’s standard follow-up question was, “Does that mean everyone else is un-chosen?” An obsession with questioning belief systems — and a healthy sense ofRead More


A Look Back at a Different Book Burning

By Zachary Silver

Exactly 60 years ago, a group of individuals assembled to burn the prayer book of a Jewish leader and to ostracize him from community life. This event occurred not in Europe but in Manhattan, and the book burners were not Nazis. They were Jews.On June 12, 1945, at New York City’s Hotel McAlpin, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United StatesRead More


Generation Birthright Grows Up

By Paul Zakrzewski

The Task of This TranslatorBy Todd Hasak-LowyHarcourt, 272 pages, $13.* * Raymond and HannahBy Stephen MarcheHarcourt, 216 pages, $14. * Light YearsBy Tammar SteinKnopf, 272 pages, $15.95. * *There was a time when you hardly ever picked up an American novel or story collection that focused much on Israel — Philip Roth notwithstanding. Today,Read More


Fathers and Sons

By Daniel M. Jaffe

From across the kitchen table, Bobby asks, “You want your firstborn son to die on a battlefield?”“Don’t be ridiculous.” Phil Gutman shakes his head. “We’re talking registration with the Selective Service, that’s all. You’re 18. It’s the law.”“I’ll be drafted to Iraq. We already did the Babylonian exile thing a long timeRead More


Brown Shirts and Dirndls A New Book Explores the History of Nazis and Fashion

By Amanda Fortini

Nazi Chic?: Fashioning Women in the Third ReichBy Irene GuentherBerg Publishers, 320 pages, $28.95.* * *Was there an aspect of culture in which the Nazis did not take a fanatical interest? From numerous books and articles and films on the subject, we have become familiar with images of Nazis storming museums and galleries to confiscate artRead More


A Literary Easterner With a Hollywood Muse

By Mark Oppenheimer

The Golden West: Hollywood StoriesBy Daniel FuchsDavid R. Godine/Black Sparrow Books, 272 pages, $24.95.* * *In his introduction to “The Golden West,” a new collection of Daniel Fuchs’s writings about California, John Updike places Fuchs in the company of similarly gifted fiction writers who did lucrative stints as screenwriters inRead More


Before Fusion: A CD Plumbs Statman’s Archives

By Fred Kaplan

Andy Statman is a practicing Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn and a top-notch clarinetist who has spent the past three decades playing klezmer — not, as some have, for irony or wedding gigs or nostalgia, but rather to explore highly personal paths of connection with the music’s spiritual roots. A new CD, “Avodas Halevi: Archival RecordingsRead More





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