Arts & Culture


Crossing Into the Director’s Chair

By Michael Bronski

Like Leo Spivak, the character he plays in “King of the Corner,” Peter Riegert is on the road, selling his wares. But unlike the troubled Spivak, who is trapped in a job he increasingly dislikes — running focus groups for home-safety systems — as he undergoes a massive midlife crisis, Riegert is traveling across the country to dozensRead More


A Fashion Icon Reveals Her Tough Side

By Lisa Keys

“I’m pretty tough,” Diane von Furstenberg explained.No kidding. Sitting barefoot in her expansive office in Manhattan’s hip Far West Village, the princess-turned-socialite-turned-clothing-designer emits a cool vibe that is simultaneously glamorous, stern and relaxed.On a simmering summer afternoon, von Furstenberg looks flawless in white —Read More


A Theater Troupe Of One’s Own

By Sara Trappler Spielman

A few years ago, a Jewish women’s theater group from Pittsburgh performed a short piece at the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance’s fourth International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy in New York. Called “Dancing With the Torah,” it was about a girl who is banned from the men’s side of the synagogue on the holiday of Simchat TorahRead More


Honoring My Cousin’s Courage

By Diane Von Furstenberg

Sima Vaisman and my father, Lipa (Leon) Halfin, were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters and they lived in the same house in Kishinev, Bessarabia (now Moldova). Sima’s mother, Genia, was a widow. And my grandmother Sarah asked her husband, a well-to-do merchant, to welcome the mother and daughter to live with them. It was a large houseRead More


Comfort, Comfort

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This week’s portion, Va-Et’hanan, includes two of the most famous sections of the Bible, a second version of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-18, and the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. One could write endlessly about these crucial texts and their importance for the history of Judaism. However, I’ll focus instead on the Haftarah, IsaiahRead More


Ultra-problematic

By Philologos

‘Thousands of Israeli ultranationalists rallied Tuesday against a Gaza pullout,” began a Reuters news dispatch on Wednesday, August 3. Is this an accurate or a biased description on Reuters’s part?“Ultra” is an odd prefix because it can have either a positive, negative or neutral connotation depending on what word it goes with.Read More


Anna Kamienska in The Wilderness

By David Curzon

The wilderness in the Torah is both a geographic place and a figurative region.Moses, in the first chapter of Deuteronomy, speaking “to all Israel,” recapitulates the journeys they have taken. He reminds them that God, condemning the generation that came out of Egypt, told them to turn back from the Promised Land after the incidentRead More


Going Home Again

By Jennifer Siegel

After a year of exhibits, lectures and articles to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the arrival of America’s first Jewish community, the themes from New York’s Center for Jewish History’s exhibit “Greetings From Home: 350 Years of American Jewish Life,” may feel familiar. The exhibit, a joint project of the American Jewish HistoricalRead More


Light Show; At the Israel Museum, Refreshing Looks at a Potentially Tired Cliche

By Richard Mcbee

From “Let there be Light” of biblical fame to modern sound-and-light shows, the notion of light as a metaphor or aesthetic tool is worn and tedious at best. Even as pietists, who claim dominion over Divine emanations, battle with the modernists who assert visual primacy, the serious metaphorical concept of light is clichéd andRead More


From ‘Gullboy (a novel)’ by Wade Rubenstein

Each month, in coordination with “Novel Jews,” our reading series in New York, the Forward publishes an excerpt from the work of that month’s series guest or guests. Though the reading series takes a hiatus this month, we figured everyone still could meet on the page. In celebration of summer, we offer readers a selection fromRead More


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