Arts & Culture


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


The Myth of Jewish Guilt

By Joshua Halberstam

What is it about Jewish guilt? One woman says she forever diets because of her Jewish guilt, while another blames Jewish guilt for her constant overeating. Jewish guilt is the culprit for why you are so tidy, or so messy, date too much, or too little, indulge your children or discipline them. Jewish guilt explains why you worry about your parents,Read More


So Mike Leigh Is Jewish After All. But Is It Good for the Jews?

By Nicole Taylor

Mike Leigh is responsible for some of the best British drama of the past 30 years — both theater and film, including “Abigail’s Party,” “Nuts in May,” Career Girls,” “Naked,” “Life Is Sweet,” “Secrets and Lies,” “Topsy-Turvy,” “All or Nothing,” and last year’s Oscar-nominated “Vera Drake.” But even for aRead More


Rehearsing for Reconciliation

By Jeffrey Fiskin

Two men approach each other from across a field. You would be surprised to learn they are twins, so different are they now. But even before their paths diverged, they were not alike.One strides purposefully forward with the confidence in his own element, at home. Well he might, as he is surrounded by 400 of his own men. He has the ruddy complexionRead More


Bukharan Vista

By Adam Stern

Over a period of seven years, photographer Zion Ozeri traveled to Uzbekistan, where he captured images of the Bukharan Jews, the Persian-speaking community that traces its history in the region back to the Middle Ages. The photographs are currently on display in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in an exhibitRead More


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