Arts & Culture


Merry Wonderer of the Night

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Marla’s Catholic husband, Billy, sometimes reads the Torah to understand her values. And now, just as they’re slipping into bed, he mentions this week’s portion, Ki Tavo. “It just sounds so… so Christian,” he says. “I figured the Jewish version would be different from what I was taught, but it’s the same: If the Hebrews disobey theRead More


Women Trailblazers Honored

By Masha Leon

“I am convinced that there is a place in hell for women who do not help each other,” honoree Madeleine Korbel Albright said at the September 7 Women Who Changed the Landscape for Women dinner. The event was held at The Waldorf-Astoria and was sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Women. “When I was ambassador to the U.N.Read More


Whither Utopia?

By David Kaufmann

Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought For an Anti-Utopian Age By Russell Jacoby Columbia University Press, 240 pages, $24.95. * * *Utopianism has gotten a bad rap over the past 50 years. The desire to secure happiness through the basic transformation of social institutions has been blamed for most of the past century’s carnage, from Hitler’sRead More


A Novelist Defends Zion’s Idealists

By Benjamin Balint

Mandrakes From the Holy Land By Aharon MeggedTranslated by Sondra Silverston Toby Press, 220 pages, $22.95. * * *In an impassioned 1994 article in Ha’aretz, Aharon Megged, one of Israel’s most accomplished novelists, suddenly permitted himself to address in his own voice the disdain with which many of his colleagues are given toRead More


Illuminating the Big Screen

By Saul Austerlitz

Okay, class, here’s a question: You’re watching a movie that stars Elijah Wood, and one of the characters in the film says to him, “The ring is not here because of us. We are here because of the ring.” What movie is it?If you answered “The Lord of the Rings,” two demerits; turns out this line makes its appearance in “EverythingRead More


What Melting Pot?

By Ilan Stavans

Name a Woody Allen movie that has a leading black actor in its cast. Now, mention a “Seinfeld” episode in which Elaine, Jerry, George and Kramer socialize in an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with some Korean friends. How about a story with Cuban Americans, written by Isaac Bashevis Singer?Movies, television andRead More


An Author’s Story, Fleshed Out in Flesh

By Joshua Cohen

My Body in Nine Parts By Raymond Federman Starcherone Books, 136 pages, $16. * * *The marketing departments that run America’s publishing houses now dictate to most the definition of literature. Even in the Jewish community, one of the last remaining “focus groups” of avid readers, we have let significant writersRead More


Imagining Life as A Black Woman –– In the Bible

By Ariella Cohen

In a recent meeting with the Forward at the Hotel Plaza Athenee on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side, French novelist Marek Halter sketched one stone tablet, then its twin. He fashioned an ark around them and announced, “The Ten Commandments came from Moses.” He paused, popped a wasabi pea in his mouth and set his napkin artworkRead More


In Praise of Dissembling

By David Curzon

Deuteronomy 22:1-3 contains the admirable commandment to return your neighbor’s lost property. At the end of 22:3 we have the following isolated clause, preceded by a colon in the King James and by a semicolon in the Jewish Publication Society 1917 translations:thou mayest not hide thyselfEverett Fox concurs, offering, after a colon,Read More


Wilder Times: A Life and Legacy

By A.J. Goldmann

‘A brain full of razor blades and a heart full of chutzpah.” That’s how filmmaker Billy Wilder described “Whiplash Willie” Gingrich, the opportunistic lawyer in “The Fortune Cookie” (1966). But those same words could well be used to describe Wilder himself. Wilder, the great American filmmaker who died in 2002, is best remembered forRead More


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