Arts & Culture


A Demanding Composer Meets His Orchestral Match

By Raphael Mostel

In between rehearsals at the Metropolitan Opera, composer Tobias Picker laughingly recalled another opera orchestra — which shall remain nameless — whose violinists, protesting his penchant for writing in the instruments’ extreme range, greeted him in rehearsal in mock submission, waving white handkerchiefs on the end of their bows.NothingRead More


A Tale of Two Trains

By Lev Raphael

I am on a train heading into Magdeburg in eastern Germany, an hour or so from Berlin. Sixty-one years ago, my late mother was on a train headed for Magdeburg. Hers didn’t have a dining car or changing electronic displays updating the train’s speed and distance from its next station. She was one of hundreds of internees being transported fromRead More


A Ladino Singer Rebels –– With Flamenco

By Eric Marx

Yasmin Levy should be a very happy woman. The Jerusalem-born singer is perhaps the most visible and popular performer of contemporary Ladino music. Critics gushed over her 2001 debut album, “Romance & Yasmin,” and well-received performances at the World of Music, Arts & Dance festivals in Singapore and Madrid in 2004 and 2005Read More


Inward Bound: State, Faith and the Jews

By David Kaufmann

The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism By Jean Daniel, translated by Charlotte Mandell Melville House, 214 pages, $14.95. * * *In “The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism,” an often impassioned, sometimes contradictory and always very French essay, Jean Daniel argues that contemporaryRead More


Entitlements

By Henry Bean

He is a boy of 8 or 9, sweeping out the entry to the master’s house. He hears his master, Abraham, within, speaking to someone he cannot see, worried that, as the only male born into the household, “this Eliezer of Damascus” might become heir to the household. It took him some moments to divine that this Eliezer was, in fact, himself.He isRead More


Seeing Stars

By Ami Eden

Stars of David: Prominent Jews

Talk About Being Jewish By Abigail Pogrebin Broadway, 400 pages, $24.95. * * *In 1994, comedian Adam Sandler evoked the joys of counting Jewish celebrities with his hilarious ditty, “The Hanukkah Song.” Now, journalist Abigail Pogrebin is taking it one step further. Unwilling to settle for a mereRead More


Israel Museum Donation

By Raphael Ahren

The photography department of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, recently received a $12 million gift from long-standing New York-based patrons Harriette and Noel Levine. The gift — the largest monetary donation that a visual-arts institution has ever received — will permit the museum’s already established photography department to conductRead More


The Silver Jews Return

By Benjamin Levisohn

This year, David Berman forgot when Yom Kippur was to begin. With his band, the Silver Jews, releasing a new album, “Tanglewood Numbers,” and Berman doing interviews to publicize it, he was convinced the holiday started a day later than it actually did. He realized his mistake an hour before the holiday began, andRead More


Goodbye to All That, Again

By Allison Hoffman

Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer, and Its Aftermath By Paul Berman Soft Skull Press, 314 pages, $23.95. * * *Pity the generation of 1968, those children born under the shadow of a catastrophe they did not make. In Germany and France, the children of the Third Reich and Vichy called their parents and grandparentsRead More


South African Challah?

By Philologos

Michael Cole from Toronto writes:“My wife’s South African relatives refer to a Shabbat or festival challah as a ‘kitke.’ This seems to be a uniquely South African term, unknown, as far as I am aware, even among other people of Lithuanian descent. [Mr. Cole is referring to the fact that South African Jewry originated largely in JewishRead More


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