Arts & Culture


An Italian Fountain of Liberty

By Helen Eliassian

In Baedekar’s 19th-century guides to Italy, the small town of Ladispoli is described as a seaside resort with a fine beach. According to local lore, the sands were said to have a healing quality. Right in the middle of town, there was a little nondescript fountain.Thanks to a few historical twists, in the 20th century that fountain would come toRead More


The Holy Fool How One Writer Conveys Spiritual Truths That Are Seriously Funny

By Jay Michaelson

Because I first met Eliezer Sobel on a meditation retreat, the first things I remember about him are his socks. The most important rule at such gatherings, where taking off one’s shoes is inevitable, is to bring good socks. But Sobel’s weren’t just the warm, wool socks that every retreat veteran has. They were loud, bright, multicolored;Read More


A Room of Their Own –– Again; Exploring the Latest Revival in Girls’ Schools

By Jennifer Siegel

As a veteran reporter who spent years covering California’s male-dominated State House, Ilana DeBare had long seen that women were disadvantaged in a system fueled by the late-night backroom deals of chummy male insiders. But when she started covering the state’s booming technology industry — a new field, allegedly driven more byRead More


Stern College Turns 50

By Jennifer Siegel

As a member of the second class of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, Ginger Socol remembers shopping on 34th Street, taking biology classes with a total of three students and living in a hotel suite while the dormitory was under construction. Most of all, though, she remembers her roommates — Orthodox young women fromRead More


America on the Couch: Jews and the Shaping of Therapeutic Culture

By Eli Zaretsky

Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the 20th Century By Andrew R. Heinze Princeton University Press, 456 pages, $29.95. * * *The convergence of religion and psychology is one of the signal facts of 20th-century Western culture. In retrospect, the relationship seems obvious: On the one hand, many functions once performed by religionRead More


Nodding Off on Wedlock’s Bed

By David Curzon

This week’s portion contains Jacob’s dream and many other passages that have given rise to midrashim. One of these passages is Genesis 30:1: And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob: ‘Give me children or else I die.’ Robert Burns (1759-1796) was inspired by this verse toRead More


The Return Of Shylock

By Gabriel Sanders

In November 2003, when billionaire George Soros was first establishing himself as a force in the presidential campaign, a writer for the Web site GOPUSA spelled out his feelings about the financier with great conciseness when he referred to him as a “Hungarian-born descendant of Shylock.”Shakespeare’s most famous villain may be more than 400Read More


The Women We Know

By Allison T. Hoffman

They are the women we all know: A Florida bubbe battling with her headstrong granddaughter. A good Jewish girl looking for a nice Jewish husband. Three artists — a painter, a singer and a filmmaker — all questioning the assumptions of their faith. An old woman, a Russian immigrant, rediscovering her youth; another, alone in a nursing home,Read More


How Jewish Is the New ‘Jewish Study Bible’?

By Mark Jay Mirsky

The Jewish Study Bible By Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler (Editors) and Michael Fishbane (Consulting Editor) Oxford University Press, 2,181 pages, $40. * * *‘The Jewish Study Bible,” a hefty, 2,181-page tome published this year, packages a previously published translation of the Hebrew Bible together with extensive marginal commentary andRead More


‘Yekl’ at 108: Rereading a Classic With the Children of Immigrants

By Andrew R. Heinze

Why should a somewhat stiff novella about Jewish immigrants in 1896 hold an American audience today? It shouldn’t, and if Congress had not reopened the Golden Door in 1965, ushering in the second great immigration of the 20th century, Abraham Cahan’s “Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto” might now be gathering dust on a library shelfRead More





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