Arts & Culture


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


Teach Your Children Well: Tzedaka Restores Justice

By David A. Teutsch

The word tzedaka, often translated as “charity,” comes from the Hebrew root tzedek, meaning “justice.” Its current usage was developed by the early rabbis, who recognized that the distribution of resources that results from a free-market economy must be adjusted by other means to ensure a fair society. Tzedaka is an expression of justiceRead More


The Young Face of Philanthropy

By Allison Hoffman

Jewish teenagers are learning that tzedaka involves more than slipping a few coins into the collection box at synagogue. In innovative programs around the country, teens are being given control over thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars in an effort to teach them the ins and outs of philanthropy —Read More


Birthright Israel Builds a Solid Foundation

By Nathaniel Popper

Birthright Israel is only six years old, but it already has established itself as one of the most successful programs in the Jewish world. Steps are now being taken to make it a permanent part of the Jewish landscape.When Birthright was founded by a handful of innovative philanthropists, “it was an experiment,” said Charles Bronfman, oneRead More


Joshua Venture: Gone for Good, or Ready for a Fresh Start?

By Jennifer Siegel

After helping to launch some of the Jewish world’s most buzzed-about fledgling organizations in recent years, Joshua Venture closed its doors last spring after only five years of operation. As supporters evaluate exactly what went wrong, some of the group’s major funders have already moved on to new projects. Nonetheless, thereRead More


Rabbi Sets a Message to Music

By Sarah Kricheff

Shawn Zevit is practicing what he preaches. A Philadelphia-based Reconstructionist rabbi who serves as a visiting rabbi at Pittsburgh’s Congregation Dor Hadash, Zevit is also a singer, songwriter and guitarist with two full-length CDs to his credit.With musical influences ranging from The Beatles to indie rock, from soul toRead More


Playing Fill-in-the-Blanks With a Father’s Life

By Tessa Brown

Not Me By Michael Lavigne Random House, 320 pages, $24.95. Between what one is told and what one is able to infer, there lies a distant and beckoning truth: the Parent as Human Being. It glimmers beyond our grasp, always sought after but never obtained, the object of conjecture but never of understanding. For some, seeking this truth isRead More


Confessions

By David Mamet

We human beings have a special adaptive mechanism called rationality. It allows us to prognosticate. We say “If A, then B.” If we wish to change B, perhaps we might change A. This is the good news.The bad news is that we are incapable of perceiving situations otherwise than as the syntheses of thesis and antithesis.This capacity often goesRead More


A Jewish Family Drama, Minus the Shmaltz

By Steven Zeitchik

Judaism and parental ambition have been inextricable since the early days — the really early days, back to when old Jacob let his hopes get too high for poor Joseph. (Had Ivy League law schools existed back then, one can only imagine the arguments.) Immigrant tenacity, a tradition of literacy and just plain genetic stubbornness have ensured thatRead More


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