Arts & Culture


These Are the Journeys

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

The last portion in the Book of Numbers, Mas’ei, begins with an ancient version of a Triple-A guidebook:“These are the journeys of the Children of Israel, who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions, under Moses and Aaron.” (Numbers 33:1)During their 40-year sojourn, the Israelites decamped in 42 places — all of themRead More


The Man Behind a Legendary Effort

By Ilan Stavans

Opportunities That Pass: An Historical MiscellanyBy Cecil Roth, edited by Israel Finestein and Joseph F. Roth, foreword by Raphael LoeweVallentine Mitchell, 256 pages, $28.95.* * *Of all the scholarly efforts in Jewish studies, none may be more influential than the 16-volume “Encyclopedia Judaica.” Since its publication in Jerusalem,Read More


Plumbing Berlin for Yiddish Fiction

By Nathaniel Popper

The Shadows of Berlin:

The Berlin Stories of Dovid Bergelson By Dovid Bergelson,Translated by Joachim Neugroschel City Lights Publishers, 120 pages, $14.95. * * *Berlin’s role as the capital of Nazi Germany has crowded out most other memories of the city’s 20th-century Jewish history. In the 1920s, though, the city was a placeRead More


Roman Holidays

By Noga Tarnopolsky

One thing to know about Alain Elkann, the much-discussed French-Italian-Jewish author, journalist, and man of Roman society, is that a lot of the talk is talk about his face. Think of a youthful, smoldering Richard Gere, then think one better. It is a face impossible to ignore, and it is not the face he has always worn.Read More


Two Albums Offer Gems of Gypsy Melodies

By Alexander Gelfand

Before the advent of the European Union and its open borders, long before Germany had been invaded by the Turks and France by the North Africans, two groups vied for the distinction of being the most despised people in Europe: Gypsies and Jews.More often than not, the Gypsies — or Roma, as they prefer to be known — were the unfortunate winnersRead More


The Son Also Rises

By Jordana Horn

In the Perlman family, musical talent is a family affair. Most people are familiar with Itzhak Perlman, the internationally renowned violin virtuoso. But his wife, Toby, is also an accomplished violinist. The couple’s daughter Navah is a concert pianist who tours worldwide both with her trio and as a soloist, and daughter Ariella plays the fluteRead More


Standing Again With Lilith; The Long and Winding Roads of Jewish Feminism

By Jay Michaelson

These days, everyone is post-something: postmodern, post-Zionist — and, in many quarters, post-feminist. Like other “revolutionary” ideologies, feminism has come to mean different — indeed, diametrically opposed — things to different people. To some, it is the simple belief that women should be treated as equal to men: for example,Read More


Untranslatable Sentiments

By David Kaufmann

Paul Celan: Selections Edited by Pierre Joris University of California Press, 230 pages, $17.95. * * *It might seem ironic that the most important German poet of the second half of the 20th century was a Romanian Jew who lived most of his adult life in Paris. But it is not. Paul Celan, born in 1920 in a cosmopolitan, largely Jewish cityRead More


An Unsung Master Offers Sorrow (and Yuks)

Almonds to Zhoof: Collected Stories By Richard Stern TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press,

611 pages, $29.95.

By Peter Orner


STERN: A new collection includes 49 short stories. In a review of Bernard Malamud’s stories, Richard Stern once called Malamud “the poet of the American depression.” Call Stern theRead More


Balaam’s Experience

By Norman Finkelstein

This week’s portion, on the prophet Balaam and the king of Moab, Balak, is a sort of microcosm of the Torah in that it encapsulates so many of its greatest modes and themes. Balaam’s prophetic praise-poems, rising to the most sublime heights, assert the power of God’s blessing over His chosen people in the face of their enemy and, as happensRead More


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