Arts & Culture


Rethinking the Divine

By Miriam Shaviv

In 1982, noted Israeli thinker Yeshayahu Leibowitz wrote that “the question of women and Judaism is more crucial than all the political problems of the people and its state. Failure to deal with it seriously threatens the viability of the Judaism of Torah and Mitzvoth in the contemporary world.”Despite the passage of 20Read More


The Aphorism Master

By Joshua Cohen

Yes damns no. No postpones yes. Tragic facts don’t exist. The magic of fiction lies in deluding reason that it is fiction.

All ways lead to the wayfarer. The long lineage of literature’s shortest form, the aphorism, extends from the mythical Hippocrates of Greek antiquity, through the Renaissance, Erasmus and Paracelsus, into theRead More


Seeing Gray in a Black-and-white World Francine Prose Turns the Screws on the Self-righteous

By Jenifer Berman

A Changed Man By Francine Prose HarperCollins, 432 pages, $24.95. ——-You’d think that Francine Prose might be losing some steam. After more than a dozen novels and a handful of short fiction and nonfiction works, it would stand to reason that this National Book Award-nominated author might be a prime candidate for writerly malaise,Read More


The Logic of Religious Images

By David Curzon

Close to the end of this week’s portion is the injunction (Leviticus 26:1), “You shall not make idols for yourselves.” The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press, 2004) annotates this by referring the reader back to an earlier verse (25:42) on the freeing of Hebrew slaves in the jubilee year, which is required because “they are MyRead More


A New Novel Tears Down a Sacred Shrine

By Peter Manseau

One of the more surprising moments in recent music history comes midway through the celebrated 1998 indie rock album “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” by the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Hiding in otherwise understated tune are some startling lyrics:Read More

                      I know they buried her body with others
Her sister and mother and five hundred families

                    

A Theory of Everything

By Jay Michaelson

Franz Rosenzweig is one of the most mentioned and least read of the Jewish philosophers. Everyone with an interest in modern Jewish philosophy includes him in its highest circle, along with Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Emanuel Levinas and, if religious philosophers are included, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rav Kook and Joseph Soloveitchik. But whileRead More


A Critic Hears False Notes in Music History

By Raphael Mostel

One of the liveliest and most remarkable books about music was published this year. In “The Oxford History of Western Music,” iconoclastic University of California, Berkeley, professor Richard Taruskin offers a 4,000-page, six-volume survey of everything there is to know about Western classical music. For one person to encompass the vast rangeRead More


Bright Lights, Little Village: Jews in Small-town America

By Glenn C. Altschuler

    • *‘A baker who can make kimmel bread and German rolls (bagels, too, I suppose) can do well in Kalamazoo,” a field agent for the Industrial Removal Office of the Baron de Hirsch Fund reported in 1907. A junk dealer in Ashland, Ky., he added three years later, would gladly replace the Negro who worked in his yard with a Jew.Jews, it is well

Jerusalem’s Shrine for the Muses

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The customary thing for men and institutions is to flame out into a full-blown midlife crisis at 40. But who likes customary? No one, apparently, at the Israel Museum, which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary with a sumptuous and supremely self-possessed exhibit called Beauty and Sanctity.It is, in fact, an über-exhibit —Read More


This Month at Novel Jews

Novel Jews is a downtown reading series that presents provocative and enlightening fiction and literary nonfiction by both today’s literary superstars and the emerging voices of tomorrow. It is co-sponsored by the Sol Goldman 14th Street Y, the JCC in Manhattan and the Forward.SHALOM AUSLANDER was raised as an Orthodox Jew in Spring Valley, N.Y.Read More


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