Arts & Culture


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

The Imagination’s Many Rooms

By Sanford Pinsker

Jay Neugeboren’s “News From the New American Diaspora and Other Tales of Exile” is not only a cause for celebration in its own right but also an occasion to look back at Neugeboren’s long — and varied — career at the writing desk.Neugeboren’s short stories have been much honored, appearing in some 50 anthologiesRead More


The Boy Who Started a War

By Jameson Currier

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a young Jewish man living in Paris illegally, walked into the German embassy and shot Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat. The assassination triggered Kristallnacht, the organized Nazi pogrom against the Jewish community inside the boundaries of the Third Reich, and was the symbolic beginning of theRead More


Neighbor, Fellow or Friend?

By Philologos

One of the best-known verses in the Bible occurs in this week’s Torah reading of Kedoshim. It is also one of the most controversial.The verse in question is Leviticus 19:18, the Hebrew of which contains the phrase “Ve-ahavta le-re’akha kamokha.” The King James Version of the Bible translates this as, “Thou shalt love thy neighborRead More


Remembrance Day

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Marla sits alone in the sanctuary, her long face dimly illuminated by electric candles set about the room. She has arrived early for the Holocaust Remembrance Day service so as to contemplate private memories of the lost. Not that Marla can remember any specific person slain in the Holocaust, so long before her time, nor can she fathom theRead More


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