Arts & Culture


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


Rare Texts

By Adam Stern

On November 15, Christie’s will auction off a collection of rare manuscripts from the private collection of the late Salman Schocken. The famous publisher of Franz Kafka, Gershom Scholem and S.Y. Agnon, Schocken was an avid collector of rare Jewish texts. Among the original manuscripts to be auctioned by Christie’s are poemsRead More


Interfaith Music Hits Disparate Notes

By Alexander Gelfand

In the grand, world-historical scheme of things, the Renaissance represented a huge leap forward for European Christendom. For Muslims and Jews — well, not so much.Islamic scholars furnished the classical texts that provided the underpinning for much Renaissance thought. Yet by the 15th century, the Islamic world itself had begun the long, slow,Read More


A Novel Set on –– but Not Quite About –– September 11

By Shana Rosenblatt Mauer

The Days of AweBy Hugh NissensonSourcebooks, 320 pages, $18.—Hugh Nissenson is not the kind of writer who publishes a book a year. He doesn’t even publish one per decade. But when Nissenson does commit ink to page, he always engages the big issues. He’s ever ready to examine different pockets of American life, challenge God, critiqueRead More


NOVEL JEWS: Henry Roth Tribute

This month, the Novel Jews monthly reading series will host a special tribute to Henry Roth.

Henry Roth (1906-1995), author of the great immigrant novel “Call It Sleep,” was one of the giants of American literature. After completing his first book in 1934, Roth lapsed into a legendary six-decade silence. He re-emerged with “Mercy of aRead More


Wedding the Personal and Political

By Boris Fishman

Politics so comprehensively saturates Israeli life that even the most apolitical Israeli film ends up invoking it, if only by assiduous omission. In “The Syrian Bride,” opening November 16 in New York, Israeli director Eran Riklis not only acknowledges the elephant in the room but also gives it central billing. Ironically, he ends upRead More


Exploring What Binds –– and Divides –– Jews and Christians

By Bruce Chilton

Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western HistoryBy David KlinghofferDoubleday, 256 pages, $24.95—The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament’s Jewish Writers Created a Christian BookBy Julie GalambushHarperSanFrancisco, 352 pages, $24.95.—In the past few years, there has been a growing interestRead More


The Roman Era, Revised

By Benjamin Levisohn

In many Jewish imaginations, the Roman period — from the conquest of Judea in 64 BCE to roughly the sixth century C.E. — is remembered as a time of tragedy and catastrophe. The early years of the Common Era witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple and the devastation of the Jewish populace in Israel following the failure of the BarRead More


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