Arts & Culture


Honoring My Cousin’s Courage

By Diane Von Furstenberg

Sima Vaisman and my father, Lipa (Leon) Halfin, were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters and they lived in the same house in Kishinev, Bessarabia (now Moldova). Sima’s mother, Genia, was a widow. And my grandmother Sarah asked her husband, a well-to-do merchant, to welcome the mother and daughter to live with them. It was a large houseRead More


Comfort, Comfort

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This week’s portion, Va-Et’hanan, includes two of the most famous sections of the Bible, a second version of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-18, and the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. One could write endlessly about these crucial texts and their importance for the history of Judaism. However, I’ll focus instead on the Haftarah, IsaiahRead More


Jewish Music Goes Grunge

By Mordechai Shinefield

Recently, before a packed audience in New York, a musician named Yaniv Tsaidi readjusted the clip holding down his yarmulke, stepped toward his microphone and began to scream. But the 29-year-old singer wasn’t just screaming. He was screaming his prayers.Tsaidi is the lead singer of Heedoosh, a new grunge-pop Jewish band that played to aRead More


Ultra-problematic

By Philologos

‘Thousands of Israeli ultranationalists rallied Tuesday against a Gaza pullout,” began a Reuters news dispatch on Wednesday, August 3. Is this an accurate or a biased description on Reuters’s part?“Ultra” is an odd prefix because it can have either a positive, negative or neutral connotation depending on what word it goes with.Read More


Anna Kamienska in The Wilderness

By David Curzon

The wilderness in the Torah is both a geographic place and a figurative region.Moses, in the first chapter of Deuteronomy, speaking “to all Israel,” recapitulates the journeys they have taken. He reminds them that God, condemning the generation that came out of Egypt, told them to turn back from the Promised Land after the incidentRead More


Going Home Again

By Jennifer Siegel

After a year of exhibits, lectures and articles to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the arrival of America’s first Jewish community, the themes from New York’s Center for Jewish History’s exhibit “Greetings From Home: 350 Years of American Jewish Life,” may feel familiar. The exhibit, a joint project of the American Jewish HistoricalRead More


Light Show; At the Israel Museum, Refreshing Looks at a Potentially Tired Cliche

By Richard Mcbee

From “Let there be Light” of biblical fame to modern sound-and-light shows, the notion of light as a metaphor or aesthetic tool is worn and tedious at best. Even as pietists, who claim dominion over Divine emanations, battle with the modernists who assert visual primacy, the serious metaphorical concept of light is clichéd andRead More


From ‘Gullboy (a novel)’ by Wade Rubenstein

Each month, in coordination with “Novel Jews,” our reading series in New York, the Forward publishes an excerpt from the work of that month’s series guest or guests. Though the reading series takes a hiatus this month, we figured everyone still could meet on the page. In celebration of summer, we offer readers a selection fromRead More


Kubrick’s Unrealized Vision

By A.J. Goldmann

When Stanley Kubrick died in March 1999 during the post-production of his final film, “Eyes Wide Shut,” he left behind several pet projects he had been working on for decades. These included a science-fiction riff on “Pinocchio” (later finished by Steven Spielberg as “A.I.”), a historical biopic of the life ofRead More


Wild at Heart

By David Kaufmann

Maurice Sendak, the focus of a retrospective running at The Jewish Museum in New York until August 14, is the poet laureate of ambivalence. In a career of more than 50 years spent writing and illustrating children’s books, he has largely managed to avoid the sentimentalizing idealization that ruins so much of our thinking about kids. HisRead More


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