Arts & Culture


Will the Left Finally Talk About What Matters?

By Joshua Halberstam

For years I’ve tried to get my students to talk about “it.” “It” can be almost any controversial issue, but we never get there; my students, like most of my academic colleagues and New York City Upper West Side friends, and the American left in general, have long ago ceded actual moral judgments to others, i.e.,moral conservatives. AndRead More


Listen to This Poet. Really, Listen.

By Thomas Wappat

‘I was dreaming you on TV/ between fiction and news,” Hugh Seidman, winner of the 2004 Green Rose Prize, writes in his romantically infused sixth collection of poems, “Somebody Stand Up and Sing.” After reading his poetry, you might find yourself dreaming Seidman.O Dream Dream DreamI fasted not nor atonedI made no tabernacleon Tish’aRead More


Translations And Transliterations

By Leonard J. Greenspoon

Each of the first three chapters of Leviticus, and therefore of this week’s portion, Va-Yikra, is taken up with a detailed description of a different offering or sacrifice. Although many modern readers of the Hebrew Bible devote little more than a glance to this material, it was obviously important to the ritual life, and thereforeRead More


Giving One’s Life

By Philologos

There’s a Hebrew term that looks like it’s going to be heard a lot in the coming months. It’s mesirut-nefesh, which means, literally, “giving one’s life,” and, in ordinary language, “devotion” or “giving one’s all.” But for the settlement movement that is now gearing up to fight this summer’s planned disengagementRead More


The Real Lives Behind the Superheroes

By David Kaufmann

In the late 1930s, comic books presented a relatively small sideshow in the circus of pulp publishing. Then suddenly, in the fall and winter of 1938, following into early 1939, they became the main event. Within a year — by 1940 — 15 million comic books were being sold each month (and this in a country of 130 million). If, as it has beenRead More


A Woman Who Looked Like Dietrich And Wrote Like Woolf

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The much revered Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was born a Jew and buried a Jew, but in between, it seems, she struggled simply to be Clarice, with an accent on the usually silent final syllable, see. If anything, the gorgeous, exotic-looking Lispector wanted only to be seen as a native Brazilian, an identity that her Asiatic eyes,Read More


A Holocaust Memoir, Minus the Holocaust

By Jo-Ann Mort

Irving Howe wrote that after reading Italian writer Primo Levi, he wanted “to start having a conversation with him.” Bela Zsolt’s memoir of his time spent as a member of a Hungarian labor brigade in the Ukraine and later in the Nagyvarad Ghetto near the Romanian border during World War II gave me the same feeling. I felt that IRead More


Arabesques and E-Cantors In Prague, a Digital Re-envisioning of the Marseilles Bible

By Joshua Cohen

Around 1260, in the Spanish town of Toledo — then a prime seat of Jewish thought and art — an unknown scribe or possibly scribes gave life to a manuscript breathtaking in its rare beauty and hermetic symbolism, at once traditional and yet culturally reckless. Its pages — abundant in imagery while respecting the prohibitions against humanRead More


The Shadow of God

By David R. Slavitt

The details of the building of the tabernacle are relentlessly mundane, and we read them trusting that they might perhaps be of interest to a committee of architects, accountants and engineers whose arcana we have never studied and whose work is utterly mysterious to us. “And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels [of silver]Read More


An Israeli Film Juggles High Moral Purpose and Comedy

By Saul Austerlitz

It’s nice to see a filmmaker indulge his own obsessions as thoroughly as Eytan Fox does with his new film, “Walk on Water.” Fox’s last film, “Yossi & Jagger,” was a gay romance set in the Israeli military, and his new work cooks with the same ingredients, adding in Israeli-German relations and the ever-present specterRead More


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