Arts & Culture


Damascus Whodunnit

By Ofer Shelah

TEL AVIV — In his lifetime, Iz a-Din al-Sheikh Khalil’s name was known only to the top Hamas experts within the Israeli and Western intelligence communities. Though he was a senior political-military operative, he wasn’t one of the recognized faces of the Palestinian movement, like Sheik Ahmed Yassin, Abd al-Aziz Rantisi orRead More


Poverty Is a ‘Jewish’ Issue

By Amy Schwartzman

One year ago, I had the opportunity to meet with President Bush, along with 15 other rabbis, just a few days before Yom Kippur.Each of us was offered the opportunity to raise a question with the president. I chose to speak about the issue of poverty, in particular the concern for low-income parents who have no childRead More


Department Store Lore: A History

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Okay, I’ll admit it: I love to shop, especially in tony department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, that Fifth Avenue emporium of luxe whose 100th anniversary is right around the corner. In search of visual pleasure, not to mention the joys of ownership, I delight in making my way past vitrine after vitrine, one more glorious than the next. For me,Read More


Roth’s Fanfare for the Common Man

By Mark Shechner

The Plot Against America By Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin Company, 400 pages, $26. ——Knitting domains together — domestic and global, story and back-story — always has been iffy for Philip Roth. He understands life best in the lower case — inside the family, the marriage, the disheveled heart, the desperate moment. HisRead More


Life in the Unholy Holy Land

By Leslie Camhi

My partner, who went to school in Israel during the 1950s, is fond of recalling the fact that some 28 different languages were spoken by the 42 children in his third grade class. Even today, holding up a mirror to Israeli society produces a fragmented image of rare complexity, showing a culture multiply divided between ethnicities and languages;Read More


An Indie Label Strikes Gold

By Dimitri Ehrlich

Two years ago, Michael Caplan couldn’t wait to be fired. He was working as an executive vice president at Sony Music, where he discovered acts like Living Colour, G. Love and Ginuwine. But he had long been dismayed by the lack of love for actual music in the record business, a problem he watched grow worse as major labelsRead More


In the Circular Ruins of the Aleph

By Jeffrey Fiskin

A white room in a white world. The sort of place that set designers use to suggest heaven. Why such a sterile vision is supposed to imply eternal bliss, one may only guess.

Two men wander the cloudy floor in casual conversation. One, Moses, is an imposing figure in flowing robes with the wild hair of a prophet or a rock star. TheRead More


Activist Recalls Vietnam, Communal Battles

By Ami Eden

A quick surf on Amazon or a stroll through the local bookstore suggests that we are living in the era of the political memoir. Anyone with enough time to wade through at least a sampling of the abundant “I was there” autobiographies from Beltway vets will end up not only with a better understanding of how the American policy sausage is made,Read More


PSALM 151

By Rodger Kamenetz

What Men WantThe talk between them at the table, three pairsof men and women, husbands and wives,was of men and women, husbands and wives,and therefore edgy, so he beganhis contribution to it cautiously:an anecdote of several years before,he thought perhaps his wife recalled —about the way that men will lookat womenRead More


From New York to France And On to Poland

By Masha Leon

It was “Shalom-Shalom” at the September 9 reception at B’nai Zion for Israel’s incoming consul general to New York, Arye Mekel, and outgoing ambassador, Alon Pinkas. Sponsors of the simcha were the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, United Jewish Communities, State of Israel Bonds/Development Corporation forRead More





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