Arts & Culture


From ‘A Graft of Roses’

A synagogue. I had never before visited one, but knew from friends in Prague that the women sat separately, in the balcony. A portly rabbi with a formidable tri-colored beard and a whip-thin cantor stood on the altar, in front of a wooden ark heavily inlaid with metals and carvings. The foreign words of the prayers washed over me, a droning,Read More


A Young Novelist Takes On 9/11

By Mark Oppenheimer

One of the pleasures of reading “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” Jonathan Safran Foer’s absorbing new novel, is that the experience helped me understand why I was so incapable of enjoying Foer’s first book, the into-30-languages-translated, into-major-motion-picture-being-made “Everything Is Illuminated” — or why (to take theRead More


Reclaiming ‘The Dybbuk’

By Joseph Carman

In 1974 Jerome Robbins premiered an enigmatic choreographic work, “The Dybbuk,” for New York City Ballet. A collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, it was based loosely on the play of the same name by S. Ansky about spirit possession and exorcism. On April 5 at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco Ballet willRead More


Out of Africa: The Rescue of Ethiopian Jews

By Amir Shaviv

Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue Of the Ethiopian Jews By Stephen Spector Oxford University Press, 320 pages, $28. ——-French Premier Georges Clemenceau once said, “War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.” Had he read Stephen Spector’s new book on Operation Solomon, he would not have hesitatedRead More


Blending Comedy and Homage

By Wayne Hoffman

With his innate ability to hold an audience in the palm of his hand, Mike Burstyn could be a star in any language. He could sing a song in Sanskrit and still bring people to tears. He could crack a joke in total gibberish and still nail the punch line.Fortunately for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre (and its audience), Burstyn is currentlyRead More


The Sensual Embrace of Elinor Carucci’s Camera

By Erica Brody

Maybe you’ve already seen Elinor Carucci’s breasts, maybe not. They’re beautiful and have even appeared in The New York Times Magazine. Just don’t look for them in the award-winning photographer’s second monograph, “Diary of a Dancer” (Steidl, 2005). There, it’s her belly that’s bare.Carucci’s first collection, “Closer”Read More


Determining the Bird

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This column, both when written by myself and by others, typically dwells on the larger issues inherent in the particular portion — for example, a theological point, an ethical or moral lesson, a social observation, whatever it may be. I depart from that norm this week with a look into the arcane world of biblical philology.ThisRead More


Nailing Down a Film’s Legacy

By Peter Manseau

Around this time last year, on the brink of Easter, the humble nail came into its own as a religious symbol. Tiny silver pendants in the shape of railroad spikes were among the many marketing tie-ins produced in connection with Mel Gibson’s cinematic phenomenon, “The Passion of the Christ.” Amid the dueling chorusesRead More


The Shtetl Next Door

By Esther Schor

In my synagogue, the Jewish Center of Princeton, the lobby where mazel tovs drop like manna doubles as an art gallery. Often the art provides a demure backdrop for well-heeled congregants — a still life of lilacs here, a lithograph of the Old City over there. But not The Jewish Shtetl Today, an arresting exhibit of 51 black-and-white photographsRead More


The Central Message

By David Curzon

Every year at this time in the annual cycle of readings, we are confronted with seemingly endless descriptions of cultic practices, often involving the slaughter of animals, that are for most of us at worst abhorrent and at best — the presentation of bread and cake to God — absurd.Let me try to put the problem as starkly as possible. LeviticusRead More


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