Arts & Culture


The Man Behind a Legendary Effort

By Ilan Stavans

Opportunities That Pass: An Historical MiscellanyBy Cecil Roth, edited by Israel Finestein and Joseph F. Roth, foreword by Raphael LoeweVallentine Mitchell, 256 pages, $28.95.* * *Of all the scholarly efforts in Jewish studies, none may be more influential than the 16-volume “Encyclopedia Judaica.” Since its publication in Jerusalem,Read More


Plumbing Berlin for Yiddish Fiction

By Nathaniel Popper

The Shadows of Berlin:

The Berlin Stories of Dovid Bergelson By Dovid Bergelson,Translated by Joachim Neugroschel City Lights Publishers, 120 pages, $14.95. * * *Berlin’s role as the capital of Nazi Germany has crowded out most other memories of the city’s 20th-century Jewish history. In the 1920s, though, the city was a placeRead More


Roman Holidays

By Noga Tarnopolsky

One thing to know about Alain Elkann, the much-discussed French-Italian-Jewish author, journalist, and man of Roman society, is that a lot of the talk is talk about his face. Think of a youthful, smoldering Richard Gere, then think one better. It is a face impossible to ignore, and it is not the face he has always worn.Read More


Two Albums Offer Gems of Gypsy Melodies

By Alexander Gelfand

Before the advent of the European Union and its open borders, long before Germany had been invaded by the Turks and France by the North Africans, two groups vied for the distinction of being the most despised people in Europe: Gypsies and Jews.More often than not, the Gypsies — or Roma, as they prefer to be known — were the unfortunate winnersRead More


The Son Also Rises

By Jordana Horn

In the Perlman family, musical talent is a family affair. Most people are familiar with Itzhak Perlman, the internationally renowned violin virtuoso. But his wife, Toby, is also an accomplished violinist. The couple’s daughter Navah is a concert pianist who tours worldwide both with her trio and as a soloist, and daughter Ariella plays the fluteRead More


Standing Again With Lilith; The Long and Winding Roads of Jewish Feminism

By Jay Michaelson

These days, everyone is post-something: postmodern, post-Zionist — and, in many quarters, post-feminist. Like other “revolutionary” ideologies, feminism has come to mean different — indeed, diametrically opposed — things to different people. To some, it is the simple belief that women should be treated as equal to men: for example,Read More


Untranslatable Sentiments

By David Kaufmann

Paul Celan: Selections Edited by Pierre Joris University of California Press, 230 pages, $17.95. * * *It might seem ironic that the most important German poet of the second half of the 20th century was a Romanian Jew who lived most of his adult life in Paris. But it is not. Paul Celan, born in 1920 in a cosmopolitan, largely Jewish cityRead More


Fields, Green Again

By Noah Isenberg

Although for many years it has appeared that the work of Austrian-born filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer (1904-1972) was destined to fall into oblivion — in one of the earliest accounts of his career, from the 1970s, film scholar John Belton pronounced Ulmer “a totally unknown or, at best, an obscure figure in film history” — recently there hasRead More


A Famed Bronx Boy Looks Back

By Donald Weber

The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue: A Child of the Fifties Looks BackBy Robert KleinTouchstone/Simon and Schuster, * * *‘I was raised on chicken soup,” comedian Robert Klein wails in one of his signature song parodies, “Middle-Class Educated Blues.” In his startlingly candid memoir, Klein reveals other, more carnal sources of nourishmentRead More


Klezmer via Kingston

By Alexander Gelfand

The postcard-sized calendars strewn about the world music venue Satalla, on West 26th Street in New York City, proclaimed the band Klezska to be purveyors of “klezmer music,” which is a lot like calling turducken “stuffed turkey.” Neither description is entirely misleading. But like most labels, they hardly tell the whole story.Founded andRead More


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