Arts & Culture


Berlin Bind: Between Neo-Nazis and Mendelssohn

By Michael Levitin

Last month, one day after 1,000 skinheads marched here to celebrate the first-ever “National Nazi Day,” a different cast of Germans huddled into the country’s largest synagogue and listened raptly to cellist Steven Isserlis, whose performance opened the 18th Berlin Jewish Culture Festival.The events couldn’t have coincided moreRead More


Bar Mitzvah-gate, Courtesy of Fox

By Lisa Keys

In our post-“Nipplegate” era, censorship and television have become as inextricably linked as Laverne and Shirley. In recent weeks, fear of Federal Communications Commission fines led 65 ABC affiliates to nix an unedited version of “Saving Private Ryan,” while the bare backside of Nicolette Sheridan for a Monday Night Football spot wasRead More


What’s Going on At the New York Times?

By Murray Friedman

Here’s a test for you: What publication carried a lengthy article on its front page in April, describing how conservative critic David Horowitz seeks to end discrimination against conservative students and faculty at colleges and universities through creation of an academic bill of rights? Was it the New York Post? The New York Sun? Was itRead More


Praying at the Temple of Traditional Jazz

By David Davis

For Ben Jaffe, the future is all about updating the past………………………………………….Jaffe was born into musical royalty. His parents, Allan and Sandra, founded New Orleans’s world-famous Preservation Hall in 1961, after they fell in love with the Crescent City while returning from their honeymoon in Mexico. They uprootedRead More


Heeding the Call That Haunts

By Susan Miron

Tattoo for a Slave By Hortense Calisher

Harcourt, 336 pages, $24.

‘Your grandmother never kept slaves.”…………With these words spoken to a young, naive Hortense Calisher by her father, born the seventh child of eight in 1861 in Richmond, Va., this unusual book opens. A “tattoo” can be a bugle call, a drum rollRead More


Ornaments of the World

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

They stand only 15 inches tall but bear the weight of Jewish history. I’m referring to a pair of silver-and-gilded rimonim (Torah ornaments) of 19th-century German provenance whose recent arrival in New York was celebrated by Congregation Habonim, a Conservative synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. These delicately worked ritual objectsRead More


Hollywood Looming: Allen’s ‘A Second Hand Memory’

By Don Shewey

Once upon a time it was a sacred ritual: the annual pilgrimage to see the new Woody Allen movie. The full-page ad would appear in the Sunday New York Times with nothing more than the title and the list of stars. The following Friday, long lines of hard-core devotees would appear in front of the Coronet or the Baronet — the bygone flagshipsRead More


Jewish Dogs and the Web Sites They Love

The Jewish pet is coming up in the world. Last year we reported on “bark mitzvahs,” and synagogues around the country have began to hold annual “Blessings of the Animals” to coincide with a reading of the story of Noah’s Ark, at which pets can receive a certificate and a Hebrew name.But what would rituals be without theRead More


When the Hero Is Judith, and the Latkes Are Cheese

By Matthew Goodman

Whatever your personal Hanukkah memories might be, their background noise is most likely potato latkes sizzling in oil. In America, potato latkes have become virtually synonymous with Hanukkah, as a culinary remembrance of the miraculous cruse of oil that burned for eight days and nights in the Maccabees’ temple when it was only supposed to lastRead More


Hanukkah

By Gabriel Sanders

Trim the Tree, Spin the Dreidel, It’s Chrismukkah!Last December, the Fox network’s hit teen drama “The O.C.,” which is short for Orange County, Calif., featured an episode in which nerd-heartthrob Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) introduced his foster brother, Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie), to the ecumenical ways of hisRead More





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