Arts & Culture


A View From the Stands

By Saul Austerlitz

Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports Jeffrey S. Gurock Indiana University Press, 248 pages, $29.95. * * *Many a sports-obsessed Jewish kid will remember a Saturday buried somewhere deep in the past spent flipping through a dusty volume of “Great Jews in Sports” or one of its equivalents, whistling every few pages and exclaiming,Read More


Abraham’s Gambit

By Joshua Cohen

Stalemate By Icchokas MerasTranslated by Jonas Zdanys Other Press, 176 pages, $13.95. * * *To stalemate a game of chess is no easy thing: One has to position the king in a square in which, although he is not in check, he can only move into check and no other piece can move, either. The king is safe, but only on his small square. AllRead More


Mourning with Freud

By Dinah M. Mendes

Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk By Matthew von Unwerth Riverhead, 256 pages, $23.95. * * *‘Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk” by Matthew von Unwerth is a meditation, a fugue — conceivably a psychoanalytic novella –– that hasRead More


Airing the Family’s (Blood-stained) Laundry

By Boris Fishman

Blood Relation By Eric Konigsberg HarperCollins, 288 pages, $25.95. * * *As a teenager at a boarding school, journalist Eric Konigsberg came across a groundskeeper who once had worked the mob beat as a New York cop. The man asked Eric if he was related to infamous mob hitman Harold Konigsberg. Thanks to his family’s well-meaningRead More


Fragments of a Lost Jewish World

By Jay Michaelson

Young Turk By Moris Farhi Arcade Publishing, 392 pages, $25. * * *Toward the end of Moris Farhi’s elegiac, ambitious novel, a professor of literature who is the voice of Turkish conscience in the book tells a budding Turkish Jewish writer: “One thing, young Turk: Don’t lose the young Jew. Cherish everybody’s difference. IfRead More


A Family Snapshot, in Black and White

By Ariella Cohen

Off-White: A Memoir By Laurie Gunst Soho Press, 288 pages, $25. * * * Rhoda Cobin Lloyd died in October 1986. Her funeral was a small, open-casket affair that ended with a eulogy by Laurie Gunst, Southern Jew and historian. The eulogy was short: All Gunst could say was that Lloyd’s parents, Sam and Julie, had been born as slaves andRead More


FLASH FRAMES

By Adam Stern

Vladimir Jabotinsky may be best known as the father of Revisionist Zionism and as the author of the essay “The Iron Wall: We and the Arabs,” but he also was a novelist who is known for his Zionist re-fashioning of the biblical hero Samson. Written in Russian, “The Five: A Novel of Jewish Life in Turn-of-the Century Odessa” (CornellRead More


The First Family

By Naomi Myrvaagnes

After the Parent gave birth to them, He settled down contentedly to watch their innocent gambols in the Garden. He’d warned His young Adam and Eve against the usual hazards of childhood, like running out into the street, avoiding snakes, not touching dangerous objects, and in their trance of innocence they’d nodded agreement to theRead More


Strategic Difference

By David Kraemer

Halacha (Jewish law and practice) doesn’t ordinarily care about its own interpretations. So long as the Jew does what he or she is supposed to do, the system doesn’t care why he does it or how she understands what she does. For this reason, the great codes of Jewish law describe what is required of the Jew with littleRead More


Exploring Latin Music, In and Out of the Ivory Tower

By Alexander Gelfand

Traditional Cuban popular music — the kind of stuff that was big in the 1940s and became big again in the late 1990s, thanks to the Buena Vista Social Club — is designed to get you out of your chair and onto the dance floor. And if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that much of the prodding comes from the piano. The groovy rhythmic figuresRead More


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