Arts & Culture


From ‘Pupik: How My Grandmother Saved My Bellybutton’

We were back at the table. It was Yom Kippur and we were not fasting. I had unintentionally done my share for three weeks in the summer, watching 20 pounds fall away, unable to get anything in or keep anything down. And Grandma needed to eat. Her doctor had set weight gain as a priority over cholesterol and blood pressure. This freed Wini to eatRead More


From ‘Love is Blond’

If Dolly notices my slightly shaking hand, she is good enough not to mention it. She is as confident as her characters, carrying us both above this atmosphere of uneasiness that I have generated by my being overawed. Pre-empting my questions, she begins to speak. She talks first of her father.“He was always larger than life. Do you mind if IRead More


From ‘Portions’

Six years you may sow your field and six years may you prune your vineyard

                      Pruning

                    

When we came in August, there were roses —budding, half opened, in bloom —and some we had missed in their glory.Their histories lost to us. The future is ours,and so I took up orange-handled shears,and all morning I severed and severed.WhateverRead More


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


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


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