Arts & Culture


Torah Couture

By Daniel M. Jaffe

Walking around the classroom, Rabbi Katz returns the weekly homework assignments, stops at Shira’s desk. “Shira, you know our assignments are to summarize each Torah portion, but you copied every single word.”“Details are important,” she says, looking at her returned homework. “A ‘C’? You’re giving me a ‘C’?”RabbiRead More


Visiting Again With the Divine Fannie Hurst

By Eunice Lipton

The Stories of Fannie Hurst Edited by Susan Koppelman The Feminist Press at CUNY (The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women’s Series), 349 pages, $16.95. * * *We Jews are spielers. We have Malamud, Singer, Paley, Roth to show for it. And we also have Anzia Yzierska, Edna Ferber, Mike Gold and Fannie Hurst. If the second group is not as giftedRead More


The Old Master Of Tel Aviv

By Joseph Hoffman

When you are at the top of your profession, enjoy an international reputation in the art world and have achieved financial success and critical acclaim, what do you do for an encore?That’s the question that faces Menashe Kadishman, arguably Israel’s most brilliant artistic export. His works can be found in New York’s Metropolitan Museum ofRead More


Storytelling as Both Sacred and Sacrilegious

By Steven G. Kellman

The Seventh Beggar By Pearl Abraham Riverhead, 355 pages, $25.95. —–Twenty-five years ago, thinking it a mitzvah to comfort a Soviet Jewish refusenik, I came, bearing books, to a Moscow apartment. During the time that its tenant — who had lost his job after applying to emigrate from Moscow to Israel — had spent inRead More


The Cold War’s Strangest Bedfellows How Romania Sold Its Jews to Israel, and What It Got in Return

By Gal Beckerman

The Ransom of the Jews: The Story of The Extraordinary Secret Bargain Between Romania and Israel By Radu Ioanid Ivan R. Dee, 254 pages, $26. * * *Surely the Cold War never produced stranger bedfellows than Shaike Dan and General Ghe- orghe Marcu. Dan, a Jew from Bessarabia, parachuted into Romania at the close of World War II toRead More


Papa Was a Rolling Stone How One Young Woman Pieced Together Her Father’s Story

By Paul Zakrzewski

Assembling My Father By Anna Cypra Oliver Houghton Mifflin, 368 pages, $25. * * *The old chestnut about 1960s hedonism ran that if you remembered the decade, you weren’t really there. If the joke once reflected a popular perception of the times, it also missed a much more unpleasant truth. Released from social conventions, unmoored fromRead More


For Women, Middle Ages Might Have Been Golden

By Miriam Shaviv

Eight hundred years ago, thousands of Jewish Egyptian women refused to immerse in the ritual bath. Only Maimonides’s threat that they would lose their Ketubah money quelled the orchestrated rebellion, years after it began. A century later in Ashkenaz (Christian Europe), rabbis were astonished by the large number of Jewish women who refusedRead More


An Israeli Photographer Finds Holiness at the Rave

By John Valentino

In a whirl of light and color, Tomer Ganihar believes he has photographed holiness. And for this Israeli photographer, it lives at the rave.“In the clubs, holiness is everywhere.” Ganihar said. “It’s like a temple. The clubs are the new synagogues, and the DJs are the rabbis.”Using long exposures and only a simpleRead More


Dwelling Among Them

After the action-packed stories of the first one-and-a-half books of the Torah — all of Genesis and the first part of Exodus — the main narrative abruptly changes course in the middle of the book of Exodus. Stories such as the creation of the world, the flood, the lives of the patriarchs, the slavery in Egypt, the plagues, the Exodus and theRead More


Plaut Redux: Reforming the Reform Commentary

By Eric J. Greenberg

Since its release nearly a quarter-century ago, the Reform movement’s first biblical commentary has sold 250,000 copies and helped fuel a revolution in Torah study. But, as more and more congregations in recent years began placing a greater emphasis on Hebrew and Torah reading during Sabbath services, the tome essentially fell out of step withRead More


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