Arts & Culture


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


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


From The Angel of Forgetfulness by Steve Stern

Last summer, the Forward dipped its toes into the world of fiction by co-sponsoring a monthly literary series in New York called “Novel Jews.” The series has become an enormous success, with one drawback: It is not available to the majority of our readers, who live outside New York. In an effort to include them, this month we initiate theRead More


He Wandered the Earth as an Exiled Man

By Jay Michaelson

Chronicles: Volume One By Bob Dylan Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, $24. * * *Toward the end of last year’s rambling, barely coherent film “Masked and Anonymous,” Bob Dylan, its masked and anonymous star, spoke in voice-over one of his most direct and self-revelatory addresses. Fittingly, it was about the limits of whatRead More


The Fate of Slaves in Ancient Israel

By Gary A. Rendsburg

With this week’s Torah reading, called Mishpatim or “Rules,” the presentation of the laws of ancient Israel formally commences. Earlier sections of the Torah have occasional laws imbedded in them, such as the law of circumcision in Genesis 17 or the laws pertaining to Passover in Exodus 12. But these items are few in number and areRead More


Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Is Commemorated Around the World

By Eric J. Greenberg

Sixty years after the liberation of Auschwitz by Russian soldiers, leaders of more than 100 nations joined this week for a string of tributes in America, Europe, and at the death camp itself to honor victims and vow that the Nazi horrors never would be repeated.Hanging over the events, though, was a palpable sense that in places likeRead More


Security Cooperation Leaves Israelis, Palestinians Hopeful

By Ofer Shelah

TEL AVIV — In a slowly unfolding scenario reminiscent of the nearly forgotten peace process of the early 1990s, Israelis and Palestinians began feeling their way cautiously toward agreement this week on something resembling coexistence.Armed Palestinian police moved into position, with Israeli consent, to stop terrorists from firing rockets atRead More


Orthodox Union Sets Ban on Clubs For Scotch Tipplers

By Gabriel Sanders

The Orthodox Union has called on its member congregations to eliminate from their synagogues the informal drinking circles known as Kiddush Clubs.In letters addressed to member rabbis, the O.U., which represents some 1,000 congregations, has encouraged synagogues to devote the Sabbath of February 5 to launching a Kiddush Club crackdown.TheRead More


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