Arts & Culture


On Exhibit: The Infamous 1492 Decree

By Jennifer Siegel

The original decree ordering the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 will come to New York this month, as part of an exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Queen Isabella I. Titled “Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Two Worlds (1451-1504),” the presentation also will feature illuminated manuscripts, rareRead More


Please Touch the Art

By Miriam Colton

Hours before her troupe’s first public performance, in 2002, Adina Tal faced a quandary unlike any posed to other directors: How would her cast members know that the audience was applauding?The scenario was not uncommon for the director of the theater group Nalaga’at (“Do Touch”), who, since forming the group in late 1999, has been dealtRead More


To Get to Carnegie, Practice Your Yiddish

By Masha Leon

Putting a new spin on the old saw, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Moishe Rosenfeld, producer of the June 3 Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre Gala concert starring Neil Sedaka, told the 3,000-strong audience: “Practice, practice your Yiddish!” And so mameloshn bounced off that venerable hall’s acoustically famed walls with the KlezmaticsRead More


In Defense Of His Amorality

By Jeff Sharlet

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s admirers describe him as a man of impossible paleness, “translucent” skin laced with veins the same shade of blue as his bulging eyes. They say he was small. In photographs, his right eyebrow arches and his thread-thin upper lip sneers. His ears are large and nearly pointed, elegant despite their size, and theRead More


Deconstructing Bashevis

By Ilan Stavans

Addicts, everyone knows, are difficult to satisfy: They don’t want more of the same, but they are ready to test limits, to be exigent in their rewards. Since the first moment I encountered the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer — in Spanish translations in the 1970s — I have been a confessed addict. He struck me as possessed of anRead More


‘Deborah’

The following is an excerpt from Kreitman’s novel, which will be rereleased September 1 from The Feminist Press. Next Deborah had to pay a long succession of calls on her dressmaker and tailor. They took her measure and gave her innumerable fittings. Mechanically Deborah did all they asked her to do; she no longer consulted her ownRead More


Imagination as a Group Effort

By Dara Horn

Among the recurring questions that I and other writers are often asked — along with, “How long did it take you to write the book?” and “Do you use a pencil or a pen?” — there is one that almost always comes up: “Is anyone else in your family a writer?”Those who ask this question are usually wondering about the writer’s parents orRead More


My Favorite Demon

By Esther Schor

Writers are famous for their demons, whether they battle alcoholism, depression or the savage pain of a rotten youth. Isaac Bashevis Singer was no exception, except that his demons were demons. Unlike many writers, he made no secret of them: “I am possessed by my demons,” he declared to Commentary. Later, he made a telling comment toRead More


Hunting for the Magic

By Judy Budnitz

Whenever I’d ask my relatives where my great-grandparents had lived before immigrating to the United States, their answers always seemed strangely, frustratingly unspecific: A little village near Minsk, or maybe Pinsk, they would say. In the part of Russia that is now called Belarus, they thought. It may have been near a river, they conjectured.Read More


Two

After the taxi driver had been promised $25 plus a five dollar tip he became silent. The two passengers were silent, too.David Melnitz crammed his frail shape into a corner of the cab. He was dozing lightly, but every once in a while he opened one eye and looked through the window. The summer night had a blackness which nothing couldRead More





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