Arts & Culture


A Woman Who Looked Like Dietrich And Wrote Like Woolf

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The much revered Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was born a Jew and buried a Jew, but in between, it seems, she struggled simply to be Clarice, with an accent on the usually silent final syllable, see. If anything, the gorgeous, exotic-looking Lispector wanted only to be seen as a native Brazilian, an identity that her Asiatic eyes,Read More


A Holocaust Memoir, Minus the Holocaust

By Jo-Ann Mort

Irving Howe wrote that after reading Italian writer Primo Levi, he wanted “to start having a conversation with him.” Bela Zsolt’s memoir of his time spent as a member of a Hungarian labor brigade in the Ukraine and later in the Nagyvarad Ghetto near the Romanian border during World War II gave me the same feeling. I felt that IRead More


Arabesques and E-Cantors In Prague, a Digital Re-envisioning of the Marseilles Bible

By Joshua Cohen

Around 1260, in the Spanish town of Toledo — then a prime seat of Jewish thought and art — an unknown scribe or possibly scribes gave life to a manuscript breathtaking in its rare beauty and hermetic symbolism, at once traditional and yet culturally reckless. Its pages — abundant in imagery while respecting the prohibitions against humanRead More


The Shadow of God

By David R. Slavitt

The details of the building of the tabernacle are relentlessly mundane, and we read them trusting that they might perhaps be of interest to a committee of architects, accountants and engineers whose arcana we have never studied and whose work is utterly mysterious to us. “And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels [of silver]Read More


An Israeli Film Juggles High Moral Purpose and Comedy

By Saul Austerlitz

It’s nice to see a filmmaker indulge his own obsessions as thoroughly as Eytan Fox does with his new film, “Walk on Water.” Fox’s last film, “Yossi & Jagger,” was a gay romance set in the Israeli military, and his new work cooks with the same ingredients, adding in Israeli-German relations and the ever-present specterRead More


The Boy From Baku

By Elizabeth Kiem

The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life By Tom Reiss Random House, 464 pages, $25.95. * * *The arid, windswept capital of Azerbaijan is not a tourist mecca. Most travelers to Baku come in search of oil, not romance. But for many Azeris and not a few foreigners, a trip to this desert metropolis of dust,Read More


Biblical Memoirs: Cutting Edge or Old Hat?

By Menachem Wecker

One of the many questions that postmodernism encourages is who gets to write and to “own” stories. Often the process of “owning” a narrative disenfranchises many of the story’s players, who never realize a platform to advance their own perspectives. One of the best illustrations of this is the Bible, which introduces a host of charactersRead More


Among the Tweeds and the Herringbones

19-34 category

Winner: Paul Fischer

Age: 32 As if I didn’t yet possess the language for silent prayer, I was dismissed from the temple sanctuary during the Amidah as a child. Perhaps it was an attempt to shield me from the vulnerable site of parents wrapped solely in prayers, muttering secret words meant to be heard by no one, andRead More


Radio Days: A Life Heard

35 and up category

Winner: Seymour Zimilover

Age: 81 –In the days before television, radio was the major source of entertainment for most people. It was even more important than the movies in that going to the movies was a once or twice-a-week affair, but radio was a seven-day activity. Among the major stations broadcasting in those daysRead More


Trouble at Christmastime

15-18 category

Winner: Mira Scarvalone

Age: 15 I come from an interesting family. My father was raised a Christian and my mother, as an adult, converted to Judaism. I have only one Jewish grandparent. So technically, I am only a quarter Jewish. But I was never faced with the choice of being a Christian, or possibly both Jewish andRead More


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