Arts & Culture


Who Is a Jewish Traitor?

By Joshua Halberstam

In this politically heated season, some Jews are eager to label others Jews, including political leaders, as traitors; many more refuse to think in these terms altogether, finding the entire exercise distasteful. But we can’t afford either this rush to judgment or such easy dismissal of the challenge. Traitors endanger the core commitmentsRead More


An American Journalist’s Hasidic Tale

By Saul Austerlitz

The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser By Warren Kozak HarperCollins, 200 pages, $24.95. * * *Since the era of the Baal Shem Tov and the first Hasidic leaders, one of the primary attractions of Hasidism as a movement has been the Hasidic story. A little shaggy-dog — a bit rambling, sure, but reliablyRead More


Beef Goy Ish Ah Kupp, And Other Gems

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Just the other day, I picked up a copy of a cookbook that I had not seen since I was a child; back then, it occupied pride of place in my mother’s kitchen. As I held “The Chinese-Kosher Cookbook” in my hand and made my way through its recipes for Pineapple Chicken Fay Gel Lah and Beef Goy Ish Ah Kupp, a swirl of memories — of the crowdedRead More


A Tale From Japan

By Masha Leon

“An Intimate Evening” to benefit The Neuropathy Association was held October 18 at Le Cirque. This potentially crippling and often misdiagnosed disorder “afflicts close to 20 million Americans and an estimated 300,000 New Yorkers” said TV anchor Chuck Scarborough, who shared the evening’s emcee spot with Pia Lindstrom, daughter of IngridRead More


Odd Man Out

By Henry Bean

He was strong and handsome, and he was the first born; but his mother, indifferent to all that, preferred his brother and viewed him, largely, as a dullard. When she talked with his brother, their conversations were so darting and subtle that his head hurt. He could not follow them and came to think that they were using a kind of code toRead More


Rebecca at the Well

By David R. Slavitt

Abraham’s servant Eliezer, at the well outside Nahor, is looking for a wife for Isaac, and he asks the Lord, in Genesis 24:14, for a sign: “Let the maiden to whom I shall say, ‘Pray let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’ — let her be the one whom you have appointed for yourRead More


An Exhibit Invites Viewers Into The Mikveh

By Richard Mcbee

For many modern Jewish women, there is no more contentious image than the waters of the mikveh. The ritual bath is fraught with notions of uncleanliness, impurity and inferiority that traditional male-dominated Judaism has imposed upon Jewish women. The curse cast upon menstrual blood is seen as a primitive and punitive denigration of the femaleRead More


The Peculiarly Jewish Predicament

By John Felstiner

Little Men: Novellas and Stories By Gerald Shapiro Columbus Ohio State University Press, 219 pages, $29.95. * * *‘Just tell me — is it good for the Jews?” The precariousness of Diaspora existence got turned against Philip Roth when “Goodbye Columbus and Other Stories” (1958) seemed to betray nasty Jewish foibles to America’sRead More


Setting Yiddishkeit To Mambo, Metal And Surf

By Jay Michaelson

Meshugga Beach Party: Sixteen Songs of the Chosen Surfers (Halakahiki Records) The Makkabees: Volume Aleph (self-released) Yiddishe Cup: Meshugeneh Mambo (Yiddishe Cup)* * *There are some who believe that authentic Jewish genius lies in the moral and legal codes of our ancestors; others, in the monotheistic impulse, or in the faithRead More


Waters of Contention

By Marjorie Ingall

Not long ago, I would have told you that the odds of my ever visiting a mikveh were approximately the same as those of George Bush tongue-kissing Dick Cheney. The mikveh always was an aspect of traditional Judaism I was uncomfortable with. I understand that my perspective isn’t shared by all women, and to those women who disagree with me, I say,Read More


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