Arts & Culture


It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook

It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook By Stephanie Spinner With Illustrations by Jill McElmurry Atheneum Books for Young Readers ——Owen Block is the OCL — official candle lighter — of his family, and Grandma Karen is the official storyteller. Each night, after the menorah is lit, she tucks him into bed and asks,Read More


Once Upon a Jewish Fairy Tale

By Joshua Halberstam

Recently I joined my colleague, Nick, a visiting professor from Rhodes, to shop for suitable books to read to his children here in the States. He was appalled by the available choices.“Incredible. You Americans still tell your children stories about princes and princesses? Didn’t you fight a revolution to get beyond that?” He decidedRead More


Reviving the Flaming Tea Ceremony

By Miriam Leberstein

For many Jews from Eastern Europe, holiday celebrations were bound up with sugar cubes and tea — and Hanukkah was no exception. In keeping with the custom of making it a “Festival of Lights,” many Russian Jews practiced what is known as the Flaming Tea Ceremony. Celebrants dip lumps of sugar in brandy onto teaspoons and stand in line; asRead More


Authors Unafraid of Kids’ Inner Lives

By Jennifer Siegel

King Matt the FirstBy Janusz Korczak, Translated by Richard LourieAlgonquin Books, 352 pages, $13.95.——Your children — even those who generally shun books in favor of shoot-’em-up videogames — will truly enjoy “King Matt the First.” Written by Polish physician Janusz Korczak and first published in 1923, the novel stars a pint-sizedRead More


‘Peter and the Wolf’ Gets Klezmerized

By Seth Rogovoy

After having reinterpreted Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” as the “Klezmer Nutcracker” a few years ago, it wasn’t a great leap for Boston-based klezmer group Shirim to revisit Sergei Prokofiev’s classic story “Peter and the Wolf” as “Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale,” which they have done on a new CD by thatRead More


A Shanda in Shpittsburgh!

By Jeffrey Griggs

What makes a hero? Is it his cape or his capabilities? Or is it simply enough to “do good,” to help those around you in times of need? As adults, we might not remember the significance of these questions, but for a child, they are paramount. In answer to the call, Agent Emes has returned to confront these questions and more as he tacklesRead More


Family Honor in Distress

By Naomi Myrvaagnes

Jacob has settled down at last. Prosperous in middle age, blessed with four wives and 12 sons, he has escaped from his exploitive father-in-law, made peace with his estranged brother and returned to his native land, the land the Almighty promised to him and his descendants. A herdsman, Jacob has pitched his tents and set up hisRead More


Remembering A ‘Happy Jewish Spirit’

By Masha Leon

“In 1993, when we first established Jewish Life Network, we sought to create a foundation that would help catalyze a renaissance in the non-Orthodox Jewish World,” Michael Steinhardt told the mostly youthful audience at the October 28 Makor/Steinhardt Center of the 92nd Street Y’s memorial concert to “Celebrate the Life of JonathanRead More


The Return Of Shylock

By Gabriel Sanders

In November 2003, when billionaire George Soros was first establishing himself as a force in the presidential campaign, a writer for the Web site GOPUSA spelled out his feelings about the financier with great conciseness when he referred to him as a “Hungarian-born descendant of Shylock.”Shakespeare’s most famous villain may be more than 400Read More


An Italian Fountain of Liberty

By Helen Eliassian

In Baedekar’s 19th-century guides to Italy, the small town of Ladispoli is described as a seaside resort with a fine beach. According to local lore, the sands were said to have a healing quality. Right in the middle of town, there was a little nondescript fountain.Thanks to a few historical twists, in the 20th century that fountain would come toRead More


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