Arts & Culture


Successors to Jacob, Successors to Arafat

By Deborah Slavitt

In this last portion in Genesis, the children of Israel are on the verge of becoming a people. The next portion opens the book of Exodus with Pharaoh afraid of the potential might of the people (Exodus 1:9) he calls “Ivrim,” and it is as a people that the Ivrim, the children of Israel, go up out of Egypt. The birth struggles of this shift fromRead More


From the Dawn of Printing Why Rare Hebrew Manuscripts Are Commanding Exorbitant Fees

By Jeannie Rosenfeld

Early in last month’s sale at Kestenbaum & Company, a New York auction house specializing in rare Hebrew books, when a single leaf of Rashi’s commentary on the Pentateuch came on the block, fevered bidding erupted. This first printed edition of the 11th-century French rabbi’s pre-eminent biblical commentary was producedRead More


A New Beginning for an Old Master

By Noga Tarnopolsky

The Autobiography of God By Julius Lester St. Martin’s Press, 256 pages, $23.95. ———Julius Lester is the author of more than 30 books, a diverse collection of novels, essays and children’s fables published over a period of 30 years. Now 65 years old and recently retired from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Lester’s latestRead More


Gazing at the Guggenheims

By David Kaufmann

The Guggenheims: A Family History By Irwin Unger and Debi Unger HarperCollins, 530 pages, $29.95. ——By the start of World War I, the Guggenheims had become so prominent that even their pets’ deaths were considered newsworthy. Ninety years later, they are chiefly remembered in the names of foundations and museums. In a heavilyRead More


Finding an Excuse To Celebrate Copland

By Benjamin Levisohn

No excuse is necessary to stage a concert of Aaron Copland’s works — over the last 60 years, his name has become synonymous with American classical music — but Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Kane Street Synagogue found one anyway. On November 14, it staged a tribute to the composer to coincide with the 91st anniversary of Copland’s barRead More


Berlin Bind: Between Neo-Nazis and Mendelssohn

By Michael Levitin

Last month, one day after 1,000 skinheads marched here to celebrate the first-ever “National Nazi Day,” a different cast of Germans huddled into the country’s largest synagogue and listened raptly to cellist Steven Isserlis, whose performance opened the 18th Berlin Jewish Culture Festival.The events couldn’t have coincided moreRead More


Bar Mitzvah-gate, Courtesy of Fox

By Lisa Keys

In our post-“Nipplegate” era, censorship and television have become as inextricably linked as Laverne and Shirley. In recent weeks, fear of Federal Communications Commission fines led 65 ABC affiliates to nix an unedited version of “Saving Private Ryan,” while the bare backside of Nicolette Sheridan for a Monday Night Football spot wasRead More


Modern vs. Orthodox Off-Broadway

By Saul Austerlitz

The new off-Broadway play “Modern Orthodox” begins familiarly enough, with an uncomfortable encounter. Two strangers awkwardly introduce themselves, sitting at a table in a restaurant in midtown New York. The two strangers are named Ben and Hershel; Ben is prepared to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Hannah, and Hershel is the jeweler whoseRead More


At Syracuse University, Undulating Walls Commemorate Vanishing Barriers

By Samuel D. Gruber

In Syracuse, N.Y., artist Sol LeWitt has been building walls, while Nancy Cantor, the new chancellor of Syracuse University, has been breaking them down (figuratively speaking).Cantor, who was inaugurated last month as the 11th chancellor and president of the university, is the first woman and the first Jew toRead More


Missing Rap Song Sparks Suspicious Musings

By Daniel Treiman

A fiery song by a popular rapper lashes out at “quasi-homosexuals” who run the hip-hop industry — drawing jeers from reviewers. The song also appears to take a shot at a prominent music executive, citing his Israeli background — and evoking for some the tensions that occasionally have surfaced over the prominence of Jewish executives in the mostly black rap industry.Read More


Would you like to receive updates about new stories?






















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.