Arts & Culture


From Opera to Yiddish Songs, Joy for the Ears

By Masha Leon

“It’s an amazing honor for us to be part of this, the most diverse and largest Jewish festival in the world,” Moishe Rosenfeld told the audience at the 92nd Street Y’s launching of “A Cantorial Celebration of Yiddish Art Song,” which he produced as part of the September 7-14 New York Jewish Music &Read More


A Spider’s-Eye View Of Your Sukkah

By Jennifer Siegel

From his window perch in the living room of the Shapiro household, Sammy Spider sees fall leaves, scampering squirrels and the family busily erecting a Sukkah. When Sammy — the star of the new story “Sammy Spider’s First Sukkot” (Lerner Pub Group), with text by Sylvia A. Rouss and whimsical cut-paper illustrations by Katherine Janus KahnRead More


To Paradise and Back

Simhat Torah follows the seventh day of Sukkot and is a day of rejoicing. On Simhat Torah, the year-long reading of the Torah comes to an end with the last few verses of the Book of Deuteronomy and starts again with the first verses of the Book of Genesis. The scrolls of the Torah are taken from the Ark and carried around the synagogueRead More


Israel Uncorks World-class Wines

By Noga Tarnopolsky

By ordinary standards, the Roman-era grape press found a couple of years ago in the tilled red earth on the outskirts of Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed Heh is not enormously newsworthy. It is just another ruin found in a country in which road workers and homebuilders know that any given square foot of excavation probably could yield a shard or two.But thisRead More


Passion Fruit, Indeed: One Man’s Etrog Obsession

By Dave Gordon

It looks like a lemon, feels like a lemon and kind of smells like a lemon. But an etrog is not a lemon.In fact, it takes a lot to grow an etrog, which is the fruit of the citron tree and one of the four species used on the festival of Sukkot. The others are lulavim (palm), aravot (willows) and hadasim (myrtle). Of the four, the etrog is the mostRead More


From A to Zorn: Musical Tributes To History

By Masha Leon

“Great Jewish Artists Perform Great Jewish Composers,” the September 7 concert at the 92nd Street Y, launched the weeklong New York Jewish Music & Heritage Festival celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jews in America.Festival founder and director Michael Dorf attributed the festival’s success to, among others: UJA-Federation’sRead More


Pop Music for the Yom Kippur Set

By Rick Harrison

Contemporary music and the Yom Kippur service might sound as though they go together like french fries and ice cream. But after enough hours on an empty stomach, unusual combinations start to grow on us. And after some time with “TekiYah,” the new CD of High Holy Days music from New York City’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, you just mightRead More


Yom Kippur

By David J. Litvak

The world is filled with mavens. Diminutive Dr. Ruth is the world’s foremost sex maven. Isaac Mizrahi is a fashion maven. Donald Trump is a business maven. Thomas Friedman is a political maven. And with the recent publication of his timely new book, “On Apology” (Oxford University Press), which is based on the study of moreRead More


Ladino and Yiddish –– Those Tools of Modernity

By Ilan Stavans

Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires By Sarah Abrevaya Stein Indiana University Press, 310 pages, $75 —–I’m thrilled to review this book by Sarah Abrevaya Stein, an assistant professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, but not because it is well written. It is unnervinglyRead More


Fatalism and Humor in Israeli Fiction

By Susan Miron

Uncle Peretz Takes Off: Short Stories By Yaakov Shabtai Translated From the Hebrew by Dalia Bilu

Overlook Duckworth, 239 pages, $24.95. * * *The Israeli author Yaakov Shabtai, who died in 1981, wrote several morbidly memorable first sentences. “Goldman’s father died on the first of April, whereas Goldman himself committed suicide onRead More


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