Arts & Culture


Controlling The Uncontrollable

By David Curzon

This week’s portion, Tazria, is primarily concerned with the priestly rituals for dealing with the outbreak of macabre changes in the skin and flesh. The commentary in “The Jewish Study Bible” (Oxford University Press, 2004 tells us that “Tzara’at, seen as a gradual erosion of the skin, was thought to culminate,Read More


The Sensual Embrace of Elinor Carucci’s Camera

By Erica Brody

Maybe you’ve already seen Elinor Carucci’s breasts, maybe not. They’re beautiful and have even appeared in The New York Times Magazine. Just don’t look for them in the award-winning photographer’s second monograph, “Diary of a Dancer” (Steidl, 2005). There, it’s her belly that’s bare.Carucci’s first collection, “Closer”Read More


Determining the Bird

By Gary A. Rendsburg

This column, both when written by myself and by others, typically dwells on the larger issues inherent in the particular portion — for example, a theological point, an ethical or moral lesson, a social observation, whatever it may be. I depart from that norm this week with a look into the arcane world of biblical philology.ThisRead More


From The Vélodrome of Winter

The winner of this year’s Koret Young Writer on Jewish Themes award is Tim Bradford, a doctoral candidate in English at Oklahoma State University. Bradford won for his proposal for a novella based on the history of the Vélodrome d’Hiver, an enclosed stadium built in Paris in 1910, which isRead More


From ‘The Washington Story’

Jill Wasserstrom, cub reporter for her high school newspaper, the Lane Leader, was a great believer in fate, so it was not surprising that she would read great meaning into the fact that, in November 1982, three historically significant incidents would occur within one 12-hour period. On Wednesday evening, she and Lane Leader editor Wes SullivanRead More


From ‘Pupik: How My Grandmother Saved My Bellybutton’

We were back at the table. It was Yom Kippur and we were not fasting. I had unintentionally done my share for three weeks in the summer, watching 20 pounds fall away, unable to get anything in or keep anything down. And Grandma needed to eat. Her doctor had set weight gain as a priority over cholesterol and blood pressure. This freed Wini to eatRead More


From ‘Love is Blond’

If Dolly notices my slightly shaking hand, she is good enough not to mention it. She is as confident as her characters, carrying us both above this atmosphere of uneasiness that I have generated by my being overawed. Pre-empting my questions, she begins to speak. She talks first of her father.“He was always larger than life. Do you mind if IRead More


From ‘Portions’

Six years you may sow your field and six years may you prune your vineyard

                      Pruning

                    

When we came in August, there were roses —budding, half opened, in bloom —and some we had missed in their glory.Their histories lost to us. The future is ours,and so I took up orange-handled shears,and all morning I severed and severed.WhateverRead More


From ‘A Graft of Roses’

A synagogue. I had never before visited one, but knew from friends in Prague that the women sat separately, in the balcony. A portly rabbi with a formidable tri-colored beard and a whip-thin cantor stood on the altar, in front of a wooden ark heavily inlaid with metals and carvings. The foreign words of the prayers washed over me, a droning,Read More


A Young Novelist Takes On 9/11

By Mark Oppenheimer

One of the pleasures of reading “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” Jonathan Safran Foer’s absorbing new novel, is that the experience helped me understand why I was so incapable of enjoying Foer’s first book, the into-30-languages-translated, into-major-motion-picture-being-made “Everything Is Illuminated” — or why (to take theRead More


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