Arts & Culture


Mystery Sells: What the Kabbalah Centre Actually Teaches

By Jay Michaelson

The Power of Kabbalah By Yehuda Berg (Jodere Group, 2002)


The 72 Names of God By Yehuda Berg (Kabbalah Centre International, 2003) * * *Mainstream Jews cannot stand the Kabbalah Centre. You can tell by the way they mock it, highlight its every flaw (huge offices! expensive bracelets!) and deride Madonna, Britney Spears, AshtonRead More


Two New Beginnings and a Sad Ending

By Masha Leon

“This is my first day on the job,” said Arye Mekel, Israel’s new consul general to New York, at the August 16 preview screening of Margarethe von Trotta’s film, “Rosenstrasse,” at the Center for Jewish History. “The movie is a reflection of [how] human courage can make a significant difference.”“This is [also] my first officialRead More


Avoiding the Curses

By Peretz Rodman

Who will get the sixth aliya at your synagogue this Sabbath? It is usually an uncomplicated business to distribute among those present the honor of pronouncing the blessings over each of the seven-plus-one segments of the public recitation of the week’s Torah portion. The assignments are made to honor guests, recognize members’ celebratoryRead More


Digging Into Jewish Liturgy for Musical Inspiration

By Seth Rogovoy

According to legend, a Polish nobleman once hired a group of Old World klezmer musicians on the condition that they use written music. Rather than forfeit the well-paying gig, the musically illiterate players faked it by bringing their Bibles. They placed the books on their music stands, the landlord glanced at the strange squiggles on the pagesRead More


Malamud’s New Life

By Jonathan Lethem

In conversation with a friend, I once tried to account for my particular fascination with Philip Roth’s early novel “Letting Go.” In attempting to characterize the book and how it stood apart in Roth’s oeuvre, I blurted out: “‘Letting Go’ is Roth’s Richard Yates book.” What I meant, I guess, was that for one book Roth had triedRead More


A Torah Scholar With a Rock-Star Following

By Eve Grubin

For most scholars, Midrash is an analysis of or commentary on the text of the Bible. But to Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, the literary and Torah scholar with an enormous following on several continents, Midrash is “the repressed unconscious of the Torah.”The difference speaks volumes. Specifically, Zornberg sees Midrash as coming out of what theRead More


Hamptons Host Parties for Peace

By Nathaniel Popper

Like any good Hamptons host, banking heir Ivan Wilzig kept the guests at his July bash awaiting his arrival in proper Jay Gatsby style. The guests at the Wilzig Castle in Water Mill on Long Island, N.Y., mingling among Arabian tents and animal skin carpets, curiously examined the multicolored peace medallions being handed out by a phalanx of hiredRead More


Israeli Envoy Vexed by Role Of U.S. Jews In France

By Marc Perelman

The growing involvement of American Jewish groups in nascent pro-Israel lobbying efforts in France is fueling concerns of a possible backlash among some French Jewish leaders and Israeli officials.In a letter to the Israeli Foreign Ministry two months ago, Israel’s ambassador to France, Nissim Zvili, warned about the potential negativeRead More


Bush Works At Avoiding Public Spat With Sharon

By Ori Nir, With Reporting From Ha’aretz.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration appeared to inject itself into Israel’s hottest internal dispute this week, quietly relaxing its opposition to construction in West Bank settlements just as Israel’s own Interior and Justice ministries are battling to freeze construction and prepare for the settlements’Read More


An Unwavering Commitment To Reforming the Middle East

By John Kerry

Across the Middle East, the United States and Israel are facing a range of crucial security challenges. We are not secure while Saudi donors fund terror, while Iran pursues a nuclear weapons programs and while Syria sponsors terrorist operations. We are not secure while Iraq is at risk of becoming a haven for terrorists. And we are notRead More


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