Arts & Culture


Roth’s Fanfare for the Common Man

By Mark Shechner

The Plot Against America By Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin Company, 400 pages, $26. ——Knitting domains together — domestic and global, story and back-story — always has been iffy for Philip Roth. He understands life best in the lower case — inside the family, the marriage, the disheveled heart, the desperate moment. HisRead More


Life in the Unholy Holy Land

By Leslie Camhi

My partner, who went to school in Israel during the 1950s, is fond of recalling the fact that some 28 different languages were spoken by the 42 children in his third grade class. Even today, holding up a mirror to Israeli society produces a fragmented image of rare complexity, showing a culture multiply divided between ethnicities and languages;Read More


An Indie Label Strikes Gold

By Dimitri Ehrlich

Two years ago, Michael Caplan couldn’t wait to be fired. He was working as an executive vice president at Sony Music, where he discovered acts like Living Colour, G. Love and Ginuwine. But he had long been dismayed by the lack of love for actual music in the record business, a problem he watched grow worse as major labelsRead More


In the Circular Ruins of the Aleph

By Jeffrey Fiskin

A white room in a white world. The sort of place that set designers use to suggest heaven. Why such a sterile vision is supposed to imply eternal bliss, one may only guess.

Two men wander the cloudy floor in casual conversation. One, Moses, is an imposing figure in flowing robes with the wild hair of a prophet or a rock star. TheRead More


Activist Recalls Vietnam, Communal Battles

By Ami Eden

A quick surf on Amazon or a stroll through the local bookstore suggests that we are living in the era of the political memoir. Anyone with enough time to wade through at least a sampling of the abundant “I was there” autobiographies from Beltway vets will end up not only with a better understanding of how the American policy sausage is made,Read 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


Israeli Expats Explore the Fatherland And Its Lingering Guilt Complex

By Frank Hudec

Roi Talmor, 25, is better known as D.J. Poingi, a break-core (a school of techno) disc jockey who says he comes from IsraHell. He lives in what was East Berlin, in a walk-up he shares with a photographer friend. The apartment is small and unrenovated, a holdout in the hipster neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, where every building isRead More


Royal Romance and Medieval Mayhem The History of King Artus

Know that in the days of Uter Pendragon there was a great duke in the Kingdom of Logris called the Duke of Til Tomeil. He had an exceedingly beautiful wife named Lady Izerna. One day King Uter Pendragon ordered a very great tournament for all the knights of Logris by the city of Camelot. Each knight and duke had to bring his wife to the tourney toRead More


Memorial Music To Stir the Soul

By David Mermelstein

The arrival on record of an important new work is always welcome, but immense satisfaction is inevitably tinged by sadness with the CD release of John Adams’s “On the Transmigration of Souls,” a 25-minute work honoring the victims of the September 11 attacks. The piece was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and had its premiere atRead More


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