Arts & Culture


Out of Africa

By Mark Shechner

The Persistence of Memory By Tony Eprile Norton, 288 pages, $24.95. ——‘You know a country is in trouble when its Jews start leaving,” remarks a character in Tony Eprile’s new novel, “The Persistence of Memory.” “We are like the miner’s parakeet, and we are all going… to Australia, Canada, Israel, you nameRead More


Resurrecting Modigliani’s Bar Mitzvah

By Leslie Camhi

‘I went through graduate school never hearing his name,” recalled Mason Klein, the curator of “Modigliani: Beyond the Myth,” a show of some 100 works by the original peintre maudit, which opened at New York’s Jewish Museum. The installation of the city’s first major Modigliani exhibition in more than 50 years was inRead More


Following Another Through Grief

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

At several points in the novel “A Song I Knew by Heart,” author Bret Lott refers to a character straining under the sheer effort of putting a feeling into a few words — “the work of it,” he writes. The story, which is a modern retelling of the biblical Ruth and Naomi narrative, might as well be called “the work of it,” because of itsRead More


The Cheese Factor

If you are anything like me, then come late springtime, when Shavuot rolls around, your mind turns to thoughts of cheesecake. (Of course, if you’re really like me, then you’re thinking about cheesecake, on and off, pretty much all year long.) This is an extremely pleasant line of thought, but it is hardly a novel one; indeed, Jews haveRead More


Modern-day Ruths

By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

It is not an easy road — the road from Moab to Bethlehem, from the non-Jewish world into the Jewish. For all the excitement and joy of starting a new life in the Jewish community, there is also, by definition, much new material to be learned and always something to be left behind. Ruth, whose story we will read on Shavuot beginningRead More


A First Lady, a Good Cause and a Comedic King

By Masha Leon

While Leona Helmsley, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and [Court TV Network CEO] Henry Schleiff wended their way into the inner sanctum of the Four Seasons, its bar area pulsed with a crush of photographers and guests who had come for the April 27 book party for Tina Santi Flaherty’s “What Jackie Taught Us — Lessons From the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline…Read More


A Letter Home From Kadesh-Barnea

By Naomi Myrvaagnes

Dear Sister,For a while, it was what we’d imagined when we first heard Miriam’s call. Out of the city for song and worship! As I write I wonder, now that Pharaoh is dead, how you fare back home. I wonder if I left in vain. Perhaps you celebrate a time of hope and renewal.The crossing was horrific. We sped safely, but after usRead More


Celebrating Balanchine by Channeling His Antithesis

By Joseph Carman

On June 18, Russian choreographer Boris Eifman will premiere his first ballet for the venerable New York City Ballet as part of a program to celebrate what would have been George Balanchine’s 100th birthday. At least in one respect, the match might seem to make sense: Eifman’s own company, the Eifman ballet, is based in Balanchine’s nativeRead More


Value: More Than a Matter of Money

By Peretz Rodman

‘She’s worth her weight in gold.” “You look like a million dollars.” Our language often attributes measurable monetary value to human beings. In a world in which these were not merely figures of speech, what would be the actual worth of a human being? How could one tell? Who would decide?In the first eight verses of its last chapter, theRead More


Philadelphia Story

By Stephen Schwartz

For someone who has searched out the traces of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, the story is hauntingly familiar: a cemetery “neglected, vandalized, and filled with trash, listed on the City’s roster of abandoned properties,” as the words of a fundraising appeal put it. Nestled among the almost total disarray are toppled memorial stones,Read More





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  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
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  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
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  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
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