Arts & Culture


The Buddha From Brooklyn A Lama Talks About Enlightenment... With a Yiddish Twang

By Jay Michaelson

You think you know the story: A Jewish kid from Brooklyn, N.Y., goes off to India for several years, meditating on a mountaintop. He transforms himself into a new person, changing his name from Jeff Miller to Surya Das, abandoning his jeans for saffron robes, and now he spends all day expounding sweetly on peace and enlightenment.SuryaRead More


Lighting a Yahrzeit Candle, And Cursing the Darkness

By Jenni Person

‘Don’t forget you need to light the candle,” my mother responded when I asked her how she was planning on coping come Monday. I wanted to know what she was going to do, how she was going to spend the day. I was concerned about her — but I was also feeling completely at a loss myself. And the truth was, even as I planned aRead More


Film Examines Court Jews Who Dominated Basketball

By Ethan Porter

In Miami there are men whose memories burn with images of athletic glory long-relegated to private collections of black-and-white news reels — images of swooping majestic passes back and forth, baskets swishing with grace, running up and down a court of giants. These men possess the story of how Jewish Americans, most of them the children ofRead More


The Return Of Shylock

By Gabriel Sanders

In November 2003, when billionaire George Soros was first establishing himself as a force in the presidential campaign, a writer for the Web site GOPUSA spelled out his feelings about the financier with great conciseness when he referred to him as a “Hungarian-born descendant of Shylock.”Shakespeare’s most famous villain may be more than 400Read More


An Italian Fountain of Liberty

By Helen Eliassian

In Baedekar’s 19th-century guides to Italy, the small town of Ladispoli is described as a seaside resort with a fine beach. According to local lore, the sands were said to have a healing quality. Right in the middle of town, there was a little nondescript fountain.Thanks to a few historical twists, in the 20th century that fountain would come toRead More


The Holy Fool How One Writer Conveys Spiritual Truths That Are Seriously Funny

By Jay Michaelson

Because I first met Eliezer Sobel on a meditation retreat, the first things I remember about him are his socks. The most important rule at such gatherings, where taking off one’s shoes is inevitable, is to bring good socks. But Sobel’s weren’t just the warm, wool socks that every retreat veteran has. They were loud, bright, multicolored;Read More


A Room of Their Own –– Again; Exploring the Latest Revival in Girls’ Schools

By Jennifer Siegel

As a veteran reporter who spent years covering California’s male-dominated State House, Ilana DeBare had long seen that women were disadvantaged in a system fueled by the late-night backroom deals of chummy male insiders. But when she started covering the state’s booming technology industry — a new field, allegedly driven more byRead More


Stern College Turns 50

By Jennifer Siegel

As a member of the second class of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, Ginger Socol remembers shopping on 34th Street, taking biology classes with a total of three students and living in a hotel suite while the dormitory was under construction. Most of all, though, she remembers her roommates — Orthodox young women fromRead More


America on the Couch: Jews and the Shaping of Therapeutic Culture

By Eli Zaretsky

Jews and the American Soul: Human Nature in the 20th Century By Andrew R. Heinze Princeton University Press, 456 pages, $29.95. * * *The convergence of religion and psychology is one of the signal facts of 20th-century Western culture. In retrospect, the relationship seems obvious: On the one hand, many functions once performed by religionRead More


Nodding Off on Wedlock’s Bed

By David Curzon

This week’s portion contains Jacob’s dream and many other passages that have given rise to midrashim. One of these passages is Genesis 30:1: And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob: ‘Give me children or else I die.’ Robert Burns (1759-1796) was inspired by this verse toRead More


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