A Utopian Bronx Tale

By Sarah Kessler

In the mid-1920s, a group of immigrant Jewish factory workers decided that they’d come this far for something better than the slums they inhabited. So pooling resources, they orchestrated the construction of four cooperatively owned and run apartment complexes in the Bronx, with practical goals for a better quality of life, and idealistic visions of a transformative way of living. “The Coops,” as one of the developments came to be known, the subject of an eight-years-in-the making documentary, “At Home in Utopia,” written and edited by Michal Goldman.Read More

Awaiting Rapture

By Gwen Orel

Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer recently spoke about “End Days,” how it has been received in different religious communities and her own connection to Judaism with Forward contributor Gwen Orel.Read More

Turning His Lens on the ADL

By Nathan Burstein

Controversy isn’t new terrain for Yoav Shamir. And controversy is the likely response to “Defamation,” his new documentary focused on anti-Zionism, antisemitism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, among other lightning rods. The Anti-Defamation League and its director, Abraham Foxman, figure prominently in the film, as do “Holocaust Industry” author Norman Finkelstein and a group of Israeli teens taking a school trip to the Nazi death camps.Read More

Nuptial Disagreements

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

As an undergraduate studying abroad in Israel, Amy Beth Oppenheimer didn’t write a thesis paper — she made a documentary about the hot topic of marriage instead. The Forward speaks with the young documentarian about the controversies she explores in her film.Read More

Cantorial Blues: The Age of Myth Returns

By Hillel Broder

Jeremiah Lockwood is a Brooklyn-based singer, songwriter and visionary. He has appeared with J-Dub artists Balkan Beat Box and released a blues-oriented solo album “American Primitive” (Vee-Ron Records), in 2006. Lockwood’s most recent project, The Sway Machinery sees its first album, “Hidden Melodies Revealed” (J-Dub Records) debut April 7. The Sway Machinery’s impressive fusion of genres — bringing together traditional blues and traditional hazanut — highlights Lockwood’s broad musical mastery.Read More

David Roskies on Making the "Language of Jewish Secrets" Young Again

By Lana Gersten

Author and Yiddish scholar David Roskies is out with a memoir that looks at his family’s transmission of Yiddish culture from the Old World of Vilnius to the New World of Montreal and New York. “Yiddishlands” (Wayne State University Press) takes readers on a journey through Eastern Europe, where Roskies’s grandparents owned a printing press and his parents came of age before the emigrating in 1940.Read More

Avivah Zornberg and the ‘Biblical Unconscious’

By Jake Marmer

Dr. Avivah Zornberg is a Jerusalem-based educator, Torah scholar, and philosopher. Though Zornberg’s two previous books have followed the traditional Torah-commentary format, her new book, “The Murmuring Deep Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious” (Shocken) comprises a collection of essays on various characters and themes in the Hebrew bibleRead More

And on the Seventh Day, He Plotzed

By Gabrielle Birkner

In an interview with the Forward, David Plotz, author of “Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible,” discusses the two most oft-repeated commandments, how reading the Bible changed his life, and why he’ll never blog the Book of Mormon.Read More

Aharon Appelfeld on Living and Dying in Jerusalem

By Adam Rovner

Though he recently turned 77, Aharon Appelfeld remains one of modern Hebrew literature’s freshest voices. His work has been celebrated in Israel and around the world by prize committees, critics and other writers, including his friend Philip Roth. The nearly three dozen books to his name have been translated into numerous languages, making him one of Israel’s most read authors. His latest work to appear in English, “Laish” (Schocken), centers on the eponymous protagonist’s adventures among a wandering band of Jewish pilgrims bound for the Promised Land.Read More

Gail Hareven’s Confessional

By David Stromberg

The work of Gail Hareven, one of Israel’s most prominent writers of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature, is being introduced to an English-speaking audience with the recent release of “The Confessions of Noa Weber” (Melville House). This novel tells the story of the titular character’s struggle between her feminist ideology and her yearning for love and spirituality. David Stromberg, a writer and journalist in Jerusalem, interviewed Hareven, the author of 11 books and a member of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, about “Confessions,” which will be released in paperback this month.Read More

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