Skip To Content

Enter the Critics

With this issue, Arts & Letters initiates a criticism section, which will rotate weekly between film, music, dance and art. We are proud to introduce our columnists, eight incisive cultural observers, with unique voices and singular perspectives.


Daphne Merkin, the author of the novel “Enchantment” and “Dreaming of Hitler,” an essay collection, is a former film critic for The New Yorker. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and her essays and criticism appear in a wide variety of publications. She is currently at work on “Melancholy Baby,” a personal and cultural history of depression. She is based in New York City.

Michael Bronski has written for The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, The Los Angeles Times and The Village Voice. He is a visiting scholar at Dartmouth College, and his latest book is “Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps.” He is based in Boston.


Dimitri Ehrlich, who will write about popular music, is music editor at large for Interview magazine and has written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vibe and Spin. Ehrlich, a former music editor for MTV, is also the author of “Inside the Music: Conversations With Contemporary Musicians About Spirituality, Creativity, and Consciousness.” He is based in New York City.

David Mermelstein, who will cover opera and classical music, is the editorial director of KUSC radio in Los Angeles and a regular contributor to the Sunday Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times. He has reviewed classical music for The New Criterion and the Los Angeles Daily News, and his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and Opera News. He is based in Los Angeles.


Joseph Carman, a former soloist with The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Dutch National Ballet and The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, is now a regular contributor to The New York Times Arts & Leisure section. He has written for Dance magazine, Poz magazine, The Advocate, The New York Blade, the New York Press, The Village Voice and Playbill. He is based in New York City.

Judith Brin Ingber, a choreographer and dancer, lived in Israel from 1972 to 1977, where she worked with the Batsheva Dance Company and as an assistant director for the Inbal Dance Theatre. She is the author of several monographs and articles on dance, including “Shorashim: The Roots of Israeli Folk Dance,” “Dancing Into Marriage: Jewish Wedding Dances” and “The Priestesses, on Yarden Cohen and Sara Levi-Tanai.” She also published a biography of Viennese modern dancer Fred Berk titled “Victory Dances.” In addition to her performing and writing, she teaches in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota. She is based in Minneapolis.


Leslie Camhi’s essays on art, film and books appear regularly in The New York Times, The Village Voice and numerous other publications. She is based in New York City.

Andrew Patner is critic-at-large for Chicago’s WFMT Fine Arts Radio and contributing critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. A former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, he has also been an editor and staff writer for Chicago magazine and an arts critic, program host and producer for WBEZ-FM, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. A former contributing editor at the Forward and at Art & Antiques, his articles have also appeared in The Art Newspaper (London), The Nation, and The New Yorker, and he is the author of “I.F. Stone: A Portrait.” He is based in Chicago.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.