I recently started reading Eric Foner’s “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” which won a Pulitzer this year. It’s a subtle yet fast-moving narrative about Lincoln’s evolution from a man merely averse to slavery to the one who would abolish the institution forever in America. Slavery in America is inexhaustible topic for historians, but a subject harder to come by is Jews in America, at least before the late 19th century.
The culture wars in Israel these days makes you pine for the ones we had here, in the States, some 15 years ago. In America, it all seemed like grand theater--Giuliani, for instance, catering to hard-core Christians aghast at a painting of the Virgin Mary covered in feces. But in Israel the state has a far stronger hand in culture. So when the current Likud Culture Minister, Limor Livnat, threatened to withhold money to artists who refused to perform in the Ariel performing center, in the occupied West Bank, it meant something.
In February, Nathan Englander's much awaited short story collection will be released. But this week, The New Yorker gets privileged access, publishing a new short story titled "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank." That's also the title of the upcoming collection, and if the story is any indication of what's in store, readers are in for a major treat. The story had me riveted, not least because of the communal Jewish d
Tonight is a big one for Philip Glass, the iconic Jewish composer who turns 75 next month. It will be the last night of the Met staging of Glass' Gandhi opera, "Satyagraha," and Glass will also be there -- to protest it. Glass announced on his website this week that he will be joining Occupy Wall Street's planned "Occupy Lincoln Center" protest outsi
Ever since her fierce polemic against the school reform movement, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” which came out last year, Diane Ravitch has become a ubiquitous voice in the raging education debate. It is not only because her writing is so cogent and ostensibly fact-driven, but also because her striking transformation—from one-time school reform champion, to sudden critic—that she has turned many heads.
Ever since her fierce polemic against the school reform movement, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” which came out last year, Diane Ravitch has become an ubiquitous voice in the raging education debate. It is not only because her writing is so cogent and ostensibly fact-driven, but also because her striking transformation—from one-time school reform champion, to sudden critic—that she has turned many heads.
Umberto Eco's latest novel, "The Prague Cemetery," has received tons of attention. But few reviewers have added anything interesting in their criticism, other than the usual banal stuff (not necessarily untrue) of it being "boring" or "over-stuffed" or intellectually ambitious, but less successfully executed. If you want something interesting, check out Neal Ascherson's take in The New York Review of Books. He actually has plenty
Nothing quite gets the public going like a Spielberg movie. Even if you hate his movies (not that I do), it's hard to avoid the excitement they engender. Especially come Christmas. This year, Spielberg's big holiday release, you may have heard, is "The Adventures of Tintin," an animated 3D film about the legendary children's book. And this year, I'm predicting a minor controversy about it.