Gloria Kestenbaum's blog

Remembering Gottex

Long, long ago, appearing partially unclad occasioned no greater agita in my mind than appearing fully dressed. At that time, wearing a bathing suit was a fashion opportunity rather than a moment of shame. But Gottex bathing suits were on a list of items well beyond my price range. 

“What’s Under Your Pareo?" at the JCC in Manhattan. Photo by Koon

Remembering Women Of The Holocaust

The suffering of women, in particular, during the Holocaust, was for many years excluded from the general Holocaust narrative. Rochelle G. Saidel, founder of the Remember the Women Institute (RWI), has been instrumental in bringing the specific experience of women to the fore, especially insofar as the issue of sexual violation.

Courtesy Remember the Women Institute

Painting The Seder Table

With apologies to Shelley, “If winter comes, can Passover be far behind?”  And despite the never-ending snow and winter-like cold, Passover is indeed coming soon -- which makes this a great time to drop by The Jewish Museum for a view of Nicole Eisenman’s Seder (2010), the featured work in the Museum’s Masterpieces & Curiosities exhibition series.

Nicole Eisenman, Seder, 2010, oil on canvas. Courtesy The Jewish Museum

“The Picasso Of Graphic Design”

For a primer in the origins of modern advertising design, head uptown to the Museum of the City of New York for “Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand.”

IBM pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

A Saga Of The Soleymans

From its opening lines to the satisfying and surprising ending, "The Luminous Heart of Jonas S." (Akashic Books) by Gina B. Nahai kept me at the edge of my seat, impatient to meet the next fabulous character in this rollicking, often moving mystery/family saga.

Gina Nahai's new novel, from Akashic Books

Anita Diamant’s American Everywoman

Anita Diamant, best known for her best-selling novel, “The Red Tent,” based on the biblical story of Dinah, has published another historical page-turner, this one set closer to our own time. 

Anita Diamant. Photo by Gretje Fergeson

Holocaust Generations

I try to avoid books about the Holocaust, especially those about children of survivors. As a member of the latter group, I find the books either too painful and too familiar or insufficiently painful and somehow not enough.

Courtesy Jewish Lights Publishing

Young Jews Through A Russian-Speaking Lens

Chabad on the Bowery recently played host to a group of young Jews, some wearing kippot or long skirts, others less clearly Jewish-affiliated. What made this event singular was that most of its attendees were speaking Russian or Russian-tinged English.

Men's evening learning program in Makarov Kollel. Anna Chana Demidova

The Other Marx

Although Karl Marx is frequently recalled today, both to his credit and discredit, as the founder of Communism, his youngest daughter Eleanor has mostly been forgotten. But in her time, Eleanor was a figure of world renown, respected both as the primary editor and expounder of her father’s works, and in her own right as a social activist, leader of the burgeoning trade unions, a pioneering feminist, and translator and proponent of such defining works of the 19th century as Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” and Ibsen’s entire oeuvre. Her story is finally given the attention it deserves in Rachel Holmes’ exhaustive biography, “Eleanor Marx:  A Life” (Bloomsbury Publishing).

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Parsing The Unseen

Born in the United States, artist and teacher Leah Raab has twice gone on aliyah for extended periods, and twice returned to the U.S. Nevertheless, life in Israel, its landscape, religion and history, both past and present, remains a recurring theme in her work.

Leah Raab. “Monster Slide lll,” 2014.
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