Jerusalem — Residents of Mamilla, a century-old neighborhood located right outside the Old City of Jerusalem, have been eyewitnesses to many important events in the city’s turbulent history.
In 1948 and 1967, they either fled or shuttered themselves in their homes as soldiers fought on their doorsteps. Now, during happier times, they watch tens of thousands of Israelis march to the Western Wall to celebrate holidays.
Judaism can come in the most unexpected of packages. At first glance, a nearly seven-foot-tall painting of a single thick black stripe running vertically across a black canvas signifies nothing but itself: a profound meditation on color and form. Yet Barnett Newman titled his 1949 painting "Abraham," after his father, who had died two years earlier, and the Jewish patriarch.
The gavel came down on impressive auctions of Judaica last month, including the record-setting sale of a rare biblical commentary dated 1457.
That Italian manuscript of writings by Solomon Ben Issac, the 11th-century French rabbi and commentator known as Rashi, eventually sold to a private buyer who phoned in the winning bid of $434,000. The Dec. 17 sale represented the highest price ever achieved by the auction house, Kestenbaum & Company, for a single lot.
It sounds strange now, in the post-Soon-Yi era, but Woody Allen's classic films of the 1970s and especially the 1980s made him one of American cinema's most important moral voices. Behind the neurotic shtick and the clumsy narcissism, Allen in films such as "Zelig," "Broadway Danny Rose" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" created comic-tragic dramas highlighting the need for personal responsibility, the value of intense self-reflections, and the danger of veering from a moral compass, however personally defined.
“...with the advent of the Internet and genomic technology, genealogy has entered a new age. The past year has served up a series of high-profile revelations. The news that Barack Obama’s ancestors owned slaves was a bit more surprising than the news that Strom Thurmond’s did. ... And Henry Louis Gates Jr. ... was astounded to learn that half of his own ancestry was European, including Irish kinsmen on his father’s side and two Jewish women on his mother’s.” —Steven Pinker, The New Republic, Aug. 6
Recently one of the great American newspapers carried a long guide to recent recordings of world music in its arts pages. The article was thoughtful, intelligent and, for the most part, a splendid introduction to the field, covering everything from sub-Saharan Africa to Celtic music.
There was only one striking omission: the author didn’t discuss a single recording of Jewish music of any kind.
It was not, perhaps, the most fortuitous timing. The coincidence of Muhammad “Abu” Abbas, the Palestinian who engineered the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, being captured by American troops in Baghdad in mid-April and the debut of a new film version of John Adams’ opera about the hijacking, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” is not the sort of publicity-grabbing confluence of events that a major arts organization like Lincoln Center usually seeks.
Yonatan Zilberman may have been a bit hesitant when he began thinking about directing his first film, the documentary “Watermarks.” After all, his academic background at MIT was in physics and business. He was executive producing another documentary when he first learned of the amazing story of the Hakoah Vienna sports club and its assemblage of world-class Jewish athletes, but he wasn’t — strictly speaking — a filmmaker.
His friend and soon-to-be-co-producer, Yonatan Israel, however, never had any doubts.
As a wedding is about to begin in North London, all eyes are on the mother of the groom. Claudia Rubin is tall, beautiful, brainy and voluptuous, a celebrated rabbi who leads a large congregation. She’s not officiating at her son’s marriage, instead letting the bride’s family’s rabbi, Nicky Baum, lead the rites. But the service never begins, for the groom runs off with the woman he loves, Rabbi Baum’s wife.
Ever since billionaire diamond and real estate magnate Lev Leviev began to raise his profile and personalize his brand with the opening of deluxe diamond shops in London in 2006 and here in 2007, the 51-year-old Uzbekistan-born tycoon has run into a sustained string of bad news and adverse publicity. Even a hagiographic profile in The New York Times Magazine last September — in which he revealed a secret desire to become prime minister of Israel within 10 years — seems not to have helped.