He has been played for laughs and played for chills, but the soon-to-be homeless Shylock who has taken up residence in Central Park in the Public Theater’s new production of “The Merchant of Venice,” directed by Daniel Sullivan, is played purely for pity. That it is Al Pacino, of all actors, who fails to give the Jewish moneylender a menacing edge, is surprising beyond measure.
In post-Madoff New York, two new productions of ‘Merchant of Venice’ (one starring Al Pacino) are on the boards this month.
Special To The Jewish Week
If any theatrical character continues to haunt and fascinate us centuries after his debut upon the stage, it is Shylock, the frightening, agonized Jewish moneylender who demands to be repaid only with a pound of flesh. While Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” has always ranked among the most popular of the Bard’s plays in this country, Shylocks are popping up all over the city these days.
You don't hear many congressional candidates campaigning on a platform that includes a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that's what's happening in California – and the National Jewish Democratic Council isn't very happy with the Democratic hopeful who's pitching that line.
Like Joseph Cornell’s boxes blown up to human scale, Sigalit Landau’s installations isolate moments of transition. For her project last year, “Somnambulin,” the Israeli artist transformed a cement mixer into a mobile music box. Traveling in costume on her magic bus through the streets of Exeter, England, Landau passed out tiny body bags containing lollypops in the shape of a small girl, modeled after the archaeological remains of a frozen vagrant.
When Rabbi Naomi Levy became the rabbi of Temple Mishkon Tephilo in Venice, Calif., in 1989, she was 26, recently graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary. A member of the first seminary class to admit women to study for the rabbinate, she became the first female Conservative rabbi to lead a congregation on the West Coast. At first, she was treated like something of a curiosity, but after a short time, after several marriages, births, burials in the community, she went from being their “new young woman rabbi to being their rabbi.”
My mother wasn’t a fan of fairy tales. Her idea of a bedtime story was an anecdote about her travels through central Italy, circa 1960. I drifted to sleep with images of an American ingenué discovering the Piazza San Marco and the sleepy hilltop idyll of Perugia.
Long before Starbucks, or even Tel Aviv, cafés played a key role in fostering (and caffeinating) Jewish literary and intellectual communities.
At the turn of the 20th century, the presence of acculturated Jews in the renowned literary and artistic Viennese cafés was so pronounced that a proverb claiming that “the Jew belongs in the coffeehouse” was widely circulated in the city. Today, a hundred years later, the city of Tel Aviv can lay claim not only to serving some of the best coffee available anywhere, but also to fostering and sustaining a thriving café culture; a culture with heritage that goes back to the 1930s and the immigrants who came from cities like Vienna, Berlin and Warsaw.
In a bitter custody case that has sparked international Jewish concern, an Italian appeals court last week threw out a lower-court decision that granted custody of two Jewish children to their non-observant Israeli-born father, and not their Orthodox mother.
The reversal brought a sigh of relief from American Orthodox Jewish leaders who charged that the lower court in Genoa discriminated against Orthodox Judaism, likening it to a dangerous cult.
A visit to Sotheby’s during the ten-day exhibit of the Valmadonna Trust Library, which ended last Thursday, was remarkable on two levels - the contents themselves, and the outpouring of New Yorkers who came to see them.