Eric Herschthal

36 Under 36 2009: Gilad Hekselman, 26

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 Gilad Hekselman moved to the United States just five years ago, but already the Israeli jazz guitarist has drawn comparisons to young but fully formed stringed icons like the late Jaco Pastorius and Scott LaFaro. Hekselman is honored, but not quite indebted. In an interview, Hekselman said he looked to other instruments than his own for inspiration, from the ruminative piano lines of Brad Mehldau to the cerebral saxophone riffs of Mark Turner. "To be honest, jazz guitarists aren’t my main influence," Hekselman says.

36 Under 36 2009: Anat Cohen, 34

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 There’s an evanescent quality to Anat Cohen’s sound. Her clarinet (she also plays the tenor and soprano saxophones) immediately evokes the celebratory swing of klezmer, but the music she plays — be it the Brazilian choro or the swampy funk of New Orleans big bands — quickly transports the listener somewhere else. She moved to New York from Israel 10 years ago, and it’s clear that behind her majestic, piping hot compositions is a more elemental ability to adapt, transform, and simply keep things moving.

Is Lemkin’s Legacy Going Unheeded?

01/22/2010
Staff Writer

The Center for Jewish History is currently showing an exhibit dedicated to the life and work of Raphael Lemkin. If his name isn’t quite familiar to you, rest assured, you’re not alone. In any event, you certainly know the one word that’s become synonymous with him: genocide. In 1943, Lemkin invented the term. And in 1951, he saw to it that the United Nations make it a punishable crime.

Darkness After ‘Noon’

As a new biography shows, the second half of Arthur Koestler’s life, marked by a peculiar mix of Zionism and Jewish self-hatred, was one of steadily declining reputation.

01/22/2010
Staff Writer

If you were Jewish and lived in the 1940s, to say that Arthur Koestler was on your side was no small thing. Then at the height of his renown, Koestler, born in Budapest in 1905, had become one of Western literature’s most revered figures. His anti-Stalinist novel “Darkness at Noon,” published in 1940 and still his most famous, made him one of the first liberals to come out against Communism. The book would partly inspire George Orwell, an author whose reputation today far eclipses Koestler’s.

The new biography of Arthur Koestler by Michael Scammell, bottom, revives an overlooked thesis.

Tel Aviv Invades The Upper West Side

03/08/2007
Editorial Intern

It isn’t an enviable task organizing an Israeli culture festival for a New York audience. For one thing, in seven days — with most performances concentrated on the weekend — how do you balance the realities of an Israeli cultural scene that often focuses more on benign subjects like nature, love and fantasy rather than politics and war — the subjects most prescient to Israel’s foreign supporters?

A UJay-Z-Federation Evening

03/08/2007
Editorial Intern

On any given night, Jay-Z’s upscale sports-themed lounge 40/40 boasts an attractive, often famous crowd.  The club, nestled on the corner of 25th Street and Broadway, has played host to some of the day’s most ogled celebrities: Beyoncé Knowles (Jay-Z’s girlfriend), the New Jersey Net Vince Carter, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, and pop star Nick Lachey.

And last Thursday night, it opened its VIP "Rémy Lounge" to Maggie Gallant, Robert Segal, and Melissa Swiss, among others. 

When Charity Doesn't Mean Money

11/01/2006
Editorial Intern

When Katyusha rockets began falling on Northern Israel in July, Anne Lanski, one of the main organizers of a Chicago program pairing Chicago and Israeli teens, hastily made plans to relocate her group of 45 from the Galilee to central Israel.

What Accounts For German Fascism?

Award-winning film ‘The White Ribbon’ may distort picture
of how Nazis rose to power, new scholarship asserts.

01/15/2010
Staff Writer

Though Michael Haneke’s recently released film “The White Ribbon,” which won the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival, focuses on one small German village, in 1914, the director has made it clear that the issues it raises are much larger. “Why do people follow an ideology?” the director asks in the film’s official press release. “German fascism is the best-known example of ideological delusion,” he adds, and while his film is not an explanation of German fascism per se, he certainly encourages viewers to ponder the relationship. In the opening scene, the narrator even says that he hopes the story about to unfold might “clarify things that happened later in our country.”

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Not Just For Olim Anymore

Staff Writer
08/18/2009
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, several English speakers circled around a pair of large wooden tables trying to learn Hebrew. They were in Ahuva Tal-Hollander’s program at West Side Institutional Synagogue, one of the largest Hebrew language programs in the city. Some were secular Jews who were dating someone religious or Israeli; others had become religious and wanted to better understand the Torah; and still others were American medical students preparing for classes in Israel this fall.
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