George Robinson

The Cantors’ DJ


Charlie Bernhaut has been instrumental in the survival and revival of traditional cantorial music. As the cofounder of Cantors’ World, now in its fifth year, he has been a part of dozens of standing-room-only concerts of contemporary cantorial music. Last year his donation of over 15,000 recordings to the American Society of Jewish Music was a massive windfall for that organization.

Dylan’s Back Pages

Special To The Jewish Week

In the cultural history of the second half of the 20th century, few figures — and no Jews — are more influential or pivotal than Bob Dylan.

No other artist bestrides so many trends and streams of Americana; Dylan merges folk, blues, gospel, country, rock and modernist poetry (with strong ties to the Symbolists and Surrealists). And in his relentless shape-shifting and self-reinvention he is an archetype for the age of mass communications.

Present At The Creation

Special To The Jewish Week

It is a commonplace notion that historical fictions are not about the period in which they are set but, rather, the period in which they are created. Elie Chouraqui’s new film, “O Jerusalem,” which opens Oct. 17, is a case in point.

Mamele Theresa

Special To The Jewish Week

It probably started on those long car rides to the Canadian Rockies.

“We would go every Sunday, and my mother would sing ‘Rumenia, Rumenia’ and songs like that,” recalls Theresa Tova, who will play two free concerts in the New York area this week.

Eventually, Tova would sing along. She discovered that she had a powerful voice. As she pursued a career as an actress, it became another helpful item in her theatrical toolkit.

The Anthropologist Jazz Pianist

Special To The Jewish Week

When the folks at Reboot Stereophonic told Fred Katz they wanted to reissue his long-unavailable album, “Folk Songs for Far Out Folk,” the cellist was amused but slightly baffled.

Conquering The Screen

Special To The Jewish Week

Consider Thorold Dickinson’s 1954 film "Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer" and Baruch Dinar’s landmark 1960 drama "They Were Ten." Each film has a tragic ending in which the death of Zionist patriots is a necessary prelude to the founding of a Jewish state. Then look at Uri Zohar’s "Every Bastard a King" and Joseph Millo’s "He Walked Through the Fields," both made late in 1967 (although the latter is set in 1948), both guardedly upbeat, with heroic protagonists who cheerfully rush through shot and shell to victory.

Gay And Haredi In Jerusalem

The Jewish Week talks to Haim Tabakman, director of the new film “Eyes Wide Open.”

Special to the Jewish Week

Haim Tabakman’s appearance belies the somber nature of his impressive first film, “Eyes Wide Open.”

Haim Tabakman, right, and scene from his “Eyes Wide Open,” above.

Identity Crisis, Times Two

Special To The Jewish Week

Adolescence is a miserably difficult time. That’s about the time that Nicole Opper decided that she was going to be Jewish. That’s about the time that Avery Klein-Cloud, the subject of Opper’s first feature-length film, “Off and Running,” began to struggle with questions of her own identity, questions not unlike those the filmmaker had wrestled with a decade or so before, only much more complicated.

Caught On Jaffa’s Mean Streets

Special To The Jewish Week

When you hear about the latest collaboration between a Palestinian filmmaker and his Israeli counterpart, the last thing you would expect to see is a gritty urban crime film. On the other hand, as Tolstoy observed that you can tell a lot about a nation by the state of its prisons, you can learn a lot about a culture by its crime fiction. After all, as the new Israeli film “Ajami” reminds us forcefully, the reasons that people enter into criminal activity speak pretty loudly about the most elemental forces at play in their daily lives.

Sontag’s Israel

Special To The Jewish Week

Although she continued to write film criticism throughout her life, Susan Sontag’s filmmaking career was fairly brief, basically consisting of three feature films made between 1969 and 1974 (she also made a telefilm for RAI in 1983). After  two fiction features, “Duet for Cannibals” (1969) and “Brother Carl” (1971), Sontag turned her hand to documentary and what would prove to be her most overt statement on Jewish matters, “Promised Lands” (1974). That rarely shown film is getting a weeklong run beginning on Feb. 4.

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