As reported last week, a 1954 handwritten letter from Chief Rabbi Isaac Halevi Herzog to the author of the book “Judaism in Islam” was offered at auction by Kestenbaum & Company. A private collector in Los Angeles, Alan Stern, bought the letter for $9000.
I don’t often swoon in public, but the Morgan Library’s current exhibition “Marks of Genius: Treasures from the Bodleian Library” left me breathless. It was dizzying, standing before 57 magnificent artifacts representing 2,000 years of intellectual and artistic accomplishment, from cultures, countries and religious traditions that ranged from around the world in place and time. And among them are several of particular Jewish interest.
Yiddish melodrama popped up last week, just yards from the elevated tracks of the 7 train in Queens, at a theater so discreet its name is Secret. Target Margin Theater there presented Allen Lewis Rickman’s enormously enjoyable translation of Isadore Zolotarevsky’s “Gelt, Libe, un Shande” – “Money, Love, and Shame.” Once, perhaps, a play with both pain and laughter, the passage of time has rendered it pure comedy.
"The Merchant of Venice," like many of Shakespeare’s middle “comedies,” is often considered a problem play: the language is dense, the final courtroom scene fraught with near-tragedy, and for even the most casual observer, the language is steeped with anti-Semitic vitriol.
“The beauty, meaning and form of Hebrew letters are the source of inspiration for Ric Pliego’s “Gematria” series, now on exhibit at El Taller Latino Americano. Based on the Hebrew numerological system, the Gematria paintings are a sequence of brightly-colored oils, depicting the Hebrew letters “aleph” through “tet” with simple but beautifully rendered pictograms.
"Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity," wrote poet Yehuda Amichai." Last week, contemporary Israeli writers and translated-into-Hebrew international writers sailed into the Fourth International Writers Festival in Jerusalem for conversations, encounters, music and films that were articulate, bracing, confrontational, moving and at times inspirational.
Israeli artist Gil Yefman takes on the subject of sexual violence and the forced prostitution of women during the Shoah, a focus not often presented in Holocaust history, and he does so through a literal hook, the crochet hook.