Well Versed

The Other Marx

Although Karl Marx is frequently recalled today, both to his credit and discredit, as the founder of Communism, his youngest daughter Eleanor has mostly been forgotten. But in her time, Eleanor was a figure of world renown, respected both as the primary editor and expounder of her father’s works, and in her own right as a social activist, leader of the burgeoning trade unions, a pioneering feminist, and translator and proponent of such defining works of the 19th century as Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” and Ibsen’s entire oeuvre. Her story is finally given the attention it deserves in Rachel Holmes’ exhaustive biography, “Eleanor Marx:  A Life” (Bloomsbury Publishing).

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Honoring The Literary Legacy Of Food Historian Gil Marks

“Walking encyclopedia” may have been the idiom that appeared most often in tributes to culinary historian Gil Marks, who died in Jerusalem on December 5, 2014, after a courageous three-year battle with (nonsmoker’s) lung cancer. A memorial gathering of family and friends will be held in Jerusalem on January 5 and will be streamed.

Gil Marks. Photo by Elli Schorr

Parsing The Unseen

Born in the United States, artist and teacher Leah Raab has twice gone on aliyah for extended periods, and twice returned to the U.S. Nevertheless, life in Israel, its landscape, religion and history, both past and present, remains a recurring theme in her work.

Leah Raab. “Monster Slide lll,” 2014.

Defiant Joy: The Music Of Shlomo Carlebach On Broadway

In “Soul Doctor,” the new musical inspired by the life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, there’s a moment of transcendence in the first ten minutes.

Hayden Wall and Anthony Laciura in "Soul Doctor"

Last Chance: Hirshbein's Drama, Now In English

“On the Other Side of the River” opens promisingly: eerie bell-like music plays softly, and the set, three flats covered with stiffened, rippling gray gauze, seems to suggest a cave receding in the distance – until the lights come up, transforming them into a river, in a beautiful union of lighting and scenic design. 

Jane Cortney as Mir’l. Courtesy New Worlds Theater Project. Hunter Canning

Meet King David At The Metropolitan Museum

 Elie Wiesel describes the Bible as “the pull of my childhood, a fascination with the vanished world, and I can find everything except that world.”

I feel much the same way, which is why the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibit “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” so thrilled me. The premise of the exhibit isn’t Israel or the Bible.  Rather, it explores cross-cultural interaction and global communication during the Assyrian Empire from roughly 1200 – 400 BCE, the time period that many major Biblical events took place. 

"House of David" inscription, ca. 830 BCE,Israel Antiquities Authority, courtesy of The Israel Museum. Meidad Suchowolski

Lost And Found Klezmer

Whiny trills of klezmer music reverberate from the towering coffered ceiling of the Museum at Eldridge Street as five firmly concentrating Israeli musicians connect deeply to their Jewish roots through the song of klezmer. Their focused brows and eased smiles signify the technicalities and synchronous timing of their music, as well as their delight in performing it. This is 12th Night Music, a quintet of highly creative classically trained Israeli musicians.

Clarinetist Avigail Malachi accompanied by Elad Kabilio on cello. Anna Shneyderman

Closing The Circle

Why did I travel to the other end of town to see a tribute to Anna Sokolow so many decades after I last saw –  or even thought about – her work? The answer is that Anna Sokolow, an important contributor to the repertory of American modern dance for sixty years, gave me permission to dance.

Anna Sokolow at 70. Courtesy Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble

Opening The Red Tent On Screen

This Shabbat, we read the story of Dinah, the only daughter of the biblical Jacob, whose tragic tale is tucked into the narrative of parshat Vaylishlach. And on Sunday evening, Lifetime Television will air the first of a two-part mini-series based on Anita Diamant’s wildly successful 1997 novel inspired by Dinah’s  story, "The Red Tent." The confluence of these dates, according to Diamant, is “totally coincidental.”

Inside The Red Tent. Courtesy Lifetime

How Much Is It Worth?

“What do you know about it?” the first person in line is asked. The others, with grimly pursed lips, nervously await their turns to have valuables appraised.

Appraiser Helaine Fendelman examining an artistic work. Photo by Tzippy Katz
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