Well Versed

A Photographer With An Ironic Eye

Vivid purple, yellow and green feathers grow out of his face, peacock feathers crown his head, and green feathers wrap around his neck.  A beard pokes through and a trenchcoat covers his body. An avian humanoid or a man in a Purim costume?

Pavel Wolberg, Bnei Brak, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Andrea Meislin Gallery

Jews And The Arts, Players And Pundits

The Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College hosted an ambitious and absorbing program, “Jewish Arts and Identity in the Contemporary World” on May 7th. Three panels – on theater, music and the visual arts - were the core of the conference complemented by a performance by Audrey Flack and the Art History Band.

A Tribute to Rabbi Neil Gillman

“Faith lasts for a moment and then you’re back in the desert again,” said Rabbi Neil Gillman, quoting Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

For more than half a century. the former dean of the Rabbinical School and current Professor Emeritus of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary has guided students of all ages and Jews of all denominations through the shifting sand of that theological Sinai.

Neil Gillman. Photo courtesy JTS

Two Israeli Painters To Watch

This year’s MFA exhibition at The New York Studio School, which opened on Wednesday night, includes two Israeli painters working with specifically Jewish or Israeli themes.  Leah Raab paints large-scale images of Jerusalem that are tender and intimate, but sometimes communicate a sense of foreboding. Shany Saar paints narrative works, often of biblical themes.  Both create strong images through an inventive sense of form and color, vigorous brushwork and an achieved sense of pictorial space.

Happiness Show: Just Thinking About It Makes Me Smile

Happiness... there is a word for it in every language, yet, what it is and how best to sustain it is a perennial puzzle. There is hardly a culture, religion or political platform that fails to mention it, while few have defined it in consistently satisfying terms.

Photo courtesy The Jewish Museum

Confronting Anti-Semitism, On Exhibit

Today, Germany is recognized as a leading industrialized nation with a stable democracy. But despite the country’s Holocaust memorials and reparations, anti-Semitism—along with racism and neo-Nazi ideology—has remained part of German society since 1945.These circumstances are at the heart of “Germany After 1945: A Society Confronts Anti-Semitism, Racism and Neo-Nazism,” a traveling exhibition that is making its U.S. debut at Baruch College of The City University of New York.

Last Look: Chim at ICP

The International Center of Photography's exhibition "We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933 – 1956 by Chim" is up for one more week, till May 5. Admirers of photography, of Israel and of Ingrid Bergman should visit while it's still possible.

Chim, Wedding under an improvised huppah propped up with guns and pitchforks, Israel, 1952. Chim (David Seymour)/Magnum Photos

Aciman and Krauss, Live From The NYPL

Any discussion on the topic of “the costs of assimilation” into American society is likely to draw a crowd, especially in New York, and especially in our current climate. But when the Live from the NYPL series announced that acclaimed authors André Aciman and Nicole Krauss would be speaking, the April 22 event sold out.

Observing Israel In Black-And-White

In the Golan Heights in 1974, an Arab girl stares at the camera from behind a “stop” sign; an Israeli soldier buys a fruit juice from a stand right behind her. 

Jerusalem, 1974, gelatin silver print, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ inches. Burt Allen Solomon

Tainted Names and New Jewish Identities

As I write that descendants of prominent Nazis have chosen to live in Israel today, and that some of them – with surnames like Goering, Goebbels or Himmler -- are converted to Judaism or in process, I realize that readers will reread this sentence to make sure they didn’t misread.

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