Well Versed

A Virtual Tour Of Tel Aviv Architecture

A graphic artist’s search for a new apartment in Tel Aviv has resulted in a spectacular new website documenting some of the White City’s most distinctive buildings.

Avner Gicelter, 44 Balfour Street.

Devarim At Downton

Like many New Yorkers looking to escape the cold, I settled down the other night with my hottest cuppa tea and delved into the world of Downton Abbey.

A world full of good old English values, a world where the introduction of a modern electric mixing bowl is greeted with alarm—and a world that would likely go into an apoplectic shock at the very thought of peyot and phylacteries.

Robert, Duchess of Yeovil, Mary; "Downton Abbey, Season 4: Part Two." Photo courtesy PBS

Reissued: A Jewish, Gay Voice Of Weimar Germany And Beyond

Charlotte Wolff died in 1986 and today is little known beyond an esoteric reading public. Plunkett Lake Press has just released an electronic edition of her autobiography, “Hindsight,” first published in 1980.

Image courtesy Plunkett Lake Press

Surprises At The Sotheby’s Auctions

The results are in from last Tuesday’s auctions at Sotheby’s when the Upper East Side auction house held its annual December sales on Important Judaica and Israeli & International Art.

Untitled, Adi Nes, 1999. Photo courtesy Sotheby’s

Building A Singing Community

This past Thursday night, in the basement of Mechon Hadar on the Upper West Side, nearly sixty people gathered to sit in the round and listen and participate with the music being performed by Joey Weisenberg and several other musicians. Weisenberg, a staff member at Hadar who leads regular music and singing workshops, also teaches at JTS, Hebrew Union College, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. An accomplished singer, guitarist, percussionist, and mandolin player, Weisenberg played mandolin and guitar on Thursday night, and was joined by the Hadar Ensemble, which featured two vocalists, a violinist, a fiddler, a stand-up bass player and a hand drummer.

Joey Weisenberg and friends. Andrew Belinfante

Have Yourself A Happy (Second) Chanukah

For many, the winter holiday season can sometime feel like elbowing for room at the family table: Chanukah, Christmas, Kawaanza, Solstice, (Festivus!)…the list goes on.

But this year, latkes came with a slice of pumpkin pie.  And while it was nice to spin the dreidel in-between bastings, for many the Festival of Lights should come with a side of snow.

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Klezmer

Two-On-The-Aisle: Theater Café In Jerusalem

In the uncanny way that art imitates life, Jerusalem’s literary café, Tmol Shilshom, has been the setting for fictional accounts of young Israelis in search of love. The café, named in honor of the masterpiece by Israeli Nobel Prize-winner S.Y. Agnon, is half-hidden in a courtyard of the city’s historic Nahalat Shiva neighborhood. It is renowned for an atmosphere that encourages both cultural dialogue and romance over shared meals and occasional evening talks by Israel’s literary lights.

Improvisational theater in Jerusalem: Love Stories at Tmol Shilshom. Irit Elad

High Profile Art And Judaica At Sotheby’s

Each December (perhaps in time for holiday shopping?), Sotheby’s in New York presents its sales of ”Important Judaica” as well as “Israeli and International Art.”

Miniscule Torah Scroll (Germany, 19th century). Courtesy of Sotheby's

"Handle With Care," Handles With Grace

“Will I see you at shul?”
“…Spent $200 for Christmas.”
“Mah nishmah?”
“The name’sunder Menachem O’Malley.”

Voices slipping in and out of Hebrew and English, filled up the lobby of the Westside Theatre,where the audience was waiting to see "Handle With Care," the new off-Broadway play by Jason Odell Williams.

Little did they know that art was about to imitate life.

Carol Lawrence in “Handle With Care.” Doug Denoff

Stand Up And Be Photographed!

On the coldest day this month, I stepped onto Brighton Beach and contemplated my identity. I am not a member of the Polar Bear Club. I hate being cold!  Rather, I was participating in a “Casual Conversation” in the warmth of the lobby of the JCC in Manhattan. 

Signs of dual identity. Jeff and Alina Bliumis. Photo courtesy The JCC in Manhattan
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