Airing A Life On The Air

Radio talk-show legend Barry Farber recounts his stories from both sides of the microphone.
10/22/2012 - 20:00
Staff Writer

During his five-plus decades as a radio talk-show host, Barry Farber has reigned as a leader of his profession and interviewed, by his own count, some 10,000 guests — how many questions has he asked on-air? You do the math — and met some of the best-known figures of the second half of the 20th century and served in the U.S.

Broadcasting “gave me a nice life,” Barry Farber says.

Leonard Cohen’s Lyricism

New biography profiles the legendary ‘Who by Fire’ singer-songwriter.
09/26/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

With the Days of Awe upon us, the sense of fear and trembling is almost palpable in the verses of the prayer U’Netana Tokef: “Who by fire, who by sword, who by beast.” Leonard Cohen’s whimsical take on these questions could come as light relief.

 Sylvie Simmons' new biography of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

The Long Road To Forgiveness

A pilgrimage to Uman, a family secret and a father-son reconciliation.
09/10/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

For Rosh HaShanah, 5771, two years ago, I had dragged my father, a rabbi, and my younger brother to Uman, a blighted Ukrainian city halfway between Kiev and Odessa. We were ostensibly there for the purposes of a book I was working on: the book was about pilgrimage, more or less.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus’ book takes him from Santiago de Compostela to Rabbi Nachman’s grave in Ukraine.

Chabon’s Vinyl Vision

Blacks, Jews and tikkun olam in an old-school record shop in Oakland.
09/03/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

An achingly poignant vibe of sweet and soulful idealism makes itself heard throughout Michael Chabon’s latest novel, “Telegraph Avenue” (HarperCollins). While it’s set in Oakland, Calif., in 2004, the novel’s realistic backdrop belies the romanticized wistfulness that lies at the core of Chabon’s lively portrait of a community.

Chabon conjures a winning soundtrack from the eclectic bins of Brokeland Records.

The Reluctant Feminist

Hanna Rosin and how the post-industrial economy favors women — for better or worse.
08/30/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The opening scene in Hanna Rosin’s 2010 Atlantic essay, “The End of Men,” may one day be as iconic as the beginning of Betty Friedan’s 1963 seminal work, “The Feminine Mystique.” Friedan’s book famously opened with a scene of a typical mid-century housewife.

Hanna Rosin: Shaped by a sense of “outsiderness?”  Nina Subin

One Searcher’s Highway To Heaven

Jewish ‘agnostic by default’ spends a year looking for God in many unfamiliar places.
08/13/2012 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Silver Spring, Md. — If, as President Kennedy famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” Eric Weiner’s journey of tens of thousands of miles began with a single question.

A “determined traveler,” Weiner journeyed around the world in his search for God.

Coming Home, Moving On

Joshua Henkin’s latest novel focuses on a family reunion in the Berkshires, filled with memories and surprises.
07/30/2012 - 20:00
Book Critic

The summer house in Lenox, Massachusetts where Joshua Henkin’s accomplished new novel is set has a tennis court out back, a garden, and, on its interior walls, street maps of Paris, Kathe Kollwitz etchings and faded portraits of great-grandparents. Family history also spills out of closets, with sports equipment of earlier eras, a never-worn wedding dress (the engagement was broken), outgrown sneakers and spare flip-flops.

Joshua Henkin’s “group book” centers around three days in the life of a Jewish family.  Matthew Polis

‘Unnatural Jews’

Bad things happen when Jews move to the country, in fiction, anyway.
07/24/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

 “Nature, he couldn’t help noticing lately, was trying to scare the s--- out of him. F---ing with him.”

 — from Shalom Auslander’s “Hope:  A Tragedy”

Shalom Auslander's "Hope: A Tragedy."

Writing Her Way To A New Life

Documenting the fraught journey from Jay to Joy Ladin.
07/16/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

In an interview, Joy Ladin begins several responses, “When I started living as myself…” For the Stern College professor, poet and author, the boundary between then and now, between living a lie and leading an authentic life, is her transition from man to woman.

For Ladin, her transition from man to woman is an experience of rebirth.

Past Imperfect?

Yehuda Kurtzer on the history-memory dynamic in Jewish life.
06/25/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week
We Jews, traditionally, are an ahistoric people. That’s not to say that we don’t have a history; praise the Lord, we have plenty! But the rabbis of the Talmud did not see their job as doing history. For the rabbinic leaders and decisors of old, history was not front and center; the rabbinic leadership asked not “What happened?” but rather “How can we set a context, a chronological order, for the events in the Hebrew Bible and by extension for the halacha, the normative system that governs the life of the individual and the community?”
History and memory are not mutually exclusive, Yehuda Kurtzer argues in “Shuva.”
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