Arts Guide

Change Agent For Women

Staff Writer
Honoring Barbara Dobkin, it was clear from the start that the Jewish Women’s Archive benefit couldn’t be your typical rubber-chicken dinner. No, the sold-out fund raiser at the Copacabana nightclub Monday night was as cheeky as its honoree. Instead of solemn tributes, female comics had people laughing in their pink feather boas, which were draped over every chair. Every table was festooned with bottles of diet peach Snapple, which is Barbara’s elixir of life, chocolate-covered pretzels and cardboard fans, made of life-size photos of her face.

Parenting & The New Spirituality

Staff Writer
We’ve traveled a long way from the old country, where Jewish life was absorbed by people growing up in their parents’ homes, traditions passed down from one generation to the next naturally, transmitted almost by osmosis in the shtetl square. Fast forward to modern America, circa 2000, and the reality is that many of us were raised by parents who emphasized the American part of being American Jews and let the Jewish piece fall by the wayside.

Bridge Over The River Chai

Staff Writer
If he could, my husband would order shrimp and cholent in the same meal. Alas, even New York doesn’t have a restaurant that offers both on the same menu. But if there were such an establishment, you’d be sure to find my husband happily chowing simultaneously on glatt kosher and glatt treif. Yes, he’s a guy conflicted about his Jewish identity. It’s one of the vestiges of being a FFFB (formerly-frum-from-birth) guy who revels in the remnants of his rebellion.

Shades Of Gray

Staff Writer
As dusk fell on a Saturday night not long ago, 45 Jewish children and their parents gathered together on the deck outside a retreat center dining room in the northern reaches of Connecticut to bid farewell to the Sabbath. While watching the light of the braided Havdalah candle reflecting in their children’s eyes, many of the parents felt emotion well up. They had never before seen their children with so many others like themselves. For once - but only for a few days, at the retreat - their child wasn’t the only Jew with brown skin.

Back To The Future

Staff Writer
From the outside, it looked like Kenneth Cohen had it all. A founding executive of the software giant Oracle Corporation, Cohen worked for an innovative company in California’s Silicon Valley. With a wife and young daughter at home, life should have felt complete. But something, Cohen says, was missing. “It’s just inevitable that you say to yourself, ‘What do I want to pass on to this kid other than my stock certificates?’ I had to have a higher goal,” he says.

Band Of Brothers

Staff Writer
Dan Kurzman received his usual collection of clippings in the mail from his brother-in-law several years ago. In the envelope was a newspaper article about four clergymen (a Jew, a Catholic and two Protestants) who had heroically sacrificed their lives for the sake of American soldiers on a torpedoed troop ship in the north Atlantic in the winter of 1943. "Wouldn't this make a great book," Fred Knopf, asked in a note.

Fighting Back With Satire

Staff Writer
In the pages of The New Yorker, a cartoon shows an Orthodox Jew with a protruding nose walking away from his just-spanked son. The child is holding a drawing of a sack of money. "So let that be a lesson to you, Abie," the father warns. "It is forbidden to depict the profit!" The cartoon is the work of Art Spiegelman, who is Jewish. Online, a call goes out for the best anti-Semitic cartoons in the world. The contest is sponsored by a Tel Aviv comic books publishing firm. Only Jews can enter. All the firm's owners are Jewish.

Arts And Arks

Staff Writer
This school is painting a new picture of the Orthodox women’s seminary. The Lea Rothstein Judaism & Arts Institute, located on the Ramot Shapira campus 15 minutes west of Jerusalem, will combine traditional religious studies with advanced training in fine and graphic arts, literature and music when it opens in September.

The Book On Controversy

Staff Writer
“Israel and the Bomb.” By Avner Cohen, Columbia University Press, 470 pages, $27.50. Cohen’s book should properly be labeled “Israel and the Bomb and Israeli-American Diplomacy Concerning the Bomb.” The bomb, of course, is the nuclear bomb, which the world suspects Israel has, but whose existence Israel has never admitted.

The Hard Road To Unity

Editor & Publisher
Some years ago, when he was a philosophy professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Tsvi Blanchard was asked to mediate a dispute between two Jewish groups on campus. The participants in the traditional Friday-night minyan at the Hillel house were complaining that the newly installed Reform service upstairs, with its live guitar music, was impinging on their own concentration and enjoyment.
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