The Arts

When A Hamas ‘Prince’ Turns

The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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As the great American journalist I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie,” and they never lie more freely than when they are conducting the business of spying. For all the professions of national, professional and tribal loyalties that are earnestly voiced throughout Nadav Schirman’s documentary film “The Green Prince,” which opens Sept. 12, it is ultimately personal loyalty that governs the behavior of its protagonists. That outcome feels entirely appropriate in a film about the hallucinatory world of counter-intelligence, double agents, lies and betrayals that Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak inhabit. When everyone around you is a professional liar, you have to trust the person who tells you the truth, however reluctantly.

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak as spy and handler in “The Green Prince.”  Courtesy of Music Box Films

Film Review: 'This Is Where I Leave You'

Grassroots critic Joan Alperin takes on the Jewiest movie out there. Spoiler: She absolutely love love love love loves it.

When A Hamas ‘Prince’ Turns

The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’

09/10/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

As the great American journalist I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie,” and they never lie more freely than when they are conducting the business of spying. For all the professions of national, professional and tribal loyalties that are earnestly voiced throughout Nadav Schirman’s documentary film “The Green Prince,” which opens Sept. 12, it is ultimately personal loyalty that governs the behavior of its protagonists. That outcome feels entirely appropriate in a film about the hallucinatory world of counter-intelligence, double agents, lies and betrayals that Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak inhabit. When everyone around you is a professional liar, you have to trust the person who tells you the truth, however reluctantly.

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak in “The Green Prince.” Courtesy of Music Box Films

King David As ‘Collage’

David Wolpe tackles the grace, and the contradictions, of the biblical monarch.

09/09/2014
Culture Editor
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The young David is captured in Michelangelo’s colossal marble masterpiece, in the days before his battle with Goliath. The sculptor expresses his beauty and hints of the boy’s majestic future. That’s the David a reader pictures in the opening pages of Rabbi David Wolpe’s new biography, “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press), when the High Priest Samuel visits the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite in search of a new king to replace Saul. Before meeting David, Samuel encounters his older brothers.  David is then summoned back from the fields, where he is tending the sheep, and his life is about to change.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Bearing Up

09/09/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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How much suffering can a person bear? Suzanne Tanner’s “Beyond Me: A Song Cycle in the Key of Survival” is a one-woman multimedia show based on the tragic experiences of Rachel Goldman Miller, a Parisian Jewish Holocaust survivor who lost her parents, sister and two brothers to the Nazis, and then, after coming to America and starting a new life, lost a son to AIDS. The play runs next Saturday evening at the United Solo Festival in Midtown.

“Beyond Me,” a one-woman multimedia shows, tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who has endured many losses. Deirdre Price

Surviving Auschwitz, Times Two

Czech actress and athlete are focus of ‘The Good and the True.’

09/03/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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They may be equally hair-raising and heartrending, but no two stories of survival in Auschwitz are exactly the same.

Isobel Pravda and Saul Reichlin star in “The Good and the True.” Svandovo Divadlo

Sprinting Toward Understanding

09/02/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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It was the disappointment of a lifetime. Two Jewish sprinters, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, were suddenly dropped from the U.S. track team at the 1936 Summer Olympics (known as the “Nazi Olympics”) in Berlin in favor of two African-American athletes, Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe. In “Olympics Über Alles,” a play by Samuel J. Bernstein and Marguerite Krupp, the incident becomes the catalyst for a controversial contemporary museum exhibit in New York. The play began performances last week in Midtown.

Joshua Quat, Michael Engberg as the Jewish sprinters Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller in “Olympics Über Alles.”  Carol Rosegg

Two Takes On The Shoah And Its Aftermath

‘Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook)’ and ‘Shadows from My Past’ at the Quad.

08/27/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The end of the First World War brought about the dismantling of both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires as well as the peace settlement that made possible both the rise of the Nazis and the chaotic creation of the modern Middle East. With the rather ironic conjunction of the latest outbreaks of violence in the Middle East and the centenary of the First World War, it is impossible not to note that two vastly different films about the Shoah and its aftermath are opening on Aug. 29 at the same multiplex. Each film came from one of the First World War’s biggest losers. A drama released in its home country in 2013, “Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook),” directed by János Szász from the novel by Agota Kristof, was made in Hungary; the new documentary “Shadows from My Past” is the work of Gita Kaufman, an Austrian Jew who escaped the Nazis as a child, and her husband and co-director Curt Kaufman, and focuses specifically on the Jewish-Austrian experience.

The identical twins at the center of “Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook”). Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Short Fiction, Long On Identity And Family

New collections by John J. Clayton, David Shrayer-Petrov and Judith Felsenfeld

08/26/2014
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John J. Clayton’s short stories have been awarded the O. Henry and Best American Stories prizes; “Radiance” was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. The 10 stories in “Many Seconds into the Future” (Texas Tech University Press), deal almost exclusively with Jewish men, aging, longing, aspiring, regretting, remembering and searching. These are tales of fathers and sons, of brothers, of husbands. Women have names but little color.

New biography suggests that the views of Israel’s first Ashkenazic chief rabbi were more pluralistic, and less nationalistic.

Reassessing Rav Kook

In new biography, Yehuda Mirsky argues that the founding chief rabbi of Israel’s ideas were co-opted by his son.

08/26/2014
Culture Editor
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While some books offer a good read, and others encapsulate groundbreaking scholarship, Yehudah Mirsky’s “Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution” (Yale University Press) manages to do both.

New biography suggests that Israel’s first Ashkenazic chief rabbi was more pluralistic. Courtesy of Yale University
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