The Arts

Behind Heifetz’s Genius

‘God’s Fiddler’ chronicles the violin virtuoso’s life and career.
11/10/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Genius is pure enigma. It has been called “an infinite capacity for taking pains,” but that quality describes drudgery too. There must be some inexplicable spark, some breath of the Divine that transforms mere technical perfection, simple virtuosity into something transcendent.

Jascha Heifetz

Photographers Taking It To The Streets

Jewish Museum’s ‘Radical Camera’ show highlights the pioneering work of the N.Y. Photo League.
11/07/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The juxtaposition in the photograph, like the contrast between the makeshift encampment at Zuccotti Park and the soaring tower of Goldman Sachs’ headquarters, is glaring. On a gritty street on the Lower East Side, the two sides of a tenement building tell a tale of haves and have-nots, the 1 percent and the 99. In Erika Stone’s striking black-and-white photo, a family’s gray underthings hang limply on a clothesline, framed by the tenement’s fading brick, while on the adjoining wall a well-coiffed and full-lipped blonde in an advertisement gazes sexily upward, a boxy ring on her finger and a sleek watch on her wrist.

Soul of the city: Bernard Cole’s “Shoemaker’s Lunch,” from 1944. ©Estate of Bernard Cole

Eco Wades Into ‘The Protocols’ Conspiracy

Acclaimed Italian novelist defends his new book from attacks back home.
11/07/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

That “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the notorious anti-Semitic tract about a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, still has currency in parts of the world today was no deterrent for Umberto Eco. If there was anyone who could get away with a novel about the forged document’s creation, it was Eco. A towering member of Italy’s intellectual elite, he is a man as famed for his works on philosophy as he is for his best-selling novels. 

Though Eco’s novel has won mostly glowing reviews.

The Wizardry Of Amos Oz

In his latest meticulously crafted novel, Israel’s most famous living writer evokes a profound existential unease.
11/01/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

In Amos Oz’s new novel, or more accurately novel-in-short-stories, the sense of dread, of profound existential unease, is unmistakable. No character in Oz’s fictional Israeli village, Tel Ilan, where all the stories in “Scenes from Village Life” are set, is happy. No one is even remotely content with his lot.

Amos Oz

The Melancholy Israel Film Festival

From a thwarted aliyah bid to a failed Arab-Jewish friendship, the tone at the JCC’s ‘Other’ film series is discouraging.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

The overriding tone of this year’s edition of the Other Israel Film Festival is one of melancholy, tinged with a degree of exhaustion. It is as if the intractable problems of the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors have worn down all the participants, the ossified positions that all sides have taken for so long have become so deeply ingrained that they seemingly will not admit the possibilities of positive change.

The festival’s opening-night film, “Dolphin Boy,” right. Below, the BBC production “The Promise.”

Casablanca Confidential

Joseph Braude drew on his Iraqi Jewish heritage and Arabic expertise to explore the workings of Moroccan policework.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

A native of Providence, R.I., a son of Arabic and Lithuanian culture, Joseph Braude grew up in two worlds — his Baghdad-born mother’s tales of a childhood in Iraq and his Lithuanian-born grandfather’s Midrash lessons. There were the kasha varnishkes and qar’yie (an Iraqi vegetable dish) at Shabbat meals, and both Sephardic-style and Ashkenazic-style charoset on Passover.

The Arabic part stuck.

Joseph Braude, left, sharing a traditional meal with a friend in Morocco during his time working on “The Honored Dead,” chronicl

A Classroom Clash Of Cultures

In ‘Yo Miss,’ Judith Sloan mines her experience teaching new immigrant teens.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

New York is reborn every day through the collision of cultures, producing new fusions and syntheses. In performance artist Judith Sloan’s new one-woman show, “Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide,” an intrepid Jewish teacher weaves documentary, poetry, autobiography and music from her searing encounters with immigrant, refugee and incarcerated youths. With music direction by famed klezmer trumpeter Frank London, the show features musicians Adam Hill and MiWi LaLupa performing a smattering of Jewish, Arabic and Chinese songs, along with hip hop and polka.

The universality of human experience, says Sloan, above, can lead to cross-cultural understanding.

Burns, Baby, Burns

A double dose of the iconic straight man, in the same weekend.
10/24/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

With the decline of the comedy duo, the straight man no longer plays a prominent role in our culture. But in Rupert Holmes’ “Say Goodnight, Gracie,” the revival of the one-man show that opens Sunday afternoon starring Joel Rooks as funnyman George Burns, the king of straight men gets his due.

A cigar and a one-liner: Joel Rooks as George Burns in “Say Goodnight, Gracie.” Scott Myers

Shostakovich’s Symphonic Shot At The Soviets

N.Y. Philharmonic to perform ‘Babi Yar,’ the composer’s public rebuke of the Kremlin.
10/24/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

There’s a special look that artists develop when they live under a brutal dictatorship. It’s a shiftiness in the eyes that comes from always looking behind to see who is listening and taking notes when they speak, write, paint, compose. Dmitri Shostakovich must have had that look down pat.

“He was on a list,” Victoria Bond says. “They must have watched his every move.”

Kurt Masur, music director emeritus of the New York Philharmonic.

The Bard Of Brookline Has Her Moment

At 75, short story master Edith Pearlman is finally being recognized.
10/24/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Recognition was never something Edith Pearlman asked for, but she can no longer ignore it.  This month, the 75-year-old Jewish writer was named a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction for her latest collection of short stories, “Binocular Vision.” And while Pearlman isn’t exactly dodging the limelight, she’s not going out of her way to bask in it, either.

After years as a writer, Edith Pearlman this month she was named a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction.
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