The Arts

Who Was Peter Sellers?

11/23/2010

They called him the consummate character actor, the man who disappeared into his roles so completely that his own personality was invisible. Who was the real Peter Sellers?

David Boyle as Peter Sellers in “Being Sellers.” Questions of identity haunted the enigmatic actor.

Liberal Zionism’s Champion

From inside the Orthodox fold, Peter Beinart is honing his critique about why young Jews are ditching Israel.

11/23/2010
Staff Writer

In America, the lines of debate on Israel are starkly drawn; respected intellectuals cross them at their peril. You need only look at the reputations of the late Tony Judt or Alan Dershowitz — accomplished scholars in their respective fields — whose outspoken views on Israel have become caricatures for either side of the debate: Judt, the anti-Zionist; Dershowitz, the pro-Israel hawk.

The same type of thing might have happened to Peter Beinart.

The tension Beinart feels — between liberal values and unqualified support for Israel — is animating his writing.

Project Runway, Sephardic Style

Annual Sephardic Music Festival branches out with art rave, fashion show.

11/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The phone is ringing. There is a new CD to promote. There are the usual last-minute changes in the Sephardic Music Festival to be arranged. A new music video has to be shot this week. A fresh pot of coffee needs to be brewed.

And the baby is crying.

Erez Safar, founder of the Sephardic Music Festival.

Mr. Bellow’s Planet

11/16/2010
Staff Writer

Fittingly, the story of how novelist Benjamin Taylor became the editor of the newly published collection of Saul Bellow’s letters begins with a letter. Not a letter between Bellow and Taylor, to be sure — they never knew each other, in fact — but a letter between Taylor and Philip Roth.

The novelist’s letters — 708 of them — reveal his complicated relationship with Jewish life.

Not Getting To The Mountaintop

Richard Dreyfuss finds parallels between himself and Abraham Joshua Heschel
as he plays the rabbi in downscaled show.

11/16/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

 On the surface, no two people seem farther apart than the movie star from Beverly Hills and the famous German refugee rabbi. But Richard Dreyfuss, now appearing as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel in Colin Greer’s “Imagining Heschel” at the Cherry Lane Theater, feels a profound kinship with the character he plays.

Dreyfuss as Heschel: Was Vatican mission a failure?

I.L. Peretz, Melody Maker

11/09/2010

He may not have achieved the popularity of his fellow Yiddish writer, Sholom Aleichem, but I. L. Peretz (1852-1915) was also a heavyweight of Yiddish literature at the turn of the 20th century. While the author of the “Tevye” stories was known for his folksy brand of humor, Peretz was inspired by chasidic folklore to express the mystical resonances in Jewish tradition.

French mime and performance artist Rafael Goldwaser stars in Peretz plays at the Folksbiene.

Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’: Both Sides Now

Was the German composer’s oratorio a nod toward his Jewish ancestry — or the full fruition of his Christian identity?

11/09/2010
Staff Writer

When the New York Philharmonic performs Felix Mendelssohn’s rarely heard “Elijah” (1846) oratorio this weekend, many will no doubt see it as proof that the composer always identified with his family’s Jewish faith.

Bass-baritone Gerald Finley sings the role of Elijah in the New York Philharmonic’s production of the oratorio.

The Banality Of ‘Eichmann’

New drama about the Nazi war criminal’s interrogation offers
little more than a melodramatic medley.

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Eichmann,” a drama about the interrogation of the Nazi war criminal by an officer of the Israeli police after his capture in 1960, has been sitting on the shelf since 2007. Once you have seen the film it is not hard to understand why. What is harder to understand is why someone has actually chosen to release it.

Thomas Kretschmann as Adolf Eichmann.

New Musical Life For A Supposedly Dead Language

Adrienne Cooper performs new/old Yiddish songs at Drom.

11/04/2010
Special To The Jewish

Jewish history is too unpredictable for folks to count out the Yiddish language just yet. After all, 200 years ago Hebrew was supposedly a dead language used only in Jewish worship. Could there be a real-life version of the mythical “Yiddishland?”

“I don’t think there’s going to be a secular Yiddish community in which people live everyday lives in Yiddish,” Adrienne Cooper reluctantly admits. “But among artists there’s no reason this material can’t be taken up as a means of creative communication.”

New CD consists entirely of material that is either brand new or significantly re-imagined Yiddish songs

A Tempest Over Tutu

11/02/2010
Staff Writer

(Cape Town, South Africa)The fat lady will sing in Israel next week, so to speak, but the battle to silence Israel isn’t over in South Africa.

That’s the opinion of leaders of South Africa’s Jewish community, who say the decision last week by the Cape Town Opera to stage its production of “Porgy and Bess” in Tel Aviv as originally scheduled — despite the urging of Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu — will not slow down the international effort to delegitimize Israel.

Jewish community “spitting blood” over Archbishop Tutu’s Israel boycott comments.
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