The Arts

Celtic-Klez

Dublin native Carl Nelkin synthesizes his dual musical heritages and releases an Irish-inflected Holocaust album.

03/13/2009
Staff Writer

Standing on the bima behind a golden menorah, an emerald green leprechaun read from the megillah last Purim, a plush green top hat perched on his head and a red Irish-chasidish beard glued onto his flushed cheeks.
 

Jewish soul, Irish hearta: Even Nelkin’s somber Holocaust album is touched with an Irish lilt.

Less Is More: Alex Epstein’s Poetic Prose

For young Israeli writer, brevity is the name of the game.

04/26/2010
Staff Writer

Americans are surely familiar, to a point, with Israeli literature. Go to your local Barnes & Noble and you’ll find titles from Amos Oz, David Grossman and Aaron Appelfeld well stocked on its shelves.

Alex Epstein: His short story collection "Blue Has No South" is a study in brevity.

A Shmooze Through The Torah

New postmodern commentary offers high-tech,
user-friendly guide to weekly portion.

04/20/2010
Staff Writer

The classical commentaries on Acherei Mot–Kedoshim — the Torah portions in Leviticus read in synagogues this Shabbat — by the classical commentators are black and white, graphically and philosophically.

Long blocks of text parse and examine and explain key biblical words that illustrate such concepts as the Azazel goat ritual in the Wilderness, forbidden relationships, and obligations to the poor.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier’s parshah book takes a novel graphic approach.

Up Against The Wall

Tribeca Festival documentary aptly depicts all sides in a West Bank town’s peaceful struggle to reroute Israel’s security fence.

04/20/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The immense capacity of the human animal for pointless violence that runs counter to its best interests never ceases to amaze. Or it just never ceases.

Consider the history of an independent modern India. Conceived and brought to life by the work of one of the world’s greatest advocates of nonviolence, Mohandas Gandhi, it is a nation that has known terrible outbursts of sectarian violence within and brutal combat without for its entire history. Could it be possible, however, to reverse this process?

A scene from "Budrus"

Measuring The Giant That Was Yehuda Halevi

Hillel Halkin’s new biography of the poet-philosopher does him justice.

04/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Who was Yehuda Halevi? Generations of Jewish schoolchildren here and in the Palestine Yishuv grew up with his classic poetic line, “Libi ba-mizrach, v’anochi b’sof ma’arav” — “My heart is in the East (the Land of Israel), but I, my body, is in the furthest reaches of the West.” Living and working in the 11th and 12th centuries in Spain, he was one of the giants of Hebrew poetry. That he was a significant figure in the history of Jewish thought is unquestioned.

Halkin captures a larger-than-life figure.

And The Band Played On

Documentary looks at the relationship between
the Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich.

04/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

For most ordinary people, daily life under a repressive dictatorship would not present too many more problems than daily life in a democracy. Even for many in the arts, the difference would be minimal, even if the dictatorship was maximal. In a strange way, that seems to be the unintended message of Enrique Sanchez Lansch’s excellent new documentary, “The Reichsorchester: The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich,” showing in the Museum of Modern Art’s annual “Kino!” series of new German films.

Protestors greet New York arrival of Berlin Philharmonic at the beginning of their 1955 U.S. tour.

Tender Music, Across The Years

04/13/2010

If Mayer Davis needed proof that music can fill in the spaces between the words in our lives, he found it one Shabbat morning when, after leading the services as cantor at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side, he visited his ailing mother.

Esther Frankel Davis, whose husband, Avrum, is a well-known cantor, was by then seriously ill and no longer able to speak or recognize family members. But she loved when her son sang to her, and sometimes she would hum along, with eyes closed.

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A New Medium For Holocaust Stories

Part graphic novel, part documentary, ‘motion comics’
help attract viewers to difficult topics.

04/13/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The creators of “They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust,” a new series of motion comics, can each talk about why that relatively new medium is best suited for telling the stories they chose — those of Americans who helped rescue Jews in the 1930s and ‘40s.

But perhaps no explanation is more compelling than the one offered by Neal Adams, a legend in the comic-book industry and the illustrator of the new series.

New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s forceful stance against Nazi Germany is told in “LaGuardia’s War Against Hitler.”
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