The Arts

And On The Seventh Day...

Judith Shulevitz’s ‘Sabbath World’ offers a thorough examination of Judaism’s weekly ritual.

05/18/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

In New York City, we have neither the siren that sounds in Israel on late Friday afternoons, nor the town criers who would yell “Shabbos” adamantly into the streets of Eastern European towns. But there’s a certain quality of light, the glow before twilight, which signals — confirmed by a glance at a clock — the onset of Shabbat, no matter the season.

Shulevitz shifts from Kierkegaard to the prophet Nehemia to the Gospel of Mark in “The Sabbath World.”

Israel, Caught In All Its Complexities

Rina Castelnuovo’s photos, at the Meislin Gallery.

05/13/2010
Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Andrea Meislin, an art dealer in New York, was on her way to Washington. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, asked her to help decorate his new home, knowing that she represented some of Israel’s most prominent photographers. But Meislin, unsure of Oren’s politics and his artistic tastes, was packing light. She was bringing only her laptop for this trip, she said, which contained images of all her artwork, instead of carrying just a few select prints. She did not want to offend him with any of her own choices.

Beth Haran, West Bank ("Harvesting"), 2009.

Giving The Rebbe A Biography

‘The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson’
humanizes the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but is its premise flawed?

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

‘The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson” by Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman (Princeton University Press) fills a considerable void in the biography of one of the towering religious figures of the 20th century. But on reading it, one wonders whether the object of the biography is the same Lubavitcher Rebbe the world came to know and admire for pioneering Jewish outreach in the modern age and for being arguably the figure most responsible for the global resurgence in Jewish affiliation.

The authors of a biography of late leader of the Lubavitch movement make no effort to explain his scholarly works.

Woody Allen’s Grandson, Jerry Seinfeld’s Son

Josh and Benny Safdie’s ‘Daddy Longlegs’ offers a darkly humorous update
on the neurotic Manhattan Jew.

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Lenny Sokol’s life is a barely controlled chaos. He has custody of his two sons for two weeks, his work life is insane, he’s juggling girlfriends and, well, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) is a chaotic kind of a guy. He’s the reduction ad absurdum of the prototypical nebbish hero, version 3.0, the grandson of Woody Allen, the son of Jerry Seinfeld, a charming narcissist writ large.

The parent trap: Ronald Bronstein as the nebbishy hero Lenny Sokol, who has custody of his two sons.

Love And Theft

Donald Margulies’
‘Collected Stories’ gets a revival.

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Every piece of writing is, according to the literary critic Harold Bloom, a mixture of homage and betrayal, an attempt by the writer to be freed from the long shadow of the writers of the past. What Bloom famously dubbed the “anxiety of influence” is one of the most salient themes of Donald Margulies’ “Collected Stories,” now receiving a solid revival at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Linda Lavin and Sarah Paulson.

Linda Lavin,  left, and Sarah Paulson as mentor and student in “Collected Stories.”

Wartime ‘Housewives’ Forge New Paths

05/04/2010

They may not all have turned into Rosie the Riveter, but women’s lives certainly changed once their men went off to battle. Alan Brody’s new play, “The Housewives of Mannheim,” focuses on four Jewish women living in the same apartment house in 1944 Flatbush who find different paths to growth and fulfillment in the absence of their husbands. When “Housewives” ran last year with the same cast at the New Jersey Rep in Long Branch, Robert L. Daniels of Variety called it a “keenly constructed and beautifully acted romantic drama.”

Phoenix Vaughn, Natalie Mosco and Corey Tazmania star in Alan Brody’s “The Housewives of Mannheim.”

Zooming In On South Africa

David Goldblatt’s photographs, on exhibit at The Jewish Museum,
chronicle everyday life under apartheid.

05/04/2010
Staff Writer

David Goldblatt, the South African photographer, can paint two portraits of his father, a Jewish shop-owner in a traditional mining town. In one, Goldblatt tells how his father would drink tea with a white Nationalist, a member of the right-wing party that staunchly defended apartheid, outside behind his men’s clothing store. “He was friends with some of them,” Goldblatt says of his father. “Many Jews were.”

Goldblatt's "Holdup at Hillbrow" (1963), which, like much of his work, focuses on how apartheid played out in daily life

East Germany, In The Rear-View Mirror

Amie Siegel’s ‘visual essay’ looks back at ‘a country long over.’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

About 90 minutes into Amie Siegel’s clever, witty rumination on the former East Germany, “DDR/DDR,” Siegel and her crew get into a spirited discussion about the best way to translate the German word “Wende,” literally “change,” since it used to refer to the series of upheavals that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and ended after the reunification of Germany.

Documentary-maker Amie Siegel appears often on camera in “DDR/DDR,” her study of the former East Germany.

Blame It On Rio

Not even a beautiful Mossad agent can
save the Bondian romp, ‘Lost in Rio.’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Life was so much simpler in 1967. For a brief moment, everyone loved Israel, the plucky little country that fended off attacks from all its much larger, more powerful neighbors. With the U.S. involved in an unpopular war in Vietnam, it was comfortable for progressives to view the Israelis as a model for the Third World, a nation too tough to take crap from the big boys.

No 007: Jean Dujardin and Louise Monot in scene from “OSS 117 — Lost in Rio.”

Anna Halprin’s Dance Therapy

New documentary traces the varied steps of the pioneering
modern dance choreographer.

04/27/2010
Staff Writer

When Anna Halprin was growing up in the 1920s, she liked to watch her grandfather pray. He would rock back and forth, his long white beard swaying, while a string of unintelligible words rushed from his mouth. As his words became louder, faster, his body followed suit, moving in what seemed like some mystical dance. God must have looked something like that, Halprin remembers thinking. And so, she reasoned, “I thought God was a dancer.”
 

For Halprin, dance has tangible health benefits.
Syndicate content