The Arts

Jewish Education Gets A Chair

09/25/1998
Staff Writer
Jewish education will itself become the subject of education at a Jewish university next year — for the first time at a nonsectarian institution of higher learning in North America. A new Chair in Jewish Education will begin in September 1999 at Brandeis University, a nonsectarian school in Waltham, Mass., President Jehuda Reinharz recently announced. “This is a big step,” Reinharz said. The holder of the academic chair will be a professor to be chosen during an international search that begins this month, Reinharz said.

Question Of Conscience, Revisited

09/05/2003
Staff Writer
An Internet search for Istvan Szabo's films on the Reel.com Web database brings up the Hungarian director's Academy Award-winning "Mephisto" and the other installments in his 1980s trilogy about characters compromised by war. Like those films, "Colonel Redl" and "Hanussen," Szabo's newest release, "Taking Sides," returns to the battleground between conscience and collaboration.

Jewish Identity, To a 'T'

08/29/2003
Staff Writer
Want to create an instant community? Just add cotton. That's what one San Francisco-based entrepreneur says she's doing with a line of T-shirts silk-screened with the slogans "Yo Semite" (a play on the national park's name) and "Jews for Jeter": in support of the Yankees' star shortstop. Undeniably clever, the shirts ($15 to $20) are "no joke" to their designer, Sarah Lepton, 30.

The Other 'King' Of Rock 'n' Roll

08/15/2003
Staff Writer
When Sun Records' founder Sam Philips died late last month in Memphis, he was rightly hailed as the man who discovered Elvis Presley and one of the progenitors of rock-and-roll music. Earlier this year, and 412 miles to the northeast, another of rock's forefathers was remembered for his contributions to music's contemporary canon.

Searching For Home

08/01/2003
Staff Writer
Siona Benjamin is alone again. Surrounded by other artists who, like her, have roots in South Asia, the Bombay native stands apart. Her paintings (which are reminiscent of Indian miniatures) clearly reflect the visual culture of her homeland. But a closer look reveals a distinctive iconography of Hebrew words, menorahs and Sabbath flames drawn from Benjamin's Jewish heritage. "I believe in using the specifics to get to the general," Benjamin said during a recent interview at her tidy home and studio in Montclair, N.J.

Sound and Story

07/25/2003
Staff Writer
At first glance, the Lower West Side of Buffalo is not the most photogenic neighborhood. Seen through the lens of optometrist-turned-photographer Milton Rogovin, however, one of the poorest urban areas in New York State reveals a wealth of individual stories full of dramatic difficulty and bittersweet joy. His portraits of otherwise overlooked subjects (including growing families and longtime friends, steel mill workers, drug abusers, prostitutes and preachers) are currently on view in "The Forgotten Ones," an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society.

The Attraction Of Opposites

07/18/2003
Staff Writer
'Anaphase" refers to the stage in human cell division when the chromosomes break in half and are pulled in opposite directions. The Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin chose the name "Anaphaza" for a large-scale dance piece first performed a decade ago by the Batsheva Dance Company, the Tel Aviv-based troupe he's directed since 1990. Today Naharin, 51, says that while the piece is about "changes, development and evolution," he picked the title simply because he liked the word.

A Landscape For Contemplation

07/11/2003
Staff Writer
The Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, is an austere space for ecumenical meditation. One of the oil town's most famous landmarks, its walls are adorned with 14 monumental paintings by the Russian-born artist Mark Rothko, rendered in his definitive style of floating patches of color: in this case, black, deep brown and purple. The art patron Dominique de Menil, who commissioned the space and its somber paintings, reportedly said the works evoke "the mystery of the cosmos, the tragic mystery of our perishable condition, [and] the silence of god, the unbearable silence of God."

Staging Vengeance

07/04/2003
Staff Writer
With her latest play, Israeli theater director Rina Yerushalmi has put herself in esteemed literary company. "Mythos," Yerushalmi's adaptation of Greek legend of the House of Atreus, follows in the tradition of Aeschylus, Euripides, Hugo von Hofmannstahl and Jean Paul Sartre, among others, who saw in the tale's cycle of bloody revenge universal themes ripe for exploration.

Ladies (And Gentleman) Of Spain

06/20/2003
Staff Writer
With a bare midriff and gyrating hips, Sarah Aroeste performs jazz and rock blended into favorites from her Sephardic repertoire: songs like "Hija Mia" (The One I Want) and "Yo M'enamori" (Moon Trick).
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