An exhibit at the Israel Museum celebrates German Jewish painter Jakob Steinhardt.
The Arty Semite contributor Menachem Wecker looks at a 1979 caricature of Henry Kissinger that was cut from the New York Times.
Which Yiddish books would you like to see translated?
The Palestinian National Orchestra has its debut.
Eilat celebrates the 10th annual Red Sea Classical Music Festival.
Benjamin Ivry remembers Yuli Margolin, a survivor of the gulag whose memoirs have finally been published, 40 years after his death.
Philologos strips down.
Jenna Weissman Joselit pores over the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.
Catie Lazarus takes a look at Jewish documentary filmmakers.
Many years ago, while researching German supporters of Holocaust reparations, I went in search of information on the social-democratic politician Kurt Schumacher. I found what I was looking for, but right next to Schumacher’s listing in an encyclopedia was a surprise: “Scholem, Werner, * 29.12.1895 Berlin, † 17.7.1940 KZ Buchenwald; konfessionslos.”
It was Gershom Scholem’s brother.
In the 1920s, when Gershom was still a little-known scholar working as a librarian, his brother Werner had already achieved international fame — and infamy — as the enfant terrible of German politics. He was elected to the Reichstag twice before he turned 29. When a group of Jewish intellectuals took over the German Communist Party in 1924, Werner joined the Central Committee and became head of the party’s internal organization.
A version of this post appeared in Yiddish here.
Last month, New York’s central Jewish education agency changed its name, and is now celebrating its new identity with a fascinating exhibit of a fresh new Jewish artist and art educator.
The exhibit, hosted by the Jewish Education Project (formerly the Board of Jewish Education of New York) until May 23, is called “The Art of Seeing,” and features the work of Tanya Fredman, a 25-year-old native of St. Louis, Mo., whose oil paintings, portraits and collages depict an unusual blend of cross-cultural diversity and Talmudic study.
At the exhibit’s opening on December 9, Fredman explained that she gets deep satisfaction from directing community-wide art projects, using art as a form of expression and as a tool for uniting people of different cultures.
Crossposted from Haaretz
Looking to rekindle your youth?
This New Year’s Day, Israeli folk trio Green Fields hopes to help you do just that in a special concert in Tel Aviv.
Moni Arnon and Suzi Miller from the famed 1970s group Brothers and Sisters have teamed up with guitarist Sagi Eiland to perform their favorite childhood folk music.
Under the banner Days of Innocence from the ’50s and ’60s in the U.S., the trio has traveled down the length of Israel to share with the audience American folk songs from the early McCarthy era to the days of Bob Dylan.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish performances of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
Hapless Hooligan in ‘Still Moving’
What happens when you put a prominent modern dance company in a room with one of the great innovators of the graphic novel? The answer in this case was “Hapless Hooligan,” a collaboration between Pilobolus Dance Theater and Art Spiegelman, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” series. Premiering this past July at the Joyce Theater, the vaudeville-esque piece included an animated sequence based on Spiegelman’s drawings, which was projected onto a backdrop for the dancers to interact with. Though somewhat unorthodox, “Hapless Hooligan” was a creative gamble that paid off.
Read the Forward’s review of ‘Hapless Hooligan in Still Moving’ here.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish exhibitions of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism
Like any good retrospective, the Jewish Museum’s display of 32 pieces of art from the past 50 years makes an argument for their continued relevance. Instead of focusing on a single artist, however, “Shifting the Gaze” shows how the entire question of Jewish gender identity and its artistic expression is still very much with us. Featuring works by artists such as Judy Chicago, Joan Semmel and Deborah Kass, the exhibit illustrates how feminist ideas have challenged conventions in the art world and have resulted in thought-provoking new works.
Read the Forward’s review of ‘Shifting the Gaze’ here.
Crossposted from Haaretz
A line of nine chairs greets the visitor to the exhibition “A chair is a chair is a chair” at the Paradigma design gallery in Tel Aviv. For a moment it seems as if they were placed there as part of a children’s game of “musical chairs.”
The fact that these are not standard chairs contributes to the feeling of a game, but above all this feeling stems from the fact that it is clear that the chairs are not meant to be mass produced, but rather are experimental objects whose morphology those who designed them wish to investigate, even if this is at the expense of comfort or utility. This is also true of the other chairs on display at the exhibition — 17 in all.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish poetry books of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems
By Charles Bernstein
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 pages, $26
Co-founder of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, Charles Bernstein has long been recognized as one of the key avant-garde figures on the contemporary poetry scene. Until now, however, most of his work has been published by university or indie presses. This handsome sampling of his oeuvre presented by FSG is a reason for celebration, yet it is bittersweet, for doesn’t it imply a shift toward the mainstream? Or is it vice versa, and we have all become, in a sense, avant-garde? The Jewish angle in Bernstein’s work is complex, fraught with ambiguity and tension, though thankfully, also with humor. It is discussed in further detail in last year’s “Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture” (University of Alabama Press) which, aside from Bernstein’s work, contains the poetics of many of his excellent colleagues.
Read the Forward’s review of ‘All the Whiskey in Heaven’ here.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish non-fiction books of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
As Forward readers surely know by now, my own book, “When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry,” was published this year. I’ve been lucky to find it mentioned on two end-of-year lists — The New Yorker’s and the Washington Post’s. For this, I am very grateful. And partly by way of passing on the favor, I was happy to choose the Forward’s five best non-fiction books of the year. These are all books that sparked conversations and that were, more importantly, great reads.
By Tom Segev
Doubleday, 448 pages, $32.50
Who was Simon Wiesenthal? Tom Segev takes as his most recent subject a man whose reputation as Jewish avenger completely overshadowed all else about him. Segev brings Wisenthal back down to human size. He shows us the Nazi-hunting operation for what it was — both impressive and more slapdash than we knew — and explores controversies like Wiesenthal’s friendship with Kurt Waldheim and his work for the Israeli Mossad. It was a life, as Segev shows, that was forever linked to the great 20th century cataclysm. The horror never let him go.
Read the Forward’s review of ‘Simon Wiesenthal’ here.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish novels of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
It’s been some year for Jewish fiction, though we continue to scream about, ponder and dissect what that even means. It is produced by Jewish writers, certainly, but not always. It centers on otherness, our history and culture, the nature of family and whatever we call god. It’s set in Israel or in Europe before or after the war, in New York City, England and America’s heartland. Its heroes are bold, men-children, revolutionists or the inward-looking. And like we’re boarding Noah’s ark, much of the fiction we loved this year can be discussed in pairs.
There were the young men who wrote big books that tinkered with language and form while winking at their readers. Joshua Cohen mellifluously skewers capitalism in “Witz” as he writes about the last Jew on earth. With less hubris, Adam Levin’s “The Instructions” spurred difficult conversations about religion and terrorism by tunneling into the mind of a puckish Day School student.
Crossposted from Haaretz
He may not be the most popular artist in the local Israeli scene, but the rising prices for works by Yaacov Agam at the close of 2010 signify his stature as one of the most important kinetic artists in the world. Perhaps the time has come for us to take stock.
On a wintry evening last week at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York, about 50 people (plus a large number of buyers via telephone and Internet) gathered for the sale of 112 works by great Israeli artists, both veteran and contemporary (Reuven Rubin, Nachum Gutman, Gal Weinstein, Adi Nes and others), and one Yaacov Agam, who has never quite belonged to any clique. Two of his pieces sold at prices far beyond the estimates they’d been given; pieces by the same Agam who made headlines last year when his “4 Themes Contrepoint” sold for a record amount for Israeli art — $326,500.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish music releases of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
The Bowls Project
By Charming Hostess
Jewlia Eisenberg has been something of a hidden treasure since the release of her 2001 album “Trilectic,” a conceptual exploration of the writings of Walter Benjamin and Asja Lacis, and her 2004 follow-up, “Sarajevo Blues.” With Eisenberg’s latest album, created with her band Charming Hostess, she may finally be getting the credit that is her due. Inspired by ancient Babylonian mysticism and featuring a mix of Hebrew lyrics and American-style rock ‘n’ roll, “The Bowls Project” is another counter-intuitive combination by this talented avant-pop composer.
Read the Forward’s review of ‘The Bowls Project’ here.
Crossposted from Haaretz
No one seems to question the historical and architectural importance of Bosel House, a spacious, eight-dunam compound in a green forest at the entrance to Safed. It is a splendid building in a European-Arab style, an important icon of the glory days of modern architecture in Israel. Bosel House has been at the center of an endless correspondence — for years — between the authorities, the forces for preservation and the owners. There have been big plans for it, for a student dormitory complex and for a luxury hotel for Kabbala-loving tourists, but it always falls between the cracks.
Part of Bosel House has become a popular events venue while the condition of its other part (or what remains of it) is degenerating. And all of this right under the authorities’ open eyes.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish films of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
By Avi Nesher
Set in Haifa in the aftermath of the Six Day War, Avi Nesher’s “The Matchmaker” follows a matchmaker and Holocaust survivor named Yankele Bride and his young protégé, Arik. Through the eyes of his 16-year-old protagonist, Nesher explores the coming-of-age of a teenager and a country dealing with the trauma of the Holocaust as well as more recent military triumph.
Watch the trailer for ‘The Matchmaker’ below and read the Forward’s review here.
Chibi Vision, “your new favorite science fiction hip-hop boy band” talks about the Jewish love-hate for Christmas.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but what does its future hold?
LABA, a Jewish house of study for culture-makers at New York’s 14th Street Y, has come out with the second edition of its journal on the never-boring theme of Eros. Contents include Forward-contributor Elissa Strauss on Lilith, the “world’s very first woman on top,” Ruby Nadar on Eve and the serpent, and Stephen Hazan Arnoff on what happens when you invite women into rock and roll’s boy’s club.
Matthew Sharpe finds the future of the Middle East in Alan Dershowitz’s “The Trials of Zion.”
Jerome A. Chanes writes about writing about writing about the Holocaust.
Mordechai Shinefield isn’t a woman, but he likes listening to them sing.
Philologos sneaks across the border.
Laurence Klavan appreciates some underappreciated plays.
In the subculture of Christmas mixtapes Bill Adler is a very important Jew. For close to 30 years, the Manhattan music maven has put out “Xmas Jollies,” which just may be the most eclectic Yuletide mixtape on the planet. Adler has what musicians refer to as very big ears and for many of his 300 or so friends — Jews, as well as gentiles — his Jollies mixtape is a major part of the holiday soundtrack.
“My northern star in this has always been Santa Claus, not Jesus,” Adler told The Arty Semite.
A Detroit native who married outside the tribe (his wife is the TV chef and cookbook author Sara Moulton), Adler decided to create his own Christmas soundtrack in the early 1980s when he started celebrating the holiday with his in-laws in New England. The goal was to assemble an hour of music that would serve as an antidote to what he felt was “the oppressive corniness of the holiday.”
Hats off to New York Times music critic Ben Sisario for posting this rousing holiday song by one Sister Albertha Harris Lewis on his blog. Our question is, who is Sister Albertha Harris Lewis, anyway? One thing is for sure though: Anti-Semitism never sounded so good. Please share any info in the comments and listen to the song after the jump.
Ken Krimstein is the author of “Kvetch As Kvetch Can: Jewish Cartoons.” In his previous posts he wrote about how to be a Jewish cartoonist, making it as a professional and kvetching and wining. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog series. For more information on the series, please visit: