The Arty Semite

This Week in Forward Arts and Culture

By Ezra Glinter

  • Jordana Horn goes to see “Mahler on the Couch” at the New York Jewish Film Festival (read more NYJFF coverage on The Arty Semite here).

  • Benjamin Ivry investigates the literary chameleon, Romain Gary.

  • Rachel Barenblat writes a tree poem for “Birch Magazine.”

  • Raphael Mostel goes to see the story of Ruth at the New York Chinese Opera Society.

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Striking the Right Note

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

Crossposted From Under the Fig Tree

Stellae et Luna

I’ve been meaning for quite some time now to write about the Judaica Sound Archives, an online treasure trove of American Jewry’s musicological patrimony, but I couldn’t quite find the right note to strike. In the wake of the sudden and untimely passing of Debbie Friedman, whose musical contributions to the shaping of contemporary Jewish life are virtually without parallel, the appropriate occasion presents itself.

I don’t know whether the Judaica Sound Archives, which is maintained by the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, actually contains any of Debbie Friedman’s songs — I’m sure it will in due course — but the collection houses just about everything else that once made for American Jewry’s varied and lively acoustic culture.

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Out and About: Frank Gehry's Paper Bag Building; Digitized Music, Old and New

By Ezra Glinter

UTS

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This Week in Forward Arts and Culture

By Ezra Glinter

  • Jerome A. Chanes goes to see The Living Theatre’s production of “Korach.”

  • Curt Schleier tells the story of three Broadway producers.

  • Jay Michaelson questions whether mysticism is real.

  • Philologos is possessed.

  • Laurence Zuckerman looks back at the life of Judah L. Magnes, one of 20th-century Jewry’s most important — and most overlooked — leaders.

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Fusing Indian and Jewish Worship With the 'Kirtan Rabbi'

By Danny Cohen

Kirtan, a Sanskrit call-and-response form of worship from India, and Rabbi, are two words not often found in the same sentence. Rabbi Andrew Hahn, better known as the “Kirtan Rabbi,” is on track to change that.

Hahn’s spiritual innovation was on display at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York’s Battery Park last week, as around one hundred participants chanted and swayed to the words of traditional Jewish liturgy.

Kirtan is usually performed in Sanskrit, but Hahn has appropriated the form and infused it with Hebrew words and a Jewish theological and liturgical framing. But how did Hahn, who has a doctorate in Jewish Thought from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Reform rabbinic ordination, find himself in front of a harmonium, leading a flock of Jews in Sanskrit-inspired Hebrew chanting?

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