Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

‘We Spoke Jewish’: The traditions they left behind

We Spoke Jewish looks at the experience of Jewish immigrants in Minnesota by MAX SPARBER Community News Editor The Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, along with editor Susan Weinberg, has produced a lovely and lavishly illustrated book titled We Spoke Jewish: A Legacy in Stories. The book combines interviews with Jewish Minnesotans, largely […]

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Dara Horn: The eternal Jew

Eternal Life, by Dara Horn, Norton, 233 pages, $25.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER If you think you’d like to live forever, novelist Dara Horn’s protagonist Rachel would suggest thinking again. Rachel of Eternal Life has been around for 2,000 years, and she’s weary of it. She’s had numerous husbands — sometimes happily — and buried […]

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Eli Valley: Cartoons for the crisis

Eli Valley will show and tell about his cartoon art Jan. 24, as part of the Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival By MORDECAI SPECKTOR During a September 2017 appearance on Ari Melber’s MSNBC show, cartoonist Eli Valley said, regarding the aim of his politically-pointed artwork: “I want to contribute to making anyone who’s involved, even […]

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Lorde cancels her concert in Israel

Lorde is far from the first artist to take political considerations into account when deciding whether or not to perform in the Jewish state By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN (JTA) — Pop star Lorde’s decision to cancel her scheduled concert in Israel has sparked some fierce reactions, even if most of them were expected. The 21-year-old New […]

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Strange byways in the Yiddish press

Bad Rabbi: and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press, by Eddy Portnoy, Stanford, 280 pages, $19.95 trade paperback Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Eddy Portnoy’s charming collection of strange Jewish news stories begins by describing an all-but-vanished press that enlightened and entertained a now-vanished nation: Yiddishland. “A century or so ago … the […]

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Reform movement is alive with the sound of music

Peeking in to the the Reform Movement’s first-ever music lab at the biennial convention By PENNY SCHWARTZ BOSTON (JTA) — Emily Katz and Liora Hyman arrived early enough to snag front row seats for a concert with some of their favorite performers. But this show wasn’t at one of Boston’s storied nightclubs. Rather, it was […]

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Mark Mazower: When Zionism was seen as a dangerous fantasy

What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home, by Mark Mazower, Other Press, 381 pages, $25.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Seventy years ago, few Londoners would have guessed that quiet businessman Max Mazower, speaking flawless English, had been a Russian socialist revolutionary. Multilingual Max had been a leader of the Bund, […]

Friday, December 1st, 2017

AJW Hanuka Cover Contest Winner: Chana Goldberg

We are proud to announce that Chana Goldberg is the winner of this year’s Hanuka Cover Contest. And as it happens, she also won the contest in 2014. The 26th annual AJW Hanuka Cover Contest, for students in grades 1-8, again inspired young artists in the community to reflect on the meaning of the Festival […]

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Eshkol Nevo: Tel Aviv, floor by floor

Three Floors Up, by Eshkol Nevo, Other Press, 283 pages, $16.95 trade paperback Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Recognizable characters and situations make Eshkol Nevo’s newest novel, Three Floors Up, an economical yet masterful invention of three households in a suburban Tel Aviv building. Each household has its own section, a story told by a single […]

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Secret Hanuka: Festival of Lights onscreen

The best place to find Hanuka onscreen is hidden in Christmas movies By MAX SPARBER Community News Editor A Vox article from last year asked why there are so few Hanuka movies, and settled on one theory: the holiday is not festive enough (“all Jewish holidays are oriented around austerity and guilt,” they wrote). Perhaps, […]