Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Jem Lester: Speaking for the silent

Shtum, by Jem Lester, Overlook, 320 pages, $26.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Parenting a profoundly autistic child sounds like a subject for heartbreak, not humor, but Jem Lester conveys both in his fascinating Shtum, a novel in which the subject of the story says not a word. Shtum, thought to be Yiddish, means still, speechless […]

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Joseph Haj: ‘What humans do’

The Guthrie Theater’s Joseph Haj directs Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George by MAX SPARBER Sunday in the Park with George rather buffaloed audiences when it first came out in 1984. The musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, retold the story of the making of Georges Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece “A Sunday […]

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Remembering Cantor Sarah Lipsett-Allison

“She wanted to engage the community through music.” by MAX SPARBER “Sarah Lipsett-Allison was our cantor for 20 years,” Rabbi David Locketz, senior rabbi at Bet Shalom, tells the American Jewish World in interview before correcting himself. “Well, she wasn’t exactly our cantor the entire time, because she went through cantorial certification, but that’s not […]

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Red Cross in tatters

Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust, by Gerald Steinacher, Oxford, 352 pages, $32.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER When World War II ended, the reputation of the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross was in tatters — not least because of its silence during the Shoah. Creator of the Geneva […]

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Cowboy suits, Jews and Minnesota

The rhinestone cowboy look got its start with Jewish immigrant and former Minnesotan  By MAX SPARBER If you grew up watching old Westerns, particularly those involving singing cowboys, you probably noticed their costumes. They were hard to miss, with bright colors, chain stitching and floral appliqués. But you probably didn’t know that they mostly originated […]

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Stories of survival with Stephen Tobolowsky

My Adventures with God, by Stephen Tobolowsky, Simon & Schuster, 353 pages, $25 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Asked in an interview to describe his Judaism, actor Stephen Tobolowsky replied “Judaism is not something I do. It is something I am. It isn’t an occupation. It is a definition.” That wasn’t always so. The first half […]

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

A story for all generations

World Premier of We Are the Levinsons enlivens MJTC stage By DORIS RUBENSTEIN We Are the Levinsons — a new play running through May 14 at the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, and authored by Wendy Kout — is something that should be seen by people of a certain age. For aging baby boomers and those […]

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Sweet Land: Minnesota on the stage

Musical at Great American History Theatre evokes Fiddler on the Roof By DORIS RUBENSTEIN Throughout the history of the Jewish diaspora, our people know what it is to be “the other.” Right now in our country and in many parts of Europe, “the other” is also considered to be the “enemy.” It is most fitting, […]

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Albert Einstein was a sex magnet?

Four surprising facts about the Jewish genius Albert Einstein By GABE FRIEDMAN NEW YORK (JTA) — Think “Albert Einstein,” and certain images or phrases likely come to mind: “genius,” “kooky,” “wild hair,” “theory of relativity,” “E = mc2” — maybe even “Zionist.” Sex and violence? Not so much. Then there’s Genius, a TV series that […]

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Paul Shaffer bops the blues on new CD

Best known for his 33-year gig as David Letterman’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer is shifting gears post-Late Show. His latest project finds the music maven reunited in the studio with his musical mates from TV land. Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band (Sire) is a swingin’ collection of a dozen pop, rock and R&B […]