Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Bob Dylan: ‘I remember ev’ry face’

Light Come Shining: The Transformations of Bob Dylan, by Andrew McCarron, Oxford, 232 pages, $19.95 Reviewed by NEAL GENDLER Bob Dylan devotees may gain new understanding of their Nobel laureate’s life changes from an analysis and interpretation by Andrew McCarron. In Light Come Shining, McCarron has produced a “psychobiography,” a work that “attempts to demythologize […]

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Proponents of Jewish blues

‘Jewish Americana’ music gets its moment in the spotlight By GABE FRIEDMAN NEW YORK (JTA) — Saul Kaye never wanted to be a “Jewish blues” player. In his opinion, the Jewish music he had heard growing up in Northern California’s Bay Area ranged from “really bad to horrible.” In 2009, he was touring as a […]

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

‘You didn’t want to get on Frank Sinatra’s bad side’

Trombonist Sam Hyster reminisces about his days playing with the Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra By GLORIA FREDKOVE Sam Hyster spends most of his time these days watching sports in his room at the Sholom Home in St. Louis Park. The 94-year-old loves the Miami Dolphins and the New York Mets. I learned about Sam through his […]

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

What passes for normal on a kibbutz

We Were the Future: A Memoir of the Kibbutz, by Yael Neeman, translated by Sondra Silverston, Overlook Press, 243 pages, $26.95 By NEAL GENDLER By American standards, growing up in a Hashomer Hatzair kibbutz, as described by Yael Neeman, seems both liberating and stifling. Liberating because few decisions are required. From your arrival as a […]

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

An unraveling friendship

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, by Michael Lewis, Norton, 362 pages, $28.95 By NEAL GENDLER Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky proved two adages: opposites attract and two minds are better than one. Starting in fall 1969 at Hebrew University, pessimistic introvert Danny paired with optimistic extrovert Amos to explore how people […]

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Doctors prescribe laughter

Sabes JCC bring back the Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival for its eighth year By MAX SPARBER “Laughter is healthy; doctors prescribe laughter.” — Yiddish proverb There is a case to be made that American humor is Jewish humor. It’s the viewpoint of the 2013 documentary When Jews Were Funny, and you’ll hear versions of […]

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Hanuka sweaters are now a thing — and I love them

By LIOR ZALTZMAN NEW YORK (JTA) — Ever since I moved here from Israel, every late November felt like the beginning of a month-long assault. Every store, business and doctor’s office blared Christmas songs, streets were decorated with ostentatious light shows and seemingly everything became green and red — which, as an art school grad, […]

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Goblins and dreidels

A playwright discusses adapting a Jewish book to the stage By MAX SPARBER The Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company has brought back a seasonal family favorite, The Magic Dreidels, which the theater premiered in 2000. Based on the children’s book by author Eric A. Kimmel and illustrator Katya Krenina, the play was adapted for the stage […]

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Ghosts of Jewish music

Joseph Vass’ The Soul of Gershwin finds lost sounds in the music of George Gershwin By MAX SPARBER There is a quality to The Soul of Gershwin, now playing at Park Square Theatre, that is very much like a musicology lecture. The show has a thesis, arguing that songwriter George Gershwin was profoundly influenced by […]

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Amos Oz’s difficult people

Judas, by Amos Oz, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 320 pages, $25 Reviewed by Neal Gendler Put three dysfunctional people in an old house that’s downhill at the end of the road — perhaps also figuratively for its occupants — and what do you get? Arguments about the creation of Israel, the unlikely prospects for peace and […]