Blue Box

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

The Settlers: How did the Israeli occupation happen?

Israel has been mired in a military occupation of the Palestinian Territories for more than 50 years. The Settlers (available on DVD from Film Movement), an absorbing documentary written and directed by Shimon Dotan, quickly moves through the history of the modern State of Israel, and focuses on the problematic growth of Jewish settlements in […]

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Peter Edelman: How our government criminalizes the poor

Peter Edelman, a Minneapolis native, worked for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He’s now a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. His latest book, Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America (The New Press), focuses on how government policies make the difficult lot of impoverished Americans unendurable. From money bail that […]

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Trump’s rise moves songwriter Seth Kibel to despair

Seth Kibel, a Washington, D.C.-based musician, says he was “shellshocked” by the results of the 2016 presidential election: “I had a hard time processing what had happened.” The multi-instrumentalist (sax, flute and clarinet) played in the various jazz and klezmer ensembles, but the rise of Donald Trump led him to shift gears. He wrote nine […]

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Barton Fink has a case of writer’s block

“I’m having a little trouble getting started,” explains Barton Fink (John Turturro) to Hollywood film studio exec Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub). It turns out that Fink, a Broadway playwright transported to La La Land, in the 1940s, to write scripts for B-movies, has writer’s block. Then his life goes topsy turvy. Barton Fink, the award-winning […]

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Eli Valley draws the line on hypocrisy

Eli Valley’s biting political cartoons have appeared in The Nation, The Forward and various online venues. Now a full-blown anthology has been published. Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel (OR Books) is a large-format paperback, with a foreword by Peter Beinart. Jewish communal leaders, evangelical Christians touring Israel (“Come to the Holy […]

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Peter Himmelman ponders our world

Lyrical rocker Peter Himmelman, a St. Louis Park native, continues his philosophical and musical quest with There Is No Calamity (Himmasongs Recordings), an even dozen tunes produced by Steve Berlin, of Los Lobos. According to a press release, Himmelman ceded song selection to Berlin, who selected these 12 from the 53 tunes that the songwriter […]

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Ethiopian elder and a changing society

Following the death of his wife, Meseganio Tadelo (played by Debebe Eshtu) gathers his children and announces that he will be selling the family apartment, and will live with them for the rest of his life. As dramatized in Red Leaves (IndiePix Films), the debut feature by Israeli-Ethiopian director Bazi Gete, Meseganio’s decision is not […]

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Amazing tales of the 1960s ‘revolution’

Jonathan Lerner functioned as the office manager and spokesperson for Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the national anti-Vietnam War group. In his captivating memoir, Swords in the Hands of Children (OR Books), Lerner tells the story about how a demented faction of activists wrecked SDS, and created what is known as the Weather Underground, […]

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Norman: A New York hustler’s rise and tragic fall

  Richard Gere plays the eponymous character in Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, by American-Israeli director Joseph Cedar (Beaufort, Footnote). The film premiered this year at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, then had a lengthy run at the Edina Cinema. For Jewish World readers who missed it […]

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Joan Nathan compiles Jewish food lore, recipes

Jewish food maven Joan Nathan (Jewish Cooking in America) has written a hefty new cookbook that traces our food from its Babylonian roots to biblical Israel through Europe and the new world of Jewish cuisine — with Israel emerging as a hub of innovation. King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around […]