Categories
Arts

Family History Of Fear

Agata Tuszynska, an eminent Polish poet and cultural historian, found out she was Jewish at the age of 19. Until that moment, she had never met a Jew, nor had she ever concerned herself with the history of Polish Jews. To her, Jews were as exotic as native American Indians or ancient Egyptians. Having been […]

Categories
Arts

The Iran Wars

For the past three and a half decades, Iran, formerly a staunch U.S. ally, has been a thorn in the side of the United States. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, which swept away the pro-American Pahlavi monarchy and ushered in a theocratic regime hostile to U.S. interests in the Middle East, Iran and the United […]

Categories
Arts

Film Director Sidney Lumet Featured In PBS Biopic

He was one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors. In a 50-year career, from 1957 to 2007, he made 44 films, earning four Oscar nominations and winning an honorary Academy Award in 2005. “All I was ever interested in was the next job,” he says in Nancy Buirski’s documentary, American Masters: By Sidney Lumet, which will […]

Categories
Arts

A Cornucopia Of Books …

It’s the holiday season, a time to read and reflect. These books, published recently, are eclectic and stimulating. Makers of Jewish Modernity (Princeton University Press) contains 43 thoughtful essays by leading scholars about thinkers, writers, artists and leaders who had a significant impact on the 20th century. There are well-crafted portraits of philosophers (Martin Buber), […]

Categories
Arts

The Jews Of Harlem

The New York City neighborhood of Harlem, an African-American enclave for about the past century, used to be home to the second largest Jewish community in the United States. Only the Lower East Side had a greater Jewish population. During the penultimate years of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th […]

Categories
Arts

Julieta — Pedro Almodovar’s Latest Film

Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta, which opens in Canada on December 23, is a brooding, intricately-layered film exploring the vulnerabilities and fragilities of personal relationships.¬†Adapted from three short stories by the Canadian author Alice Munro, and set mostly in Madrid, it spans a 30-year period. Undercurrents of melancholy, even dread, course through it, and Alberto Iglesias’ soundtrack […]

Categories
Arts

The Second Time Around

It’s never too late to fall in love. That’s the premise of Leon Marr’s appealing old-school Canadian romance, The Second Time Around, which will be presented by the Jewish Film Foundation’s Chai Tea series in Toronto on Sunday, December 18. There is nothing “modern” about this film (which opens in theatres in Toronto next March). […]

Categories
Arts

The Image Of Jews In Contemporary China

Since the 1980s, Chinese people have displayed “unprecedented levels” of interest in Jews and Israel, says Zhou Xun, a scholar at the University of Essex.¬†This phenomenon has manifested itself in the proliferation of Jewish studies programs and the publication of books on Jewish history. Xun’s essay appears in The Image of Jews in Contemporary China, […]

Categories
Arts

None Shall Escape: A Unique Hollywood Film

In the spring of 1944, when Germany was sending hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to Nazi extermination camps in Poland, a major Hollywood movie studio, Columbia Pictures, released None Shall Escape. Although it was of middling quality, it occupies a special place in the pantheon of American cinema, apparently having been the first to […]

Categories
Arts

Christians And The Palestinian Movement

Although Christians have never represented more than about 11 percent of the Palestinian population in the Middle East, they’ve played a significant role in the Palestinians’ national movement. Despite this fact, Arab Christians have been “largely overlooked in modern Palestinian history,” says Noah Haiduc-Dale in Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine: Communalism and Nationalism, 1917-1948, […]