Book review of "The End of The Jews", a literary family saga built around three narratives in different time frames, opening with Tristan Brodsky, "15 years old, the sum total of five thousand years of Jewry, one week into City College, a mind on him like a diamond cutter."
Interview with author Charlotte Mendelson about her novel "When We Were Bad".
In the living room of novelist Merrill Joan Gerber's home in Sierra Madre is a harpsichord that is most often played by her husband, a retired Pasadena City College history professor. The presence of this musical instrument is fitting, because music plays a major role in Gerber's latest book, "The Victory Gardens of Brooklyn." At one point in "Victory Gardens," Gerber's 27th book, the central character, Musetta, a pianist and stand-in for Gerber's own mother, ponders the magic of music. It "made her feel she was flying outside over the treetops, over the river, away past Brooklyn, past the cemeteries and the houses and the endless stores of dead chickens and glassy-eyed fish."
Six films from Europe and the United States with Jewish or Israeli themes will open in U.S. theaters during the last half of October, most dealing with the triumphs and tragedies of our recent 20th century history. They are discussed here in order of their opening dates.
While attending a Jewish day school, Noah Gradofsky, a young fan of the long-running cartoon series, "The Simpsons," had a passing idea to turn an episode into a mock page of Talmud. Years later, in rabbinical school, Gradofsky first put the idea on paper or, more accurately, on a Web site. "The Simpsons Talmud," based on the "Simpsons" episode, "Like Father, Like Clown," was born.
Somehow, this most blatant form of self-promotion, this venue that, until a couple of hours ago, had looked to me like a literary meat market, has suddenly reminded me of the reason I started writing in the first place: to tell a good story; a story about Jews; a story that in its own small way continues the tale of this people who have had to struggle, in every generation, to ensure that their story doesn't end.
Fifteen years since it was last exhibited at the Spertus Museum in Chicago, Ruth Weisberg's "The Scroll," a 94-foot mixed-media painting that encompasses the Jewish feminist narrative in mural form, will be displayed at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of a mid-career retrospective of her work titled "Ruth Weisberg: Unfurled," opening Tuesday, May 8.
Nextbook, an organization devoted to Jewish literature, culture and ideas (www.nextbook.org) came to L.A. last weekend, staging a full day festival at UCLA's MacGowan and Freud theaters called "Acting Jewish: Film, TV, Comedy, Music," the first of what it hopes to be an annual event.
Trying to encapsulate the Jewish experience in a single film is like pouring Lake Michigan into your bathtub. And it wouldn't be any easier with a dozen films. So you can forgive Hilary Helstein, the director of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF), for wanting to make her event bigger.
The two voices began screaming inside Murray Mednick's head the minute he sat down to write a play some years ago. The characters were arguing viciously about money.
They sounded alarmingly familiar.
If there are two blockbuster motion pictures that stand as the defining pop-cultural phenomena of the 1970s, they are, arguably, "Star Wars" and "Saturday Night Fever." And while "Star Wars -- the Broadway Musical" is probably not as far-off as we may think, "Saturday Night Fever -- The Broadway Musical" is already here. As in here ... in Los Angeles.
Elon Gold is an Orthodox Jewish comedian whoplayed an offbeat Jewish guy from Long Island on the recent WBsitcom, "You're the One." Though the short-lived series wascancelled, Gold has plenty of Jewish-themed TV and even movieprojects in the works. During a recent conversation with TheJournal's Naomi Pfefferman, he said he owes it all to"Seinfeld."