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  • Spectator - Movie for ‘Rent’

    By Keren Engelberg

    November 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    More people can afford "Rent" this month, thanks to Revolution Studios. The production company brings a film version of the Jonathan Larson rock opera to movie theaters this week, directed by Chris Columbus and starring most of the original Broadway cast.

    Set against the backdrop of...

  • ‘Love With Noodles’ Rife With Canoodles

    By Dan Pine

    November 3, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Love With Noodles" by Harry I. Freund (Carroll & Graff, $25).

    Consider the curious case of Dan Gelder: 60 years old, Jewish, paunchy, bad back. Yet it seems every bejeweled Park Avenue matron is after the investment counselor for love, for money or maybe for just a quick roll in...

  • Prickly Fathers, Rebellious Sons

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    October 13, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Prickly relationships between fathers and sons, messy divorces and radical personal awakenings. All are subjects tackled by two searing, semiautobiographical films by Jewish directors now playing in Los Angeles. Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale" and Ira Sachs' "Forty Shades...

  • Call Him Henry Roth

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    October 13, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth" by Steven Kellman (Norton).

    Until now, there has been no full-scale biography of Henry Roth, whose 1934 novel, "Call It Sleep," is considered a masterpiece of American literature. That book, a portrait in grim realism of a Jewish immigrant child's...

  • The Secret Lives of Religious People

    By Amy Klein

    October 13, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Something strange is going on.

    Only a few minutes have passed in the Israeli film, "Ushpizin," named after the holy guests invited into the sukkah, and there's something wrong with this feature about an ultra-Orthodox Israeli couple.

    Everything looks so real.

    The payos, those long...

  • ‘Call Waiting’ Rings Emotional Bell

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 29, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    There's pain and then there's the big pain.

    Pain is what happens in a regular life -- the predictable illnesses, disappointments and aggravations. The big pain is something like the Holocaust and the aftermath of surviving it.

    The larger pain makes the regular mode of suffering seem...

  • More Love and Lust From the Bible

    By Gaby Friedman

    September 15, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "The Song of Hannah" by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (Plume, $14).

    Biblical fiction is enjoying a renaissance. Some say it began in 1998, with Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent" -- a fictionalized account from Jacob's daughter, Dinah, of daily life with her aunt Rachel and mother Leah. For the...

  • Burton’s ‘Corpse’ Has Jewish Bones

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 15, 2005 | 7:59 pm

    Once upon a time, a bridegroom jokingly recited his marriage vows over a skeletal finger protruding from the earth. After placing his ring on the bone, his mirth turned to horror when a grasping hand burst forth, followed by a corpse in a tattered shroud, her dead eyes staring as she...

  • Movie’s Journey Mirrors Director’s

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In 1993, actor Liev Schreiber stood at his grandfather's bedside in the blue-collar, Lower East Side apartment where he had spent many happy hours during an otherwise turbulent childhood.

    In his prime, Schreiber's grandfather, Alex Milgram, had been a tough but cultured proletarian...

  • 7 Days in The Arts

    By Keren Engelberg

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Saturday, September 10

    Party at tonight's sixth annual Barbie and Ken Toy Drive and you'll give the kids a reason to smile, too. Cover per person is one new unwrapped toy or combination of toys with a minimum $25 value, for which you get music, open bar and food till the wee...

  • L.A. Authors Break the Heroine Mold

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    September 8, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    California purists who like to shop local, travel local and eat local will have no problem reading local. Among the season's offerings of new books are several impressive works by Los Angeles-based writers.

    Although the many writers at work in this city choose different...

  • Private Author’s Public ‘Memory’

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Omaha Blues: A Memory Loop" by Joseph Lelyveld (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22).

    As a child, Joseph Lelyveld's parents called him "memory boy." He was the family's institutional memory, paying attention and recalling with ease events and people -- a useful skill for someone who...

  • Arafat’s Ghost

    By Rob Eshman

    August 18, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Your first bit of post-Gaza required reading should be "How Arafat Destroyed Palestine," by David Samuels, the cover story in the September issue of The Atlantic.

    Heartening and optimistic it is not.

    Samuels followed Yasser Arafat for years before the Palestinan Authority leader's...

  • Through Her Lens

    By Marc Ballon

    June 16, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    A tradition holds that as Abraham walked the land of Israel, he called out the name of every Jew who would one day follow in his steps upon the earth. And so it goes that many Jews would feel the deepest spiritual connection to the place the great patriarch was walking when he...

  • Shoah Slave Driver to Disney Designer

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In Nancy Keystone's "Apollo -- Part 1: Lebensraum," Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, now the darling of the United States space program, gushes about how Americans will reach the moon. Punctuating his remarks are the memories of a ghost, a Hungarian Jew, who describes the...

  • ‘Down’ on the Valley

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "I still feel uncomfortable going back to the Valley," 43-year-old filmmaker David Jacobson said. "To this day, I associate it with my childhood sense of feeling lost and lonely in a stark landscape. When I begin going over the 405, my spirits just start to drop."


  • Books - ‘Love’ Tries to Solve Mystery of the Heart

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "The History of Love" By Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton, $23.95).

    "The History of Love" is the name of a book within Nicole Krauss's remarkable new novel of the same name, "The History of Love" (Norton). The inner novel has had a life of its own, written in Yiddish in Poland and thought...

  • When Sad Things Happen to Good Kids

    By Gaby Friedman

    June 2, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "The Boy Who Didn't Want To Be Sad" by Dr. Rob Goldblatt (American Psychological Magination Press, 2004).

    After taking his children to see a pleasant Disney cartoon, Dr. Rob Goldblatt thought there would some animated chatter about the film during the drive home.

    Instead, there was...

  • ‘Jubana’ Memoir Rescues Its Author

    By Susan Josephs

    May 26, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Jubana! The Awkwardly True and Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cuban Goddess" by Gigi Anders (Rayo/HarperCollins, $23.95).

    Three years ago, Gigi Anders found herself down and out in Hackensack, N.J. Her fiancé couldn't go through with their wedding, she had quit a job at a nearby...

  • Articles of Faith

    By Rob Eshman

    May 19, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    I keep wondering how the editors of Newsweek will frame their upcoming editorial note correcting their misreported story on the Quran desecration.

    At least 17 people were killed in riots that broke out after the May 1 Newsweek story asserting that American interrogators at...

  • Local Writers Recall Times of Tyranny

    By Nancy Sokoler Steiner

    April 28, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    In a tale rooted in personal experience, Dr. John Menkes explores the themes of loss and recovery in his novel “After the Tempest” (Daniel & Daniel, 2003). A Holocaust survivor, Menkes returned to his hometown of Vienna after the war and found that not only was his family and his...

  • Haggadahs for play to keep boredom at bay

    By Jennifer Garmaise

    April 21, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Afternoon naps, a steady flow of food and the promise of an afikomen surprise might keep children awake during the seder, but there is nothing that makes them tune out faster than the formal language of an adult haggadah. Fortunately, there is a growing selection of haggadahs...

  • Tell Me a Story

    By Ellie Kahn

    April 21, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    When I was growing up, my family's Passover gatherings were a joyful blend of holiday traditions, over-eating, stand-up comedy and most important of all -- storytelling by our "tribal elders."

    For example, I was always moved by one of my Grandma Lena's stories from the Great...

  • Let My Old Passover Programming Go

    By Emily Pauker

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    Why is this night different from all other nights?

    For one thing, it's the food -- or, rather, the food that's featured on television. But there's also plenty of food for thought in the form of Passover-related travel and Jewish news features.

    Food for Filling Up

    Get Passover...

  • All Haggadahs Great and Small

    By Tom Tugend

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    The Do-It-Yourself Family Haggadah

    Conducting the family seder, attorney Robert Hirschman became frustrated with commercial haggadahs, so he made his own.

    "I was put off by the often cryptic language of the usual haggadahs, which were not accessible and lacked historical context,"...

  • For Iranians, Purim Is the Real Thing

    By Karmel Melamed

    March 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Historians may question whether events in the Book of Esther, which are celebrated at Purim, happened as described in the traditional tale. But to Persian Jews, the holiday resonates deeply.

    Part of it is that the story unfolds in ancient Persia -- now modern Iran -- so the events...

  • The Grand Old Jews of York

    By Lisa Alcalay Klug

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    In 1773, when Capt. Alexander Graydon visited York, Pa., it was a married Jewish hostess who captured his attention.

    "[T]here was but a single house in which I found that sort of reception which invited me to repeat my visit; and this was the house of a Jew," he wrote of Shinah...

  • What It Takes to Create a Museum

    By Michael Berenbaum

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The opening of a new museum by Yad Vashem is an event to be honored by the entire Jewish world whether in Israel or throughout the Diaspora.

    For Jerusalem to maintain its primacy, its centrality, the brilliant creation of the 1950s, which was then far ahead of its time, had to be...

  • Brand Israel

    By Amy Klein

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    What do you think about when you hear the word Israel?

    Chances are if you're like most Americans, when you hear Israel, you think war. Ask most Americans to free-word associate with the word "Israel" and they'd probably say: terrorists, Palestinians, danger and conflict.

    At best....

  • Festival Flick Honors Righteous Italian

    By Tom Tugend

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Until Nazi Germany occupied its wavering ally Hungary in March 1944, the Jews of Budapest had survived in relative safety, though severely restricted and harassed.

    But with the invasion, the arrival of Adolf Eichmann and the enthusiastic cooperation of the native Arrow-Cross...

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