Arts and Culture

10 awesome books for the Days of Awe (and after)

here-i-am-foer

(JTA) — Here we are in September/Elul, preparing to welcome a new Jewish year and a new fall season of Jewishy books, including the first novel since 5766 (by now almost 40-year-old) wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer — perhaps you’ve heard the buzz. Presented below is JSF’s latest, plus nine… Read more »

New Ken Burns film spotlights little-known Holocaust rescuers

Martha and Watistill Sharp departing New York Harbor for Prague in 1939. (Courtesy of Sharp Family Archives)Martha and Watistill Sharp departing New York Harbor for Prague in 1939. (Courtesy of Sharp Family Archives)

(JTA) — In 1940, as he was being transported to safety in the lower deck of a ship, the Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger asked Waitstill Sharp why the American Unitarian minister had bothered to rescue him from the Nazis. Sharp and his wife, Martha, had spent much of the previous… Read more »

From Woody Allen to Sarah Jessica Parker, 8 ‘Jewish’ shows to watch this fall

From left: Sarah Jessica Parker, Woody Allen, Rachel Bloom and Jeffrey Tambor all star in fall premieres that Jewish viewers should watch. (Lior Zaltzman)From left: Sarah Jessica Parker, Woody Allen, Rachel Bloom and Jeffrey Tambor all star in fall premieres that Jewish viewers should watch. (Lior Zaltzman)

  (JTA) — Fall is here, and with it comes cooler weather, earlier sunsets and an end to whatever magical spell or temporary insanity that possessed us to spend our free time outdoors rather than in front of our screens. But now it’s time to bring out those snuggies, brew… Read more »

Classics, new hits will grace Tucson 2016-17 arts season

Broadway in Tucson Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. 903-2929 broadwayintucson.com The 13th season begins in September with a revival of the Tony-award winning masterpiece “Cabaret.” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s family classic “The Sound of Music” will thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award® winning score, including “My… Read more »

Oscar nod for Israeli student film

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A Tel Aviv University graduate has won a top Student Academy Award and her documentary will be automatically entered in the Academy Awards competition. Maya Sarfaty will also receive a gold medal for her film, “The Most Beautiful Woman,” it was announced Monday by the Academy of… Read more »

Gene Wilder, star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and other classic comedies, dies at 83

Gene Wilder, right, in a scene with Cleavon Little from the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles." (Warner Bros./Courtesy of Getty Images)Gene Wilder, right, in a scene with Cleavon Little from the 1974 comedy "Blazing Saddles." (Warner Bros./Courtesy of Getty Images)

(JTA) — Gene Wilder, 83, a comedic actor known for playing wild-eyed eccentrics such as the titular characters in “Young Frankenstein” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” died Aug. 28 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1933, Wilder later adopted his stage… Read more »

Exploration of justice kicks off Jewish History Museum chats

Cantor Avraham Alpert at the Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum Sept. 2  (David J. Del Grande/AJP)Cantor Avraham Alpert at the Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum Sept. 2 (David J. Del Grande/AJP)

Driving one of Tucson’s new Israeli teen emissaries, Leah Avuno, from a lunch and learn on the University of Arizona campus to her next destination, Cantor Avraham Alpert found his talking point. Avuno, originally from Ethiopia, told him Ethiopian Jews would never have made it to Israel if it… Read more »

Dill Pickle Challah Recipe

Dill Pickle Challah (Shannon Sarna)Dill Pickle Challah (Shannon Sarna)

(The Nosher via JTA) — Have you noticed that dill pickle-flavored dishes are everywhere lately? There’s dill pickle-brined chicken fingers and dill pickle bread from Happy Go Marni. And from The Kitchn was an entire roundup of ways to use leftover dill pickle brine. Well, what is a gal… Read more »

This Israeli and Palestinian duo owns Berlin’s hippest hummus joint

Jalil Dabit, left, an Arab Christian from Ramle, and Oz Ben David, who grew up Jewish in Beersheba, opened the restaurant together. (Toby Axelrod)Jalil Dabit, left, an Arab Christian from Ramle, and Oz Ben David, who grew up Jewish in Beersheba, opened the restaurant together. (Toby Axelrod)

BERLIN (JTA) – In a corner of former East Berlin, where shabby, red brick buildings meet cobblestone streets, lies a new Promised Land. Kanaan — a casual, vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant named for the biblical lands before they were conquered by the Israelites — is something of a dream come true. And that’s not just… Read more »

Meet the accent coach who taught Natalie Portman to sound like an Israeli for her new film

Natalie Portman stars as Amos Oz's mother in her adaptation of "A Tale of Love and Darkness." (Ran Mendelson/Courtesy of Focus World)Natalie Portman stars as Amos Oz's mother in her adaptation of "A Tale of Love and Darkness." (Ran Mendelson/Courtesy of Focus World)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — While making the film “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” Natalie Portman had to put her palm in front of her mouth, repeat Hebrew words and feel how the air hit her skin. If Portman felt her breath, it meant she was saying the… Read more »

A one-man tribute to Leonard Bernstein comes to the stage

Hershey Felder sings, acts and plays the piano in "Maestro." (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)Hershey Felder sings, acts and plays the piano in "Maestro." (Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – There is a remarkable moment in “Maestro,” Hershey Felder’s one-man show about Leonard Bernstein, when the late famed conductor-composer is shown in an old film clip on a giant screen and the two perform a seamless piano duet from Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde.” The tour de… Read more »

‘Quintessential ’70s rocker’ to share journey at one man show in Tucson

Henry Gross co-founded the ’50s revival group Sha Na Na but may be best known for his 1976 solo hit, “Shannon.”  He will bring his one-man show to Tucson Sept. 10.Henry Gross co-founded the ’50s revival group Sha Na Na but may be best known for his 1976 solo hit, “Shannon.” He will bring his one-man show to Tucson Sept. 10.

In his own words, Henry Gross’ life has been “kind of an unusual journey.” He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1951 to a musical family, so it was no surprise when he picked up the guitar at age 12. When he was 18, Gross and a few friends… Read more »

‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ is inspiration at Jewish charity benefit

The Class of 1993, from left to right: Brant Daugherty, Connor Paolo, Ally Maki, Colin Woodell, Sara Benincasa, Brendan Robinson. (Abel Armas)The Class of 1993, from left to right: Brant Daugherty, Connor Paolo, Ally Maki, Colin Woodell, Sara Benincasa, Brendan Robinson. (Abel Armas)

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. (JTA) — Back in the 1990s, the Fox series “Beverly Hills, 90210″ tackled eating disorders, gun safety, addiction and AIDS in a tone so earnest that it seems quaint in the era of  “Girls” and “Broad City” — shows that eschew the moralizing of TV generations past. In what… Read more »

Venice welcomes back Shylock in marking its Jewish history

Shaul Bassi, the Merchant in Venice Project Director and  coordinator of the Venice Ghetto 500 anniversary committee, on the Ghetto Nuovo bridge in Venice, Italy. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)Shaul Bassi, the Merchant in Venice Project Director and coordinator of the Venice Ghetto 500 anniversary committee, on the Ghetto Nuovo bridge in Venice, Italy. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)

VENICE, Italy (JTA) – Last week, an international, multilingual cast performed Shakespeare’s controversial play, “The Merchant of Venice,” in the secluded main plaza of the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto. It was the first time the play was performed in the iconic location, where some of the action takes place. Enclosed by tall tenements and the… Read more »

The big book of women rabbis tells a grand story

Rabbi Denise Eger, center, reads the Torah during her installation as CCAR president, March 16, 2015. Eger contributed an essay, "Creating Opportunities for the “Other”: The Ordination of Women as a Turning Point for LGBT Jews," in a new book on women rabbis. (David A.M. Wilensky)Rabbi Denise Eger, center, reads the Torah during her installation as CCAR president, March 16, 2015. Eger contributed an essay, "Creating Opportunities for the “Other”: The Ordination of Women as a Turning Point for LGBT Jews," in a new book on women rabbis. (David A.M. Wilensky)

It’s a really big book. “The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate” is 776 pages, plus LVI pages of frontmatter (translated from Roman numerals and publisher’s jargon, that’s 56 pages of introductory material before page 1) and eight blank ones at the end. It’s a paperback,… Read more »

‘Indignation’ brings Philip Roth’s novel about anti-Semitism to the big screen

James Schamus, left, and Logan Lerman on the set of "Indignation." (Alison Cohen Rosa)James Schamus, left, and Logan Lerman on the set of "Indignation." (Alison Cohen Rosa)

BOSTON (JTA) — James Schamus remembers the block he faced while writing the screenplay for Ang Lee’s 1994 film “Eat Drink Man Woman.” Creating the right voices for the film’s Taiwanese characters was not going well “and Ang Lee was getting very nervous.” In a desperate effort to turn… Read more »