Arts and Culture

Launch set for Tucsonan’s novel based on WWII resisters

The Tucson Jewish Community Center will present a book launch party and signing by local author Jillian Cantor for her new historical novel, “The Lost Letter,” on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. The event will include a question and answer period with the author. Inspired by World War… Read more »

Israeli filmmaker’s ‘Wedding Plan’ goes beyond screwball comedy

Noa Koler in ‘The Wedding Plan’ (Photo courtesy Roadside Attractions)

The grin-inducing trailer for “The Wedding Plan” nonetheless suggests one unhappy outcome: Did Israeli filmmaker Rama Burshtein sell out? The Orthodox writer-director’s acclaimed debut, “Fill the Void,” was an uncompromising story of a young Orthodox woman grappling with her parents’ and community’s expectations regarding her prospective husband. In contrast,… Read more »

Could Gal Gadot become the biggest Israeli superstar ever?

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Gal Gadot attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Try to think of the most famous Israelis in history. Not necessarily the most consequential or “important” ones — like any number of Nobel Prize winners or behind-the-scenes Middle East peace deal negotiators — but those who are most universally recognizable. Most lists would likely include… Read more »

An Israeli’s alphabet combines Hebrew and Arabic to promote understanding

Liron Lavi Turkenich compares produce in a video for her Aravit writing system. (Screenshot from YouTube)

  TEL AVIV (JTA) — Middle East peace may remain out of reach, but at least the Hebrew and Arabic languages have found a compromise. Israeli typography designer Liron Lavi Turkenich has created a stylized writing system that merges the two ancient alphabets, allowing Hebrew and Arabic speakers to… Read more »

There’s an Orthodox version of ‘Shark Tank’

BizTank, a haredi Orthodox version of "Shark Tank," brings together a panel of mostly Orthodox Jewish investors to hear pitches from entrepreneurs. (Ben Sales)

NEW YORK (JTA) — At the opening of the most recent season finale of “Shark Tank,” the ABC reality show about startup entrepreneurs, a male model stripped and posed in front of a group of investors, showcasing a business that combines drinking wine and painting pictures. At the beginning… Read more »

This Israeli film about Orthodox Jews is a surprise hit overseas

From left to right: Orna Banai, Yafit Asulin, Evelin Hagoel, Sharona Elimelech and Einat Sarouf in "The Women's Balcony." (Courtesy of Menemsha Films)

(JTA) — It’s safe to call the Israeli film “The Women’s Balcony” the opposite of a Hollywood blockbuster. The movie, directed by Emil Ben-Shimon, is a sensitive, slice-of-life story that focuses on the rift caused in a modern Orthodox community in Jerusalem when a Hasidic rabbi offers to fill… Read more »

Carl Reiner, 95, dishes his secrets to longevity

Mel Brooks, left, and Norman Lear, center, with Carl Reiner in “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.” (Courtesy of HBO)

  (JTA) — The first thing Carl Reiner does every morning is pick up the paper and read the obituary section to check if he’s named there. “If I’m not, I’ll have my breakfast”— or so he says in the charming and appropriately titled HBO documentary “If You’re Not… Read more »

Israeli startups are driving the car technology revolution. Here’s how.

A simulation of cars using Autotalks' vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. (Screenshot from YouTube)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – Israeli startups are revving their engines ahead of the country’s largest-ever “smart transportation” event. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The plan is to give auto industry… Read more »

OP-ED Why Radiohead’s Israel show matters

Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., April 21, 2017. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

(JTA) — It may be the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s seminal album “OK Computer,” but for some Jewish fans of the band, like me, all is not OK. You might even say I’m feeling “Let Down.” Here’s why: In February, the British band announced that it was playing Tel… Read more »

A New Yorker editor picks 7 of his favorite Jewish cartoons

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Cartoonist Bob Mankoff attends New York screening for NEW YORKER PRESENTS at Crosby Hotel on February 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Amazon Studios)

(JTA) — Bob Mankoff has been the cartoon editor at The New Yorker for 20 years. But he’s been a Jew for 72. The celebrated cartoonist, who is stepping down from his prestigious perch in May, has therefore had a long time to formulate his thoughts on Judaism and Jewish… Read more »

Jewish History Museum explores ‘Fluid Identities’ of Crypto Jews

The “Cruz de los Sepharditos de Nuestra Tierra Sagrada” by artist Carlie Sánchez illustrates the confluence of cultures. (Courtesy Jewish History Museum)

“Fluid Identities:  New Mexican Crypto Jews in the Late 20th Century” is currently on display at Tucson’s Jewish History Museum. On loan from the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, “Fluid Identities” is part of a larger exhibition entitled “Fractured Faiths.” The Tucson exhibit offers an opportunity to… Read more »

Albert Einstein was a sex magnet? 4 surprising facts about the Jewish genius

Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein with Emily Watson as his wife Elsa in National Geographic’s show "Genius." (National Geographic/Dusan Martincek)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Think “Albert Einstein,” and certain images or phrases likely come to mind: “genius,” “kooky,” “wild hair,” “theory of relativity,” “E = mc2” — maybe even “Zionist.” Sex and violence? Not so much. Then there’s “Genius,” a TV series premiering on Tuesday — National Geographic channel’s first scripted… Read more »