Arts and Culture

A Jewish professor taught at a Catholic school in a Muslim country. Here’s what happened.

Gary Wasserman, left, strolls through a corridor on the Georgetown campus in Qatar with his students in 2012. (Georgetown University-Qatar)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) — Near the end of his first year teaching American studies at the Georgetown University campus in Qatar, Gary Wasserman introduced a dozen Israelis to a dozen undergraduates from across the Middle East. Then he left the room so the students could have an unfiltered discussion.… Read more »

OP-ED Artists’ protest of Israel play fizzles — as it deserved to

Members of the Habima National Theatre and the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv appear in an adaptation of David Grossman's novel "To the End of the Land," as part of the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, July 24-27, 2017. (Gérard Allon)

NEW YORK (JTA) — In David Grossman’s 2008 novel “To the End of the Land,” an Israeli mother flees to the countryside to avoid news of her soldier son, who is serving a dangerous stint in the West Bank. Ora considers herself apolitical and tries to avoid talking or… Read more »

The summer that Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill took over mainstream comedy

From left: Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill at the 25th Annual William S. Paley TV Festival at the Arclight in Hollywood, March 17, 2008. (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — In history books, the summer of 2007 will go down as the official start of one of the worst financial crises in American history. It started in July, when Bear Stearns announced that two of its hedge funds had lost all their value —… Read more »

Yiddish comes alive in Warsaw every summer

Golda Tencer, standing, at a Shabbat dinner during the International Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture in Warsaw, July 7, 2017. (Katarzyna Markusz)

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — When Gołda Tencer, the director of the Shalom Foundation and the Jewish Theater in Warsaw, lit the Sabbath candles last Friday, she was accompanied by dozens of people from various countries. Though their mother tongues differed, the voices at the table were united by a common… Read more »

Try This New Twist on Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh (Shannon Sarna)

(The Nosher via JTA) — Tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern salad made with bulgur, tomatoes and a high ratio of chopped fresh herbs. It’s easy to make, fresh, delicious and healthy, making it a much-beloved side dish around the world. Instead of classic bulgur, we wanted to try… Read more »

How a Korean-Jewish entrepreneur uses food to empower immigrants

Jeanette Chawki, far right, teaches League of Kitchens workshop participants how to cook Lebanese food. (Josefin Dolsten)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Several times a month Jeanette Chawki welcomes a handful of strangers into her Brooklyn home. There, the visitors learn about life in her native Lebanon, talk about their own backgrounds, and eat food — lots of it. Among the dishes visitors tried on a recent… Read more »

The billionaire who founded Birthright has a private zoo

Michael Steinhardt, who takes regular 90-minute strolls around his 55-acre private zoo, enjoys interacting with his tortoises. (Ben Sales)

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. (JTA) – When Michael Steinhardt strolls around his 55-acre backyard for 90 minutes every morning, one of his favorite animals to see is the scimitar-horned oryx, whose antlers sweep back from its head like the swords for which they are named. But Steinhardt didn’t much like… Read more »

How a Chinese-Jewish chef finds inspiration on a North Dakota farm

Molly Yeh has taken the food blogging world by storm with her bubbly personality and creative recipes. (Chantell Quernemoen)

(JTA) — Not much could have prepared Molly Yeh for moving from New York City to Grand Forks, North Dakota — a city of a little over 50,000 residents near the state’s eastern border with Minnesota. At the time of her move in 2013, Yeh (pronounced “yay,” as her… Read more »

This 400-year-old Jewish library survived Hitler and the Inquisition

Staff preparing the Ets Haim Jewish library in Amsterdam for a tour, May 17, 2017. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

  AMSTERDAM (JTA) —  Livraria Ets Haim is the world’s oldest functioning Jewish library. As such, it is no stranger to the prospect of imminent destruction. Founded in 1616 by Jews who fled Catholic persecution in Spain and Portugal, the three-room library is adjacent to Amsterdam’s majestic Portuguese Synagogue… Read more »

Esther Becker plans women’s book brunch

The Women’s Academy of Jewish Studies will hold its annual Women’s Summer Reading and Brunch event with Esther Becker on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 10:45 a.m. at Congregation Chofetz Chayim. For nearly two decades, this event has been held during the High Holiday season. “This event has become a… Read more »

Patti LuPone isn’t a Jew, but she often plays one on stage and screen

Patti LuPone, in her role as the cosmetics mogul Helena Rubinstein in the Broadway musical "War Paint," performs at the Tony Awards in New York City, June 11, 2017. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

(JTA) — Patti LuPone recently discovered that she has something in common with Helena Rubinstein, the makeup mogul and Polish Jewish immigrant she is currently portraying in the Broadway musical “War Paint.” Using the genealogy website 23andMe, she found out that she is 87 percent southern Italian and 12 percent Eastern European… Read more »

9 Jewish books to read this summer

(JTA) — Sure, winter might seem like the ideal time of year for curling up with a good book — but summer is when you might actually have time to read. So before these warm months all too swiftly fade to fall, here are some Jewish-themed titles, from a wide range… Read more »

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 »