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“This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection, dubbed “Tears of Color,” represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders.
Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. A social media writer for Capital One, Ament decided about three years ago that it would be fun to invite Jewish women writers she admires to contribute stories about their mothers for an anthology. The resulting collection of 27 essays—dubbed “The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much by Our Moms”—is set for a May 6 release, in time for Mother’s Day (May 11).
For all its beauty and subtext, director Darren Aronofsky’s recently released “Noah” is bloated, as the film is perhaps too drawn out for its own good. Whatever good intentions Aronofsky originally had are lost in the flood, and overshadowed by audience discussions about the production’s biblical accuracy. The director veers from the defining tenets of his previous films, only to get bogged down by biblical storytelling conventions and the nature of sin, writes reviewer Jason Stack.
Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development.
The recently deceased Sid Caesar made America laugh, and in so doing, revolutionized television comedy. The youngest of three sons born to Jewish immigrants living in Yonkers, NY, Caesar’s father Max emigrated from Poland, and with his wife Ida, who had come from Russia, operated a luncheonette. Young Sid developed his foreign-sounding double talk by listening closely to the luncheonette’s multinational clientele. “Sid was part of the Jewish tradition of storytelling,” said Eddy Friedfeld, co-author with Caesar on the comedian’s biography. “The difference was his was not joke telling, it was comedy based on character. His sketches were stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. That was not coincidentally a function of the Jewish influence.”
While Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in recent years has served as a de facto frontman for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, Shuki Weiss Promotion and Production Ltd. for more than three decades has brought the biggest names in entertainment to perform live in Israel. Musical guests attracted by the company have included Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, Madonna, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton. This summer will be no different, with Neil Young, Soundgarden, and the Pixies signed by Weiss to perform at a rock and roll festival in Tel Aviv, while The Rolling Stones are tentatively scheduled but still unconfirmed. “I’m not getting the message from the artists that they are feeling the pressure [from the BDS movement]. While that might have been true in the past, that’s not the case, today,” says Oren Arnon, the head promoter for Weiss's company.
“American Hustle”—which received 10 Oscar nominations for the upcoming March 2 Academy Awards, tied with “Gravity” for the most nominations this year—conjures up the true story of Melvin Weinberg, an infamous Jewish con artist portrayed by Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld in the film. “One of the brilliant things about Weinberg, at first meeting him, is this—you would not take him to be such a wily con man,” says Leslie Maitland, the journalist who broke the Abscam story, which “American Hustle” is based on, in the 1970s and 1980s. “He looked like an overweight Jewish guy who lived on Long Island and smoked cigars. He did have a comb-over, but he was gray and considerably older than Christian Bale portrays him in the movie.”
It is once again awards season, with Americans finding themselves glued to their televisions and computers, imbibing a plethora of star-studded tributes and the perfunctory salacious gossip that accompanies it. But recognizing outstanding achievement in the arts is not limited to trendy musicians and heroes of the silver screen. For the last 64 years, the Jewish Book Council has spotlighted the best in Jewish literature through its presentation of the National Jewish Book Award, which comes this year on March 5 in New York. JNS.org interviews Yossi Klein Halevi, winner of the council’s Jewish Book of the Year Award, and Phyllis Chesler, winner in the Biography, Autobiography, Memoir category.
In the Exodus story, Moses decides to rescue his people after he hears God speak to him through the burning bush. But when New York City-based artist Jan Aronson imagined the famous episode in which Moses must decide which path to take in life, she didn’t see a magic fire, but the broiling sun rising and shining on the desert brush. In that moment of meditation, Moses heard the inner voice that told him to go confront Pharaoh. This is just one of the inspirations behind the illustrations that Aronson included in the Bronfman Passover Haggadah, a collaboration with her late husband, renowned Jewish philanthropist Edgar Bronfman. The original hard-cover book will be released as an app for the iPhone and iPad this March.
Amid the celebrations and hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America and their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the man Paul McCartney called “the fifth Beatle” is not often mentioned. But experts say that without their Jewish manager, Brian Epstein, the Beatles as we know them would not have existed. “Epstein discovered the Beatles and guided them to mega-stardom, making them the most successful musical artists of all time,” said Beatles scholar Martin Lewis. “But, regrettably, the man who did so much for the Beatles, and who died tragically in 1967, has become a comparatively forgotten man since his death. Almost a ‘nowhere man.’”
Cool weather trends. Pop patterns. Couture for a cause. It could be Vogue or Elle. But it’s Hadar Magazine. This new Orthodox women’s fashion magazine, started one year ago in January 2013, will publish its third edition just after Purim. The glossy, high-end piece—available for $3.99 in stores throughout the New York/New Jersey area and for purchase online (hadarmagazine.com)—is the brainchild of Stern College graduate Bari Weizman and the product of her and a good friend’s creativity and entrepreneurship. “I started thinking about all of these different fashion bloggers and how there is such a big interest in the Jewish community to add more fashion into one’s wardrobe, instead of just putting a Kiki Riki [shell] under everything,” Weizman tells JNS.org.