The Vital Energies, Especially Musical, of Israel's Desert Towns
Aryeh Tepper for Mosaic
A letter from the “development town” of Ofakim, where Jews from North Africa are helping to forge a new Israeli culture.
Ofakim is a working-class city of 30,000 people in southern Israel, twenty minutes west of Be’er Sheva, the regional capital, and thirty minutes from Gaza’s Mediterranean coast. Conventionally referred to as a “development town,” Ofakim was established in 1955 with the aim of drawing newly arriving immigrants away from Israel’s central coastal region and strengthening the country’s hold on the sparsely populated Negev desert.
A Special Edition for Tisha B'Av
By Rabbi Meir Soloveichik for Mosaic
How Rembrandt Understood the Destruction of Jerusalem (and Poussin Didn't)
A tale of two paintings and one city.
This is a tale of two paintings by two 17th-century masters. Both depict the same historical event. In every other respect, they present a complete contrast.
The first painting has a fascinating back story. During World War II, an eccentric Englishman by the name of Ernest Onians made a fortune with his invention of Tottenham Pudding, a form of pigswill produced from waste food. Having amassed his millions, Onians became an art collector, purchasing canvases at country fairs and garage sales and accumulating some 500 works in all.
Meet The Real Mrs. Maisel: Jean Carroll
By Grace Kessler Overbeke for The Forward
I am a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, where I am currently working on a monograph about the very first Jewish female comedian, Jean Carroll — which is an academic way of saying that I am very, very invested in the actual Jewish, female pioneer of stand-up. I wasn’t sure that “Mrs. Maisel” would do her justice. And though it’s a great show, it doesn’t.
David and Iola Brubeck — A Jazz Activist for Unity and Justice
From the Milken Archive of Jewish Music
The question, "what do a rabbi, Jesus and Darius Milhaud have in common?" may sound like the setup to a joke. The punchline, in this case is both fascinating and revealing: they were Dave Brubeck's three most influential teachers. They were also Jewish, which may at least partially explain why the non-Jewish jazz icon was comfortable working with Jewish ideas and themes in his music.
Newly available on our website today is the complete oral history the Milken Archive conducted with Dave and Iola Brubeck in 2003 (an excerpt was available previously). Divided into three sections, the Brubecks discuss how they saw and used music, jazz in particular, as a way to unite people from all walks of life, all religions and all parts of the world.
Americans ♥ ‘Fauda,’ Israelis ♥ ‘Imposters’
By Matthew Wolfson for Tablet Magazine
A Bravo series starring Israeli actress Inbar Lavi is a con game masking something real
I first came across Imposters, the Bravo series that’s playing five nights out of seven on Israeli television, scrolling through Netflix this past March. The picture showed a woman on a bed, the label said dark comedy, the slug described a con artist marrying men and stealing their money. Sex, cruelty, the suggestion of the absurd: It looked designed—overdesigned—to allure. But after a minute I thought, “Why Not?” and tried the first episode.