PBS blows a kiss to Roth at 80

by Michael Fox Barely a minute into Philip Roth: Unmasked, an “American Masters” salute occasioned by the novelist’s 80th birthday, he makes a familiar, albeit annoying, assertion. “I’m not crazy about seeing myself described as an American Jewish writer,” Roth says. “I don’t write in Jewish. I write in American.” Roth proceeds to define himself… Read More

Ben Feldman hams up the Jew factor on ‘Mad Men’

by Chavie Lieber JTA News and Features NEW YORK — Advertising, it’s fair to say, is in Ben Feldman’s blood. Yes, he technically plays a fictional advertiser, the Jewish copywriter in AMC’s award-winning drama Mad Men. But Feldman says it was his excellent marketing skills that landed him the role. “The casting loved that I… Read More

Yizkor Requiem combines moving liturgical traditions

There are many stunning moments of Jewish and Christian confluence to hear in Thomas Beveridge’s “Yizkor Requiem,” his hour-long piece for chorus and orchestra that builds bridges between two liturgical and spiritual traditions — Judaism and Christianity, as its very title suggests. Yizkor is, of course, the memorial service for the dead and the practice… Read More

Experiencing chasidic life with jujitsu-practicing rabbi

Journalist Rebecca Dana chronicles her time living with a lapsed Chabad rabbi in Brooklyn in her new book, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde. Photo by Terry Gruber by Chavie Lieber JTA News and Features NEW YORK – What would happen if a pretty, educated, secular journalist experiences a horrible breakup, finds herself broke and… Read More

Chronicling the (Rahm) Emanuel brothers

by Fran Kritz Ezekiel Emanuel, 56, older brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm and Hollywood agent, Ari, has just written a book about the three superstar siblings, Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family. Zeke, as he’s known, charted a more cerebral path — following in the footsteps of the family patriarch, Benjamin, to become… Read More

Rethinking Roosevelt

y Meredith Jacobs Managing Editor In their new book, FDR and the Jews ($29.95, Harvard), Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, both professors in American University’s history department, utilize hundreds of new sources and years of historical research to present a balanced view of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

A better way to arrange wines

Walk into many wine stores and you will see the bottles organized by country of origin. Occasionally this will be further subdivided by varietal or, more commonly, by the color of the wine. Since many European winemaking countries refrain from listing the types of grapes utilized on the label, the result is that the cabernet… Read More

It all depends on the grapes – and the winemaker’s skill

One question we are periodically asked is, “How do they get all those flavors into the wine?” The thought presumably being that the winemaker is somehow like a chef, creating finished dishes from a variety of ingredients besides just the primary one – that somehow winemakers add additional elements into their fermentation vats, perhaps throwing… Read More

Drinking to a new Jewish life

We recently had some reasons to rejoice and, as our readers would expect, there were a few bottles opened with family and friends. With a wide range of excellent wines available at all price levels, choosing the best celebratory wines was a bit of a challenge.