Arts features

Opening the book on modern photography

By Melanie Abrams, August 13, 2009

With his Leica camera in hand, André Kertész wandered city streets, photographing people going about their daily lives. It helped him, he felt, come to terms with being an outsider, first as a Jew in early 20th-century Hungary, then as a émigré in Paris between the wars, and then in New York.


Hunting communists? They were really after Jews

By Michael Freedland, August 6, 2009

It was a milestone in Hollywood history — actors, writers, producers blacklisted for their political beliefs. Sixty years ago, men and women, some of them with flourishing careers, were made to answer the question: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?”


How Zayde’s wisecracks stormed the internet

By Mel Poluck, July 30, 2009

Old Jews Telling Jokes. Sounds like the last family gathering you went to, right?

But it is also the name of a website where you can watch old Jewish people spinning yarns with the delivery and comic timing that comes only with decades of practice.

That’s right. Jokes told by alter kakas — on demand.

The American website (, which has had over three million hits since it was set up in February, is the brainchild of director, producer and Woody Allen collaborator, Sam Hoffman.


UK musicians triumph at Israeli competion

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

It was a night to remember for two young classical music ensembles from the UK who scooped first and second prize at the 2nd International Israeli Music Competition.

The winners beat off competition for the title from six finalists out of 70 musicians from 25 different countries, whose ages ranged from 10 to 47.


The concerts you shouldn’t miss

By Rodney Greenberg, July 16, 2009

Jewish performers and composers are well represented in the Proms season, which starts tonight.

Perhaps the biggest name among the performers is Daniel Barenboim, who is conducting three concerts with his Jewish-Arab West-Eastern Divan Orchestra — two on August 21 (his violinist son Michael also takes part), plus Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, the following day.


He’s young, Israeli and the beating heart of the Proms

By Rodney Greenberg, July 16, 2009

Three years ago, a blaze in a basement bar at the Royal Albert Hall triggered the sprinkler system and caused a power failure, resulting in the cancellation of a Prom — something not even wartime air-raids over London achieved.

There will be sparks at the Albert Hall again tonight, but, one hopes, with far happier results. Stravinsky’s Fireworks will light the touch paper for the 115th season of the BBC Proms, setting off the world’s biggest cavalcade of classical music.


Can you handle NYC's Hebrew hip-hop poet?

By Alex Kasriel, July 16, 2009

Offend Vanessa Hidary on a date and you run the risk of a scathing verbal attack — in the form of a witty, fast-paced poem.

In her 2003 poem, Hebrew Mamita, Hidary describes how a hapless suitor remarked that she did not “look Jewish”. At the time she said nothing, but later she realised the remark was supposed to be a compliment.


Fly your children to cloud nine this holiday

By Alex Kasriel, July 9, 2009


Bear Hunt
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, The classic poem by former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, is effectively adapted for the stage with songs and sound effects.

July 8 to 16, Duchess Theatre
0870 124 9127
Tickets from £17.50

Tweenies Live: Top of the Tots
The acid-coloured life-size puppets from the BBC TV show, are firm favourites with the under-fives, and their all singing/all dancing show has become a summer staple.

July 18 to 20, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh


Making fun of Andrew Lloyd Webber

By John Nathan, July 8, 2009

Oh, the irony. Theatre producer David Babani’s first West End show was a New York revue called Forbidden Broadway, a parody of the great American and the great British musical. The show was packed with mickey-taking turns that took the rise out of the theatrical establishment.


Love blossoms on the Hebrew ward

By Alex Kasriel, June 25, 2009

This week’s episode of Casualty 1909 — the BBC’s medical drama set in The London Hospital 100 years ago — focuses on the Jewish patients.

Recently arrived Eastern European immigrants and more assimilated Cockney Jews muck in together in the hospital’s male “Hebrew ward”, where, separated from other patients (at their request), they can talk Yiddish, eat kosher and pray together.