Still a Star

LOS ANGELES — Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, the son of an immigrant Russian Jewish ragman, marked his 98th birthday on Dec. 9 by launching his 11th book. The legendary star of 87 movies (who can forget “Spartacus”?) can look back, in happiness and grief, on countless one-night stands with filmdom’s most beautiful women, a… Read More

Chanukah Home Runs

Chanukah is a great time of the year for many reasons: the food, the telling of the miracle story and the exchanging of gifts, among others. Over the past year in this space, I have introduced you to many people — from Baltimore to every corner of the United States — who represent the best… Read More

Supporting Cast

Wow! We’re still eating leftover Thanksgiving pot pies, and now it is time for my annual Chanukah potato latke bar. I make hundreds of latkes, freeze them in advance and surround them with a myriad of toppings when serving. My pink applesauce is a favorite. Although the latkes are the stars of the meal, a… Read More

Mainstream Entertainment

Moses, as best I recall from Hebrew school and “The Ten Commandments,” was a reluctant prophet with a speechimpediment who was ultimately persuaded by the unspeakable, unceasing suffering of his people — and God’s fearsome support — to confront Pharaoh and lead the Hebrews out of slavery. My, how (biblical) times have changed. The much-anticipated… Read More

Images of a Vanished Baltimore

A prolific painter for more than 60 years, Jacob Glushakow captured the essence and depicted the quiet emotion of simple commonplace scenes in Baltimore, a city he loved deeply. His body of work, especially of market scenes and of building demolition and renewal from about 1940 to 1970, created a documentation of the changing urban… Read More


Chants of “I believe that we will win! I believe that we will win!” thundered through the Hurwitz gym as Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School students decked out in blue and yellow — some donning face paint, capes and tutus — cheered on the home team BT Warriors during the 28th Annual Joseph and Florence… Read More

A Sense of Jewishness

The late author, essayist, filmmaker and public intellectual Susan Sontag insisted on defining herself and adamantly resisted being labeled by others. Sontag vehemently objected to being called a lesbian, for example, and to the idea of classifying sexuality. As filmmaker Nancy Kates puts it, “She was an unidentified queer person who mostly slept with women.”… Read More

Through the Eyes of Dinah

“The Red Tent,” the best-selling 1997 novel by Anita Diamant, is coming to the Lifetime cable television network next month as a two-part miniseries. Diamant’s novel, adapted for film by Elizabeth Chandler (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”) and Anne Meredith (“Secrets of Eden”), gives a fictionalized account of the life of Dinah, the only… Read More

Spotlight on Nostalgia

When young independent music enthusiasts descended on the antiquated Jewish resort of Kutsher’s for an international indie rock concert series in 2008, it was “kind of like ‘Cocoon’ meets ‘The Shining,’” Barry Hogan recalls in the forthcoming documentary film “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” The comment by Hogan, founder of the All Tomorrow’s… Read More

Making Thanksgiving Jewish

How do we make Thanksgiving Jewish? Many scholars believe that the secular American holiday, first celebrated in 1621 by the pilgrims, was deliberately modeled on Sukkot. There are myriad ways to make the meal kosher and also stretch the food to enjoy through Shabbos. In addition to roasting one whole turkey, make one large turkey… Read More