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Movie still of a white woman speaking with a black man with a neon arrow shining between as at a bar

[Editor's note: This blog post contains reference to sexual assault and racism.] 

This week marks the digital and DVD release of All About Nina, a film by writer/director Eva Vives starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) in a story inspired by some of Vives’ own experiences.

Winstead stars as Nina Geld, a stand-up comedian attempting to advance her career, find genuine connection with others, and drown out past trauma. She pursues this by picking up her life and moving from New York to...

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Young woman in profile with a ponytail and sunglasses wearing earbuds

Katonti mi’kol ha’hasadim u’mi’kol ha’emet she’asita et av’deha. (I am unworthy of all the kindness and the truth that You have steadfastly shown Your servant.) These are the opening words of a song by American-Israeli musician Yonatan Razel. They are also, not coincidentally, the words spoken by our patriarch Jacob in Genesis 32:11.

Razel, a Haredi composer, often transforms the words of our tradition by setting them to music. This passage comes right before Jacob encounters his older brother, Esau, for the first time since...

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Star of David on wrought iron gate leading to old cemetery

The 25th anniversary re-release of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List this month has reignited criticism as well as praise for the Oscar-winning film.

A recent story in the Forward, titled “What’s Wrong with ‘Schindler’s List?’ Kind of a Lot” revived the main complaint of the movie’s detractors. It quotes Liel Leibovits, who wrote in Tablet that “the movie, really, is about a Christ-like...

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Two wooden mailboxes covered in snow

I was rushing through the aisles of Stop and Shop on my lunch hour last Friday, having made up my mind to cook a traditional Ashkenazi Hanukkah dinner on the auspicious occasion of meeting my daughter’s boyfriend’s family for the first time. I was hosting them the next night and opted for a crowd-pleasing menu: potato soup, brisket, latkes, applesauce, and a...

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Blurry Christmas tree in the lobby of a building like a workplace or hotel

We chose to raise our children in a home that celebrated Hanukkah – but sustaining a minority culture in the face of Christmas’s incessant commercial drumbeat was exhausting.

“No, Santa isn’t coming to our house.” “Yes, he’s going to your friends’ houses.” “Yes, it’s exciting that Santa brought your friend a tricycle.” “No, Santa still isn’t coming to our house.”

On the bright side, the situation provided an opportunity to teach my children that we live in a great country where people have many different religions and the...

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