The Hidden Jew as Critic

Jan. 10 2020

 In November, the theater critic John Simon, known for his erudition, prose style, and biting, sometimes cruel, reviews, died at the age of ninety-four. While obituaries noted that he was born in Serbia as Ivan Simmon and came to the U.S. in 1941, Jonathan Leaf reports hearing a very different story about his early life from Simon’s close friend and fellow critic Howard Kissel: that Simon was born to a Jewish father who barely escaped Europe, and that he had a half-brother who remained behind and perished in the Holocaust. Leaf believes this closely guarded secret may shed some light on Simon’s notoriously selective tastes:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: David Mamet, Film, Holocaust, Literary criticism, Theater, Woody Allen

Israel Experiences a Resurgence of COVID-19, but This Time with No One to Blame

During the past two weeks, the Israeli government has been gradually reopening schools, restaurants, and beaches, leading to a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, the reclosing of some schools, and the quarantining of hundreds. The new outbreaks, for the most part, have spared the ḥaredi communities so severely affected by the initial waves of the virus. But, writes Ruthie Blum, there has been no parallel expressions of anger akin to what was directed at the ultra-Orthodox two months ago:

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Read more at JNS

More about: Coronavirus, Israeli society, Ultra-Orthodox