The Story of Jewish Life in Eastern Europe, Told through Home Movies

In the two decades before World War II, American Jews occasionally returned to their or their parents’ Polish cities and shtetls, and sometimes they recorded what they saw on film. From this footage, the Hungarian cinematographer Peter Forgács has created a video installation, Letters to Afar, now on display at the Museum of the City of New York. Spliced together, set to music, and “variously doubled, frozen, mirrored, slowed down, or staggered,” the result plays on nine different screens. J. Hoberman reviews the exhibit and reflects on its unusual medium:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Film, Jewish museums, Polish Jewry, Shtetl

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy