Arts & Culture

Articles about local concerts, plays, books and movies, exclusive interviews and blog posts that bring some Jewish perspective to pop culture.

Fourth Annual JCC Chicago Jewish film festival kicks off March 9 photo
The Fourth Annual JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival opens March 9 and includes an Academy Award nominee and an exclusive special showing of a star-studded film prior to its national debut.
Painting the World with Love photo 1
Local artist Chai Wolfman’s painting collection “Grounded in Hope” is on display at Uncommon Ground in Edgewater through Feb. 6
Stories and Voices that Must Be Heard photo
The first event I attended post-election that didn’t involve me eating my feelings was “Israel Story Live.”
Why Stars Hollow is the Best Jewish Community Ever photo

Re-watching Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the Netflix revival has reminded me how “Jewish” this show actually is.

Key & Peele and The Big Event photo
A look at the comedy duo’s Chicago connections and Jewish humor.
Israel’s ‘This American Life’ Visits Chicago photo
The story behind Israel Story, a podcast with live shows in Chicago on Nov. 15 and 16
Young Adult’s Guide to the 2016 Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema photo
Film fans take note: The 11th Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema kicks off today, Tuesday, Nov. 1, and runs through Nov. 13.
A Real-Life Jewish Superwoman photo
There's no quality I admire more than courage, people who have the chutzpah to stand up for what they believe in, what they know to be right, no matter how much external forces try to sway them in the other direction.
Remembering Gene Wilder photo
I am talking, of course, of the greatest Gene Wilder movie you (probably) have never seen, Start The Revolution Without Me.
Three Queer Jews say ‘I Do’ photo
A Jewish, Queer woman trying to track her own family tree as it grows out of control around her. That’s the premise of a new play I Do Today, which premiered last week at Chicago’s Greenhouse Theater Center.
Neo-Nazis on Film
How should a Jewish person in today’s America react when confronted with Nazism? Film is one way we have wrestled with and explored this question.
Not Throwing Away His Shot photo
An interview with my friend during his three-day wait to see ‘Hamilton’ in New York
My Evening with Mel Brooks photo 1
It’s not every day I get to see the most influential Jew I’ve never met.
Films About Tough Jews photo

Yes, it’s a list, not a joke.

Guide to McSweeney’s Most Jewish photo

Rather than make you look through all 21 webpages of McSweeney’s lists for the Jewish ones, I went and did that for you.

New play ‘A Splintered Soul’ photo_md

A Splintered Soul brings a unique interpretation to the traditional Holocaust stories shared on stage.

‘Nurture the Wow’ focuses on the spirituality of parenting photo

After Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg became a mother for the first time, she found herself trying to make sense of this profound life-changing experience that we call parenthood.

Third annual JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival photo_md

Jack Yonover is quite an impressive and articulate eighth grader. Two years ago, Yonover, who is allergic to pistachios and cashews, came up with the idea to make a documentary for his bar mitzvah project reflecting on the fears and frustrations of living with food allergies.

5 Reasons Video Games Are My Books photo

Life. Not the cereal, or the “Game of,” but the one we all live in. That life. It’s a tough one, and sometimes, a little escape is in order.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Moses photo

Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Indiana Jones went after the Ark of the Covenant, currently has an 8.5 on It's the highest rating of any film in the franchise, with The Last Crusade -- in which Indy pursued the Holy Grail -- at an 8.3. The other two films don't rate anywhere near that high.

The Five Books that Changed My Life photo_th

I’d like to use this space to share with you the five books that have changed my life. Please let me know if these books have changed your life, too; and feel free to comment with books that have changed your life!

Jewish a cappella on campus photo_md

In the American musical comedy Pitch Perfect, world domination, singing talent, rivalries, friendships, and even a much needed vacation from boyfriends bring the Barden Bellas and other a cappella groups together.

‘Star Wars’ with My Bride-To-Be photo_th

There is a period in every geek, nerd or dork’s life when he or she has to grow up. You still remain a geek, nerd or dork, of course, but growing up sort of happens. Things like meeting a special someone, for example, sort of happen. And unless you meet on the floor of a comic convention admiring each other’s cosplay outfits, the odds you will have to share whatever it is you geek, nerd or dork out over with that person.

From Alex P. Keaton to off-screen hero photo_md

Back in the 1980s, I grew up on a steady diet of my favorite TV show, the sitcom Family Ties. I'd imagine what it would be like to be the fifth Keaton child. Don't get me wrong--I loved my own family ties. Still, I dreamed of being the long-lost sister on the show where you could solve a squabble with a sibling or a parent in the Keaton kitchen over hugs, laughs, and orange juice in 22 minutes flat. I envisioned myself knocking on the door to their Ohio home alongside sweet, awkward neighbor Skippy Handelman.

Wet Hot Jewish American Summer, Part 2 photo_th

The arrival of Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp came with a feeling similar to that first day of overnight camp: who will your new friends be? What will your new memories look like? Will you find someone special? The possibilities seem limitless, and so was the case for David Wain’s return to the cult classic that launched his career and the careers of so many of today’s biggest stars.

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