Browsing Tag

russian jews


In Search of Persecuted Writer Isaac Babel’s Legacy

By On October 25, 2016

Of Isaac Babel, the Russian-Jewish writer who put the seaside city of Odessa on the map, we have only a sliver. Arrested by Stalin’s secret service in 1939, he was executed in secret… Read More

The Russian Jazz Starlet Who Sings in a Brooklyn Basement

Meet the Russian Jazz Starlet Who Now Sings in a Brooklyn Basement

By On July 22, 2016

Some dentists spruce up their offices with a potted plant or a TV. But if you chance to get a root canal in Brighton Beach, NY, you could get treated to a… Read More

Uncle Tom's Cabin in Yiddish, With Jewish Slaves

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish, With Jewish Slaves

By On April 1, 2016

Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Yiddish: sounds crazy, no? But across 19th-century Russia and eastern Europe, Jews eagerly devoured Russian Jewish writer Isaac Meir Dik’s (1807-1893) Yiddish version of the antislavery classic. Dik’s… Read More

an-sky expedition2

The Russian Jewish Ethnographer Behind This Trove of Stunning Historic Photographs

By On December 3, 2015

The Vitebsk-born Shloyme Zaynvi Rapoport — better known by the moniker S. An-sky — was many things: publisher, playwright, tutor. But his most enduring legacy is twofold: his play The Dybbuk, which… Read More

Ossip Gabrilowitsch

Meet Mark Twain’s Jewish Son-in-Law

By On November 10, 2015

When you think of Mark Twain, chances are white fences and the Mississippi River spring to mind a long time before anything Jewish does. But the man lauded both as “the greatest… Read More

Vladimir Nabokov's Spirited Jewish Wife

Vladimir Nabokov’s Spirited Jewish Wife

By On September 24, 2015

They say behind every great man is a great woman. In the case of the legendary Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, that great woman must have been mighty busy, acting as the writer’s… Read More

Painter Marc Chagall's Fantastical Life, in a New Movie

Painter Marc Chagall’s Fantastical Life, On Screen

By On June 10, 2015

Marc Chagall’s fraught, fantastic life began at birth. With his Russian village of Vitebsk burning around her, his mother pushes and shrieks. Baby Marc is pronounced stillborn. But his mother insists he… Read More


Abstract Painter Mark Rothko’s Jewish Roots

By On April 15, 2015

Before Mark Rothko’s famous rectangles of color were found in college dorms everywhere, before he became a key figure of Abstract Expressionist painting, he was born Marcus Rothkowitz in 1903 in Tsarist… Read More

When a Russian Mom Starts Online Dating

A Russian Jewish Mom Turns to the Internet For Dating

By On August 26, 2014

Here is what’s less than stellar about Anya Ulinich‘s graphic novel, Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel: The title is confusingly clunky, and certain pages feel overstuffed with text. But that’s it! This lavishly illustrated, imaginative,… Read More


The Jewish Diva Who Played the Indian Princess

By On March 11, 2014

Gifted with one of those rare, true contralto voices—deep, rich, and haunting—Sophie Braslau was the beautiful daughter of a Russian émigré physician who was ranked with the most celebrated singers of her time. A musical prodigy, she… Read More

Dazbog Coffee

A Post-Soviet Jewish Coffee Chain – in Colorado

By On January 24, 2014

“Flavor as big as Russia!” So proclaims one ad for Dazbog, Denver’s most peculiar chain of independent coffee shops. Dazbog Coffee (a phonetic spelling of the Russian dast bog kofe—”May God provide coffee”) is the… Read More

Little Failure

Gary Shteyngart Writes a Memoir

By On January 7, 2014

The first half of Gary Shteyngart‘s new memoir, Little Failure, reads like a first-person Colbert Report segment on Russian Jewish refuseniks. The celebrated Russian émigré novelist wastes almost no page space on developing such trifles as plot… Read More

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