Tablet is a daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture. Launched in June 2009, it’s a project of the not-for-profit Nextbook Inc., which also produces the Nextbook Press Jewish Encounters book series. Our archive holds all the articles and features that originally appeared on the website Nextbook.org.
Chef Alon Shaya is on firefiguratively, not literally (at least, as far as I know). Among numerous other accolades, he is a two-time James Beard award-winning chef. The Executive Chef and Partner of Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya, he has recently taken New Orleans by storm (also not literally and sorry for the terrible pun).
An Israeli immigrant raised in the suburbs of Philly by a single mom, Shaya wasby his own accounta disruptive kid who seemed like he was well on his to way to winding up in jail. It took him a few trips around the world and the help of a few very special ladies to help him see the light. Or, in his case, the pilot light.
What are the world’s greatest film schools? The Hollywood Reporter posed this Talmudic question to a gallery of correspondents, who, yesterday, published their definitive list. There’s Rome’s Centro Sperimentalde Di Cinematografia, which gave us Michelangelo Antonioni. There’s Prague’s Famu, to which we owe the great Milos Forman. There’s the film school in Lodz, responsible for both Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda. And there’s the Sam Spiegel Film & Television school in Jerusalem.
Named after and largely funded by the legendary Hollywood producerThe Bridge on the River Kwai, On the Waterfront, Lawrence of Arabiathe school was as humble and practical as Spiegel had been flamboyant and larger than life. Occupying an alleyway in the industrial zone in Talpiot, the school was founded in 1989, and, for the first three years of its life, refrained from submitting any student entries to international competitions, focusing instead on getting its pedagogy just right. While the more established film school, in Tel Aviv University, exercised a near-monopoly on cinema studies and enjoyed its proximity to the seat of Israel’s intellectual and artistic life, the small start-up in Jerusalem recruited talented and overlooked filmmakers and taught them the craft. It took the school just over a decade to claim its place in the front line of world cinema; in recent years, it has welcomed as fellows artists such as David Lynch and Wim Wenders. And in 2011, the school launched the Jerusalem International Film Lab, which helps young filmmakers from all over the world complete their first feature film. One of the program’s graduates, László Nemes, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film last year for his Son of Saul.
Today, the 26th of Av, is my fathers yahrzeit. He had many cultural obsessions, high and low: Gustav Mahler, Porkys movies, Werner Herzog, Beavis and Butt-head, Kurt Vonnegut, Eraserhead, Ingmar Bergman, Caddyshack (he put a Baby Ruth in more than one pool) and Bonny Doon wines.
My dad, who died in 2004, was crazy for Bonny Doon. He loved the bottles quirky labels and the vintner Randall Grahms love of wordplay and mischief. Grahm, a product of the epicenter of literate hippiedom, Santa Cruz, worked during a college break (he was on the ten-year plan, he notes) as a philosopher-stockboy/floor-sweeper at the Wine Merchant store in Beverly Hills. He became fascinated by wine, and returned to school in the late 1970s to get a degree in plant sciences at UC Davis. There, he notes, he was regarded as a bit of a holy terroir (hyuk hyuk). With his familys help, he bought a vineyard (nice work if you can get it), got to work, and in 1989 made the cover of The Wine Spectator, wearing a domino mask and powder-blue polyester riding gear, a wine bottle in a holster at his hip, holding the reins of a white horse. The cover line called him The Rhône Ranger. Within a few years an asteroid was named after him, hed won the James Beard Foundations Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year award, and his articles and newsletters had rabid followersincluding my father.
Imagine a bunch of angry Jewish men in the same place, at the same time. Is it a daily morning minyan at a dying Conservative synagogue? Or is it a Noah Baumbach film? Yep, it’s the second one. The trailer is just out for The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), the writer-director’s latest project, fresh off of Cannes.
On Wednesday, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, alt-right luminary Richard Spencer declared himself to be a “white Zionist.” Just as Jews want a state of their own, the Charlottesville far-right organizer argued, he merely seeks a state for white people.
“As an Israeli citizen,” Spencer told his Israeli interviewer, “someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me who has analogous feelings about whites. I mean, you could say that I am a white Zionist in the sense that I care about my people. I want us to have a secure homeland that’s for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.