A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward-Pete Hamill, Alana Newhouse, Chana Pollack

  • Title: A Living Lens: Photographs of Jewish Life from the Pages of the Forward
  • Author: Pete Hamill, Alana Newhouse, Chana Pollack
  • Released: 2007-04-17
  • Language:
  • Pages: 352
  • ISBN: 0393062694
  • ISBN13:
  • ASIN: B005OL8ESU


From Publishers Weekly Founded in 1897, the Jewish-American newspaper the Forward was in its heyday of the 1920s a powerhouse daily Yiddish newspaper with a larger circulation than the New York Times. Drawn from a treasure trove of 40,000 photos, the pre-1925 pictures are the most gripping here, depicting New York's pushcart-teeming Lower East Side, soldiers in the czar's army celebrating a seder, Polish pogrom victims, and men who deserted their families in America—printed to aid in tracking them down. Pictures from 1926 through 1945 show Yiddish theater's "royal" couple, Bessie and Boris Thomashefsky; a Jewish portrait artist sketching Mussolini; and an emaciated Jewish orphan being rescued from an Auschwitz crematorium by former Jewish inmates after the Nazis' retreat. Later decades show Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax, but also a disturbing 1986 visual of a neo-Nazi computer game. Notable recent photos depict a New Orleans synagogue that was flooded after Katrina, and a Kraków souvenir stand offering yarmulkes and wooden klezmer figures, emblematic of the 1990s preoccupation with all things Jewish in European areas where Jews were largely exterminated in WWII. Gathered by Forward arts & culture editor Newhouse, this is a worthy, provocative group portrait of modern Jewish life in all its misery and glory. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The Jewish daily Forward was founded in 1897. Published in Yiddish, by the 1920s it was selling around 250,000 copies a day. When it moved in 1974 from New York City's Lower East Side to East Thirty-third Street, its 40,000-strong photography collection was transferred to a storage room. The selection of photos published here chronicles the story of the newspaper and more than a century of Jewish life: scenes of Lower East Side pushcarts, Yiddish theater, labor rallies, Jewish peddlers and merchants, village beauty contests, and matchmakers. Settings include not only New York but also Warsaw, Tel Aviv, Cracow, and rural areas of the Carpathian region of eastern Europe. Shots include such celebrated figures as Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Al Jolson, Paul Muni, and Emma Goldman. All 531 duotones are augmented by essays by noted historians such as Deborah Lipstadt and an introduction by Pete Hamill. An illustrious photographic journey through Jewish life. George Cohen
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