Spring 2015

Spring 2015
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Letters, Spring 2015

Stubborn Soul, Animal or Vegetable?, Life and Literature, David and Goliath


A Journey Through French Anti-Semitism

There is a problem with the inevitable reflexive warnings after every vicious attack not to slip into Islamophobia. A short personal history of how France got here.

Drawing Conclusions: Joann Sfar and the Jews of France

The great French comic artist is now working at the height of his considerable powers, and he is obsessed with questions of Jewish identity and life in Europe.


Coming with a Lampoon

Jacobson is a world master of the art of disturbing comedy and each new work of his advances the genre—his latest one by a giant step.

Jewish Geography

The Jewish peddler, the “slave of the basket or the pack; then the lackey of the horse,” did not have an easy time of it.

The Abrams Case and Justice Holmes' Philo-Semitism

In 1919 Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind and in so doing transformed the law of free speech.

Lands of the Free

It is sad to watch the territorialists engage in their wild goose chases all over the globe at a time when multitudes of Jews were in need of a place, any place, to go.

Love in the Shadow of Death

This is a sad story, one that begins with Sarah Wildman’s discovery among the papers of her grandfather, a physician in Massachusetts, of a file of letters dating back to 1939–1942.

Unsettling Days

Assaf Gavron’s The Hilltop is a refreshing reminder that traditional realism is still an effective vehicle of insight into contemporary society and politics.

A Spy's Life

Sylvia Rafael: The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy opens not with an intrepid secret agent about to pull off a bold maneuver, as books with such titles usually do, but with nine men gathered around a table in 1977, studying a picture of an Israeli agent.

Climate of Opinion

Academic scholars, of all people, should recognize that excoriation is not an acceptable substitute for argument, but, in fact, it pervades much of the discourse that today passes as “criticism of Israel.”

An Affair as We Don't Know It

Harris retells the “Dreyfus Affair” from Lieutenant-Colonel Marie-Georges Picquart’s point of view, dramatically reconstructing how he zeroed in on the true culprit.

Live Wire

Bellow’s not so innocent knock in The Adventures of Augie March is generally taken as the moment when Jews barged into American literature without apology.

Lincoln and the Jews

Lincoln encountered a surprising number of Jews in his life. Throughout, he seems to have treated them with the benevolence and absence of prejudice one would expect from the Great Emancipator.


The Fifth Question

Whatever kind of Passover Seder one attends, there is a fifth question, usually whispered, that arises some time after the first four are asked . . .

The Arts

Going Under with Klinghoffer

When it came to New York’s Metropolitan Opera this past fall The Death of Klinghoffer faced angry—and, it must be admitted, some pretty shrill—demonstrators.

Last Word

High Fives

The JRB editors celebrate our fifth anniversary with our top-five book lists.

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