Fall 2010

Fall 2010
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Letters, Fall 2010

Defending Steinberg, Spy Stories, and Rashi & Richard the Lionheart.


Love and War

David Grossman has for sometime been one of Israel's most talented and important writers. In many of his novels, his feeling for adolescence—one is tempted to say, his identification with it—has been so brilliantly intuitive that the imagining of adulthood has scarcely been possible. In To the End of the Land, Grossman makes his breakthrough.

The Chabad Paradox

Despite its tiny numbers, the Hasidic group known as Chabad or Lubavitch has transformed the Jewish world. Not only the most successful contemporary Hasidic sect, it might be the most successful Jewish religious movement of the second half of the twentieth century. But two new books raise provocative questions about it.


Early Modern Mingling

How the Jews became modern.

Palestine Portrayed

The 1948 War and the problems it left unresolved have returned to the top of the agenda for both diplomats and historians.

Misreading Kafka

The Kafka myths, and the "myth-busters" who make them.

Dirty Hands in Difficult Times

Israel's relationship with apartheid South Africa is an inconvenient—perhaps unavoidable—truth.


André Schwarz-Bart's posthumous The Morning Star goes where no Holocaust novel has gone before.

Let My People Go

Many of the heroes of the Soviet Jewry movement have been unsung, until now.

Hidden Master

The closer we look at Green's theology, the more radical it turns out to be.

The One and the Many

A popular new book deals with differences between the world's religions, but misses the mark in several of them.

The Bible Scholar Who Didn't Know Hebrew

The surprising story of Elias Bickerman and his scholarship.

In Brief

In Brief, Fall 2010

Hirsch’s poems, Illion’s lions, short prayers, Tommy Lapid & more.


Proverbs 8:22-31

Many have marveled at the wisdom of the biblical books attributed to King Solomon. Here, in a new translation by Robert Alter, is Proverbs' account of the birth of Wisdom herself, from The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary, now out with Norton.

Trilling, Babel, and the Rabbis

part of Trilling's mystique came from the way he seemed "to be a Jew and yet not Jewish."

The Arts

Temporary Measures: Sukkah City

The reimagining of an ancient architectural ritual.

A Measure of Beauty

The Israeli hip-hop band Hadag Nahash blend the many strata of Hebrew language.

Lost & Found

When Eve Ate the Etrog: A Passage from Tsena-Urena

There was once a custom for a pregnant woman to bite off the tip of the etrog at the end of Sukkot. This excerpt includes the text of a Yiddish prayer, or tkhine, that the pregnant woman is instructed to recite based on an interpretation of Genesis 3:6.

Last Word

Prague Summer: The Altneuschul, Pan Am, and Herbert Marcuse

A mysterious memoir of planes, Marx, and minyans.

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