Fall 2013

Fall 2013
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Letters, Fall 2013

Superpowered Thinking, Kant’s Dignity, Proust’s Jewish Melodies, & More


The Hunter

James Salter has been justly celebrated as a composer of gorgeous prose, and his new late-life novel All That Is confirms his reputation as a writer's writer. How much of his artistic vision is predicated on being James Salter rather than James Horowitz?

Fathers & Sons

This summer, as the current Askhenazi chief rabbi was being investigated for corruption, and issues of religion and state dominated public debate, new Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis were elected. The process was messy, complicated, and ugly. The result? Sixty-eight votes apiece for the sons of two previous chief rabbis. What does a broken rabbinate mean for Israel?


Fiction and Forgiveness

Dara Horn’s novel goes down to Egypt to guide its perplexed characters through a Joseph story.

All-American, Post-Everything

Shaul Magid argues that Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is the Rebbe for post-ethnic America. But is cosmotheism a good idea?

On Not Bringing Up Baby

What happens when the rising cost of raising children meets the downward pressure on reproduction?

Exogamy Explored

Naomi Shaefer Riley brings new data and her own personal experience to the issue of intermarriage.

Meanwhile, on a Quiet Street in Cleveland

Two Jewish kids from Cleveland created Superman. Why does the Man of Steel still fascinate us?

Hebraic America

When Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin sat down to design the Great Seal of the United States they both turned to the Bible.

Jake in the Box

The patriarch Jacob was the father of twelve tribes and (eventually) fêted by Pharaoh. But, as Yair Zakovitch shows, the Bible does not portray a happy man.

Karl Marx, Bourgeois Revolutionary

Jonathan Sperber's new biography paints Karl Marx as a surprisingly conventional 19th-century paterfamilias.

A Student-Centered Tradition

In the early 1930s Rabbi Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira wrote that the most important thing to teach children was that "they themselves are their own educators."

Who Owns Margot?

What if Anne Frank’s sister had survived Bergen-Belsen? Interesting, but . . .


The Day School Tuition Crisis: A Short History

In 1935, Israel Chipkin wrote that day schools were “financially prohibitive” for most Jews. The more things change . . .

Lost & Found

Notice Posted on the Door of the Kelm Talmud Torah Before the High Holidays

In the 1860s, Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv tried to found a new kind of yeshiva in which students would devote significant time to thinking about their moral lives.

The Joy of Being Delivered from Jewish Schools Results in a Stiff Foot

Before he became a brilliant, radical, and disreputable Enlightenment philosopher, Solomon Maimon was a miserable cheder student.


Athens or Sparta? A Rejoinder

Accused by Patrick Tyler of unfairness, Morris presses on.

Athens or Sparta? A Response

Patrick Tyler accuses Benny Morris of being unfair in his attacks on Fortress Israel.

Last Word

Hebrew School Days

“Of course, I had myself gone to Hebrew school—that’s what we always called it though very little Hebrew was ever learned—through most of elementary school. I’d walk the five blocks down Bancroft . . .”

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