Fall 2015

Fall 2015
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Letters, Fall 2015

Anti-Semitic Spelling?, Render Unto Caesar, Implausible Etrog?, Just-So Question


Israeli Strategy for a New Middle East

Ninety-nine years ago, in the middle of World War I, a French diplomat and a British politico secretly redrew the map of the Middle East. The state system they helped engineer lasted a surprisSyingly long time, but it’s gone now. Israel’s new strategic landscape must be rethought.

Tradition, Creativity, and Cognitive Dissonance

What are the conditions for a Jewish intellectual renaissance? Disagreement is one, inconsistency might be another; look at the early Zionists.

The Israelization of Judaism and the Jews of France

The increasing importance of Israeli culture for diaspora Jews has yet to be fully grasped. Nowhere is this more true than in France.


Members of the Tribe

If an Israeli ambassador to the United States can’t consume ham in public, he may still have to engage in something like pork-barrel politics.

Vegetarian in Vilna

The long, brutal winters and meaty cuisine of Eastern Europe don’t immediately make one think of garden-fresh vegetarian recipes.

Who Is David?

Scholars and lay readers remain fascinated by the biblical stories of David and the history behind them, as a new batch of books shows.

Something Off

There was a sense of oddness about Bruno Shulz that German-Jewish writer Maxim Biller exploits in his new novella, Inside the Head of Bruno Schulz.

“I Am Talking to You Like King Solomon”

Saul Bellow once called Nabokov a “cold narcissist.” His letters to his wife, Véra, decisively dispel that common misconception.

I Have Come to My Garden

Without the Torah, says Rabbi Akiva, we would still be able to discover all its truths by delving deeply into the words of the Song of Songs.

It Is Either Serious or It Isn’t

A poem by Chana Bloch is like a stone thrown deep into the well of experience.

Intense Listening: The Poetry of Harvey Shapiro

Harvey Shapiro, who grew up in an observant Jewish family, was a connoisseur of distances and silences.

The Commentary Tales

In his latest book John J. Clayton delves once again into the literary territory he has been patiently mapping for some time.


Yosl Bergner’s Jewish-Israeli Genius

Yosl Bergner once said that “whatever colors I pour onto the canvas, they come out gray.” His grayscale paintings are stunning, but he paints in gorgeous color too. A personal memoir of a 94-year-old genius.

Islamic Jihad, Zionism, and Espionage in the Great War

A century ago, the Holy Land seems to have been full of European adventurers, archaeologists, would-be diplomats, and spies—sometimes all combined in the same person. Take, for instance, Max von Oppenheim . . .

The Arts

The Great Whitefish Way

Larry David baked an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-meta stance into Fish in the Dark from the get-go.

Lost & Found

The Apocryphal Psalms of David 1:15–20

In 1902 Abraham Harkavy published two previously unknown psalms and parts of two others from a manuscript in the Cairo Geniza. They may date back to the Second Temple.

Last Word

On Old Stones, a Black Cat, and a New Zion

There is a legend that Prague’s Altneuschul was built on a foundation of stones from the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

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