Fall 2016

Fall 2016
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Letters, Fall 2016

Frozen DNA, Brandeis's Puritan Sabbaths, Free the Rapoport Mermaids


Cynthia Ozick: Or, Immortality

Ozick is as marvelously demanding, harrumphing, and uncompromising as she has always been.


There He Goes Again

Foer departs from Roth’s model in many ways; perhaps most unsettling is the fact that he confuses crassness for humor.

From Moses to Moses to Sholem Aleichem

Anyone looking for a single-volume introduction to Jewish civilization for a class full of highly educated professionals with only a limited knowledge of the subject will find nothing better in print.

Jewish Pugs

A successful Jewish jock, demonstrating strength and physical courage, nicely rounds out Jews’ sense of completeness as human beings.

Harlem on His Mind

Many Harlem churches that were once synagogues have been torn down to make way for apartment buildings with all the latest amenities.

Jerusalem Reconstructed

The Mendelsohns' converted flour mill on the outskirts of Rehavia became a cultural salon, with concerts and poetry readings.

The Angel and the Covenant

Hurwitz’s ideal Jew is the rabbinic scholar who is also knowledgeable about, and open to, modern science.

A Cedar of Lebanon

In addition to the weight survivors feel, Friedman bears the burden of giving voice to the place that shaped young men’s lives and took others, while leaving no official trace.

Psychology at Nuremberg

Both Kelley and Gilbert believed they could make a broad psychosocial argument despite the limited sample size, inconclusive tests, infighting, and lack of clear standards and definitions.

If This Is a Man

Primo Levi often claimed that he was first and foremost a chemist and not a professional writer, but anyone who reads him with care will be moved by the sober lucidity, subtlety, concision, and analytical power of his prose.


A Tale of Two Night Vigils

The tradition to stay up all night studying on Shavuot is far more well-known than the tradition to do so on Hoshana Rabbah. Neither would have been possible without Kabbalah and caffeine.

Zion and Party Politics, 1944

In the summer of 1944 support for Zionism was transformed from a low-risk political gesture to a bona fide election issue. FDR was not pleased.

The Arts

Inventing American Judaism

Unlike the Jews of Venice, whose charter was anxiously renegotiated every decade or so, American Jews participated in civic life, confidently building themselves a future.

Denial and the Defense of Truth

Denial is more than a slick courtroom drama about Holocaust denial; it is also a defense of objective truth against nihilistic relativism, a call to arms by the establishment against self-proclaimed outsiders who deny all sorts of truths.


Religion, Power, and Politics: An Exchange

Rabbi Riskin's review of Rabbi Sack's latest book ignited a discussion on the role of power in Judaism. 

Religion and Politics: A Response to Shlomo Riskin

Judaism never advocated powerlessness, but it did protest attributing religious significance to power.

Necessary Power: A Rejoinder to Jonathan Sacks

When Rabbi Sacks writes, “It is not our task” (and it was not Abraham’s task) “to conquer or convert the world or to enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry,” it seems to me that he oversimplifies matters.

Last Word


I left the conversation with the entirely erroneous, in fact libelous, impression that “Marmorsher” was Yiddish slang for horse thief.

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