Spring 2013

Spring 2013
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Letters, Spring 2013

Letters from Henry Kissinger and other readers.


Chopped Herring and the Making of the American Kosher Certification System

In 1986, the discovery of non-kosher vinegar in a classic Jewish delicacy led to a revolution in kosher supervision.

Jerusalem of the Balkans

In 1911, David Ben-Gurion spent several months in Salonica and declared that it was "the only Jewish labor city in the world." Now, because of an open-minded mayor and his nationalist opponents, this formerly Jewish city is experiencing a peculiar mix of Jewish memory and anti-Semitism.


A Certain Late Discovery

Was Jacques Derrida a Jewish thinker?

Famous Jews

How is Barbra Streisand's decision not to have her nose "fixed" similar to Sandy Koufax's decision not to pitch on Yom Kippur?

From the Middle to the End

A deceptively simple novel about a suburban, Midwestern Jewish family catapults into something annoyingly profound.

Golden Apples

Meet Hyam Plutzik, the poet who wrote a major work—and then disappeared.

Middle Position

An insider account reveals how personal relationships and rivalries often shape Washington's foreign policy.

The Gaon of Modernity

Was the Vilna Gaon a great defender of tradition or a radical modernizer?

Schechter's Seminary

  Solomon Schechter is remembered as the founder of Conservative Judaism—but who are his religious heirs?

Brother Baruch

Daniel Schwartz's excellent new book is the first ever to chart the changing image of Spinoza throughout the centuries.

Israel on the Hudson

An ambitious, new three-volume work attempts to tell the story of New York's Jews from the days of Peter Stuyvesant to the present.

Why Is This Haggadah Different?

The Haggadah of China's Kaifeng Jews is not all that dissimilar from your Maxwell House version—but it speaks volumes about the community that produced it.


No Joke

Sigmund Freud loved Jewish jokes and for many years collected material for the study that would appear in 1905 as Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. An excerpt from Ruth Wisse's new book No Joke: Making Jewish Humor.

The Arts

New Beats for Old Brooklyn

Andy Statman started out as an unlikely prodigy: a New York Jewish kid playing bluegrass on the mandolin.

The Vanishing Point

A new exhibit explores the vanished world and unseen photographs of Roman Vishniac.


People of the Talmud: Since When? A Response and Rejoinder

Talya Fishman and Haym Soloveitchik exchange words on the tosafists.

Last Word

Light Reading

Stoicism and the human heart.

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