Spring 2014

Spring 2014
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Letters, Spring 2014

Spy vs. Spy, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, Gordis' Requiem & More


A Stone for His Slingshot

In 1948 screenwriter Ben Hecht lectured “a thousand bookies, ex-prize fighters, gamblers, jockeys, touts,” and gangsters on the burdens and responsibilities of Jewish history. The night at Slapsy Maxie’s was a big success, but the speech was lost, until now.


Original Sins

John Judis book about Truman's Middle East policy isn't a rant, but it's not exactly history either.

Are We All Khazars Now?

While it's exciting to imagine our ancestors as "Jews with swords," the science just isn't there.

Life with S'chug

Einat Admony, who was raised by an Iraqi mother and a Persian father in Bnei Brak and now runs gourmet Middle Eastern fusion restaurants, is a new wave balaboosta.

Our Master, May He Live

Rashi's commentary on the Chumash isn't just about textual puzzles, it's about God's love for the Jewish people. So argues Avraham Grossman in a new biography.

Eden in a Distant Land

A new biography of Abraham Cahan unpacks how a young immigrant from Lithuania created the Forward and changed American Jewry.

Dialectical Spirit

A new intellectual biography explores the thought and legacy of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.

Politics and Prophecy

Ari Shavit, the Israeli prophet-journalist, offers both rebuke of the past and warnings for the future, but unlike prophets of old, he has no solutions for the way forward.

Nation and Narrative

The sons of Israel, from the kibbutz to the hesder yeshiva, came together to liberate Jerusalem in 1967. Yossi Klein Halevi portrays Israel by tracing their diverging paths in the years since.

History, Memory, and the Fallen Jew

Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi predicted a day when the historian would give his task over to the poet. A retrospective look at his writings show his own struggle between the claims of academic history and Jewish memory.

The Living Waters of History

A historical novel about the Spanish Expulsion tells us as much about current reading trends as it does the lives of Jews in 15th-century Spain.

The Anti-Jewish Problem

In the competition that took place between Judaism and nascent Christianity, only one could be correct.  Thus, anti-Judaism became central to the Western tradition.


Dangerous Liaisons: Modern Scholars and Medieval Relations Between Jews and Christians

In the spring of 1942—which, as Mel Brooks noted, was “winter for Poland and France”—Salo Baron published a boldly revisionist article. He was thinking of present-day Europe, a 12th-century Jewish woman named Polcelina, and perhaps also his colleagues.

The Arts

The Good, The Bad, and The Unending

Have (more or less) real historians ever been as central to a Hollywood blockbuster as they are to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men? Our reviewer, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld has something to say about the history. Also Cate Blanchett.

Lost & Found

At Professor Bachlam’s

A lost chapter from Agnon's final, classic novel Shira, translated here for the first time.

Last Word

Jokes and Justice

We were sitting in our apartment one evening when a Spanish philosopher dropped in ...

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