Spring 2016

Spring 2016
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Letters, Spring 2016

Reform from Within, God-Intoxicated Plenitude, A Bukh Missing in Boisk


Michael Wyschogrod and the Challenge of God’s Scandalous Love

The late Michael Wyschogrod may have been the boldest Jewish theologian of the 20th century.


The Quality of Rachmones

Howard Jacobson's Shylock Is My Name is dead serious and very funny, high criticism and low comedy.

Pour Out Your Fury

When the Bavarian government confiscated thousands of books from monasteries in 1803, among them was an utterly unique haggadah.

Chaos in the Wilderness

Unlike reporters who are happy to rework official government statements, Mohannad Sabry reports on the Sinai by drawing on a broad network of sources in the region.

Desert Wild

Zornberg’s sessions are deeply informed by traditional Jewish sources, especially the interpretations of classic rabbinic midrash and the homilies of Hasidic masters.

Jews on the Loose

If fame is when everyone understands it is you when only your first name is mentioned, Groucho (Marx) certainly qualifies.

Lost in Translation

When Aviya Kushner encountered the Bible not in Hebrew, but in translation,  she was shocked at how different it was, both in form and in substance.


Two new books push readers to examine the phenomenon of childlessness in the Jewish tradition and modern Jewish life.

One Nation, Two Disraelis

In locating Disraeli within modern Jewish history, the late David Cesarani engages with a tradition that he traces back to Hannah Arendt and Isaiah Berlin, who placed Disraeli’s Jewishness at the heart of his private life, his novels, his political thought, and his career as a politician.

A Mechitza, the Mufti, and the Beginnings of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

In his new book, Hillel Cohen offers an analysis of the Arab-Jewish violence of 1929 that goes very much against the grain of the usual Zionist narrative and even the non-partisan historical research concerning this period.

Saving the World

There are at least two problems with the widely repeated narrative about Rosenzweig's sudden commitment to Judaism: It’s historically false and philosophically pernicious.

As Though the Power of Speech Were an Ordinary Matter

Moods provides glimpses into Yoel Hoffmann’s life in literature and his ambivalence about the project of capturing life in words.


A Fraternal Note

The poet James Reiss hears his older brother's voice again in a new translation of Reuven Ben-Yosef’s (born Robert Eliot Reiss) writing.

The Arts

A Dissonant Moses in Berlin and Paris

Schoenberg’s challenging opera is re-staged in 21st-century Europe.

The Kid from the Haggadah

A 1944 poem, translated by Dan Ben-Amos.


Halakha and State: An Exchange

In our Winter 2016 issue, Elli Fischer explained why he defies the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and argued for radical reform. Four responses and his rejoinder.

Last Word

It’s Spring Again

A startling painting on the walls of the ancient synagogue at Dura Europos depicts some 2nd-century Jews who have, until recently, been dead and who look very surprised to have been reconstituted and revived.

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