Summer 2013

Summer 2013
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Letters, Summer 2013

Kosher tin foil. Timothy Lytton responds to his critics.


Athens or Sparta?

A new "inside story" of the Israeli military reveals more about the current prejudices of the chattering classes than it does about Israel and its neighbors.


Emancipation and Its Discontents

How a small, marginal community of Moravian Jews grappled with the challenges modernization and secularization brought to European Jewry.

More Important Things

Francesca Segal's prize-winning The Innocents: A generous, garrulous, and utterly genuine group portrait of Anglo-Jewry.

Talking Like That

“Their voice sounds weird, like not a Jewish voice.” How newcomers learn the language and culture of Orthodox Judaism.

Cri de Coeur

The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris.

In and Out of Africa

Explaining the origins of the many African and African American groups who identify themselves as Jews or, at least, as descendants of the ancient Israelites.

Two or Three Concepts of Dignity

Is human dignity a "useless concept" Does it obscure more than it reveals? Two important new books seek to defend strong versions of human dignity.

The Man Who Thought in Pictures

S.Y. Agnon was a completely visual thinker. Now his stories have been turned into a comic book.

Romancing the Haskalah

Should the Haskalah be rebranded as "Jewish Romanticism?” Olga Litvak seeks to bring about a radical change in the definition of Haskalah.

Spanish Charity

The sight of a secular Israeli artist in a cathedral confessional in Spain is one of the more interesting moments in recent Israeli fiction. A new novel by A.B. Yehoshua.

From Russia with Complications

In what ways is the Israel of the Russian aliyah an extension of the old and new Russia, and to the degree that it is, does this constitute a problem? A valuable report on the present state of affairs.


The First Debate Over Religious Martyrdom

The name of God is sanctified when life is preserved, not when it is proclaimed great an instant before life is obliterated.

Proust Between Halakha and Aggada

Proust and Bialik were both great literary modernists, but they aren’t usually thought of together. Reading In Search of Lost Time in light of “Halacha and Aggada.”

Lost & Found

Culture and Education in the Diaspora

After 1948, Ben-Gurion strongly urged young American Jews to make aliyah. In 1951, Hayim Greenberg, head of the Jewish Agency's Department of Education and Culture, came to Jerusalem to argue for the dignity of Jewish life in the diaspora—in Yiddish.

Last Word

East and West

In which direction should Israel orient itself?

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