Summer 2015

Summer 2015
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Letters, Summer 2015

Otherwise than J, Internalized Guilt, Were Arendt and Herzl Wrong About France?, La Juive, Top Dog


Israel's Northern Border and the Chaos in Syria: A Symposium

In the four-plus years since the Arab Spring, regimes have fallen, alliances have shifted and re-shifted, and new (and terrifying) actors have appeared on the scene. The diplomatic and strategic assumptions of several decades seem to have been upended. Nowhere is this more dramatically apparent than across Israel’s northern border. What, if anything, should Israel do about the Syrian crisis?


Playing the Fool

Of the many varieties of anti-Semitism, or anti-Judaism, that have plagued the Jews over the centuries, two recurrent general patterns can be identified by the holidays that celebrate triumphs over them: Purim and Hanukkah.

Paradox or Pluralism?

Walzer’s paradox of liberation, if that is what it is, is that religion is back, or that despite the extraordinary success of secularizing revolutionaries it never quite went away.

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

“Who’s this guy,” asked one of my sister’s friends, “who writes about secret truths? I can’t remember his name.”

The Life of the Flying Aperçu

Dickstein’s story is not a narrative of apostasy and rebellion; belief and doctrine play a minor role.

Give Ear O Ye Heavens

Benjamin Harshav’s lifelong engagement in the forms of poetry has been a unique—and uniquely valuable—project.

Fanny and Hilde

If Court Jews provided economic services, the salon women provided cultural ones that were rarely available to rulers and other nobles in the stuffy environs of aristocratic society.

Tested Loyalties

What if a national leader chooses to bring disgrace on his family rather than compromise his political beliefs?

Everything Is PR

Peter Pomerantsev’s narrative of “the surreal heart of the new Russia” features pink heels, private helicopters, and fantastical Midsummer Night’s Dream parties with trapeze artists and synchronized swimmers dressed as mermaids.

Desk Pounding and Jewish Leadership

The trouble between Wise and Silver came to a head at the end of 1944, when Silver, over the Roosevelt administration’s objections, pressed for a congressional resolution endorsing Zionist aims—while Wise was quietly assuring the White House that he would do nothing for the resolution against the president’s wishes.


New Gleanings from an Old Book

This summer in Alon Shevut, a community in the Etzion Bloc, south of Jerusalem, Lent will once again meet Mardi Gras.

A View from Reservoir Hill

A shul that never left the Old Jewish Neighborhood lives, volunteers, and prays through the recent crisis in Baltimore.

The Arts

The Great Gaon of Italian Art

Berenson’s teacher Charles Eliot Norton dismissively dubbed Berenson's method the “ear and toenail school,” but Berenson employed the technique in his first book to great effect.

An Al Schwimmer Production

When the ancient Spartans sought to aid a friendly state in distress, they did not send troops or arms or money.


Strange Journey: A Response to Shmuel Trigano

Two historians challenge Shmuel Trigano’s analysis of anti-Semitic violence in France.

The View from Paris: A Rejoinder to Ethan Katz and Maud Mandel

The flaw Ethan B. Katz’s and Maud S. Mandel’s analysis of the position of Jews in France is that “they view the anti-Semitic violence we Jews are living through here in France through American-made binoculars,” says Shmuel Trigano.

Last Word

How the Baby Got Its Philtrum

The idea of learning as a recovery of what we once possessed is what makes Bogart’s bubbe mayse, and ours, so memorable: We can all touch that little hollow and feel the impress of forgotten knowledge.

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