Summer 2017

Summer 2017
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Letters, Summer 2017

Ben-Gurion's Yiddish, Foucault on Yom Kippur, Rabin's Solution?, The Lamp and the Flame


A "New History" and Old Facts

Fifty years after the conflict, Guy Laron’s The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East attempts to upend our understanding of the hostilities.


East Meets West

Following the Six-Day War, the East German government and the West German far left demonized Israel time and again, often vilely equating it with the worst thing in their own nation’s history: Nazism.

A Dashing Medievalist

Ernst Katorowicz had great courage and old-world personal charm—his Berkeley students were mesmerized by him.

On Agnonizing in English

For the Hebrew reader, S. Y. Agnon is not merely canonical, he stands almost outside of time.

Why the Long Face?

David Grossman's newest novel, winner of the Man Booker International Prize, is an arresting, disturbing read with no obvious punch line but one long face.

Inside or Outside?

After the discoveries of the Cairo Geniza and the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars of Judaism slowly began to reconstruct the 400-year period separating the latest parts of the Hebrew Bible from the earliest rabbinic compilations.

Purity and Obscurity

When contemporary Jews of priestly lineage avoid cemeteries, when ordinary Jews wash their hands before eating, or immerse themselves in ritual baths, they are acting according to the dictates of an ancient system.

The Wandering Reporter

Read 86 years after it was originally published, The Wandering Jew Has Arrived can be seen as a chilling and prophetic piece of historical reportage.

Great Jews in Robes

If Merrick Garland had been successfully confirmed for the seat now occupied by Neil Gorsuch, Jews would have been just one vote shy of constituting a majority on the court.

The End of Europe as We Know It?

Why does Europe, the late 20th century’s greatest success story, now look so chaotic?


The Closing of the American Mind Now

Thirty years ago, a book was published that hit, in the words of the New York Times, “with the approximate force and effect of what electric shock-therapy must be like.” How has it held up? And what does that have to do with the Bible?

The Arts

Theater and Politics in Oslo

Veteran Middle East negotiator Itamar Rabinovich gauges the distance between drama and diplomacy in his review of Oslo.

Fauda: The Wages of Chaos

Fauda, which takes its name from the Arabic word for chaos, opens in an adrenaline rush of noise, confusion, and jagged camerawork. 

Crazy-Beautiful Startup

Although The Wedding Plan will inevitably be marketed and discussed as a wacky romantic comedy, there is no real male lead.

Lost & Found

"I Am Impossible”: An Exchange Between Jacob Taubes and Arthur A. Cohen 

In the summer of 1977, two old friends ran into each other in front of a Paris bookstore and found themselves arguing about Simone Weil, Judaism, and their lives.

The Rogochover Speaks His Mind 

After he visited the odd talmudic genius, Bialik said that “two Einsteins can be carved out of one Rogochover.”

Last Word

Hashtag Holocaust

Memorials remain, unmoved and unchanged, by the inevitable erosion of memory.

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