Winter 2014

Winter 2014
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Letters, Winter 2014

Cyprus Bound, A Salter Exchange Between Readers, Time to Proselytize?


Hollywood's Anti-Nazi Spies

In 1934, Hollywood's Jewish moguls met secretly at the Hillcrest Country Club to hear an unusual pitch. A former ADL official was running a network of World War I veterans who had infiltrated the local Nazi organization. The intelligence was alarming, and he needed funding.

Pew’s Jews: Religion Is (Still) the Key

Who are the “Jews of no religion” in the much-discussed Pew Research Center's “A Portrait of Jewish Americans”? It’s a question that gets at the deep structures of Jewish life and the inadequacy of many of the sociological methods used to describe it. 

Conservative Judaism: A Requiem

In 1971, 41 percent of American Jews were part of the Conservative movement. Today it's 18 percent and falling fast. What happened? Maybe its leaders never knew what Conservative Judaism was really about.


Wisdom and Wars

If it were fiction, Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom would be the greatest English war novel.

Hollywood and the Nazis

In their dealings with Germany in the 1930s, were Hollywood’s moguls just watching the bottom line or aiding the Third Reich’s PR machine?

Riding Leviathan: A New Wave of Israeli Genre Fiction

A new batch of Israeli fantasy books may not contain Narnias, but they pound on the wardrobe, rattling the scrolls inside.

Scaling the Internet

September 11, 2001 proved Akamai's technology could withstand anything. Cruelly, inventor Danny Lewin was the first to die in the attacks.

Kafka at Bedtime

Kafka continues to interest everyone from academics to Hasidic slam poets.

Forget Remembering

Rutu Modan’s graphic novel The Property explores the uneasy coexistence of love and death.

The Devil You Know

Analysts of contemporary anti-Semitism are tracking a weak force that is, however, undoubtedly on the upswing.


Bambi’s Jewish Roots

Felix Salten was a hack who cultivated ties to the Habsburg court and wrote the bestselling memoir of a fictional prostitute. He was also a charismatic Zionist who outshone Buber on the stage and—not so coincidentally—wrote Bambi.

Kashrut and Kugel: Franz Rosenzweig’s “The Builders”

In 1923, Franz Rosenzweig wrote an open letter to Martin Buber on being bound by Jewish law in the modern age. Interestingly, he was just as concerned with minhag (custom) as halakha.

Lost & Found

Scenes of Jewish Life in Imperial Russia

What was life like in pre-revolutionary Russia? It certainly did not take place in an unchanging shtetl.

Last Word

Salsa and Sociology

When I was a child, eight or nine, I evolved a theory about different kinds of Jews, based, more or less, on the hot sauce we kept on our table.

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