Leon Kass hadn't really read the Bible until he found himself teaching Genesis to freshmen at the University of Chicago. Three decades later, he published his widely acclaimed The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis. Now he’s published his commentary on Exodus.
Tens of thousands of Jews made their way into Portugal in waves between the fall of France in 1940 and the end of World War II. The ordeals Marion Kaplan depicts were not terribly long, but to the people who endured them, they often seemed endless.
Amid the ferment of interwar Poland, two opposite motions guided Jews who followed the sometimes blinding torches that lit the way toward modern culture. The first surged outward. The second traveled inward.
Faced with a bewildering variety of uses for the word “ghetto,” Daniel B. Schwartz performs marvels of clarification in steering the reader through the labyrinthian twists, turns, and hidden alleyways that mark this terminological odyssey.
Picture a Jewish town, located deep in a Polish forest, that hasn’t received so much as a postcard from the outside world in more than a century. Max Gross conjured it up The Lost Shtetl: A Novel, and the result is both screwball and serious.
While literalism is intellectually untenable and liberalism is numerically imperiled, many Jews find that what they believe cannot be transmitted, and what can be effectively transmitted they cannot believe.
In Micah Goodman’s new book, The Wondering Jew, he argues that Israeli Jews should develop a relationship with Jewish tradition that falls somewhere between strict adherence and total abandonment.
The special relationship between Jews and learning has been endlessly documented. Yet these investigations have largely overlooked the textual communion that transubstantiates books and learning into the body and blood of Jewish experience.
Reading is a blessing and a curse in Ozick’s world, a gateway to heightened emotion and new experience and also a maze of cruel tricks and dead ends. Allegra Goodman reviews her latest novel.
Where a committed secularist would raise up the literary in place of the sacred, Adam Kirsch’s discussions in The Blessing and the Curse read more like a coda to the sacred scriptures.