The past can be exhilarating, and it can be quicksand. So discovers Menachem Kaiser in Plunder, his expansive, complicated, generous memoir.
"These heroic girls . . . they are a theme that calls for the pen of a great writer. How many times have they looked death in the eyes? . . . The story of the Jewish woman will be a glorious page in the history of Jewry during the present war. . . . For these girls are indefatigable."
It is traditional to read the book of Ruth on Shavuot. Leon Kass has been reading it with his granddaughter, and the result is a new book.
How did a young Sephardi polyglot from Constantinople transform himself into such an exemplary Mexican that newspapers hailed him as “‘more Mexican than a nopal,’” the prickly pear featured on the country’s flag?
The first movie I ever saw, not counting Dumbo, was Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer, a landmark black-and-white film about Israel’s War of Independence . . .
The earliest literary commemoration of Zionism’s fallen heroes was a book entitled Yizkor, published in Palestine in 1911 by members of Poalei Zion (Workers of Zion).
Every spring for the last ten years, a fog has crept over Haim Watzman's life. It begins to dissipate on Yom Hazikaron, Israel's memorial day.
In 1841, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch leapt into a raging debate between liberal and orthodox Protestants, declaring, “It is high time for the non-Jewish thinker to set aside convenient pre-judgements and to begin to construct Christendom without having to destroy Judaism.”
In Season 3 of the hit Netflix show, the Shtisels reckon with an endless procession of trials and tribulations, from the perils of courtship to the strains of fraying marriages.
Stuart Halpern’s anthology Esther in America tells the story of the surprising uses to which the story of Purim has been put in American history by every-one from crypto-Jews and Cotton Mather to Sojourner Truth and the organizers of the Queen Esther Beauty Contest.