Two new books, different in tone but matched in caliber, show Israelis making their way as best they can in America and in life.
Adam Kirsch’s judicious selection of Lionel Trilling’s letters throws instructive light on both Trilling’s life and American intellectual culture from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Yoram Hazony's The Virtue of Nationalism is a brilliant achievement, at once learned and sharp, philosophical and politically engaged. It is also sure to be controversial.
Like the medieval literature to which it pays homage, The Inquisitor’s Tale weaves in supernatural events and divine interventions, mythic beasts and wild peoples, and even entrées into medieval theology, all liberally peppered with puns and potty humor.
Daniel Matt’s massive new English edition of the Zohar is not only a great translation, it is also one of the great commentaries on the classic work of Jewish mysticism. Insofar as it is possible, Matt has brought the unfathomable, mysterious, and poetic depths of this “book of radiance” to the English reader.
After the war, the great Jewish historian Salo Baron wrote to Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, for help with his work on the Commission on European Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. As Hannah Arendt suggested in a side note to Baron, the commission probably wasn't “kosher” enough for Schneersohn, but their exchange illuminates a dark historical moment.
While a new crop of biographies about Gershom Scholem all, in one way or another, seek to account for the great man's fascination, they are themselves evidence of Scholem’s ongoing allure.
Only 3 percent of American Jews are Modern Orthodox, but that number belies the movement's diversity.
What happens when our writers and thinkers express themselves through Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter instead of on the page?
Everything contains sparks of the divine, the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples taught; therefore, everything—even material things—can be sanctified.