In December 2014, at the annual Association for Jewish Studies conference, Abraham Socher sat down for a public conversation with Leon Wieseltier. It was, as it happens, just after the much-discussed New Republic debacle, and Wieseltier, who had served as TNR’s literary editor for the last 31 years, was characteristically witty and reflective. They talked about his teacher the great historian Yosef Yerushalmi, David Ben-Gurion’s grammatical precision, the cultural responsibilities of intellectuals, and much else. Please enjoy the video, below.
Toward the end of his life, the talmudist Saul Lieberman published his only Yiddish essay, an appreciation for his friend, the novelist Chaim Grade, the great witness to a lost world. Translated and with an introduction by Allan Nadler.
For Israeli artist Yoram Kaniuk, the bohemian world of Billie Holiday, Marlon Brando, and James Agee had a lot to offer, but not enough.
Unlike the Jews of Venice, whose charter was anxiously renegotiated every decade or so, American Jews participated in civic life, confidently building themselves a future.
“I thought you knew that I belonged to the Truth Party too,” Bette Howland wrote her fellow novelist, mentor, and sometime lover, Saul Bellow. Her son recently found a new cache of letters between them that illuminates two brilliant artists at work.