Going into the fall holiday season, we make lists both material—seats, apples, honey, sukkah—and spiritual—forgiveness asked for and given, resolutions for improvement and growth, an accounting of where we have been and where we hope to go.
Here at the Jewish Review of Books, we think about where we have been by paging through the stack of the 34 quarterly issues we’ve published to date, along with our growing archive of Web-only articles. We’ve selected 10 favorites that follow the arc of the fall holidays, from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to Sukkot and Simchat Torah, and created an ebook from them.
We begin with “Notice Posted on the Door of the Kelm Talmud Torah Before the High Holidays,” by the great 19th-century moralist Simcha Zissel Ziv, and end with Ilana Kurshan’s thoughtful review of Shai Held’s recent Torah commentary. In between you’ll find Noah Millman’s eye-opening explanation of what Shakespeare’s King Lear can teach us about the love between Abraham and Isaac, architect Shari Saiman’s essay on a collection of unique structures that reimagine what the festival of booths could look like, Allan Nadler’s ruminations on the surprising links between Leonard Cohen and the reemergence of Old World cantorial art, and half a dozen other pieces by leading scholars and thinkers.
Rereading these articles has helped us get ready for the holidays, and we hope that you will enjoy (and reenjoy) them too.
Best wishes for a sweet new year,
While many Jews embraced the Russian revolutionary cause from the very beginning—four of the seven members of the first Bolshevik Politburo were Jews—the revolution did not embrace them for long.
The trouble between Wise and Silver came to a head at the end of 1944, when Silver, over the Roosevelt administration’s objections, pressed for a congressional resolution endorsing Zionist aims—while Wise was quietly assuring the White House that he would do nothing for the resolution against the president’s wishes.
Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinian Nobel Prize-winning writer was captivated by Judaism. In 1934, he lamented, "hope is dimming that I will ever be able to discover my link to the Table of the Breads and the Sea of Bronze; to Heine, Gleizer, and the ten Sephiroth; to Ecclesiastes and Chaplin."
Although The Wedding Plan will inevitably be marketed and discussed as a wacky romantic comedy, there is no real male lead.