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,
Always in flight, one of the world’s permanent transients, Joseph Roth (1894–1939) was a one-man diaspora. A drunk and a fantasist, he was also a marvelous writer whose work was bedizened with metaphor, laced with simile.
S. Y. Agnon curated a stunning anthology of Jewish texts, published later in English as Days of Awe. In his introduction to the anthology, the eminent scholar Judah Goldin grappled with the idea of awe—and so does this author.
When the editors at Jewish Life asked the venerable civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois to speak about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, they had no idea that it would lead to a priestly blessing.
Leora Batnitzky's new book charts the development of modern Jewish thought.