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,
When an indigenous Argentine woman falls in love with a golem, her grandmother creates a love potion to win the golem’s (perhaps non-existent?) heart. What could possibly go wrong?
Each month brings scores of new books of Jewish interest. Here are a few we can’t wait to read this December. And who knows, maybe you’ll find the perfect last-minute Hanukkah gift here as well!
That Judah, the great victor of the Hanukkah story, ultimately died fighting the Seleucids is something that surprisingly few Jews know. And were the Maccabees actually underdogs?
Two teenaged sisters wrote surprisingly sophisticated and moving poetry about the Maccabees and a medieval massacre.