In response to Allan Arkush’s summer 2018 cover article on Jews in the American melting pot, an impassioned and unsparing assessment of the future of American Jewry, four leading thinkers weigh in:
- Jack Wertheimer—whose book, The New American Judaism (Princeton, 2018), was the occasion for Arkush’s essay—furnishes the first reply, arguing that Jewish assimilation is not an inexorable process.
- David Biale, a distinguished UC Davis professor of Jewish history, revisits his own provocative 1998 essay, at which Arkush took aim.
- Edieal Pinker, a Yale professor of operations research (and deputy dean in its School of Management) offers a fresh statistical analysis of the 2013 Pew study of the U.S. Jewish community.
- Erica Brown, an award-winning educator and author of 12 books on Bible, Jewish leadership, and more writes: “On the bottom of the pot live Jewish clichés, nostalgia, kitchy-ness, and an uninformed Jewish pride.”
Finally, Allan Arkush responds to his critics.
In 1902 Abraham Harkavy published two previously unknown psalms and parts of two others from a manuscript in the Cairo Geniza. They may date back to the Second Temple.
Yirimiyahu be-Tzion is a solid work of intellectual history, devoted above all to understanding Judah Magnes as he understood himself, sympathetic but honest, and attentive to the weaknesses as well as the strengths of his thinking.
Where did all the Hanukkah stories go?
I didn’t know that there was anyone left in the academic world who held as simplistic view of history as the one that Eric Alterman espouses in his response to my review (“Context and Content,” Winter 2023). The historian’s job, he says, “is not to voice disapproval or approval” of anything. Consequently, he endorses “nothing and no one in this…