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Allan Arkush

Allan Arkush is the senior contributing editor of the Jewish Review of Books and professor of Judaic studies and history at Binghamton University.

High Threshold

Allan Arkush

Visitors to the Hazon Ish's house would sometimes enter through the window; the venerable sage occasionally left home the same way. “A window,” the Hazon Ish reassuringly explained, “is in fact just a door with a high threshold.”

Seventy Years in the Desert

Seventy Years in the Desert

Allan Arkush

At the 1965 International Bible Contest, David Ben-Gurion posed some of the questions. He also asked two to the entire audience: “How many of you are ready to make aliyah to the Land of Israel?” And then, more specifically, “How many of you are ready to come and live with me in the Negev?”

Books on the Cheap

Books on the Cheap

Allan Arkush

After the bookseller had read something from a random page, he suddenly exclaimed, almost in panic and in as broad a Texan accent as I had ever heard, “Wait a minute. I know what this is. I’m not going to sell this! Get this out of my store. Take it. Get this out of my store!”

The Home Front

The Home Front

Allan Arkush

Eating very long breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with dozens of aging members of the Greatest Generation was the best part of Arkush's teaching experience.

In Memory of Judah Maccabee

In Memory of Judah Maccabee

Allan Arkush

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?

“The Cruiser” and the Jews

“The Cruiser” and the Jews

Allan Arkush

O’Brien himself didn’t consider his history of Zionism to be anything more than a bit of haute vulgarization, but it is much more than that. It is one of those uncommon works of political history in which a man who knows how the world works tells a great story with dazzling literary skill.

Zionisms, Old and New

Zionisms, Old and New

Allan Arkush

Arthur Hertzberg's classic anthology The Zionist Idea has received a 21st century makeover. But is the new version really an improvement over the old one?  And what does Yossi Klein Halevi have to say in 2018 that hasn't been said before?  

The Other Bernstein

Allan Arkush

Late August 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth and the first Yahrzeit of his brother, Burton, who wrote an incredible family memoir.

Out of the Ghetto

Allan Arkush

Are they for the Jewish state or against? A new book from Israel distills recent scholarship on the haredim.

A Tale of Two Stories 

Allan Arkush

In their respective new books, Schama and Feiner attempt not to relate the whole history of the Jews during the period covered by their volumes but to tell their story—indeed, to a large extent, to let them tell their story in their own words, culled from their letters, diaries, and autobiographical works.

East Meets West

East Meets West

Allan Arkush

Following the Six-Day War, the East German government and the West German far left demonized Israel time and again, often vilely equating it with the worst thing in their own nation’s history: Nazism.

Promised Land or Homeland?

Allan Arkush

The university presses of Cambridge and Oxford have released two new works of Jewish political theory that blend theoretical defenses of Zionism with robust critique of what Chaim Gans calls the “Zionist mainstream.”

Oh, the Humanity!

Allan Arkush

Would the demise or even disappearance of human beings be, on the whole, a good thing. Yuval Noah Harari seems to think so, or is at least willing to entertain the thought.

Lands of the Free

Allan Arkush

It is sad to watch the territorialists engage in their wild goose chases all over the globe at a time when multitudes of Jews were in need of a place, any place, to go.

Zionism’s Forgotten Father

Allan Arkush

Nathan Birnbaum, one of Zionism's early leaders, looked like Herzl and wrote like Herzl (albeit not as successfully). But his unusual trajectory has reduced the space that might have been assigned to him in the history of Zionism.

The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

Allan Arkush

Alvin H. Rosenfeld in 2013: “How aggressive this new antisemitism is likely to get and, ultimately, how destructive it will be if it proceeds unchecked are open questions.”

War & Peace & Judaism

Allan Arkush

  Robert Eisen was walking to campus on 9/11 when he saw a dark cloud above the Pentagon. Alick Isaacs fought for the IDF in Lebanon. Their experiences prompted them to rethink peace and Judaism.

State and Counterstate

Allan Arkush

Debates about Zion and its relation to the diaspora aren't new. David Myers and Noam Pianko have retrieved the forgotten ideas of several interesting figures, foremost among them Simon Rawidowicz. Do they speak to us now?

Old-New Debate

Allan Arkush

Theodor Herzl is indisputably Israel’s principal Founding Father. He was not the first person in modern times to call for the creation of a Jewish state, but he summoned into existence the movement that made it possible and marked out the path that it was to pursue. When he first published The Jewish State in 1896, the proto-Zionist groups…