The Tikkun in Sutzkever’s Work
Elie Wiesel explores the soul and purpose of Holocaust poetry.
The Golem of Montreal
The famous golem of Prague was invented by a forger, faith healer, amulet salesman–and the most enterprising kosher chicken slaughterhouse supervisor of Montreal.
How did a large number of religious Zionists come to believe a historical fantasy about the Vilna Gaon’s secret 18th-century Zionist plan?
Spinoza in Warsaw: Fragments of a Dream
“Having rested in his grave for 250 years, Baruch Spinoza came to the conclusion that just lying around like that was without telos” and decided to try to make it in Warsaw. A Yiddish satire, translated and with an introduction by Allan Nadler.
Three decades ago, Allan Nadler went to Vilna to reclaim books that the Nazis had plundered from YIVO, or so he thought. Dan Rabinowitz’s Lost Library solves the mystery—and raises important questions.
Poisoned Gefilte Fish, Broken Heart
In a characteristic turn of phrase, Der Nister wrote that the realization of the possibility of a land for Jews, where they lived under their own sovereignty would be a “brokhe af doyres” (blessing for future generations). The bitter irony is almost unbearable.
Maimonides in Ma’ale Adumim
Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch has been working on his commentary to the Mishneh Torah for the last 41 years. It may be the greatest rabbinic work of the century.
Chaim Grade: A Testimony
Toward the end of his life, the talmudist Saul Lieberman published his only Yiddish essay, an appreciation for his friend, the novelist Chaim Grade, the great witness to a lost world. Translated and with an introduction by Allan Nadler.
Darkness and Light: Leonard Cohen and the New Cantors—A Playlist for the High Holidays
Old World Ashkenazi cantorial art—khazones—is making a comeback, with a surprising little boost from Leonard Cohen's new single (yes, that Leonard Cohen).
ArtScroll is not alone on Marc B. Shapiro’s hit list of haredi publishers and publications guilty of censorship and deliberate distortions.
Poland’s Jewish Problem: Vodka?
Jewish-run taverns—rowdy, often very seedy drink-holes—served to cement, rather than sour, the impossibly tense and intertwined lives of Poles and Jews, as a new book by Glenn Dynner shows.
A new intellectual biography explores the thought and legacy of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.
What Jesus Wasn’t: Zealot
When Fox News' Lauren Green asked Reza Aslan why, as a Muslim, he would write a book about Jesus, he answered that it was his job as an historian of religions—which would have been a good answer, if it had been true.
Kabbalah in 18th-Century Prague: A Response and Rejoinder
Sharron Flatto and Allan Nadler exchange views the Prague golem, Kabbalah, and Ezeliel Landau.
The Great Non-Miracle Rabbi of Prague
A new biography of Ezekiel Landau (the Noda Biyehudah) makes a controversial claim about his views on Kabbalah.