TABLE OF CONTENTS
Upon Such Sacrifices: King Lear and the Binding of Isaac
How Shakespeare helps us think about the akedah, and vice versa.
Before the Big Bang
Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss is quite sure he knows how the universe began. Novelist Alan Lightman takes a wild narrative guess. But where does the Kabbalah stand?
Joseph Roth: Grieving for a Lost Empire
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.
Cynthia Ozick: Or, Immortality
Ozick is as marvelously demanding, harrumphing, and uncompromising as she has always been.
Bellow’s not so innocent knock in The Adventures of Augie March is generally taken as the moment when Jews barged into American literature without apology.
It is in his stories, rather than his novels, that Malamud emerged as a unique writer. A new series brings new exposure to both.
James Salter has been justly celebrated as a composer of gorgeous prose, and his new late-life novel All That Is confirms his reputation as a writer’s writer. How much of his artistic vision is predicated on being James Salter rather than James Horowitz?
Brave New Golems
As monsters go, golems are pretty boring. Mute, crudely fashioned household servants and protectors, in essence they’re not much different from the brooms in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” story.
Coming with a Lampoon
Jacobson is a world master of the art of disturbing comedy and each new work of his advances the genre—his latest one by a giant step.
Who Owns Margot?
What if Anne Frank’s sister had survived Bergen-Belsen? Interesting, but . . .
Appelfeld in Bloom
Israeli author Aharon Applefeld sifts through memories to understand the traumas of his past.
The Rebbe and the Yak
What do you do when your ancestor appears to you in a dream saying that he is trapped inside the body of a Tibetan yak? If you’re the Ustiler Rebbe in Haim Be’er’s new novel, you go to Tibet to find him, of course.
None of these four novels by American Jewish writers is fully at home in Israel—they’re more like Mars orbiters than rovers.
In Israel even well-to-do families can be seen scooping bath water out of the tub to water backyard plants and hygiene classes teach students to use the least amount of water when showering and brushing their teeth. Israel's way with water may be the way out chronic water shortages.
So why don’t Jews write more fantasy literature? And a different, deeper but related question: why are there no works of modern fantasy that are profoundly Jewish in the way that, say, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is Christian?
John Judis book about Truman's Middle East policy isn't a rant, but it's not exactly history either.
Welcome to the first issue of the Jewish Review of Books.