Letters, Fall 2023

A Question of Authority It’s inaccurate and fundamentally unfair to take the words of a character in a novel and attribute them to the author. Sadly, this is what Nadia…


After the Fall

Who would have believed things could fall apart so quickly in Israel? And yet, Halkin writes, “I am in a way more hopeful than I was last December.”


Fruit of the Fall

The forbidden fruit has been said to be anything from a fig to a banana, so how did the world settle on an apple?

Mysterious Mishnah

According to a midrash, God will tell the contending nations: “He who possesses my mystery—he is my son.” And when they ask “What is your mystery?” God will reply, “It is the Mishnah.” How do you translate a mystery?


When Ruth Blau met with Khomeini to secure the safety of Iranian Jews, it was only the latest extraordinary meeting for the fifty-seven year old Resistance spy turned convert turned kidnapper turned anti-Zionist turned Israeli agent.

Ruthless Cosmopolitans

Susan Sontag kept saying hello to George Steiner, louder and louder, as he stared out the bus window refusing to answer. More or less standard behavior for both of them . . .

Blessing and Rebuke

Orphaned and imprisoned by the Nazis, while never ceasing as a poet, Paul Celan knew what it was to sing “above, O above / the thorn.”


The Integralists and Us

A Jewish colleague once asked Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule, “In a fully Catholic polity, the sort you would like to bring about, what would happen to me, a Jew”? “Nothing bad,” Vermeule replied. OK, let’s see.

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