Letters

Letters, Summer 2015

Otherwise than J, Internalized Guilt, Were Arendt and Herzl Wrong About France?, La Juive, Top Dog

Features

Israel’s Northern Border and the Chaos in Syria: A Symposium

In the four-plus years since the Arab Spring, regimes have fallen, alliances have shifted and re-shifted, and new (and terrifying) actors have appeared on the scene. The diplomatic and strategic assumptions of several decades seem to have been upended. Nowhere is this more dramatically apparent than across Israel’s northern border. What, if anything, should Israel do about the Syrian crisis?

Reviews

Playing the Fool

Of the many varieties of anti-Semitism, or anti-Judaism, that have plagued the Jews over the centuries, two recurrent general patterns can be identified by the holidays that celebrate triumphs over them: Purim and Hanukkah.

Paradox or Pluralism?

Walzer’s paradox of liberation, if that is what it is, is that religion is back, or that despite the extraordinary success of secularizing revolutionaries it never quite went away.

Fanny and Hilde

If Court Jews provided economic services, the salon women provided cultural ones that were rarely available to rulers and other nobles in the stuffy environs of aristocratic society.

Everything Is PR

Peter Pomerantsev’s narrative of “the surreal heart of the new Russia” features pink heels, private helicopters, and fantastical Midsummer Night’s Dream parties with trapeze artists and synchronized swimmers dressed as mermaids.

Desk Pounding and Jewish Leadership

The trouble between Wise and Silver came to a head at the end of 1944, when Silver, over the Roosevelt administration’s objections, pressed for a congressional resolution endorsing Zionist aims—while Wise was quietly assuring the White House that he would do nothing for the resolution against the president’s wishes.

Readings

The Arts

The Great Gaon of Italian Art

Berenson’s teacher Charles Eliot Norton dismissively dubbed Berenson's method the “ear and toenail school,” but Berenson employed the technique in his first book to great effect.

Exchange

Last Word

How the Baby Got Its Philtrum

The idea of learning as a recovery of what we once possessed is what makes Bogart’s bubbe mayse, and ours, so memorable: We can all touch that little hollow and feel the impress of forgotten knowledge.

Past Issues