Letters, Winter 2020
Reimagination?; Romania, Romania; Shylock and Jonah
Exit, Loyalty … Crowdsource?
It is a bit of a surprise to open a big-think policy book on the fate of the Jewish people and read a Jason Bourne scene with a prep-school payoff, but Tal Keinan is entitled to it.
Despite his incontestable Jewishness, Jesus never participated in a Seder as the Mishnah describes it any more than he intended for Judeans to abandon biblical law for the worship of God’s only begotten son.
Tradition and Invention
If Jews were included in early 20th-century discussions of political communities, it was generally concerning their right to preserve their language and culture, along with other minorities, at a time when empires were being dismantled.
Pancho Villa and the Star of David Men
When the Young Men's Christian Association began offering wholesome recreation to soldiers in 1916, Jewish leaders were as as worried about evangelism as they were about bars and bordellos.
Law, Lore, and Theory
In his new book, Chaim Saiman points out that this “exclusive focus on the precise details of religious practice” left the Pharisees, the forebears of rabbinic Judaism, open to Jesus’s critique that they mistook “the legal trees for the spiritual forest.”
Israel’s Sea Change
The first Zionist ship was a refurbished English vessel with 20 years of rough service behind her, including the wartime evacuation of Singapore in 1941.
The question of conversion has plagued Israeli public discourse since at least 1957, when the National Religious Party protested that roughly 10 percent of immigrants from Russia and Poland were not Jewish under strict halakhic standards.
A Life of Dialogue
Martin Buber’s call for a “Jewish renaissance” provided a generation of young Jews estranged from their heritage with a vision of Judaism they could identify with.
Nothing but Blue Skies
Irving Berlin was generating Tin Pan Alley hits before Ronald Reagan was born and was still writing lyrics when the elderly Reagan occupied the White House.
The Fix Was In
The 1951 basketball game that pitted CCNY, which fielded blacks and Jews, against the all-white University of Kentucky seemed less a meeting of schools than a clash of civilizations: old versus new, South versus North, prejudice versus tolerance.
History of Mel Brooks: Both Parts
On-screen, Mel Brooks was hysterically funny. Off-screen, he could quickly shift to morose or mean.
The Warning Song and the Medlars: Two Stories
Glikl bas Leyb, Chava Turniansky
Glikl's account of her life as a wife, mother, and businesswoman was so different from anything known in her 17th-century Jewish world that there wasn't even a word to describe what she was writing. Two stories from Chava Turniansky's definitive new edition.
Remembering Harold Bloom
As Harold Bloom's student, I wanted to be transported to the heights of the literary sublime where he always seemed to reside, whatever the cost (it seemed considerable).
Remembering the Plutocrat and the Diplomat
Most things in Berlin speak to the city’s troubled past, and the newly opened James Simon Galerie is no exception.
Not So Innocent Abroad
Mark Twain's book about his travels to the Holy Land and back is his bestselling book over the course of his lifetime and remains one of the bestselling travel books of all time.
“He Called Me Jim”
In his autobiography, James Atlas explores how and why he spent his professional life living with and overshadowed by complex, overweening literary giants.
Issue No. 53
Issue No. 52
Issue No. 51
Issue No. 50