Peter Ephross

Schayes’ Rebellion: Dolph Schayes signed with the Syracuse Nationals out of college in the early days of pro basketball.

Why Isn't Dolph Schayes as Famous as Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg?

In his time, Dolph Schayes was the greatest Jewish basketball star. A new biography attempts to bring him into the pantheon with Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg.

Victorious Victorian: Rudolph Kalish, seen here in 1870, played third base for Live Oak, an amateur team in Cincinnati.

Why We're Living in the Golden Age of Jewish Baseball

We’re living through a veritable golden age of Jewish baseball. A new museum exhibit takes a look at those who lay the foundations for Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler.

Hanukkah Monument: Throughout the generations, American Jews have continued to reinvent the holiday.

How Hanukkah Entered American Mainstream

Hanukkah has indisputably taken its place in the mainstream American consciousness. The holiday’s fascinating history finally gets told in Dianne Ashton’s ‘Hanukkah in America.’

Ryan Braun's Jewish Disgrace

It’s the worst of times for Jewish baseball fans now that slugger Ryan ‘Hebrew Hammer’ Braun has tacitly admitted breaking baseball’s rules on performance enhancing drugs.

Rethinking Kafka: A new book turns interpreting Kafka on its head.

On Franz Kafka's Birthday, Looking Through Lens of his Sexuality

If ever there was an author whose works resisted analysis, it’s Franz Kafka. A new book emphasizes the author’s repressed homosexuality and fantasies about boys.

Taking Politics Out of the Trotsky Debate

Leon Trotsky’s legacy has been a source of debate for decades, from his supporters and detractors alike. Joshua Rubenstein’s new book seeks a more balanced approach, if that’s possible.

Another Narrow Escape: Elizabeth Taylor (pictured here in 1982) wrote to Wiesenthal that ?I love you and we all need you.?

Background Check On a Nazi Hunter

When I was contributing to Simon Wiesenthal?s obituary in 2005 for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, I learned something that surprised me: The legendary Nazi-hunter didn?t personally hunt down a lot of Nazis. Sure, Wiesenthal helped capture some Nazis and their collaborators, and sure, he pioneered efforts to bring the issues of Holocaust memory and unprosecuted war criminals to international attention, but he didn?t track down as many war criminals as the world thought he did ? and he wasn?t aggressive about correcting the record.

Available: A page from the Nice Jewish Guys Calendar 2010 features Jordan, a wannabe actor, and his dog. Click to view larger.

Nice Jewish Guys Are Pinups in New Calendar

A producer of the hit reality TV show “The Simple Life,” which stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, is now trying to boost the image of nice Jewish guys — one month at a time.

Juxtaposed and Unequal: Rosa Downing showing a photograph of the home of her landlord, L. J. Epstein, along with the living room wall of her apartment.

Nine Tenths of the Law

The search for the absent father — whether he’s literally or emotionally absent — is a pervasive theme in theater, books and film. Rarely, however, does an author inject this theme into a work of scholarship, as Beryl Satter has in “Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America.” Satter’s approach makes a lot of sense. She began to explore racist real estate practices in Chicago after she read her father’s papers detailing his efforts to defeat these practices in the 1950s and ’60s. This never-resolved creative tension between the personal and the academic animates Satter’s book.

Palestine-Bound? Refugee youth, survivors of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, attend a class in Durley, Hampshire, England in October 1945.

Dreams of the Displaced

In the aftermath of World War II, roughly 250,000 Jews — most of them Holocaust survivors — lived in displaced persons camps in Europe. Many of these people were attracted to Zionism, and about two-thirds of them eventually would move to British Mandate Palestine or to Israel. In his new book, “Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust” (Wayne State University Press), Avinoam J. Patt, who holds the Philip D. Feltman Chair in Modern Jewish History at the University of Hartford, explores the role that Zionism played in the lives of the refugees, particularly among the younger generation. Peter Ephross spoke with Patt recently about Zionism’s appeal to displaced persons, and the controversy stoked by Israeli historians on the topic.