Joanne Jacobson


Nancy Miller Hunts for Roots on Three Continents

By Joanne Jacobson

Nancy Miller Hunts for Roots on Three Continents
Nancy Miller’s new book is like a family detective story. She finds her roots by tracking down a set of clues far in the past, from Russia to Israel to Arizona.Read More


Jew vs. Jew in Levittown

By Joanne Jacobson

Jew vs. Jew in Levittown
Virtually since its founding on New York’s Long Island in 1948, “Levittown” has been a byword for conformity: houses, people, aspirations; a kind of origin narrative of suburban homogeneity. But David Kushner, in “Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb,” tells a darker story that shadows that narrative — a story of difference, coming to an explosive climax of racial violence over the summer and fall of 1957 in the second of William Levitt’s meticulously planned communities. Levitt’s career-long commitment to a whites-only policy is both an ugly story and a revealing one, for it dramatically wounded the post-World War II suburban promise of a fresh start and of safety and community, and it highlighted, early on, the fragility of that promise and the complexity of Jews’ relationship to it.Read More






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    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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