Joel Streicker


A Sensitive Finger On the Pulse of Politics

By Joel Streicker

In the wake of the Israeli elections and their policy ramifications, reading this essay collection, which is composed mostly of material written in the past couple of years, occasioned a certain vertigo: Little progress on peace with the Palestinians has been made since the last collection of Grossman’s political essays, “Oslo: Ten Years After,” appeared five years ago. Now, 15 years after Oslo and two and a half years after the death of Grossman’s son in the disastrous Second Lebanon War, Grossman’s voice calling for peace sounds even more desperate, the reality even further from the dream. Which makes this book either delusional or indispensable, depending on your political point of view.Read More


Not Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos

By Joel Streicker

Not Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos
Beginning in the 1960s, Bruce Jay Friedman’s literary star burned hot and bright — acclaimed novels, plays, short stories, screenplays — only to dim after his screenplay for “Splash” was nominated for an Oscar 25 years ago. Although “Even the Rhinos were Nymphos,” a collection of his best non-fiction, was published by the University of Chicago in 2000, “Three Balconies” is the first short-story collection he has published in 20 years, and it focuses overwhelmingly — obsessively, one might say — on aging male writers’ waning creative powers and their pursuit of sex, and the relationship between the two. It is no stretch to imagine that the stories are autobiographical, and that Friedman has made a virtue out of necessity. While the collection shows glimmers of wit and insight, for the most part it suggests a writer who is indeed past his prime.Read More


No More Shoah, Let’s Build A New Israel

By Joel Streicker

No More Shoah, Let’s Build A New Israel
Avraham Burg’s new book, “The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” is maddening: It is by turns incisive and hard-hitting, but also bombastic, vague and repetitious. It is also extremely important.Read More


Man in Search Of Language

By Joel Streicker

Man in Search Of Language
Readers expecting a grand symphony on how Hebrew was revived as a living language beginning in the late 19th century will be disappointed by Ilan Stavans’s “Resurrecting Hebrew.” The book deals more with Stavans’s own re-encounter with the language and its meaning for his life than with the creation of modern Hebrew in the late 19th century.Read More


Family: A Self-Portrait

By Joel Streicker

Family: A Self-Portrait
There is something unsatisfying about Rafael Goldchain’s faux family photo album, “I Am My Family” — and it is this very quality that accounts for its considerable fascination and power. A photographer who has long explored questions of personal identity, Goldchain meticulously researched his family history and created a photo gallery of family members who have one thing in common: They are all portraits of Goldchain, elaborately made up to capture these relatives’ likenesses.Read More






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  • 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
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
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