Yoel Matveev


The Tragic Lives and Loves of Joyce's Russian Translators

By Yoel Matveev

The Tragic Lives and Loves of Joyce's Russian Translators
June 16 is Bloomsday, the day when Leopold Bloom, the Jewish-descended protagonist of James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses,” took his quasi-Homeric one-day odyssey through Dublin. It’s the day when Dubliners and Joyce’s fans throughout the world celebrate the legacy of the great Irish novelist, whose protagonist transcends all cultural and temporal borders while remaining both Irish and Jewish.Read More


The Rebbe of Sinn Féin

By Yoel Matveev

The Rebbe of Sinn Féin
Last December, 300 Israeli rabbis, many of them employees of the state, signed a declaration forbidding Jews to sell or rent property to non-Jews. For some of them, the move was inspired by the philosophy of Isaac Halevi Herzog (1888–1959), one of the main modern proponents of a “halachic state” run according to the tenets of Jewish law. Herzog was the first chief rabbi of the State of Israel, as well as the father of the sixth Israeli president, Chaim Herzog, and the grandfather of the current Labor Knesset member, Isaac Herzog. But during his lifetime he was also known by a different title, albeit a less formal one: the Sinn Féin Rebbe, in honor of the Irish nationalist movement he supported.Read More


Anarchic Revolution and Traditional Judaism

By Yoel Matveev

Anarchic Revolution and Traditional Judaism
A new translation of Gustav Landauer’s “Revolution and Other Writings: A Political Reader” by Gabriel Kuhn brings his highly influential texts to an English-speaking audience. Landauer is known not only as a revolutionary, but also as a prominent mystical philosopher, a literary critic and a translator. The Forvert’s Yoel Matveev spoke to Kuhn about Landauer, his legacy and his appeal.Read More


Cobbling Together Spirituality and Anarchism

By Yoel Matveev

A longer version of this post appeared in Yiddish here. 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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