Arts & Culture


Blood or Politics?: Parsing Nazi Intentions

By Noah Strote

The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust By Jeffrey Herf Belknap Press, 416 pages, $29.95. * * *The question that every student of the Holocaust wants answered — the deceivingly simple “Why?” — is at once the most elementary and most maddening one to ask. Astonishingly, even with the help of 60 yearsRead More


The Man Who Brought the Melting Pot to the Stage

By Ethan Kanfer

From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill’s Jewish Plays By Israel Zangwill Edited by Edna Nahshon Wayne State University Press 363 pages, $34.95. * * *Long before “diversity” became a cultural buzzword, playwright and novelist Israel Zangwill coined a phrase that would become an indelible part of America’s language ofRead More


‘Adele’ Gets Her Close-up

By Hindi Diamond

Maria Altmann has had some year. On January 15 — one month before her 90th birthday — a Viennese court ordered the Republic of Austria to give up all claims to five Gustav Klimt paintings and return them to their rightful owner, Altmann and her family, who are based in Los Angeles. Then, Altmann — whose aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, was theRead More


Somewhere in Africa

By Jacob Suskewicz

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo By Peter Orner Little, Brown, 320 pages, $23.95. * * *Larry Kaplanski’s name says it all, bringing to mind used car dealers or traveling salesmen wearing old striped shirts and older blazers, balding, doggedly fumbling for the keys to their Buick LeSabre as they move on to the next Midwestern town inRead More


Sacred Massacre

By Lore Segal

The first commandment, which says God is the only God, that He is the God of the Children of Israel whom He brought out of Egypt; that we must worship no other gods and obey His laws, precedes, in order and import, the law to which intuition gives pride of place, the commandment not to kill.God, like the state, can command us to kill. “WhoeverRead More


Found in Translation

By Daniel Septimus

Nestled between Arab East Jerusalem, the ultra-Orthodox mecca of Meah Shearim, and the cafés and pubs of Zion Square is the neighborhood of Musrara. Fittingly, this crossroads is home to Ibis Editions, a small book press specializing in literature of the Levant, works that blur the boundaries between time, place and language.Ibis is theRead More


Rediscovering Isaac Rosenfeld

By Benjamin Balint

This week’s 50th yahrzeit of Isaac Rosenfeld, a brilliant and unjustly forgotten writer who belonged to a brilliant moment in American Jewish writing, offers a good occasion to measure the distance between that moment and our own.Rosenfeld’s story is a strange amalgam of success and failure. Born in Chicago, Rosenfeld was a prodigy, at leastRead More


Filling in the Holes

By Adeena Sussman

Bagel boys, get ready for your close-up.Writer Matthew Goodman and veteran film director Joan Micklin Silver have begun collaborating on a documentary about the little-known history of the Local 338, the International Bagel Bakers Union of New York. The union, which was founded in 1907 and was one of the city’s most powerful in its heyday,Read More


Which Jewish State?

By Tony Michels

If the second intifada has achieved little else, it has reawakened furious disputes over questions seemingly settled long ago. Are Jews a nation? Are they entitled to political self-determination? Does the State of Israel have a right to exist? In recent years, a growing number of leftwing scholars, writers and activists have answered those questions with a resounding “no.” Israel, they declare, is an anachronism, a tragic mistake, even a horrible crime. Justice, they say, demands the eradication of Zionism so that Palestinian nationalism can be fulfilled. As the goal of Palestinian statehood remains elusive, more and more leftists call for an end to Jewish statehood. Those who disagree and suggest that maybe both Jews and Palestinians deserve statehood increasingly find themselves on the defensive.Read More


Turning Down the Light

By David Gedzelman

When Moses is clearly told that he will not enter the Promised Land because of a momentary failure in his ministry of national leadership and service, we might wonder whether Moses is, in the end, a tragic figure. After all, he has labored to bring the people of Israel to the land in which the teachings he has prophesied will become manifest andRead More





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  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
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  • "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?
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