Arts & Culture


Exploring What Binds –– and Divides –– Jews and Christians

By Bruce Chilton

Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western HistoryBy David KlinghofferDoubleday, 256 pages, $24.95—The Reluctant Parting: How the New Testament’s Jewish Writers Created a Christian BookBy Julie GalambushHarperSanFrancisco, 352 pages, $24.95.—In the past few years, there has been a growing interestRead More


The Roman Era, Revised

By Benjamin Levisohn

In many Jewish imaginations, the Roman period — from the conquest of Judea in 64 BCE to roughly the sixth century C.E. — is remembered as a time of tragedy and catastrophe. The early years of the Common Era witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple and the devastation of the Jewish populace in Israel following the failure of the BarRead More


My Tower of Babel

By Judy Bolton-Fasman

I spent every holiday — American, Jewish and otherwise — with my mother’s Cuban family. At Rosh Hashanah and Passover we crammed into my Aunt Rachel’s five-room flat, which was decorated with ashtrays from various restaurants and hotels to which she had never been.Seated at the holiday table we were in a collapsed TowerRead More


Ladino: Alive in Song, If Not Speech

By Elissa Strauss

For centuries after their expulsion in 1492, Sephardic Jews kept their new homes sounding like medieval Spain. In places as disparate as Amsterdam, Turkey and Greece, the Sephardim continued to live and pray in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language, up until the 20th century. Today there are not many opportunities to hear the language spoken, butRead More


Food Fight

By David Kaufmann

The Great Latke-Hamantash DebateEdited by Ruth Fredman CerneaUniversity of Chicago Press, 184 pages, $18—As if we didn’t have enough on our plates, here’s something new to argue about. Not that Jews don’t have a fine history of conflict: Hillel vs. Shammai, Bundists vs. Zionists, Labor vs. Likud. But now, to have toRead More


A Novel Set on –– but Not Quite About –– September 11

By Shana Rosenblatt Mauer

The Days of AweBy Hugh NissensonSourcebooks, 320 pages, $18.—Hugh Nissenson is not the kind of writer who publishes a book a year. He doesn’t even publish one per decade. But when Nissenson does commit ink to page, he always engages the big issues. He’s ever ready to examine different pockets of American life, challenge God, critiqueRead More


NOVEL JEWS: Henry Roth Tribute

This month, the Novel Jews monthly reading series will host a special tribute to Henry Roth.

Henry Roth (1906-1995), author of the great immigrant novel “Call It Sleep,” was one of the giants of American literature. After completing his first book in 1934, Roth lapsed into a legendary six-decade silence. He re-emerged with “Mercy of aRead More


Retracing a Living Legend’s First Steps

By Mark Oppenheimer

Philip Roth: Novels and Stories, 1959-1962

Library of America, 913 pages, $35.

Philip Roth: Novels, 1967-1972

Library of America, 672 pages, $35. * * *One interesting way to pass the time is to spend an hour rereading old reviews of Philip Roth’s books. You read them and quickly discover that for as long as Roth hasRead More


Seeing Red

By Gal Beckerman

My China Eye: Memoirs of a Jew and a Journalist By Israel Epstein Long River Press, 360 pages, $24.95. * * *When the Chinese Communist Revolution finally came to eat one of its most devoted and passionate children, Israel Epstein, on a spring night in Beijing in 1968, the transplanted Russian Jew and prolificRead More


Anatomy of a Jewish Literary Prize

By Steven J. Zipperstein

Nearly every year, on that day in April when the Koret Jewish Book Awards were to take place at the wood-paneled, hushed environs of New York’s Harvard Club, I’d awake and ask myself, testily, why I had insisted we return to that same stuffy midtown pile. The location was convenient for publishers, book editors and most journalists, and itRead More


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