The 1960s witnessed the beginning of the end of the grand romance between Jews and human rights.
The modern Jewish lobby emerged at the turn of the century to help shape immigration law.
Commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the American Jewish Archives and the 10th anniversary of Gary Zola as the AJA’s current executive director, “New Essays in American Jewish History” is testimony to the variety — and vitality — of scholarship in Jewish Studies.
A new book draws on trial transcripts, memoirs, interviews and recently released KGB documents to portray Harry Gold, the son of Jewish immigrants from Kiev, who was a spy and courier for the Soviet Union.
As Elia Kazan wrote in preparation for a book on his craft, a director should “avoid being a nice guy, a decent guy, a conforming guy.” He should show no shame when accused of being arrogant, and he should say what he thinks, no matter whom it might offend. After all, he’s not about “to guide a children’s summer camp.” More likely, he’s “related to a zoo-keeper.”
Steve Luxenberg’s mother kept her institutionalized sister a secret until she died. In a new book, Luxenberg reveals a poignant tale of Depression-era Jewish immigrants and mental institutions in the 1930s and ’40s.
Convicted in 1894 of selling secrets to Germany, French army captain Alfred Dreyfus, the only Jewish officer trainee on the General Staff, was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment in a fortified enclosure on Devil’s Island, a rocky formation near French Guyana. Six weeks before his exile began, as he cried out that he was innocent and a French patriot, Dreyfus was forced to participate in “the Judas parade,” marching around the courtyard while just outside, a huge mob screamed, “Death to the traitor, the dirty Jew.”
‘The Arabs have attacked us unexpectedly, wanted to destroy our settlement work, have murdered and plundered,” Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1929. Although until now, the Jews “have given everything” to Arab leaders who “want only one thing, to chase us into the Mediterranean,” he added, “we are now pressed from all sides to conclude a pact with them.” Weizmann vowed to accept nothing less than a society in Palestine, “as Jewish as England is English and America is American.”
Born in Chicago in 1918, Isaac Rosenfeld was a wunderkind. he wasn’t even 20 when he collaborated with his buddy Saul Bellow on “*Der Shir Hashirim fun *Mendel Pumshtock,” a brilliant parody of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In 1946, his semiautobiographical novel, “Passage From Home,” was hailed by Diana Trilling as “the fullest articulation of generational conflict between Jewish fathers and sons,” and as a work of “profound universal meanings.” Irving Howe praised “Passage” as “rich and warm” and “bright with intelligence…. The novel is not merely a promise, though it is certainly that; it is a fulfillment.”
‘A bagel has versatility,” Murray Lender, one of America’s great frozen-food entrepreneurs, proclaimed almost 40 years ago. “It’s a roll, a roll with personality. If you must be ethnic you can call it a Jewish English muffin with personality.… We don’t talk of bagels, lox (Nova Scotia salmon) and cream cheese. It limits them. Think of toasted bagels and jam, if you like.”