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5 Important Essays on Elie Wiesel’s Legacy

Last week the world lost Elie Wiesel, a powerful voice of the Holocaust experience and a man honored by many as one of the world’s moral authorities. At the same time, towards the end of his life Wiesel drew criticism for his refusal to condemn Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

The meaning of his legacy has been debated vigorously this past week by those who knew him, those who learned from him, and those who read his books.

Here are five of the best essays from around the internet on the legacy of Elie Wiesel.

1. “For Wiesel, loving Jerusalem superseded loving in Jerusalem.”

Bernard Avishai tries to reconcile the Elie Wiesel he hoped for with the Elie Wiesel he knew in The New Yorker.

2. “Wiesel had the ability to write his experience in a way that did not turn me into a voyeur and somehow made the incomprehensible accessible.”

Jewish writers speak on Wiesel’s literary legacy, and his impact on their work in Haaretz.

3. “But if Wiesel could not teach God, he could do the next best thing. He could teach Oprah.”

Martin Kavka on Elie Wiesel’s theological activism — and endless patience with Oprah — in Religion Dispatches.

4. “Wiesel seemed to view these other victimized groups as competitors in an oppression Olympics, fretting that widespread recognition of the atrocities they suffered would sap his own moral power.”

Max Blumenthal expresses his outrage and disappointment in Wiesel’s unwillingness to empathize with Palestinians at Alternet.

5. “I also accuse the Jewish world and its leaders for not warning us, at least about the danger awaiting us in ambush so that we’d seek rescue routes.”

A radically different, unpublished version of Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” discovered by Ofer Aderet of Haaretz.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman

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