Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, a Hasidic communal leader, and Hillel Zeitlin, a writer who sought to bring Yiddish religious books to a new audience, met on the page, and almost certainly in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The Nazis may have blamed Herschel Grynszpan for Kristallnacht, but he prevented them from using him in a show trial.
Solomon ibn Gabirol plunges into poetry, writes S. Y. Agnon, medabek atzmo be-charuz: glued to his craft, beading words with devotion.
“Arkush, Arkush. What does that mean?” That was the third question one of the greatest Jewish scholars of the 20th century asked me.
My friends and I took for granted that the connection between the cards and the players they represented wasn’t just arbitrary.
Rabbi Moshe Hayim Efrayim of Sudilkov learned Torah with his grandfather the Ba’al Shem Tov, who later visited him in dreams. In the Degel Machaneh Efrayim, he gave the shofar blast a radical Hasidic meaning.
“Nonstatist” Zionists, as the historian David Myers has dubbed them, have received a lot of attention in recent years. Dmitry Shumsky, a historian at the Hebrew University, is grateful for this scholarship but believes that it has not gone far enough.
“Good Shabbos—you’re sitting in my seat” takes on a whole new meaning when it’s your brother- in-law talking. From a Russian Jewish diary, with an introduction by Alice Nakhimovsky and Michael Beizer.
The poet Heinrich Heine imagined the merchant of Venice attending Neilah, the final service of Yom Kippur, but I find him earlier in the day, at Mincha, and we are listening together to the story of another Jew among Gentiles, bitter at being compelled to show mercy.
Hart Crane’s name will forever be linked to Samuel Greenberg’s by a brilliant act of plagiarism, for the story of Greenberg’s posthumous manuscripts is almost as remarkable as the poetry itself.