Of Presidents, Rabbis, and Pews

Of Presidents, Rabbis, and Pews

Allan Arkush

Isaac Mayer Wise was the first Rabbi to meet with an American President. The conversation made Wise a celebrity, it also led to him getting punched in his synagogue, losing his job, and changing the way Reform Jews prayed.

Lechaim!

Lechaim!

Allan Arkush

Back in the 1960s, the Rheingold Corporation ran a bunch of TV commercials—mostly during baseball games, if I remember correctly—vaunting the popularity of its beer among all sorts of minority…

He Shall Not Press His Fellow

He Shall Not Press His Fellow

Baruch Sterman

Once every seven years, the Torah says, the economic playing field should be leveled, and those trapped in debt should be freed. Even the rabbinic workaround reminds us of the ideal–as I was reminded after my startup foundered in the 2008 financial crisis.

From the Shtiebel to the Hora

From the Shtiebel to the Hora

Allan Arkush

More than two hundred songs of the pioneers of the Third Aliyah began their lives as Hasidic tunes. But historian David Assaf’s wonderful new book reaches far beyond the Hasidic world in tracing the origins of the heart of the secular Zionist musical repertoire.