When the philosopher Theodor Adorno met Gershom Scholem, he thought that he “gave the impression of a Bedouin prince.” Their lifetime of letters orbits their shared love of their brilliant, doomed friend Walter Benjamin.
Osip Mandelstam thought being a writer in the Soviet Union was “incompatible with the honorable title of Jew.” Stalin didn’t like Jewish writers in general and disliked the poem about his “cockroach mustache” in particular.
At the age when most of us are just about to fold our tents, Henrietta Szold, pitched hers—and in the Holy Land, no less.
What did a seditious Sicilian duchess and the heretical son of a chief rabbi have to do with the beginnings of French antisemitism?
Journalist Mark Oppenheimer visited Pittsburgh thirty-two times and conducted 250 interviews to get the story of the Tree of Life massacre right. “Years from now,” Jonathan Sarna writes, “when people want to know what happened … this is the book to which they will probably turn.”
What’s a nice Jewish boy doing making bronze statues of tsars? And does it count as Jewish culture? Ahad Ha’am wanted to know and the Posen Foundation’s ambitious new survey raises the question afresh.
Leah Sarna imagines Jewish and Gentile women doing their laundry on the banks of the Tigris, sharing tricks for keeping their headscarves tied and their bedrooms pure. She reviews Shai Secunda’s new book on just how Babylonian the Babylonian Talmud was.
When WW II seemed all but lost, Britain knew that it had to take impossible risks, including turning Jewish refugees into crack commandos.
Maimonides’s only son, Abraham, fought to protect his father’s rationalist legacy. Now a direct descendant has republished his works, and a new Maimonidean controversy is percolating in “yeshivish” circles.
Alexander Hamilton was, as the song goes, a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman.” Was he also a Jew? Well, he did go to Hebrew School in the West Indies, but ...