Ten Favorites from Five Years
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Conservative Judaism: A Requiem
In 1971, 41 percent of American Jews were part of the Conservative movement. Today it’s 18 percent and falling fast. What happened? Maybe its leaders never knew what Conservative Judaism was really about.
Economist Bryan Caplan thinks parents “overcharge” themselves when it comes to investing in their children. Glückel of Hameln knew better.
Lincoln and the Jews
Lincoln encountered a surprising number of Jews in his life. Throughout, he seems to have treated them with the benevolence and absence of prejudice one would expect from the Great Emancipator.
A Stone for His Slingshot
In 1948 screenwriter Ben Hecht lectured “a thousand bookies, ex-prize fighters, gamblers, jockeys, touts,” and gangsters on the burdens and responsibilities of Jewish history. The night at Slapsy Maxie’s was a big success, but the speech was lost, until now.
With Words We Govern Men
In November 1975, US Ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan launched an empassioned battle against the “Zionism is Racism” resolution. A new book on the subject spurs memories of working with him at that historic moment.
Neither Friend Nor Enemy: Israel in the EU
After five years at the European Parliament, the author reflects on Israel’s place in the discourse of the EU’s chattering (and legislating) class.
The Poet from Vilna
Avrom Sutzkever and Max Weinreich, a memoir.
The Rebbe and the Yak
What do you do when your ancestor appears to you in a dream saying that he is trapped inside the body of a Tibetan yak? If you’re the Ustiler Rebbe in Haim Be’er’s new novel, you go to Tibet to find him, of course.
A Tale of Two Synagogues
Frank Lloyd Wright built a dazzling temple outside Philadelphia. Too bad he didn’t look closely at the synagogue of Gwoździec, Poland, built two hundred years earlier.
Salsa and Sociology
When I was a child, eight or nine, I evolved a theory about different kinds of Jews, based, more or less, on the hot sauce we kept on our table.
The Good, The Bad, and The Unending
Have (more or less) real historians ever been as central to a Hollywood blockbuster as they are to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men? Our reviewer, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld has something to say about the history. Also Cate Blanchett.
Revisiting Herman Wouk’s City Boy
Remembering Herman Wouk's "gentle mockery at the shopworn pretensions of bohemian poseurs and ethnic Jews passing as nonhyphenated Americans."
Harold Bloom: Anti-Inkling?
It’s a bit surprising to come across Harold Bloom’s confession that the literary work that has been his greatest obsession is not, say, Hamlet or Henry IV, but a relatively little-known 1920 fantasy novel.
That in Aleppo Once
Does the most accurate biblical text belong in the synagogue, or in a museum?