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My wishes for my daughter include that she will pay heed, at this time of the year especially, to the sacral traditions of both her father’s and her mother’s ancestors. Continue Reading »

Paul Johnson, Philo-Semite

Anti-Semitism, it has often been observed, is remarkably adaptable. Across countless centuries, anti-Semites have targeted Jews because of their wealth and their poverty, their power and their frailty, their piety and their godlessness, their tribalistic chauvinism and their rootless . . . . Continue Reading »

The Rage of Meir Kahane

Meir Kahane: No other name elicits such visceral and varied reactions among Jews today. Born and raised in Brooklyn, ­Rabbi Meir Kahane rose to national prominence in the late 1960s with the founding of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a movement that used radical and often violent means to . . . . Continue Reading »

Calendar as Catechism

The Jewish calendar is the Jewish catechism: So said the -nineteenth-century German champion of Jewish Orthodoxy, Samson R. Hirsch, and with good reason. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover: Despite differences in theology and observance, most Jews, even those who are not well-versed in the entire . . . . Continue Reading »

Anti-Jewish Entertainment

Have you watched the new Netflix drama everyone’s talking about? It’s riveting: It tells the story of Jacob Cohen, a brilliant professor of English literature at an Ivy League university who grows tired of his community’s dogmatic narrow-­mindedness. Sick of being unable to express his ideas . . . . Continue Reading »

A Naive Heretic

The Talmud relates the tragic story of an ancient Jewish sage named Elisha ben Abuyah. Initially one of his generation’s leading rabbinic luminaries, Elisha eventually became ­Judaism’s first unambiguous Epikoros, or theological apostate, earning the sobriquet Akher (“the . . . . Continue Reading »

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