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That Which Goeth Into the Mouth

If you yourself are not obliged to observe Kosher, or if you simply elect not to (only a minority of Jews actually do), you must have wondered from time to time: What’s the point? You can eat meat after dairy products, but you cannot consume dairy after meat? (And mixed together—a . . . . Continue Reading »

True Jewish Lit

The title of Adam Kirsch’s survey of twentieth-­century Jewish literature can be read in two ways. In historical terms, the Holocaust was the curse. The founding of Israel and the welcome Jews received in America were the blessings. But as a literary matter, the blessing and the curse were the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Treatise on Two Cities

Tertullian’s question—“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”—has generally been asked by Christians wondering to what extent they can draw on Greek wisdom. In answer, many theologians analogized Greek philosophy to Hebrew faith: Both were incomplete but preparatory. Clement of . . . . Continue Reading »

Bread of Poverty

In the Bible, the week-long holiday of Passover is ­usually called the festival of unleavened bread (matzot). During those seven days (eight, outside of Israel) Jews refrain from leavened bread and divest themselves of it. Clear as this obligation may be, the basis of these laws is presented . . . . Continue Reading »

T. S. Eliot and the Jews

There recur in the work of ­T. S. Eliot two obsessions that make one cringe: his Jew-­hatred and his contempt for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The first is sometimes excused as a reflection of ambient prejudice, the second as critical crankiness. In fact, these obsessions have a common source. The . . . . Continue Reading »

Passionate Men

Among Christians, anger is one of the seven deadly sins. For Jews, too, it is a major vice. Contemporary secular culture also takes a negative view. It commonly views anger as something to be controlled if not extirpated, if only because it disrupts social life and interferes with the smooth . . . . Continue Reading »

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