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The Making Of An Anglo-Jewish Identity

British Jews in the mid-19th century faced a difficult dilemma regarding their identity: how could they be really English without ceasing to be Jewish? It was not a uniquely British problem. European Jews trying to reconcile their individualism with the requirements of traditional Judaism were exactly in the same situation. Sarah Abosch-Jacobson, an American scholar, examines […]

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Between Iran And Zion

Lior Sternfeld, a professor of history and Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University, has written a nuanced work on Iran’s Jewish community and Israel’s relations with Iran. These are highly-charged topics, given Iran’s hostility to Israel since the 1979 Islamic revolution and the sometimes precarious position of  Jews in Iranian society. In his book, Between […]

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Zionism And The Left

Israel’s image on the political Left has been increasingly tarnished since the 1967 Six Day War, which utterly transformed the Arab-Israeli conflict. Once embraced by most progressives as a shining light of democracy in a dark region of despotism, Israel was repudiated by leftists as a colonialist, racist state, while its adversary, the Palestinians, were […]

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The Perfect Fascist

It was dubbed as a “Fascist Wedding in Rome” by the society page of The New York Times. The unlikely marriage between Attilio Teruzzi, an army officer and one of the rising stars of the Italian fascist movement, and Lilliana Weinman, an American Jewish opera singer, took place in June 1926. Benito Mussolini, the supreme […]

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Music By Max Steiner

Max Steiner practically created the language of Hollywood movie music. In a career encompassing some 300 films, he composed and orchestrated scores that riveted hearts and minds. The recipient of 24 Oscar nominations and the winner of three Academy Awards who established background music as a crucial element in motion pictures, he worked with such […]

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Putin’s Hybrid War And The Jews

As pro-Russian separatists battled to decouple eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country from 2014 onward, the Russian government claimed that Jews and other minorities were endangered by the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government, or, as it called it, the “fascist junta.” “Of course, this was pure agitprop, but that didn’t stop Russia’s state-controlled media […]

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Confessions Of The Shtetl

A small minority of emancipated Jews in 19th century Europe, having tasted a whiff of liberty and freedom as equal citizens under the law, went one step further. They converted to Christianity, leaving behind Judaism once and for all and fully integrating themselves into Christian societies. Ellie R. Schainker, a professor of history and Jewish […]

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Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder Of Books

Of all the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis before and during World War II, the wanton theft of Jewish-owned books is probably the least known. Under the direction of Adolf Hitler’s fascist regime, Nazi thieves plundered millions of books in Germany and throughout Europe, in what was “the largest and most extensive book-looting campaign in […]

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Karl Marx: Philosophy And Revolution

Karl Marx was a thinker whose theories about capitalism were  revolutionary. Yet he was not a revolutionary activist. Marx’s Jewish background was common knowledge, but he never referred to it publicly. Yet he wrote “On the Jewish Question,” a controversial essay in which he advocated  equal rights for Jews while defaming Judaism. Shlomo Avineri, a […]

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Irving Berlin: New York Genius

Irving Berlin, the legendary American composer and lyricist, wrote some 1,500 songs, including God Bless America and White Christmas, and two Broadway musical hits, Call Me Madame and Annie Get Your Gun, and was widely considered the greatest songwriter of the 20th century. “Berlin has no place in American music,” his fellow composer, Jerome Kern, wrote […]