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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 … Read More

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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 … Read More

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When We Were Arabs

Very unusually, Massoud Hayoun describes himself as “an Arab American man of the Jewish faith” and an “Arab first and last.” “Judaism is an adjective that modifies my Arabness,” he writes in his nostalgic-drenched book, When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History (The New Press). Hayoun, a Los Angeles-based journalist who has reported for … Read More

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Martin Buber: A Life Of Faith And Dissent

The philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965) was a towering figure in academia, an interpreter of Jewish mysticism and Hassidism, and a dissident figure in the Zionist movement. The first major biography in English of this seminal German-Jewish thinker in more than three decades has been published. It is written by Paul Mendes-Flohr, a professor emeritus at … Read More

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The World Of Aufbau

Roughly 130,000 German and Austrian Jews immigrated to the United States from 1933 until 1945. Victims of Nazi oppression, they struggled to adjust to a new society as they learned English, adapted to different customs and looked for jobs. For many of these emigres, particularly in New York City, the German-language newspaper Aufbau was a … Read More

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Blood Libel: An Enduring Antisemitic Myth

White supremacist John Timothy Earnest attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, on the last day of Passover in 2019, killing a 60-year-old congregant and wounding its founding rabbi. In a manifesto posted online, Earnest, 19, invoked an incident that occurred on Easter Sunday in 1475 in the town of Trent. As he wrote, “You are … Read More

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The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973

Israel and the Soviet Union were enmeshed in an intense clash of arms in the Sinai Peninsula from the end of the 1967 Six Day War until the conclusion of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The Soviets poured more than 50,000 advisors, technicians and pilots into this effort on behalf of its defeated Arab ally, … Read More

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The Seventh Heaven

Ilan Stavans compares his lengthy trip to Latin America a few years ago to an ethnographic expedition undertaken by the fabled folklorist S. Ansky to Eastern Europe in the second decade of the last century. In his Yiddish-language book, The Enemy At His Pleasure, Ansky offered an acute analysis of Jewish life in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine … Read More

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Separate And Unequal

Plessy v. Ferguson, a U.S. Supreme Court verdict of immense magnitude, drew little national attention when it was handed down in 1896, but its effects on race relations in the United States were staggering and long-lasting. The ruling, written by Henry Billings Brown, upheld the Separate Car Act, which Louisiana had enacted in 1890 “to … Read More

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The American Alt-Right And The White Ethnostate

The alt-right, a purveyor of an xenophobic and toxic brand of white nationalism, is gaining a foothold in the United States, even as it incurs intense opprobrium in the media. Having emerged during the presidency of Barack Obama, the first African American president, it has attracted still more followers during the era of his successor, … Read More