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King Solomon’s Table

Joan Nathan, the renowned cookbook author, has travelled to some 15 countries on five continents in search of material. Her newest book, King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, published by Alfred A. Knopf, is an impressive showcase of her knowledge and expertise. She begins her journey in Kochi, … Read More

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Romania, Romania

I understand Robert D. Kaplan’s fascination with Romania. A Balkan nation which experienced the extremes of both fascism and communism within one generation, Romania was forged on the anvils of the Byzantine, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires. Today, it has reverted back to what it was hundreds of years ago — a frontier state of … Read More

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East Germany’s Undeclared War Against Israel

Before the advent of German reunification in 1990, two sovereign states, West Germany and East Germany, faced each other as bitter, implacable rivals. West Germany, a democracy formed in 1949, was aligned with the United States and the West. East Germany, a communist state which emerged in the same year, was a member of the … Read More

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The Age of Jihad

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago, the Middle East has fallen into a dismal state of chronic instability, lurching from one coup d’état to another, from one war to the next. But since the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 respectively, the stability of the region has … Read More

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The Legendary Al Capone

Probably the most infamous American gangster of all time, Alphonse (Al) Capone maintains an iron grip on the popular imagination. Seventy years after his death, Capone’s mystique seems undimmed and indestructible, even though his tempestuous reign lasted only six years. Celebrated and cursed in a cascade of books and movies and in a tsunami of … Read More

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Primed For Violence

Canadian historian Paul Brykczynski has written an authoritative account of a long-forgotten incident in Poland’s early 20th century history that altered its political landscape and undermined its large Jewish community. The “December Events,” as he describes them, unfolded in 1922 against the backdrop of a closely-fought election, anti-Jewish street riots and the assassination of a president. Until … Read More

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Under The Shadow Of The Rising Sun

Japan’s attitude to and policies toward Jews from 1933 to 1945 — the years that coincided with the rise and fall of Nazi Germany — is the subject of Meron Medzini’s fine and fascinating work of scholarship, Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews During the Holocaust Period, published by Academic … Read More