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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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A State At Any Cost

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first and perhaps greatest prime minister, was a man of conviction. As Tom Segev observes in his comprehensive and excellent biography, A State At Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), “The Zionist dream was the quintessence of his identity and the core of his personality, and its […]

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America’s Schizophrenic Attitude To Racial Equality

The ongoing nation-wide protests in favor of racial equality and justice in the United States, following¬†George Floyd’s wanton murder while in police custody, underscore America’s historically dual approach to race relations. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in Where Do We Go From Here?, a book published in 1967, “Ever since the birth of our […]

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Legacies Of Nazi Persecution

Early on in her book, Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice (Oxford University Press), Mary Fulbrook writes, “The Nazi past continues to disturb.” What an understatement. In this massive and erudite work, Fulbrook — a professor of German history at University College in London — delves deeply into an interrelated web […]