Mosaic Magazine

Editors' Picks

Tuesday, August 26

Totally Unsurprising Hypocrisy

Was Hamas’s mass execution of suspected “collaborators” in Gaza last week a human-rights violation? Not, it seems, according to the United Nations.  

The Once and Future Caliphate

The self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq is unlikely to last long. But the attempt to revive the institution can have traumatic and far-reaching consequences.

Iran’s German Connection

NUMOV, a trade organization with a deplorable Nazi past, is now pushing for greater German cooperation with Tehran—regrettably, with some success. 

Liberals Should Be Zionists

Are liberalism and Zionism incompatible? The idea is widespread but baseless; it’s the alternatives to Zionism that are truly illiberal.

Who Lived in Qumran?

According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, the Essenes, an ascetic sect living in Qumran, wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. But Josephus is far from reliable.

Monday, August 25

Sherman in Gaza

In his 1864 march through Georgia, the great general successfully broke the resistance of the Confederacy. Has the IDF been channeling his genius?

Historians for Hamas

Hundreds of American academics have signed a petition condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza, thereby allying themselves, not for the first time, with the West’s greatest enemies.

For Orthodox Outreach

In the face of shocking rates of assimilation, it’s urgent that observant Jews begin to engage actively with the non-observant. 

Beelzebub in France

First condemning anti-Semitism, the editor of L’Express, using a Hebrew-derived word for the devil, then blasts French Jews thinking of moving to Israel.  

Mystery Figures of Judah

Discovered a century ago, clay figurines of human forms were prevalent in the First Temple period (c. 800–586 B.C.E). To this day, no one knows what they signify. 

Friday, August 22

Let’s Compare Civilian Casualties

By the UN’s own figures, the percentage of women and children killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes is far lower than the percentage killed by U.S. airstrikes in Iraq a decade ago. 

The Palestinian Authority as Fig Leaf

Putting Mahmoud Abbas and the PA in charge of Gaza would only relieve Hamas of the burden of governance and enable it to focus on its military operations.

It’s Not 1939, but It’s Bad

The situation of European Jewry today is very different from what it was in the 1930s, but anyone who cares about the future of democracy should be alarmed.

Land of Lost Gods

For millennia, Mesopotamia has teemed with a variety of cults and religions. ISIS is destroying the few that remain.

Sign of Civilization

In the ruins of an ancient village near the Jordanian border, researchers have unearthed the oldest metal object yet discovered in the Middle East. 

Thursday, August 21

One Cheer for Pope Francis

In a rare move, the Pope has encouraged a military response to ISIS slaughter of Christians and Yazidis. Why does he still oppose it to stop the slaughter of Jews? Or Muslims?

Crush ISIS

The barbarous murder of an American journalist points to the terror group’s fundamental weakness—one that the U.S. can and should exploit.   

State-Sponsored Anti-Semitism

Hate-filled graffiti and demonstrations in Venezuela resemble those in Europe—except that in the former, they are deliberately encouraged by the government. 

Love Which Neighbor?

Does Leviticus’ famous command apply only to other Israelites, or to everybody? An examination of the biblical context strongly argues for the latter. 

Why the Commandments?

In addition to performing mitzvot, it’s important to grasp their underlying intent. Herewith, three approaches and suggestions for how to harmonize them.  

Wednesday, August 20

Presidential Meltdown

Hoping to reduce America’s “global footprint,” the administration has been shockingly passive in foreign affairs.  Result: an ever more dangerous world. 

Scotland’s Race to the Bottom

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, bowing to anti-Semitic intimidation, has canceled an Israeli production. The reaction of the city’s cultural elite? Nary a shrug. 

Christians for Israel—and Judaism

“If you take away the Jewish contribution, there’d be no Christianity. We cannot explain our existence without your existence.” (Interview by Rick Richman).

Byzantine Jerusalem

Though officially banned from their capital since the Bar-Kokhba revolt (132–135 C.E.), Jews were still living there two centuries later when Constantine made it Christian.   

Raiders of the Lost Menorah

What happened to the great golden candelabrum plundered by the Romans and depicted on the Arch of Titus? Contrary to myth, it’s not in the Vatican. 
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Freundel Wertheimer

Can Modern Orthodoxy Survive?

The Unresolved Dilemmas of Modern Orthodoxy
Everyone agrees that the movement needs to rethink and revamp. Very few agree on how.
By Jack Wertheimer

Academia

Academia

"Gaza = Auschwitz"
Holocaust inversion—the claim that Israelis are the new Nazis and Palestinians the new Jews—has come to the American university campus.
By Martin Kramer

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Koss

Tradition, Tradition

Busting the Shtetl Myth
What you think you know about Jewish life in Eastern Europe is wrong, argues a fascinating (but problematic) new book.
by Andrew N. Koss

Fiddler

Tevye Betrayed

What’s Wrong with Fiddler on the Roof
Fifty years on, no work by or about Jews has won American hearts so thoroughly. So what's my problem?
By Ruth R. Wisse

Horn Surnames

What's In A Name

Jewish Surnames [Supposedly] Explained
“Dara, you’ll love this!” Actually, I don’t.
by Dara Horn

Benjamin

The Intellectual Scene

The Walter Benjamin Brigade
How an original but maddeningly opaque German Jewish intellectual became a thriving academic industry.
by Walter Laqueur

Golinkin

Conservative and Orthodox

The Crisis in Jewish Law Today
Orthodox rabbis need to stop worrying about 200-year-old battles with “Reformers” and allow Jewish law to develop organically, as it did in the past.
By David Golinkin

Kook

History

Abraham Isaac Kook Receives the Call
For a visionary rabbi in London, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 signified nothing less than the advent of the messianic era.
by Yehudah Mirsky

Gurfinkiel

The Situation in Europe

You Only Live Twice
Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century?
by Michel Gurfinkiel

Degenerate Art

The Art World

Degenerate Art and the Jewish Grandmother
The story of the family behind the Nazi-era art trove.
By Walter Laqueur

Wertheimer

The September Essay

Intermarriage: Can Anything Be Done?
A half-century after the rate of intermarriage in the US began to skyrocket, the Jewish community appears to have resigned itself to the inevitable. But to declare defeat is preposterous.
by Jack Wertheimer

Aharon L

The Rabbinic World

Who Is Aharon Lichtenstein?
Introducing the extraordinary rabbi who next week will receive Israel’s highest honor.
By Elli Fischer

Rubinstein

Yom Hashoah

Making Amends
A mysterious request leads the Canadian-born son of a Holocaust survivor back to the old country.
by Robert Eli Rubinstein