Ruth R. Wisse

Ruth R. Wisse is a research professor at Harvard and a distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Her most recent book is No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (2013, paperback 2015).

Politics; or, Grappling with Liberalism and Women's Lib

I expected the women’s movement to evaporate as quickly as it had materialized. It was the worst cultural prediction of my life.

Feb. 27 2019 2:19AM

Intellect; or, Daring to Become a Writer

On making one’s way into the “intimidatingly smart” realm of the New York Jewish intellectuals, and the company of I.B. Singer.

Jan. 30 2019 2:06AM

Ascent; Or, Moving to Israel in the 1970s

For me, living in Israel is a moral imperative. There is no elegant or painless way to describe why, after a  year, we left.

Jan. 2 2019 12:01AM

The Best Books of 2018, Chosen by Mosaic Authors

Letters, antidotes, eternal lives, outcasts, secret worlds, pogroms, and more.

Dec. 12 2018 12:01AM

Perseverance; or, My Fight to Study, and to Teach, Yiddish Literature

In the late 1960s, appointments in Jewish studies were springing up in tandem with the “adversarial culture.” But we intended to strengthen the universities, not to trash them.

Nov. 29 2018 12:01AM

Destiny; or, How I Found My Two “Basherts”

Ruth R. Wisse discovers her husband and her subject.

Nov. 1 2018 12:01AM

Discovery; or, the Ferment of Jewish Montreal in the Fifties

With the relaxation of Catholic influence in Quebec, local Jewish culture began to come of age and flourish.

Sept. 27 2018 12:01AM

Accommodation: Or, Growing Up Jewish in Protestant Canada

We were invited to join in the school’s prayers and hymns, but our grateful acquiescence also implied there was something illicit or shameful about our Jewishness.

Aug. 30 2018 12:01AM

Responsibility; or, My Brother and I (and Leonard Cohen) Go to Summer Camp

And come to differing conclusions about the obligations of collective living.

Aug. 2 2018 12:01AM

Freedom; or, How a Family of Survivors Found Its Place in Jewish Montreal

Father brought us out of bondage, but Mother decided where we were to settle and how we were to live.

June 20 2018 12:01AM

Survival; or, How My Family Beat the Odds in 1940

It wasn’t easy for an entire Jewish family to escape Eastern Europe in the mid-20th century. Ruth Wisse’s did.

May 17 2018 12:01AM

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?

June 18 2014 6:00PM