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The Origins of Foolishness

The Origins of Foolishness

Where does the Yiddish word narishkayt come from?

March 22 2017 12:01AM
The Darkest Day in the History of Judaism?

The Darkest Day in the History of Judaism?

When Israelites who stood for God were ordered to kill their fellows who had stood for the Golden Calf.

March 16 2017 12:01AM
For George Eliot, to Appreciate the Jews Was to Save England

For George Eliot, to Appreciate the Jews Was to Save England

In a new lecture series, a master teacher shows the enduring relevance of the great 19th-century novelist’s Daniel Deronda.

March 15 2017 12:01AM
Did American Racism Inspire the Nazis?

Did American Racism Inspire the Nazis?

A new book claims as much—and in so doing falls into the intellectual trap known as reductio ad Hitlerum.

March 9 2017 12:01AM
You Didn't Know There Was Another Ahasueros?

You Didn't Know There Was Another Ahasueros?

Starting in the 16th century, this Ahasueros has personified the legendary figure of the “Wandering Jew,” symbol of the accursed Jewish people. How come?

March 8 2017 12:01AM
Remembering "Operation Wedding," the Event That Kick-Started the Movement to Free Soviet Jewry

Remembering "Operation Wedding," the Event That Kick-Started the Movement to Free Soviet Jewry

In June 1970, fourteen Soviet Jews tried to steal an airplane to fly themselves to freedom. A new documentary marks their story—and Natan Sharansky reminisces.

Feb. 27 2017 12:01AM
Why Yiddish Was Often a Source for Thieves' Slang in European Languages

Why Yiddish Was Often a Source for Thieves' Slang in European Languages

What we learn from the story of the Russian phrase shakher-makher, or wheeler-dealer.

Feb. 22 2017 12:01AM
How Hebrew Helped to Create the English Language—and to Form the American Spirit

How Hebrew Helped to Create the English Language—and to Form the American Spirit

“This now is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” and other remarkable Hebraisms in the English tongue.

Feb. 15 2017 12:01AM
Ancient Israel's National Anthem

Ancient Israel's National Anthem

The great song marking the Israelites’ safe crossing of the Sea of Reeds is the Hebrew Bible’s only full-length poem recited collectively by the people as a whole. What is it really about?

Feb. 9 2017 12:01AM
The Journey of the Word "Artichoke" Shows Folk Etymology at Its Most Creative

The Journey of the Word "Artichoke" Shows Folk Etymology at Its Most Creative

A linguistic investigation prompted by a meal in Rome of carciofi alla giudia.

Feb. 8 2017 12:01AM
Prayers for the Departed

Prayers for the Departed

The two disparate texts intoned at Ariel Sharon’s funeral tell us much about contemporary Jewish attitudes toward life, death, and the land of Israel.

Feb. 2 2017 12:01AM
The Most Tragic Jewish Writer of Modern Times

The Most Tragic Jewish Writer of Modern Times

Why did the great Micha Yosef Berdichevsky, who called on Jews to take personal responsibility for Zionism, never settle in or even visit Palestine?

Feb. 1 2017 12:01AM
The Obligations of Auschwitz

The Obligations of Auschwitz

My grandfather, who survived five Nazi camps, built in their shadow a life that consisted above all of children and grandchildren. The same is demanded of us all.

Jan. 26 2017 12:01AM