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The Intellectual Struggle Hidden in Hanukkah’s Best-Known Song

The Intellectual Struggle Hidden in Hanukkah’s Best-Known Song

The Maccabean revolt wasn’t just about independence. It was a culture war between those who embraced “Greek wisdom” and those who believed in transcendent, divine knowledge.

Dec. 14 2017 12:01AM
The Merits—and the Limits—of Democracy Promotion in the Middle East

The Merits—and the Limits—of Democracy Promotion in the Middle East

In his new book, a veteran foreign-policy official and analyst provides a riveting 40-year history of the idea that human rights should be more than two nice-sounding words.

Dec. 13 2017 12:01AM
An Eye-Opening Introduction to the Jewish Influence on America's Founding

An Eye-Opening Introduction to the Jewish Influence on America's Founding

A new online course illuminates how Jewish teachings, combined with the age’s best Enlightenment sensibilities, helped to create and to guide the young republic.

Dec. 12 2017 2:44AM
The Ultimate Portrayal of the Ultimate Example of the Unhappy Family

The Ultimate Portrayal of the Ultimate Example of the Unhappy Family

What Rembrandt’s etching of Joseph and his family shows us about Judaism, and mankind.

Dec. 7 2017 12:01AM
Judah the Maccabee, Judah the Mace-Man

Judah the Maccabee, Judah the Mace-Man

A modest suggestion for a new way of thinking about the original meaning of the word “Maccabee.”

Dec. 6 2017 12:01AM
Who is Serenaded on Friday Night: the Woman of the House, or the Divine Presence?

Who is Serenaded on Friday Night: the Woman of the House, or the Divine Presence?

Before the meal on Sabbath eve, the prayer book offers a song of praise to the ideal woman.

Nov. 30 2017 12:01AM
The Ardent, Stiff-Necked Spirit of Golda Meir

The Ardent, Stiff-Necked Spirit of Golda Meir

A new biography brings to life a leader of few words who accomplished much with the ones she had, and reminds us how much of her Zionist perseverance remains intact today.

Nov. 29 2017 12:01AM
Why Does “Making” Mean What It Means for American Ashkenazi Jews?

Why Does “Making” Mean What It Means for American Ashkenazi Jews?

If you don’t know what it means, you can probably figure it out. (Or you can read this column.)

Nov. 22 2017 12:01AM
The Orthodox Rabbi Who Set Out to Turn Postmodernism to Jewish Gain

The Orthodox Rabbi Who Set Out to Turn Postmodernism to Jewish Gain

Many view postmodern skepticism as profoundly threatening to religious belief. Rav Shagar saw it as liberating and enriching. Was he right?

Nov. 15 2017 12:01AM
Remembering the Great Czech Jewish Harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková

Remembering the Great Czech Jewish Harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková

Růžičková, who died in September, survived both Hitler and Stalin to become a brilliant interpreter of J.S. Bach—and the only person to commit his entire keyboard oeuvre to disc.

Nov. 9 2017 12:01AM
No, the Book of Joshua Does Not Tell of a Rare Solar Eclipse

No, the Book of Joshua Does Not Tell of a Rare Solar Eclipse

Despite the claim of two recent scientific papers.

Nov. 8 2017 12:01AM
Wink: A Story

Wink: A Story

In the mid-1970s, an Israeli military governor in Ramallah watches the trial of four young Arab men who have accused their interrogators of torture.

Nov. 2 2017 12:01AM
From King David to Larry David: A New Look at Jewish Humor

From King David to Larry David: A New Look at Jewish Humor

For better, and for worse, Jeremy Dauber’s Jewish Comedy: A Serious History tells the story of Jewish comedy as the story of Jewish civilization.

Nov. 1 2017 12:01AM
The Chapter of the Bible in Which Four Nations Are Born

The Chapter of the Bible in Which Four Nations Are Born

Lekh l’kha narrates the birth of the Arabs, the Ammonites, the Moabites, and, of course, the Jewish people.

Oct. 26 2017 12:01AM