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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
How Do You Say "Pirkey Avot" in English?

How Do You Say "Pirkey Avot" in English?

The title of the Mishnaic tractate is commonly translated as “The Ethics of the Fathers.” But how did it get that name? And could “fathers” actually mean “principles,” and “ethics” mean “sayings”?

Jan. 25 2017 12:01AM
Who Is "I Am That I Am"?

Who Is "I Am That I Am"?

In the Jewish tradition, the summit of religious awareness is to know that God is ultimately unknowable.

Jan. 19 2017 12:01AM
Are American Jews Shifting Their Political Affiliation?

Are American Jews Shifting Their Political Affiliation?

Some certainly are—and, as an analysis of Orthodox voting patterns from the past five elections shows, this is a long-term trend. What does it mean, and where might it go from here?

Jan. 18 2017 12:01AM
Beyond Sighing and Swooning: Love in the Hebrew Bible

Beyond Sighing and Swooning: Love in the Hebrew Bible

Although it does not seem to be about romantic attachment at all, the tale of Ruth and Boaz is the quintessential example of a biblical love story.

Jan. 12 2017 12:01AM
Where Israel Advocacy Fails, and How It Can Succeed

Where Israel Advocacy Fails, and How It Can Succeed

It’s not enough to respond to anti-Israel attacks. To reach the young, pro-Israel activists need to focus on what Israel is, on its human face.

Jan. 11 2017 12:01AM
The Variety and Universality of Nicknames

The Variety and Universality of Nicknames

Different languages employ different methods of generating nicknames, but they all satisfy the same two needs: to show special affection and to demonstrate special intimacy.

Jan. 5 2017 12:01AM