“The Stories Are Interesting, but the Character Is a Hundred Times More Interesting”: Discovering Tevye the Dairyman

July 31 2019

Undoubtedly the best-known figure in all of Yiddish literature—if not in all of Jewish fiction—is Tevye the Dairyman. A creation of Sholem Aleichem, Tevye is a simple Jew whose personal travails serve as a commentary on the Russian Jewish experience. Even before he was reborn as the protagonist of Fiddler on Roof, Tevye was beloved by thousands of readers.

The celebrated teacher and scholar Ruth R. Wisse’s online course on Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye stories is now available. The trailer can be viewed here, and free registration for the class itself can be found at the link below. (Video, two minutes.)

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More about: Jewish literature, Ruth Wisse, Sholem Aleichem, Tevye, Yiddish literature


The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media