Irving Berlin’s Contribution to America’s Nondenominational Civil Religion

Born in the Siberian city of Tyumen in 1888, Israel Baline came to the U.S. at age five, later took the name Irving Berlin, and rose to stardom in 1911 when his composition “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” became a hit. From then on, he was one of most influential songwriters in the U.S., if not in the world. Stephen Whitfield, reviewing James Kaplan’s recent biography of Berlin, considers to what extent, if any, Berlin’s Jewish background influenced his work:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: American Jewry, Civil religion, Irving Berlin, Musical theater, Popular music

By Restoring Funding to UNRWA, the U.S. Is Ensuring That the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Continues

Last week, the White House announced its plan to resume funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)—which had ceased in 2018—to the tune of $150 million per year. UNRWA, unlike the UN organization that cares for refugees from every other conflict the world over, does not seek to resettle its charges or to integrate them into the countries where they live, but instead keeps them and their descendants refugees in perpetuity. While the administration justified its decision as “a means to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” Einat Wilf argues that it will do nothing of the sort:

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Two-State Solution, U.S. Foreign policy, UNRWA