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

Bernie Sanders Denounces AIPAC’s “Bigotry” after Headlining a Conference of Bigots

Feb. 27 2020

The Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has declared that he won’t attend the annual conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which begins this Sunday, because of the “platform [it] provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” While Sanders has no qualms about libeling AIPAC—until recently a regular stop for political candidates of both parties—he has never attended one of its gatherings. Last year, however, he was the speaker for the annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America, where, writes Asra Normani, no small amount of bigotry was given a platform:

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Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: AIPAC, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Linda Sarsour