No Yiddish writer is as well known to today’s English-reading public as Isaac Bashevis Singer, but his entrance into the Yiddish literary scene was preceded by that of his elder brother Israel Jacob Singer, whom Dara Horn and many others believe to have been the greater talent. In his 1935 novel The Brothers Ashkenazi, I.J. Singer tells the story of the titular twin brothers, Simcha Meyer and Jacob Bunim; the former is brilliant and ruthless, the latter dull but charming and handsome. At the book’s end, set in the aftermath of World War I, the brothers return from Russia to their native Poland, which has recently gained its independence. Horn finds in the final scene wisdom for the Jews of today:
The Other Great Yiddish Novelist Named I. Singer, and His Lesson for Our Time
The Woman behind a Notorious Suicide Bombing Walks Free. Will America See That She Is Punished?
On August 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi and Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri traveled from the West Bank to Jerusalem, where Masri detonated himself in a Sbarro’s pizzeria, killing seven children and eight adults, and injuring scores. When the two passed through an Israeli checkpoint earlier that day, they appeared to be a young couple; had Masri been alone, police almost certainly would have stopped him and discovered the deadly bomb in his guitar case. Tamimi was arrested shortly thereafter and sentenced to life in prison. Ten years later, she was among the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. She now resides in Jordan.