When asked what makes a work of fiction qualify as Jewish literature, Philip Roth famously replied that a book is Jewish “if it doesn’t shut up.” Regardless of whether they accept this answer, many readers believe that Jewish literature exists as a meaningful category. Adam Kirsch, in conversation with Abraham Socher, explores the question of what could possibly unite such disparate authors as Susan Sontag, Amos Oz, Franz Kafka, and Cynthia Ozick. Drawing on his recent book on the subject, Kirsch takes a literary tour through time that begins with Kafka and his fellow Hapsburg subject Arthur Schnitzler, through the golden age of American Jewish writers—exemplified by Saul Bellow, Roth, and Ozick—and beyond. (Video, 64 minutes.)
What Is Jewish Literature, Anyway?
Hamas and Fatah Compete by Shedding Jewish Blood
During the past four weeks, there has been a rash of violent attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These are not a response to any Israeli actions, nor are they spontaneous outbursts. Rather, as Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch explain, the violence is the result of deliberate incitement by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which began when its president, Mahmoud Abbas, realized he was unlikely to win the upcoming national elections. The violence, write Marcus and Hirsch, was originally a way to win votes, and is now a way to maintain popularity after Abbas’s decision to postpone the elections in definitely: