Chaim Grade’s Archives Are Finally Available Online

Chaim Grade was one of the greatest Jewish writers of modern times. He was the author of, among many other works, the short story “My Quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner,” the text from which Mosaic’s 2020 year-end dramatic reading was adapted. He was also married to Inna Grade, a fiercely protective woman who, Andrew Silow-Carroll reports, described Isaac Bashevis Singer “as a ‘blasphemous buffoon’ whose fame and reputation, she was convinced, came at the expense of her husband’s.”

What’s more,

in Yiddish literary circles, her protectiveness of one of the 20th century’s most important Yiddish writers was serious business: Because Inna Grade kept such a tight hold on her late husband’s papers . . . a generation of scholars was thwarted in taking his true measure.

Those papers are now finally available thanks to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. As Silas-Carroll writes, “This week YIVO and the NLI will announce the completion of the digitization of “The Papers of Chaim Grade and Inna Hecker Grade,” making the entire archive publicly accessible online.” And as the director of YIVO puts it, “this is probably the single most important literary acquisition in YIVO’s postwar history.”

Read more at JTA

More about: Arts & Culture, Chaim Grade, Yiddish literature, YIVO


How the U.S. Is Financing Bashar al-Assad

Due to a long history of supporting terrorism and having waged a brutal and devastating war on its own people, the Syrian regime is subject to numerous U.S. sanctions. But that doesn’t stop American tax dollars from going to President Bashar al-Assad and his cronies, via the United Nations. David Adesnik explains:

UN agencies have spent $95.5 million over the past eight years to house their staff at the Four Seasons Damascus, including $14.2 million last year. New Yorkers know good hotel rooms don’t come cheap, but the real problem in Damascus is that the Four Seasons’ owners are the Assad regime itself and one of the war profiteers who manages the regime’s finances.

The hotel would likely go under if not for UN business; Damascus is not a tourist destination these days. The UN claims keeping its staff at the Four Seasons is about keeping them safe. Yet there has been little fighting in Damascus since 2017. A former UN diplomat with experience in the Syrian capital told me the regime tells UN agencies it can only guarantee the safety of their staff if they stay at the Four Seasons.

What makes the Four Seasons debacle especially galling is that it’s been public knowledge for seven years, and the UN has done nothing about it—or the many other ways the regime siphons off aid for its own benefit. One of the most lucrative is manipulating exchange rates. . . . One of Washington’s top experts on humanitarian aid crunched the numbers and concluded the UN lost $100 million over eighteen months to this kind of rate-fixing.

What the United States and its allies should do is make clear to the UN they will turn off the spigot if the body doesn’t get its act together.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations