When the U.S. Army Published the Talmud

A year after the end of World War II, a group of rabbis living in displaced-persons (DP) camps approached military officials and asked for help in publishing an edition of the Talmud that could be distributed among DPs. The Army—encouraged, no doubt, by President Truman’s letter to Eisenhower stating that the U.S. had a special duty toward Holocaust survivors—consented. Lily Rothman writes:

[This] is considered to be the only edition of the Talmud . . . ever printed by a national government. It is known as the Survivors’ Talmud. . . .

[The] title page depicts a barbed-wire fenced camp as well as the Mediterranean landscape of the holy land, and [bears] these words: “From bondage to freedom, from darkness to a great light.” . . .

The Survivors’ Talmud stemmed from reasons both practical and symbolic. Not only had the Nazis taken the homes, lives, and livelihoods of the Jewish people of Europe, but they had also destroyed the artifacts of the religion. Just when many survivors felt they needed their faith or their culture more than ever, the sacred texts of Judaism were hard to come by.

Read more at Time

More about: DP Camps, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Talmud

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy