The Etrog’s Magical—and Literary—Power

Oct. 17 2019

One of the four species of plant that are ritually waved on the holiday of Sukkot, the etrog (citron) often has a small protrusion, known in Hebrew as a pitom, on the side opposite the stem. Some rabbinic authorities prize an etrog with a pitom; others maintain that an etrog without one is preferable. Among East European Jews, the feature was bound up with various folkways and superstitions, which in turn became fodder for Yiddish writers, as Rokhl Kafrissen explains:

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Read more at Tablet

More about: East European Jewry, Etrog, Sukkot, Yiddish literature

How Israel Helped Win the Cold War

Oct. 20 2020

When Harry Truman announced that he was inclined to recognize the fledgling Jewish state, George C. Marshall and other eminent foreign-policy advisers urged him not to, arguing that the new country would be a severe liability to American interests—a way of thinking that persists to this day. But, to the contrary, Israel has proved itself time and again to be an invaluable ally. Joshua Muravchik describes some of its important contributions to fighting the cold war:

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Cold War, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations