Judaism and Jewish Faith in Vilna, Montreal, Harvard, and Jerusalem

March 19 2021

Ruth R. Wisse is best known for her penetrating scholarship on Yiddish literature, her robust defense of Zionism, her trenchant analysis of what Irving Kristol called “the political stupidity of the Jews,” and her courage in pointing out the moral and intellectual failings of academia. But in this conversation with Meir Soloveichik, Wisse discusses religion—a topic she has spoken and written about far less. She notes, among many other things, the seriousness and solemnity with which her generally undevout Russian-born parents took Passover, “without a hint of irony.” And although God was almost never discussed in her home or school, she confesses that, in her mind, “no one sounds as silly as an atheist.” (The conversation makes frequent reference to Wisse’s memoirs, which can be read here.)

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Read more at Tikvah

More about: Academia, Judaism, Leonard Cohen, Passover, Ruth Wisse

How the U.S. Can Get Smart about Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in the Middle East

Sept. 27 2021

Considering the current state of the region and the policy mistakes of the recent past, David Pollock and Robert Satloff outline a strategy that is “both virtuous and realistic” for defending human rights and encouraging democratization in a region plagued by autocracy, chaos, and brutality. They argue that “in the long run, more democratic, tolerant, and inclusive governments are likely to be better at defending themselves, and more reliable and effective security partners for the United States.”

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Arab democracy, Human Rights, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy