History & Ideas

Modern freedoms leave us wanting more. The author of our monthly essay joins us and a noted rabbi to talk about how conversion came to be an antidote to liberal restlessness.

June 1 2021 12:01AM

Longing to leave liberalism behind, everyone from Catholics to Communists is experimenting with self-transformation. What’s fueling that desire, and is it strong enough to make the break?

May 3 2021 3:44AM

Samuel Goldman and Ruth Wisse tackle Jewish attitudes toward free speech, social media, and the tendency of American Jews to support ideologies that harm the Jewish community.

April 30 2021 12:01AM

Quite a few masculine and feminine Hebrew words, when pluralized, take the form of the opposite gender. Why?

April 28 2021 12:01AM

Back in my teens, when I began reading and thinking about Zionism, I thought the founder of the movement was a snob. I was dead wrong.

April 21 2021 12:01AM

The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema, a recent collection from a major distributor, adds to the canon of Jewish movies in fascinating new ways.

April 19 2021 12:01AM

A brief look at some of the many Jewish words relating to alcohol.

April 13 2021 12:01AM

We know that the slur has something to do with Jews traveling in rural America in the first years of the 20th century. Do we know more than that?

March 3 2021 12:01AM

Its meaning in the Bible is “Truly said!” or “So be it!” After that it acquired its intense liturgical emotion, and then hasn’t changed much since.

Jan. 28 2021 12:01AM

A newly translated memoir of the gulag should (but probably won’t) remind those who still flirt with Communism what exactly they’re endorsing.

Jan. 26 2021 12:01AM

From now until next September 6, we will be living in 5781 and 2021. Is that an accident, or is a deeper synchronicity at work?

Jan. 13 2021 12:01AM

A new book aims to dispel the idea of the divine chosenness of the Jews. In fact, it promotes a moralism as heavy-handed as that of the most simplistic preacher.

Jan. 12 2021 12:01AM

As tracked through the waxing and waning value of the Hebrew words for “departees” and “descenders.”

Jan. 6 2021 12:01AM

A young secular Viennese writer had an experience 125 years ago that would lead him to change Jewish history forever. He could never explain it. Can anyone else?

Jan. 4 2021 12:01AM