Finding Timely Parallels In An Obscure Biblical Text


11/02/2016 - 10:32

The book of Nehemiah is one text in the Bible that even learned Jews do not pay much attention to. It’s a book that has an enigmatic identity. Traditionally, the book is seen in the context of  “Ezra and Nehemiah” collectively, but rarely is “Nehemiah” seen as an independent work. Moreover, the figure of Nehemiah tends to be overshadowed by Ezra, who is far better known for his role in shaping the second Jewish commonwealth in its early years. Even though I have read the book of Nehemiah on a couple of occasions as part of my academic research, it does not seem to be particularly interesting.

This Romance Is Too Hot

Education Ministry’s move against cross-border love affair novel is new culture war salvo.

01/06/2016 - 09:29
Contributing Editor

Jerusalem — It is the love that dare not speak its name — at least not in the tension-laced Israel of early 2016.

Fish out of water? Dorit Rabinyan’s tale of Jewish-Arab love is flying off the shelves. Iris Nesher

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Confronting The Roots Of Violence

11/02/2015 - 19:00

Religious zealots fill newspapers and screens with bloody images of bombings and beheadings. They kidnap children and make them into soldiers. They pray before they rape women.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. RNS

Trying To Keep Calm In Jerusalem Today

No matter how liberal you are, no matter how much you cherish coexistence, you examine passing faces and 'racially profile.'

10/27/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I live in Jerusalem but planned to spend this semester in America, launching my new book, “The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s” (Thomas Dunne Books). But with a wife, four kids, many friends and eight million targets, Jews and Arabs, in Israel, how can I rest easy away from home? Instead, I am crisscrossing the Atlantic “pond,” acting as if I hold the United Airlines Chair in American History, returning home whenever I can while fulfilling whatever book tour commitments I can. 

Gil Troy

‘Train’ Follows Its Own Track

Teens take center stage in this riveting Holocaust novel by Danny M. Cohen.

10/25/2015 - 20:00

Courtesy of Danny M. Cohen

Alexandria Lost, And Found

Nearly 40 years after Yitzhak Gormezano Goren’s novel ‘Alexandrian Summer’ was published in Israel, its English edition arrives.

09/23/2015 - 20:00
Culture Editor

When the Egyptian-born writer Yitzhak Gormezano Goren began thinking of writing a novel in Israel in the 1970s, he considered subjects like Jerusalem, the kibbutz, the Holocaust and Tel Aviv, the kinds of themes Israeli writers dealt with. But he wasn’t that drawn to Jerusalem, hadn’t spent time on a kibbutz, didn’t have experience of the Holocaust, and while he loved Tel Aviv, he didn’t feel it was his subject, that it would have soul. While studying in New York City in 1975 and at a distance from the Middle East, he realized his story was the Alexandria of his youth, a world that was no more. 

Yitzhak Gormezano Goren’s novel 'Alexandrian Summer.'

How The Blood Libel Began

07/06/2015 - 20:00
Special to The Jewish Week

The summer solstice has passed, and with it that anomaly of the season: just as summer begins, the days start getting shorter, hinting of the fall ahead. I’m always sad to see the summer days waning just when I want them to stretch out forever. And now, in July, at the height of sunshine and cheer comes the next blow. In a brief few weeks we will commemorate the saddest day on the Jewish calendar — Tisha b’Av (July 26). It is a day of disasters, marking not only the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, but also other catastrophes of Jewish history.

Francine Klagsbrun

Bilaam’s Blessings And The Curse Within

06/29/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The primary image of this parasha is of Bilaam — foremost sorcerer of the age, says Ramban — riding a talking donkey on his way to meet with King Balak of Moav. What does this episode mean?

Sandra E. Rapoport

Writing The Great American Novel

06/29/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

A friend was just telling me a personal story that ended with, “It would make a great book.” No comment. Let’s face it. Most of us do not have book-worthy lives, but many of us would like to believe we do.

Erica Brown

Joshua Cohen’s Circuit Overload

‘Book of Numbers’ can be dazzling, but his long meditation on being human in the age of computers bogs down.

06/23/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“Ulysses,” it ain’t. And why, you may ask, do I start by saying what this book is not? Because Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers” (Random House), reads like James Joyce’s giant classic — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wordy, to a fault — yes, and dense. But Cohen’s prose is dazzling, often magical. It’s not just the polymathic command of his subject matter — and Cohen is a polymath of art history, and computers, and comparative religion, and seemingly everything else. He is a master wordsmith of wordplay.

The cover of Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers”.
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