Ruth Wisse has taught a course on Jewish humor at Harvard for years, but you might not know it given her most recent work. “Jews and Power,” published by Nextbook/Schocken in 2007, was a very serious book.
It argued that throughout history Jews have often blamed themselves for problems not of their own making. Since the destruction of the Second Temple, in 70 C.E., Wisse detected a pattern in Jewish history in which Jews aligned themselves with ideas that ran counter to their own interests in the hope that it might save them.
In "A Jew is Not One Thing," a film at the end of The Jewish Museum's permanent exhibition, a group of American, Israeli and European Jews (a rabbi, an educator, a psychologist, artists, scholars and even day school students) comment on themes that have shaped the Jewish people.
Millions of American Christians believe that Jesus will return to Jerusalem during the millennium, and the Apocalypse will be upon the world. But what if that doesn't happen? Will those disappointed believers react violently against Jews, who play a pivotal role in their cosmic story?
One of the nation's leading experts on the millennium warned that Jews around the world, and particularly in Israel, must take action now to prevent a backlash by Christian apocalyptists.
On the eve of Yom Kippur, a dispute between two groups of Jews leads to a divider being placed at Judaism’s holiest accessible site, the western retaining wall of Herod’s Second Temple.
But Muslim sheiks, who “own” the Wall, demand the divider be removed, calling it an unacceptable alteration to their site. They suspect that the Jews are trying to find a way to give the Wall the status of a synagogue “as a first step in taking it over.”
The six-pointed star — the so-called Star of David — has been many things to many people over past several thousand years. But it only became a universal symbol for Jews — known as the Magen David — during the past 200 years, many scholars say.
The hexagram, formed by two superimposed equilateral triangles, is known to scholars from the Bronze Age, when it had magical implications for both Jews and non-Jews.
It first appeared on a Jewish seal found at Sidon from the seventh century BCE, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica.
Modern changes suddenly are afoot at Jerusalem’s ancient Western Wall. Two developments this week signal greater access for Jews who seek to pray in their own way at the 2,000-year-old surviving outer retaining wall of the Second Temple, Judaism’s holiest site.
In a landmark decision, Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled Monday that women can hold group prayer services at the Wall, wear prayer shawls, read aloud from the Torah — and must be provided police protection.
In Hebrew and Aramaic he was known as Jacob or Yakov. He was a son of a late Second Temple period carpenter named Joseph.
And like Robert from the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he was the forgotten brother of a much more popular sibling.
But Jacob, better known to the world as James the Just, was actually no slouch. In Jerusalem, he led a religious congregation of observant Jews devoted to his brother’s memory and teachings until he was also put to death, in the year 63 CE.
In the end, Cohen and I have our differences, but this is the kind of book that can engage younger Jews curious about their heritage, force them to think about the remarkable saga of Jewish survival, and it welcomes the reader to debate and cou
Editor and Publisher
I told Rich Cohen the other night that his latest book, “Israel Is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and its History,” should be a must-read for a young generation of American Jews, many of whom, unfortunately, have little interest in learning about the history of Israel.