Author Interview // Geraldine Brooks

Australian-born, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and former journalist Geraldine Brooks has made her mark with daring fictional reimaginings of some of the most iconic figures in history and literature. A convert to Judaism, Brooks delved into Jewish history in her 2008 novel, People of the Book, which recounts the journey of the Sarajevo Haggadah through centuries of war and strife.

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E.L. Doctorow helped Austin Ratner

Speaking Volumes // Austin Ratner on E.L. Doctorow

Many writers seem daunted by the autobiographical novel—ashamed to write of themselves, as if that were either self-indulgence or exploitation. And of course with James Joyce and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a paragon, many do not even dare to try. But Joyce didn’t frighten off E.L. Doctorow, who mined his own Depression-era childhood in New York for the 1986 National Book Award-winning World’s Fair.

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Khirbet Khizehby S. Yizhar cover

Book Review // Khirbet Khizeh

On 1979, an Israeli censorship committee chaired by the justice minister deleted five evocative paragraphs from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s memoir: his first-person account of the expulsion of Arab residents from the towns of Lydda and Ramle during Israel’s War of Independence in 1947-49. The description contradicted the heroic official line, which pictured Arabs as fleeing the fighting, not being deliberately forced out by Israeli forces.

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Map of the Kimdoms of Judah and Israel

Jewish Word // Judeans

These days, all eyes are on what many are calling the new anti-Semitism, arising from both far-right and far-left politics, radical Islam and virulent anti-Zionist ideologies. But the old anti-Semitism isn’t forgotten—a 2013 Anti-Defamation League poll showed that 26 percent of Americans believe that “Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.”

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Alan Gross Headshot

Alan Gross: A Profile in Art and Courage

The Washington, DC resident and former USAID subcontractor was arrested in 2009 for bringing computer and networking equipment to Cuba’s Jewish community. Two years later, he was convicted of being “a threat to the security and integrity of the state,” and sentenced to 15 years. As a prisoner, Gross lived his life in the confines of a small cell, fighting anger, boredom and declining health…

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Cheese and crackers

Kosher Cheese Comes of Age

When Brent Delman was growing up in Cleveland, his culturally Jewish family, like their Eastern European forebears, ate lots of soft, fresh cheese—cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese—without worrying much about whether it was kosher. After all, cheese is just curdled milk, and as long as it’s not eaten with meat, what could be treif about it?

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