Zero Degrees of Separation - Maryim Bialik and Stephen Dulmer

See one reason why David Brooks is a fan of Steven Pinker—The Moment Magazine Great DNA Experiment

Moment tests the DNA of 15 notable American Jews—including Joshua Bell, Mayim Bialik, David Brooks, Alan Dershowitz, A.J. Jacobs, Robert Siegel and Tovah Feldshuh—to see if and how they are related. Surprise, surprise, they are! And how!

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The Catholic Conversion in Teaching on Jews

Sometime in my mid-teens, I asked to join the CYO basketball team at the parish church in my New Jersey hometown. For the uninitiated, CYO stands for Catholic Youth Organization, and it was the group to which my two best friends belonged. Jimmy Lyons lived across the street from me, and Tim Mulligan was his buddy from parochial school. Needless to say, I was Jewish.

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From Iraq With Love

by Sala Levin Located at the geographic crossroads of Asia, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Israel is a kettle of culinary confluence. Perhaps the best embodiment of the global influence on contemporary Israeli cuisine is the humble sabich. What is sabich? A sandwich, yes, by most definitions, but also a citizen of the world, a uniter of cultures, an heirloom of a tradition of traipsing and transience. But before we get too lofty, the tangibles: Sabich, practically speaking, is a sandwich sold on street corners and in shops across Israel. It’s a pita stuffed with fried eggplant and a hard-boiled egg, then topped off with typical Israeli accoutrements: hummus, tahini, cucumber and tomato salad, pickles, plus a dousing of a mango pickle dressing called amba—itself a legacy of close ties between Jewish traders in Iraq...

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Debate of the Moment: Holocaust Insurance Claims

Stuart Eizenstat and Samuel Dubbin have very different points of view about how to handle Holocaust insurance claims. Travel in Jewish circles these days and you are likely to hear bitter disagreement over how to handle decades-old insurance claims, a controversy that has torn apart friendships and pitted some Holocaust survivors against other survivors, the U.S. State Department, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and Claims Conference, which represented world Jewry in post-war negotiations with Germany,  and other Jewish groups. On one side are survivors such as Jack Rubin, who was seven when an agent from insurance giant Generali came to his house in Vari, Czechoslovakia and sold his father a policy that covered the family’s small department store. That was the last Rubin, an 84-year-old survivor of Auschwitz who lives in Florida, would hear of the policy....

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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon cover

Record Store Blues

Telegraph Avenue Michael Chabon Harper 2012, $27.99, pp. 465 The most perilous pitfall for a tour de force is that the tour can come off as forced. Alas, Telegraph Avenue, a lengthy opus of virtuosic language and ambitious, potentially riveting themes, tumbles into that very pit.  Its dazzlingly complex sentences too often come across as self-conscious flourishes, and its ideas, gussied up in jazzy garb, ultimately feel slight. My disappointment in this book saddened me. I know without a doubt that Michael Chabon is a major talent. His novel Wonder Boys is near the top of my list of brilliant American comic novels of the past 50 years, right up there with Portnoy’s Complaint and Richard Russo’s Straight Man. Wonder Boys is a laugh-out-loud masterpiece that deftly lampoons literary ambition and its evil twin, self-defeat. The prose is nimble, the dialogue...

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