This thriller about the Israeli-Arab conflict comes with rare praise from one of the masters of suspense fiction and with a premise that suggests exploration of deep moral dilemmas. The endorsement comes from Stephen King, who says the book is “about the lies we tell ourselves until the truth is forced upon us,” and is “what great fiction is all about.”
In July 1937 Germany’s National Socialist Party opened an exhibition in Munich it termed “Entartete Kunst,” or “Degenerate Art.” Intentionally housed in cramped, poorly lit conditions and awkwardly hung, the works on view were accompanied by inflammatory, denigrating labels. The exhibition was an open declaration of the Nazis’ state-run war on modern art and the effort to impose their officially sanctioned conception of art through propaganda and force.
In the wake of the Holocaust, Konrad Adenauer and David Ben-Gurion forged an unlikely partnership. More than 60 years later, Germany continues to be one of Israel’s staunchest defenders and most dependable allies. But can the relationship withstand the rising tide of anti-Israel sentiment in Europe and the fading memories of a new generation?
The great Jewish historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, who died in 2009, famously declared that history was “the faith of fallen Jews.” Yerushalmi had trained under the preeminent 20th-century Jewish historian Salo Baron, whose epic (and unfinished) 18-volume A Social and Religious History of the Jews was celebrated for its paradigm-shifting rejection of the “lachrymose” view of Jewish history. Despite a life lived in the shadow of Jewish history’s most lachrymose moment—both his parents were murdered in the Holocaust—Baron insisted that Jewish history was defined not by dying but by living, by the astonishing creativity and vitality of an ever-changing Jewish culture.
While cheesecake has long been popular among Jews with a sweet tooth, the creamy, rich indulgence is now as American as apple pie, a symbol of how thoroughly Jews have integrated into American life. As cookbook author Joan Nathan says, “Jews like cheesecake because they like to eat good rich dishes, even if they shouldn’t”—but then again, who doesn’t?
Defying stereotypes, early Jewish pioneers in Arizona were not just storeowners and bankers, but cowboys, lawmen, ranchers and entertainers. The first known Jewish settler was the German-born Nathan Benjamin Appel, who headed west in 1856 from New York to St. Louis, then followed the Santa Fe Trail to the territory’s new capital, Tucson. Appel went on to lead a colorful life in the Wild West: He married a Catholic woman (there were no Jewish women in the territory), had ten children, and was a sheriff, saloon owner, wagon train leader and merchant. Loyal to his heritage, upon his death in 1901, Appel had a Jewish funeral led by a rabbi.
Long ago, a few Jewish foods made themselves an indispensable part of the way Americans eat. So thorough was their assimilation that their popularity swiftly overshadowed their cultural origins. (These days, who thinks “Jewish” when they reach for their bagel and schmear?)