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.”
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…
When Jack Miles approached me with the proposition to edit the Judaism volume of the projected Norton Anthology of World Religions, I was naturally flattered but also confounded. There are, of course, many anthologies of Judaism in different formats. But the Norton anthologies are different.
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?
We live in the era of Jewish historical fiction. Hundreds of novels set at some point in the long Jewish past have been published in recent years, some based on biblical stories or Jewish folk tales, others built around major historical figures. The phenomenon shows no sign of slowing, with readers continuing to greedily devour historical fiction, and writers delighted to feed their addiction.
The ground is lurching beneath the feet of European Jews, with anti-Semitism rising up around them. We American Jews are rightly concerned at this alarming turn of events. We fear the spread of this new, especially virulent form of anti-Semitism to our own shores. We feel disgusted but helpless. What can we do?