Robert Siegel spoke with Zachary Leader, author of the new biography The Life of Saul Bellow: Love and Strife, 1965-2005, at a bookstore in Washington, DC. Bellow “has fantastic mimetic powers, imaginative powers,” Leader says, “and he created a range of reference in his language that was new and more fairly American than the style of his predecessors.” Read the full interview from our latest issue here.
The House of Fates is ground zero in a struggle over history and memory, raising questions that are pertinent today not only in Hungary but also across post-communist Europe. The struggle is about the politicization of the Holocaust by an increasingly autocratic government and about who gets to tell its story, and how.
The description of manna in the Bible matches what Danin found in the Sinai Desert. He soon discovered that the white drops on the shrub’s stems were the digestive byproduct of insects that feed on the plant’s sap, known as honeydew. The secretion, formed at night, is loaded with sugar. The sweet liquid hardens to the form of white granules and is still collected from spring to early fall in many places in the Middle East today.
The great French film director Jean-Luc Godard called Ben Hecht a “genius” who “invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood today.” Yet most modern American Jews have likely never heard of Hecht, despite his eminence as a playwright, best-selling novelist and screenwriter of a host of Hollywood film classics.
American Jews may not know their way around the Talmud or much about Jewish history, but they sure do excel at soul-searching and have for many, many years. In the late 19th century, in the mid-20th and again in our own day, taking the community’s pulse—and finding it weak and listless—has been a common pursuit and a constant refrain.
Billionaire George Soros has been accused of being a Nazi collaborator. This story tells how this anti-Semitic trope went from the extreme to the mainstream.
More than a century and a half has passed since the gold rush created the booming Australian city of Ballarat, 70 miles inland from Melbourne. The gold is long gone, but the worshippers who sit shoulder to shoulder in the pews of Shearith Yisroel seem determined to live up to their synagogue’s name: “Remnant of Israel.”
Gal Lusky, founder of Israeli Flying Aid (IFA), has brought humanitarian help into some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. Lusky was born on Kibbutz Hokok in northern Israel, and she says her upbringing provided her with independence, while her Jewish values taught her to help others in need. She never thought of a career in international aid until 1992, when her brother was seriously wounded during his army service. She sat by his bedside for nearly a year and came to understand “how blessed I was to be born in Israel with its amazing medical infrastructure,” she says. “I wanted to bring this to others in the world.”
Our reaction to the events in Pittsburgh began with mourning for the victims. From mourning we moved to the legitimate fear that comes from living in a nation where easily procured weapons of mass death terrorize people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people and—as always—Jews.