Publishers against the People of the Book

Writing stars such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth illuminated the postwar era, a veritable golden age for American Jewish authors. The People of the Book were storytellers for popular consumption, and publishers eagerly kept those stories coming. What was once a love affair between Jewish writers and the publishing industry, however, is looking more … Continue reading

What Does It Mean To Be Jewish?

Ben M. Freeman writes that his new book, Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People, isn’t about fighting antisemitism. But there’s no way to understand the Jewish Pride movement the Hong Kong-based Holocaust educator hopes to build without understanding both the history of Jew hatred and its multiple forms. Since Jew hate is what’s historically driven Jews to … Continue reading

Quasi-Religious Parenting

Nearly a decade ago, long before I was the mother of four, I was a pregnant woman preparing for motherhood. Having learned about mission statements in a graduate school class, I thought my husband and I should have one for the massive parenting project we would shortly undertake. I can still picture us standing in … Continue reading

Why This Passover Will be Different From All Other Passovers

Every year at the Seders, Jews read the words of Rabban Gamliel, who instructed, “In every generation, a person must regard himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt.” Envisioning oneself as a former Israelite slave witnessing the Ten Plagues and leaving Egypt as part of the Exodus has always been possible on … Continue reading

European Union Slaps ‘New Kind Of Yellow Star On Jewish-Made Products’

Europe’s highest court isn’t exactly telling everybody to boycott Israeli food and wine. But they’re doing their darnedest to ensure Europeans don’t buy them. For anyone who missed the news, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled last week that food and wine produced by Jewish Israelis beyond the Green Line must be explicitly marked: “‘Israeli settlement’ or … Continue reading

The Pain of Infertility in the Jewish Community

Americans speak openly about breast cancer and domestic violence — subjects that were taboo in recent memory — but infertility remains relatively hush-hush. Meanwhile, fertility struggles increase, as more Americans, including American Jews, delay parenthood. For some, that reflects a conscious choice to delay parenthood into their 30s, or even their 40s, as they pursue … Continue reading

6 New Spins On Hanukkah Songs

Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah is a minor holiday. It is an eight-day long celebration of miracles and religious freedom, but in the pantheon of Jewish holidays, Hanukkah simply doesn’t hold a candle (pun intended) to Yom Kippur or Passover. Ubiquitous twinkly lights and wreaths can create the impression that everyone (else) is celebrating Christmas. Many American Jewish parents are sensitive to … Continue reading

The Spooky New Face of Anti-Semitism

On Wednesday, Pope Francis waded into the ongoing discussion about anti-Semitism. He told a Jewish audience, “To attack Jews is anti-Semitism, but an outright attack on the State of Israel is also anti-Semitism.” What exactly is anti-Semitism? The term has been bandied about so often and in so many different contexts lately, we must consider whether … Continue reading

Matisyahu Fights For The Freedom to Sing

Mrs. Garnett, my 9th grade art teacher, taught us that an artist’s job is to be bold and use his art to confront society about its flaws. However, sometimes, it’s an artist’s life experience that is actually more instructive. Take, for instance, American Jewish Reggae singer Matisyahu. Matisyahu was scheduled to perform at Spain’s Rototom Sunsplash Festival on August … Continue reading

“Sex and the City” is Old School

Sex and the City: Not Aging Well Princesses: Long Island has little to recommend it as elevating entertainment goes. The dialogue isn’t particularly witty, the storylines aren’t ground-breaking, and the characters are Jewish caricatures (thanks, Bravo). However, amidst the muck, this new show has the potential to tell a surprisingly family-friendly story. While society at large … Continue reading