Jew

Nobility Eclipsed

Sanctuary in the Wilderness: A Critical Introduction to American Hebrew PoetryBy Alan Mintz (Stanford University Press, 520 pp., $65) I. ON DECEMBER 17, 2007, on the storied stage of the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Hebrew language—its essence, its structure, its metaphysic— entered American discourse in so urgent a manner as to renew, if not to inflame, an ancient argument. The occasion was a public conversation between Marilynne Robinson and Robert Alter: a not uncommon match of novelist with literary scholar.

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The Woman with the Five ElephantsCinema Guild The FutureRazor Film Mozart’s SisterMusic Box Films The Woman with the Five Elephants is not, of course, a circus picture. The title would be too square. The five elephants are the five major works of Dostoevsky. (Listing the titles would be too obvious or perhaps too arguable.) The woman is Svetlana Geier (d.

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Buying Time

Yitzchak Newman is in the market for his first house. For now, the young IT project manager lives with his wife and toddler in a rented basement apartment. Space is limited and the family yearns to attain the middle class ideal of owning their own home. But unlike most aspiring home-owners, the Newmans are determined to enter the real estate market in what may be the world’s most politically sensitive strip of land.

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Pox Britannica

English anti-Semitism on the march.

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Hope's Mistakes

  Living Together, Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in the Middle Ages By Jonathan Elukin (Princeton University Press, 193 pp., $24.95)  ALL HISTORIES have their sorrows,but those of Jewish history are more studied than most. The chronicles of Israel’s sufferings—the groaning under Pharaoh in Exodus, the Lamentations over lost Jerusalem, Isaiah’s consolations for her captivity—have helped the countless faithful of numerous religions explain God’s puzzling tendency to afflict his followers on earth.

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The Rescuer

A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust by David S. Wyman and Rafael Medoff (The New Press, 269 pp., $26.95) Twenty-five years ago, while researching Holocaust history for the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, and as I was preparing to immigrate to Israel, I came across a clipping from The New York Times from 1936.

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The Light of the Eyes By Azariah de’Rossi Translated and annotated by Joanna Weinberg (Yale University Press, 802 pp., $125)  For at least a few years toward the end of his life, Azariah de' Rossi believed that February 26, 747 B.C.E.

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Ideas, in the last century, were the masters of facts, but in this century the facts have returned to haunt them. The duty of free minds once was to discover vast new conceptions of humanity which would free more minds and smash the tyrannies; but the tyrannies generally were not smashed, they were replaced, and the vast new conceptions only reshackled the minds they were meant to free. The duty of free minds now is to discover these facts.

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