In a compelling new memoir, ‘Reading Claudius,’ Caroline Heller goes in search of her formidable uncle Erich, whose WWII legacy still haunts his descendants
Bridging the abstract simplicity of divine pronouncements to the practical mess of everyday life
Where Jewish writers are finding homes these days, and why
The ancient text takes up the problem of ‘new circumstances’ in maintaining vows, and in so doing stumbles on what makes women attractive
In rabbinic Judaism, learning replaces noble birth as a source of power and status—including the power to avoid state responsibility
Along with other questions of mind and body, this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ is also a field guide to Talmudic-era cuisine
‘Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced.’
Giving, taking, owning, donating, and other elements of property law, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’
This week’s Talmudic debate is centered on the perceived and real benefits of study, teaching, and sacrifice
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ study, why vows are hardly sacred, and why circumcision is the most glorious of rituals
This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study refutes the ‘dual loyalty’ charges against Jews
Francophone Algerian writer Kemal Daoud writes back to ‘The Stranger’—and breathes life into its nameless victim
Discussing vows, Talmudic rabbis detour into the temptations of Jewish love-making—where almost anything goes
In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the Talmud explores why oaths are not for the virtuous, except in the rarest of cases
The Jewish Foster Wallace crosses auto-fiction with hysterical realism, in the energetic and intelligent ‘Book of Numbers’
Bridging the gap between biblical terseness and the needs of a functioning Jewish legal system
‘The Odd Woman and the City’ proves the memoirist is a peer of Kazin, Howe, and other great chroniclers of Jewish America
Why Talmudic law is precise, and how practical matters can test the moral foundations of the system
Studying who’s owed what, when, and how much in cases of divorce, widowing, and inheritance
A cautionary tale: ‘The Death’s Head Chess Club’ and other period fantasies are the inevitable next thing in Shoah fiction
Settling scores, carving up estates, negotiating claims, in biblical law. Plus: A virgin is worth twice as much as a widow or divorcee.
Inequality under the wedding canopy, in this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study. Plus: a story about cheating the Angel of Death.
If the point of marriage is not happiness but religion, what constitutes grounds for divorce? Plus: tips for grooming pubic hair.
A reissue of Meyer Levin’s 1956 novel about the notorious Leopold and Loeb case captures the enduring power of Jewish self-hatred
And other matters of conjugal bliss in this week’s Talmud study, including a woman’s right to sexual fulfillment
A new collection of the writer’s aggrieved nonfiction sends readers running back to his masterful fiction
For most Jews in Talmudic times, marriage was the biggest financial transaction of their lives
We, too, stoned our women for infidelity. Patriarchal injustice persists in Orthodoxy. What’s a modern Talmud reader to do?
In a ‘richly appointed’ debut, ‘The Empire of the Senses,’ German Jews of the 1920s live in blissful ignorance
Reading the oral law today forces Jews to reconcile repellent, outdated legal views with modern morals