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The Mother Tongue

In an excerpt from ‘The People and the Books,’ a portrait of Glückel of Hameln, the 17th-century Jewish woman whose access to Judaism’s foundational stories was through the Tsenerene, a Yiddish retelling of the Torah

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Heidegger Was Really a Real Nazi

Is the philosopher’s complexity enough to excuse his overt anti-Semitism? A dive into the so-called ‘black notebooks’ from the 1930s is revealing.

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‘Against Everything’ Is a Brilliant Exercise in Hope

Mark Greif’s thought-provoking new collection of essays defiantly refuses to lay waste our powers, getting and spending

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Jonathan Safran Foer’s Nice-Jewish-Boy Fiction

Campus Week: The bestselling writer’s ambitious new ‘Here I Am’ represents the triumph of sentimentality and sincerity over irony and anger, which is a great loss

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Persian Heretics and Heresies

Patricia Crone, the late scholar of Islam, fearlessly and rigorously explored the origins of Iran’s influential and mystical version of the religion

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The Sad, Short, Brilliant Life of Amy Levy, Female Victorian Jewish Novelist

Uncovering the real life behind a hugely popular Israel Zangwill character, 127 years after the night she committed suicide at age 27

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My Husband Quit Smoking, Then He Started Again

And that was fine with me: He was a 20th-century Jew

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Yuval Levin Isn’t Dumb

The new anti-government handbook ‘The Fractured Republic’ confuses a fantasized past for a utopian future

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Is It Time to Take the Most-Published Man in Human History Seriously?

A new biography of Jacob Neusner examines his ‘complicated, colorful, and unappreciated intellectual life’

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Reality Bites, for Immigrants With Smartphones

Lara Vapnyar’s ‘timely’ and ‘insightful’ new novel, ‘Still Here,’ wonders what the American dream looks like to former Russians

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Israeli Sci-Fi Is a Reality

The Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy celebrates 20 years of imagining the future

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The Unsettling Exploits of Daniel Silva’s Mossad Superspy

In the new thriller ‘The Black Widow,’ master Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is forced to confront hard questions about ISIS

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Germany and the Concept of Collective Guilt

Do only psychopaths commit horrible mass crimes, or are we all more responsible than we are willing to admit? Two new histories of the Nazi war machine examine their leaders—and their soldiers.

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Help, I’m a Prisoner in a Brain Lab

Alan Mittleman’s new study of Jewish philosophy ‘boils Bible stories and brain science into the message that there’s something holy in everything and everyone’—but can reason and faith coexist?

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Do We Really Want To Be Members of a Tribe?

Sebastian Junger’s fascinatingly wrong-headed ‘Tribe: on Homecoming and Belonging’

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Can Islam Be More Jewish?

In his new book ‘What Is Islam?,’ the late scholar Shahab Ahmed asks if it’s time to return to an idea of the religion that prizes more than just the Quran

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Leopold Weiss, the Jew Who Helped Invent the Modern Islamic State

‘Europe’s gift to Islam’ was born in Austria-Hungary 116 years ago this week. His ideas on the intersection of politics and religion are more relevant than ever.

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Hello, Gorgeous

This week on Unorthodox, humorist Mo Rocca discusses his love of Barbra Streisand, and Rebecca Schiff reads from her debut short-story collection

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Hot Dogs, the Jewish American Fast Food

The rollercoaster history of the wiener in a bun, in new books on the Coney Island institution, Nathan’s Famous

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Why Zionism Is Americanism

An excerpt from Jeffrey Rosen’s new biography of the Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis shows the extraordinary jurist thinking about America and Israel

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Can Jewish Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings?

Emily Barton’s ‘richly imagined’ new novel ‘The Book of Esther’ projects fantasies of Jewish power onto a Tolkien-like land

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Louis Brandeis: The Jewish Boy From Kentucky Who Became a Supreme Court Legend

A new biography examines the ground-breaking cases, comportment, and all-around genius of the country’s first Jewish justice

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Can Agnon’s Goat Speak English?

Reading the great Hebrew writer in Toby Press’ translation to English, 50 years after his Nobel prize, brings his layered simplicity to a new and deserving audience

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Saul Bellow’s Favorite Chicago Mayor Wasn’t Richard Daley or Rahm Emanuel. It Was Teddy Kollek.

The Nobel prize-winning author called the Jerusalem mayor a ‘phenomenal personality, schemer, finagler, and arranger’ who ‘towers over most of the political figures I have known.’

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Adam Sachs’ Motherless Son, Fathered by Kafka and Louis C.K. and Haunted by Delmore Schwartz

Stories of paternal complications, in a new collection by Adam Ehrlich Sachs and a ‘long-needed’ new selection of the writings of Delmore Schwartz

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The Last Court Jew

An excerpt from David Cesarani’s new biography of Benjamin Disraeli shows the British Prime Minister living in a time of innocence, before ‘race science’

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Stalin’s Curse

As Joshua Rubenstein’s new ‘The Last Days of Stalin’ makes clear, an empire that sows fear reaps it

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Two Old Jewish Socialists: Henry Roth Meets Bernie Sanders

What the novelist’s 1976 conversation tells us about the 2016 presidential campaign, the persistence of change, and the durability of political ideas

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Barbra Streisand Is Ready for Her Close-Up

Neal Gabler’s ‘impassioned’ new biography of the entertainer explores the paradox of modern Jewishness

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A Jew Becomes a Star

In an excerpt from Neal Gabler’s new biography of Barbra Streisand, the Broadway actress chases her career-making Fanny Brice role

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