Columnists

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Why the Mindblowing Mysticism of the Talmud Is Too Much Even for Its Students

Tread carefully, the rabbis warn, when seeking to understand creation or envision God

Food — Joan Nathan

How To Make Gefilte Fish That Your Guests Will Actually Want To Eat

Video: Throw away your jars of gray fish patties. This Rosh Hashanah, make a terrine that’ll have doubters asking for seconds.

Agents of Influence — Lee Smith

How Peace Negotiator Martin Indyk Cashed a Big, Fat $14.8 Million Check From Qatar

One Middle Eastern nation does indeed pay to influence U.S. foreign policy. Hint: It’s not Israel.

Literature — Adam Kirsch

If Even the Angel of Death Makes Mistakes, Where Is There True Justice?

The Talmud imagines the world as organized for the benefit of Torah sages, even in matters of sex and death

Marjorie Ingall

Anxiously Sending Little Jews to School

For the first time, I’m concerned about my kids’ Jewishness as I send them off in the morning

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Rules for Hair Cutting and Rending Garments—and Exceptions for Newborns

Daf Yomi: The Talmud’s ruling principle is that there is always a correct course of action, since God is watching

Marjorie Ingall

Jewy Books: Including Jewish Characters Doesn’t Have To Be a Big Deal Anymore

Today’s young-adult literature is full of teenagers for whom being Jewish isn’t a Very Important Issue

Literature — Adam Kirsch

In the Days Between the Major Holidays, Little Clues to Jewish Ritual and Life

Talmudic rabbis debate professional eulogizers, trying to strike a balance between the holy and the mundane

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Are Jews Meant To Be Farmers, Workers, or Thinkers?

So much of the Talmud is about working the land, and the rules that govern labor, profit, and loss

Agents of Influence — Lee Smith

Amal Alamuddin, Please Put George Clooney on Hold, and Investigate War Crimes in Gaza

How the international human rights lawyer could help save Gaza and Lebanon

Breaking the Jewish Community’s Silence Around Suicide

A nonprofit called Elijah’s Journey tried to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness in a specifically Jewish context

Letter-Writing Program Helps Jewish Prisoners Find Hope Behind Bars

My mother has corresponded with inmates for years, offering a sense of community—especially during the High Holidays

Farewell to Avraham Hefner, the Forgotten Genius of Israeli Cinema

He was the poet of normal life in a culture still beholden to its foundational myths

Is Leonard Cohen’s New Album His Best Yet?

The singer has had better songs, but his new record captures his ideas more clearly than ever

Sneaking a Peek at Poetry on the High Holidays

Just because you’re in synagogue doesn’t mean you have to read what’s in the prayer book

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