The New National American Elite

America is now ruled by a single elite class rather than by local patrician smart sets competing with each other for money and power

by Michael Lind
A Prayer on the Capitol

Why the historical significance of the storming of Washington is still in our hands

by Bernard-Henri Lévy
The New Truth

When the moral imperative trumps the rational evidence, there’s no arguing

by Jacob Siegel
The Great American Breakup

Political scientist Louis Hartz accurately described the United States’ underlying cultural hyperindividualism

by B. Duncan Moench
What Is a Boogaloo?

And will the group be at the forefront of organized nationwide violence and rioting on Sunday, January 17?

by Jacob Siegel
The Great Repair

Americans want life to feel normal again. It’s been a while.

by Peter Savodnik
There Is No Defense For Trump’s Remarks Covering for Neo-Nazis

Just compare what the neo-Nazis said in Charlottesville to what Trump said in response

by Yair Rosenberg
Biden and the ‘Russiagate’ Theorists

Why Joe Biden is the perfect candidate to withstand mad Trumpian conspiracies

by Paul Berman
Steve Bannon’s Heart Doesn’t Matter. His Actions Do.

The newly pardoned criminal tapped to be Donald Trump’s Karl Rove provided the bullhorn for the alt-right, which relentlessly identifies Jews as the champions of the country’s most nefarious forces

by Bari Weiss
The New Jerusalem Is Crumbling

From the Pilgrim founders to Donald Trump, ‘a belief in the exceptional role of an American nation’

by Bernard-Henri Lévy
Ebb Tide in the Golden Country

All is not as it was for Jews in America

by Rich Cohen
America’s New Corporate Tyranny

The American political and legal systems are working just fine, despite a few hiccups. Meanwhile, American corporations are depriving citizens of basic rights and freedoms and destroying our democracy.

by Michael Lind
The Three Stigmata of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

More than a half century after the civil rights leader’s assassination, the trauma of his death keeps expanding

by B. Duncan Moench
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech On Soviet Jewry

The original text of King’s December 1966 address to the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry

by Jesse Bernstein
The Normalization of the Post-Sept. 11 Regime

Nearing the 20th anniversary of the USA Patriot Act, how did laws ostensibly structured to protect Americans from threats from abroad come to reimagine the legal basis for our freedoms at home?

by Stephen I. Vladeck
The Five Crises of the American Regime

The mob assault on the Capitol is simply another entry in the catalog of American decline

by Michael Lind
Levinas Would Have Banned Facial Recognition Technology. We Should Too.

The surveillance state is a deeply threatening and immoral structure for human social existence. It’s here now.

by David Zvi Kalman
Everything Is Broken

And how to fix it

by Alana Newhouse
The Origin of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Wuhan

We don’t know yet. But contrary to recent reporting, science does not rule out a lab accident or even bioterrorism.

by Khaled Talaat
Wuhan Denialism

Dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in China as ‘a conspiracy theory’ is bad science

by Khaled Talaat
China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign

Inside the CCP’s use of social media bots and other disinformation tactics to promote its own response to the coronavirus pandemic and attack its critics

by Michael P. Senger
The American Elite Declares Its Independence From America

A decade-old Tom Friedman column serves as a Rosetta stone for the elite embrace of China; with comment from Tom Friedman

by Lee Smith
The Fact-Checkers

How a respected but peripheral editorial job evolved into a partisan bludgeon for both sides of the American divide

by Sean Cooper
Trump and the Joys of Hatred

Explaining the nihilist candidate’s brutish appeal

by Paul Berman
Matt Drudge Logs Off

The Drudge Report has become a conformist shadow of its formerly bratty, oppositional self. Why?

by Armin Rosen
The Office Space Apocalypse

The era of massive densely packed urban office towers is over for good. What will take its place?

by Joel Kotkin
Israeli Oppression Comes to Durham

The city council’s 2018 vote on Israel left many local Jews feeling unwelcome. Is it the new normal across midsize-town America?

by Sean Cooper
Europe’s Highest Court Gives Its Approval to Attempts to Outlaw Jewish and Muslim Life

In upholding bans on kosher and halal animal slaughter, Europe’s Court of Justice affirmed the acceptability of an ugly new expression of an old prejudice

by Yair Rosenberg
Joe Rogan Is the Aleph

The massively popular podcast host provides a glimpse into Borges’ ‘multitudes of America’

by Jacob Siegel
The Great Repair

Americans want life to feel normal again. It’s been a while.

by Peter Savodnik
The Satmar Way of Life and Death Used to Be Our Way, Too

A massive illegal funeral for a community judge in Williamsburg is a reminder of just how much of our humanity we have lost to the pandemic

by Armin Rosen
The Coronavirus Is Killing Off American Jewish Institutional Life

With emptying coffers and no end in sight, many Jewish institutions no longer see COVID-19 as a crisis to weather, but rather as a new reality

by Armin Rosen
The Coronavirus Erases Our Living Memory of the Holocaust

And gives fresh life to old traumas

by Armin Rosen
Is ‘Wong Wai’ the Right Way to Understand Ethnoreligious Discrimination in the Face of COVID?

The racial scapegoating of Asian Americans during a bubonic plague outbreak in 1900 may offer a key legal precedent for defenders of religious and ethnic communities in 2021

by Maggie Phillips
The Mass Murder of Nigerian Christians

The world is determined to look away from a horrific campaign of killings being perpetrated in Africa under the name of Islam

by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Rev. Johnnie Moore
Israeli Oppression Comes to Durham

The city council’s 2018 vote on Israel left many local Jews feeling unwelcome. Is it the new normal across midsize-town America?

by Sean Cooper
What’s up, Doc?

The controversy over whether Jill Biden should be addressed as ‘doctor’ is a sign of the importance of educational credentialing as a social sorting mechanism

by Nicholas Clairmont
Young Love

Thirty-year-old lawyers throwing bombs are ‘just kids,’ while 12-year-olds are prosecuted for ‘racism.’ How youth went from a stage of human development to a protected political class.

by Kat Rosenfield
The Revenge of the Yankees

How Social Gospel became Social Justice

by Michael Lind
Death of a Ladies’ Man

Phil Spector was psychotic and abhorrent. Here’s why his art still matters.

by Liel Leibovitz
The Jewish Sculptor of the Confederacy

The debate over Moses Jacob Ezekiel’s legacy comes to a head with the removal of his monumental sculpture of Stonewall Jackson from the grounds of the Virginia Military Institute

by Samantha Baskind
The Accidental Queen

How the late memoirist and reporter Lucette Lagnado found echoes of her own Egyptian exile at a royalist commemoration of the beheading of Louis XVI, 228 years ago today

by Douglas Feiden
American Funerals

There’s a time for goodbyes

by Anne Roiphe
The Twin

A newly translated tale of defiance in the death camps, from the Yiddish master

by Avrom Sutzkever
The Vanishing

The Jewish communities of America and France created liberal modernity, so it’s no accident they’re dissolving

by Marc Weitzmann
France’s Sins, and Yours

Sex, race, and religion divide two revolutionary universalist nations

by Pascal Bruckner
Meet U.S. Secretary of State-Designate Antony Blinken’s Great-Grandpa, the Kurt Cobain of Yiddish Lit

Meir Blinkin’s sordid and sometimes mystical tales of extramarital sex made him the brightest star of ‘di yunge’ before his untimely death at 35

by Dara Horn
The Case for Cautious Optimism

On campus and across America, there’s more room for conversation and discussion on race, conflict, and justice than often appears to be the case. Many young people just need to be taught the negative implications of seeing the world in a narrow or binary manner.

by Ilana Redstone
Death of a Ladies’ Man

Phil Spector was psychotic and abhorrent. Here’s why his art still matters.

by Liel Leibovitz
All We Need Is Hate?

Jeffrey Israel’s new ‘Living with Hate in American Politics and Religion’ examines why we keep trying, and failing, to ignore the hatreds that define us

by Blake Smith
The City Without Jews

A chillingly prescient 1924 Austrian film gets new life—and ‘incandescent’ relevance—in a miraculous Blu-ray restoration

by Thomas Doherty
A Jew Is a Jew Is a Jew

Novelist and critic Clive James and theater director Jonathan Miller, who died within days of each other this fall, shared breadth of passions and influential cultural positions. One was Jewish. The other was not—but he understood Jews better.

by Howard Jacobson
The Wanderers

Daniel Mendelsohn’s genre-bending critical lectures gathered in the new ‘Three Rings’ looks at the Odyssean exiles of Erich Auerbach, Francois Fénelon, and W.G. Sebald, and their characters

by Michael S. Roth
My War Criminal

Twenty-five years after the end of the Bosnian War, Jessica Stern’s psychologizing approach to imprisoned Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić muddies historical understanding. But the calls to boycott her new book undermine open, intelligent discussion.

by Mardean Isaac
Year Zero

The age of the machines demands its own samizdat

by David Samuels
My War Criminal

Twenty-five years after the end of the Bosnian War, Jessica Stern’s psychologizing approach to imprisoned Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić muddies historical understanding. But the calls to boycott her new book undermine open, intelligent discussion.

by Mardean Isaac
Whitman and the American Revelation

The epiphany that led to a national literature’s single greatest achievement: tucked in a prosaic, newly discovered early novel are the seeds of ‘Leaves of Grass’

by Paul Berman
The Golden HYFR

Drake comes of age

by Thomas Chatterton Williams
The Jewish Auden

The poet’s philo-Semitism and visit to Jerusalem had a profound influence on him, and on Yehuda Amichai

by Shalom Goldman
An In-Person Report From a Virtual Film Festival

Binging documentaries while under quarantine in Haifa offers a much-needed window into a country that can feel unreal

by Izabella Tabarovsky
A Casual Spectator’s Guide to the Twitter Armies of the Earth

Like video game zombies they roam the fields of battle from Armenia and Syria to Iran, India, France, and Israel, engaging in a simulacrum of warfare, without risk

by Armin Rosen
Double Exposure: Jean-Pierre Melville

The ambiguities and darkness of Nazi-occupied France propelled him to flee his country, take a new name, fight in the Resistance, and then invent film noir. But the past continued to haunt him.

by Adrien Bosc
Lost Yiddish Words

The language contemporary Hasidim use in everyday life borrows from English and simplifies a richer linguistic ancestor—and yet is more alive

by Rose Waldman
The Dharma of David Ben-Gurion

Two European Jewish refugees helped remake the landscape of the possible through their friendship: One was the first prime minister of Israel, and the other was a Buddhist monk

by Shalom Goldman
American ‘Auschwitz’

A late-1970s surge in interest in the Holocaust coincided with a new ‘survivor’ mentality found in unexpected places, including Detroit and the Bee Gees

by Henry Greenspan
Hannah Arendt’s Critique of Social Media

How personal judgment—essential to a diverse democratic public sphere—gets subsumed by our clichéd attempts to join the crowd

by Blake Smith

How a single painting in the New York Jewish Museum’s collection helps define Jewish art

by Maya Balakirsky Katz
Space Babel

On the undignified end of the Arecibo Observatory and our search for the heavens

by Adam Kirsch
How the Zoom Minyan Brought Me Closer to Judaism

I never imagined I’d attend services every morning. But now I’m hooked.

by Ivy Eisenberg
A Different Path to Ordination

Distance seminaries are training rabbis in less time, for less money, than traditional seminaries—and synagogues are hiring them

by Andrea D. Lobel
Honoring the Body in Death

Jewish laws and traditions have much to say about what happens after we die. But there is still much for us to consider.

by Mary Lane Potter
When Great Trees Fall

Lessons from a year of losses from Maya Angelou and the Talmud

by Yehuda Fogel
Women’s Talmud Study Picks Up During the Pandemic

The current cycle of ‘Daf Yomi’ learning has seen more resources aimed at women from all levels of observance

by Nomi Kaltmann
Tu B’Shevat and the ‘Nature’ of Jews

On Tu B’Shevat, Jews celebrate the natural world. Do we praise it for its own sake, or only as a reflection of God?

by David Wolpe
Tu B’Shevat Books to Share With Kids

A reading list reflecting the environmentalist values of this underappreciated holiday

by Marjorie Ingall
The Modern-day Appeal of Tu B’Shevat

The Jewish New Year of the Trees demands little of us, but offers us a chance to connect our roots with good causes, new rituals, and recipes

by Jenna Weissman Joselit
Coronaspection: Introspections 1-13

Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn, Elder Jeffrey Holland, Rabbi Dov Singer

by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Coronaspection: World Religious Leaders Look Inward During a Time of Global Hardship

One of the most important insights of the Coronaspection project, which brings together 40 world religious leaders for their insights on faith during the time of the coronavirus, has to do with the sense of solidarity and interconnectedness of humanity. Unity is one outcome that almost all participants recognize, and this unity extends also to some significant dimension of unity across religions. United in their struggle with the spiritual challenges of one virus, religious leaders of different traditions share their particular vision across religious boundaries.

by Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Eating Our Way to Holiness

The spirit and the letter of keeping kosher

by Mary Lane Potter
Why We Didn’t Circumcise Our Second Son

Our first son got the traditional brit. But not this time around.

by Yagi Morris
Choosing Life

After giving birth to a stillborn baby, finding comfort in Jewish ritual and scripture

by Kate McGee
What My Kippah Means to Me

As a butch lesbian, wearing a yarmulke connects me to my people—and to myself

by Olivia Swasey
The Battle of the Baal Shem Tov

What I learned as a child, listening to my father and grandfather argue over the founder of Hasidic Judaism

by Alter Yisrael Shimon Feuerman
Learning Hebrew—at Last

Without knowing the language, there was no way to fully participate in my community—not in the way I wanted to

by Roseanne Benjamin
Becoming a Man

How expectations around gender and sexuality led me to embrace Orthodoxy—and then leave it

by Lance Tukell
Secular Synagogues Take Root in Israel

A new kind of spiritual community blossoms

by Paula Jacobs
The Orthodox Jew and the Atheist

How I learned that righteousness and morality are a question of behavior, not belief

by Rebecca Klempner
Pants, Pants Revolution: How My First Pair of Jeans Redefined Modesty for Me

When I bought jeans recently, I redefined what ‘tzniut’ means to me as an Orthodox woman

by Simi Lampert
Lost and Found

How I lost my Mormonism and came to embrace the Jewish way

by Nathan Steiger
Why a Conservative Female Rabbi Decided To Pull Away From Her Male Friends

‘I had to dial back my friendships with men, for the sake of my marriage’

by Rachel Miller Solomin
The Death of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

A big problem that the Biden administration suddenly won’t have to deal with

by Michael Oren
Growing Peace in the Middle East

American Jews can help Israel and the entire region by strengthening the Abraham Accord. And please, come visit us.

by Hend Al Otaiba
How Denmark, Sweden, the U.N., and the EU Got Suckered Into Funding a Terror Organization

The PFLP’s grotesque hybrid of a terror arm and an NGO network murders innocent people while raking in millions from the West

by Yosef Kuperwasser
The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Abraham Accords prove that Trump’s majestic robes are real—at least in the Middle East

by Michael Doran
The Abraham Accords!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the White House upon the signing of the amazing and unexpected peace treaty between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain

by Benjamin Netanyahu
Qatar’s State-of-the-Art Foreign Lobbying Campaign

Think tanks, universities, museums, newspapers, and key congressional committees are all pieces in a game of 3D chess that the tiny Gulf state is playing with its rivals, using Washington, D.C., as its game board

by Lee Smith
The Aboriginal Rights of the Jewish People

Do the Jewish people have legal ‘rights of entry, sojourn, and settlement’ to the land of Israel?

by Allen Z. Hertz
Are Jews Indigenous to the Land of Israel?


by Ryan Bellerose
Bringing the Middle East Back Home

The American Orientalist Class attempts to paint a fantasy Middle Eastern landscape on the American canvas

by Tony Badran
A Rabbi in Riyadh

The first Jewish faith leader received by a Saudi monarch recounts his visit with King Salman

by David Rosen
Lebanon’s Interwoven Fantasy Worlds All Lead to War With Israel

How much should America pay to maintain the fraying fabric?

by Tony Badran
China’s Emerging Middle Eastern Kingdom

China’s drive for supremacy is now underway in the Middle East—and it won’t end there

by Michael Doran, Peter Rough
How Iran Became a Global Vector of Infection for COVID-19

The authoritarian theocracy faces specific challenges in dealing with the coronavirus

by Noam Blum
When May Day Was a Major Event in Israel

In some Israeli communities, the international workers holiday was just as important as the Jewish holidays

by Armin Rosen
A Q&A With Dorit Rabinyan, the Wonder Woman of New Israeli Lit

In a landscape vacated of the two literary giants Aharon Appelfeld and Amos Oz, Israeli fiction ushers in the rise of a new generation of women writers. The author of ‘All the Rivers’ talks about sabras in New York, American Jewry’s allure, and learning to listen for the perfect watermelon.

by David Samuels
The New MMA Hotbed: Israel

A father passes the fighting torch to his prodigal son, and a new generation of combat athletes makes a name for the Promised Land

by Hillel Kuttler
How Osama Bin Laden Outsmarted the U.S. and Got What He Wanted

The point of Sept. 11 wasn’t to terrorize the West. It was to get the U.S. out of the Muslim world—and it worked.

by David Samuels
Bibi, King of Israel

The most talented politician in Israeli history cracks his demented foes like walnuts

by Liel Leibovitz
Q&A With Israel’s Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak

A conversation with the Israeli leader on the cusp of an election that he hopes will restore his center-left political coalition to power and once again put him in charge of Israel’s future

by David Samuels
Obama Passed the Buck. Trump Refused to Play.

The Iran deal was never meant to stop Iran from building a bomb—it was supposed to delay it until disaster happened on someone else’s watch

by Lee Smith
One Last Interview

Three weeks before his death in 2016, Shimon Peres sat for what he intended to be a Rosh Hashanah-timed discussion about the state of the world. It was also his final one.

by David Samuels
The Jews Make it to the Moon

But not without misfortunes

by Armin Rosen
Malley in Wonderland

How Obama’s ‘progressive’ foreign policy vision—to backpedal away from the Middle East, fast, while kicking our former allies in the region to the curb—became consensus in D.C.

by Tony Badran
Spies in the Basement

The extraordinary true cloak-and-dagger tale of how a chance encounter in a London bookstore made peace possible, on the 25th anniversary of the Israel-Jordan accords

by Haim Be’er
Arafat and the Ayatollahs

The PLO’s greatest single contribution to the Iranian Revolution was the formation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but the Palestinian leader’s involvement with Iran didn’t end there

by Tony Badran
Bringing Bagels Back to Vilnius

After a long absence, the Jewish staple has returned to the Lithuanian capital

by Wailana Kalama
Treat or Trick?

‘Bokser’ is supposed to be an exotic snack on Tu B’Shevat. But does anyone really like it? An investigation.

by Miriam-Rachel Oxenhandler Newman and Mindy Trotta
Baking With Authenticity

Jewish women pastry chefs bring their heritage to restaurant menus

by Leah Koenig
Saying Goodbye to Seafood

When I converted to Judaism, I left behind part of my Norwegian heritage

by Nina Lichtenstein
How Mustard Became the King of Jewish Condiments

Its delicious legacy stretches from the corner deli all the way back to Abraham

by Edie Jarolim
Matzo Ball Soup—and Hold the Eggs

If you want to make matzo balls, you’ve got to break some eggs. Right? Wrong.

by Rebecca Klempner
Jewish Minestrone

Warm up with this traditional Italian recipe for white bean soup—no matzo ball needed

by Joan Nathan
How To Make the Ultimate Matzo Ball Soup

Make perfect chicken soup and matzo balls from scratch

by Joan Nathan
The Ashkenazi Version of Mac and Cheese

While holiday and Shabbat specialties fill Jewish cookbooks, we often forget the pleasures of seemingly ordinary, everyday food—like egg noodles with cottage cheese

by Leah Koenig
The Trouble With Tsimmes—and How to Fix It

This stew of root vegetables and dried fruit is a staple of Ashkenazi cooking, but it doesn’t have to be the bland, gloppy mess we’ve come to know

by Leah Koenig
How to Make Kosher Prosciutto

The Jews of Italy used goose instead of pork to make their distinctive charcuterie

by Benedetta Jasmine Guetta
Saying Goodbye to Bacon

Deciding to keep kosher really meant grappling with one meaty addiction

by Liel Leibovitz
Searching for Babka’s Soul

This ‘traditional’ Ashkenazi favorite has evolved many times over the years—and it continues to change with the times

by Leah Koenig
A Prescription for Sauerkraut

Exploring the health benefits of fermented foods

by Erik Ofgang
Eating Our Way to Holiness

The spirit and the letter of keeping kosher

by Mary Lane Potter
The Jewish Ethics of Vaccine Triage

After the health care heroes get their shots, how do we decide who should come next? And then? And then?

by Marjorie Ingall
The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2020

A comic novel set in the 1980s with a biracial lead. A picture book set in the 1880s based on a real-life Purim Ball in Tucson. A sad-funny graphic memoir about loss. An epistolary novel about baseball and autism. And more!

by Marjorie Ingall
The Rise of Mommy Doulas

COVID-19 brought restrictions on how many people are allowed in a delivery room. But for Jewish grandmothers-to-be who are willing to put in the hours, there’s a way to make an exception.

by Esther Levy-Chehebar
The Changing Face of Jewish Berlin

American expats are leaving their mark on the German capital—and vice versa

by Joe Baur
Outside the Gender Binary

How nonbinary Jews navigate gendered spaces

by Marie-Rose Sheinerman
Downtown, in Exile

Rokhl’s Golden City: The Yiddish sounds of New York’s past—and present

by Rokhl Kafrissen
How to Talk to Your Kids About Police Brutality

And how to talk to them about anti-racist protesting

by Marjorie Ingall
Our True Colors

Coming face-to-face with racism in the Jewish community

by Marra B. Gad
In Defense of Wokeness

Awaking to systemic racism is good for America, good for the Jews, and just plain good ethical behavior

by Carly Pildis
What It Feels Like to Sit Shiva Alone

I wanted to be comforted by friends, and to hear stories about my dad. The COVID pandemic made that impossible.

by Jamie Betesh Carter
The Resilience of Rituals

Attending a virtual shiva, I saw how Jewish traditions still hold up under the most extraordinary circumstances

by Alanna E. Cooper
Missing My Dad’s Yahrzeit

When my shul closed during the pandemic, I lost the place where I usually commemorate my father’s death and say Kaddish for him

by Leonard Felson
Shul in the Time of Coronavirus

With COVID-19 pushing synagogues to consider virtual gatherings, we should understand what it means to come together physically

by David Zvi Kalman
The Ethics of Takeout

How do we balance the seemingly contradictory virtues of supporting our local businesses and protecting workers during the pandemic?

by Marjorie Ingall
A Jew Named Christine

People say the darnedest things to us converts. Please stop.

by Christine Beresniova
Lessons From Jewish Sexual Law (in a Sexless Pandemic)

Judaism has something to say about enforced sexual separation, and not just for the Orthodox

by Merissa Nathan Gerson
Day School Bullies

I was ridiculed and physically abused for being the wrong kind of Jewish boy. As a result, it took decades to come to terms with my identity.

by Aaron Hamburger
My Crushes on Rabbis

My youthful admiration for religious teachers, and my desire to please and even emulate them, ultimately helped me connect with myself as a Jewish adult

by Alter Yisrael Shimon Feuerman
Among the Mourners

As a woman, I felt left out of Jewish mourning rituals after my father died. Thirty years later, I found a new place where I finally feel like I count.

by Anna El-Eini
Sex and the Religious Girl

Growing up in a religious family where premarital sex was forbidden and sex wasn’t discussed, I wasn’t taught how to deal with the dangers I’d face

by Yona Rose
Why the Right Is Obsessed With Cancel Culture

Who’s worked up about it, and why

by Marjorie Ingall
Will the Coronavirus Wedding Model Outlive the Coronavirus?

The pandemic turned 300-person hotel weddings into 10-person backyard affairs. Some newlyweds say it was for the best.

by Marie-Rose Sheinerman
Judaism During—and After—the Pandemic

Social distancing has, in a way, allowed us into each other’s homes more than ever. Will being apart end up bringing Jews together?

by Micah Streiffer
My Nonbinary Journey

After years of confusion around my gender identity and sexuality, I realized I wasn’t gay or bisexual, or a man or a woman. And as I led my congregation through Yom Kippur services, I finally showed up as myself.

by JB Levine
Mourning RBG

Trying to learn life lessons from the Supreme Court justice

by Marjorie Ingall
Angle of Deflection

Why the greatest Halakhic writing remains persuasive for centuries

by Haym Soloveitchik
Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin

One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest associates shared his strong and clear support for Zionism

by Shalom Goldman
The Rebellion Against Rashi

New scholarship captures the fierce but failed attempt to dethrone Judaism’s preeminent biblical commentator

by Eric Lawee
The Battle for the Court of Sadiger

A Hasidic sect has maintained a regal aura through a century of turmoil and migration. Now a contentious succession threatens to bring a noble family down.

by Pini Dunner
Inscriptions From a Jewish Cemetery in Germany

Medieval stones offer a glimpse into the lives of 12th- to 13th-century Würzburg Jews, such as one who ‘served the Lord with his sweet voice,’ ‘Asher known as Bonfil,’ and ‘lady Rosa,’ who was ‘like a rose between thorns’

by Simon Schwarzfuchs
Recognizing Jewish Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust

Memorial institutions are finally working to redress an imbalance in the numbers of Jews versus non-Jews hailed for their heroism in defense of victims of the Shoah

by Patrick Henry
Why Did So Many Doctors Become Nazis?

In the answer, and its consequences, a bioethicist finds moral lessons for today’s professional healer

by Ashley K. Fernandes
A Guide of the Perplexed

How Philadelphia’s local ‘Jewish Exponent’ came to host in 1963 S.D. Goitein’s insightful but overlooked scholarly essay on Maimonides, now reprinted here

by Warren Zev Harvey
Hijacking History

Fifty years ago today in Leningrad, a small group of Soviet Jews was tried for attempting a daring escape to Israel. Eerily, their story is relevant again—this time, for American Jews.

by Izabella Tabarovsky
Declaration and ‘Last Will’ of the Leningrad Hijackers

Composed before 16 Soviet Jews attempted to hijack a small plane in 1970, this declaration calls out the U.N. for turning a blind eye to their human rights and pleads for the Jewish world not to take its freedom for granted

by Izabella Tabarovsky
My Great-Grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Lamport, Author of ‘Piskei ha-Gra’

With some of his writings being reprinted for an Orthodox audience, my relative’s scholarly achievements are revealed

by Natalie Zemon Davis
A Scholar of Kabbalah

How I left Romania for Israel and learned to study without preconceptions

by Moshe Idel
The Price of Redemption

‘Who was I to decide which commandments to obey?’ With searing honesty, an eminent theologian recounts the eclectic educational journey of his training.

by Richard L. Rubenstein
Is It Permitted to Flee the City?

The coronavirus creates an unsettling tunnel in time between 21st-century New York and the world of 16th-century rabbis

by Tamara Morsel-Eisenberg
Teddy Kollek, the British Spy Who Never Was

Was the mayor of Jerusalem the liaison code-named Scorpion?

by Marc Goldberg
The Politics of the Pale

Are Jewish politics as they exist today a result of our Russian past?

by Joshua Meyers
Bibliomancy, and the Sacred Lottery of the Vilna Gaon

How the technique of chancing upon a passage in a Torah scroll or printed Pentateuch came to be a staple of fortune tellers

by Shraga Bar-On
An Erroneous Diagram in the Vilna Shas

A comparison of multiple Talmudic editions provides a bibliographical solution to an interpretive quandary

by Eli Genauer
How ‘The New York Times’ Helped Hide Stalin’s Mass Murders in Ukraine

Journalism doesn’t have to stifle the truth in the service of fashionable causes and personal narcissism. It’s a choice.

by Izabella Tabarovsky
A 20th Century Jewish Life

Scientist, Zionist, man of nature: My father, the biologist Jacob Biale, represented all the possibilities of Jewish American life

by David Biale
The Hybrid Forest

A Q&A with Moshe Shtrauch, whose idea for a solar-powered farm system might make the deserts bloom

by David Samuels
Hydroxychloroquine: A Morality Tale

A startling investigation into how a cheap, well-known drug became a political football in the midst of a pandemic

by Norman Doidge
Medicine’s Fundamentalists

The randomized control trial controversy: Why one size doesn’t fit all and why we need observational studies, case histories, and even anecdotes if we are to have personalized medicine

by Norman Doidge
Diabetes, the Jewish Disease

Did turn-of-the-century Jews suffer disproportionately from diabetes, or was the early research anti-Semitic? An excerpt from a new history.

by Arleen Marcia Tuchman
Wuhan Denialism

Dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 escaped from a lab in China as ‘a conspiracy theory’ is bad science

by Khaled Talaat
Plague as Punishment

On the eve of Tisha B’Av, a rumination on how we experience our worst misfortunes as punishments, and how some move from that to self-punishment and then to punishing others

by Norman Doidge
Will Fast, Cheap, and Plentiful Energy Be a Legacy of Los Alamos?

The atomic bombing over Japan 75 years ago today marked the beginning of an era we are only now fully coming into

by Khaled Talaat
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Tu B’Shevat
Sundown: 10:08 PM
3 days, 18 hours, 5 minutes until sundown

What is Tu B'Shevat? It’s the holiday that marks the new year for trees—a kind of Jewish arbor day. In Israel, it traditionally signals the beginning of spring.

When is Tu B'Shevat? The holiday’s name refers to its date on the Hebrew calendar, the 15th of the month of Shevat. On the English calendar, Tu B’Shevat 2021 begins at sundown on Wednesday, January 27, and ends at sundown on Thursday, January 28.

What's it all about? In the Mishnah’s tractate Rosh Hashanah, the rabbis engage in their trademark Talmudic discussions and determine that we must celebrate the beginning of the new year not once but four times. The first celebration, in the month of Nissan, is dedicated to the reigns of Israel’s kings. The second, in Elul, to animal tithes. The third is the one we all know, Rosh Hashanah, which falls on the first of Tishrei, when the Hebrew calendar starts anew. Finally, there’s Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of Shevat (a one-day holiday which begins at sundown), when we are to calculate the agricultural cycle and all biblical tithes involving trees and fruit.

Though a minor light in the holiday constellation, Tu B’Shevat nonetheless was of great importance when the people of Israel made a living working the land. In those ancient days, a host of prohibitions and demands—many still observed—guided Jewish life. Among those restrictions is orlah, the biblical prohibition against eating fruit produced during the first three years of the tree’s life, and ma’aser oni, the obligation to set aside a certain portion of crops for the poor. A calendar was necessary to help ensure that all these rules were observed on time. That calendar started in the middle of Shevat. And since the 15th day is marked by the Hebrew letters yud and heh—which, combined, spell out the direct name of God—the adjacent letters tet and vav were selected to signify the date instead.

Learn more about Tu B’Shevat →︎
February 25, 2021Sundown: 10:43 PM
March 27, 2021Sundown: 11:19 PM
May 17, 2021Sundown: 12:18 AM
Tisha B’Av
July 18, 2021Sundown: 12:31 AM
Rosh Hashanah
September 6, 2021Sundown: 10:59 PM
Yom Kippur
September 15, 2021Sundown: 10:44 PM
September 20, 2021Sundown: 10:36 PM
Shemini Atzeret Simchat Torah
September 27, 2021Sundown: 10:24 PM
November 28, 2021Sundown: 9:29 PM
December 25, 2021Sundown: 5:00 AM
Minneapolis, May 28, 2020KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

Hub City Riot Ninjas

A young overclass gets dressed up to join the burning

Michael Lind
June 02, 2020
Minneapolis, May 28, 2020KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

What is behind the riots? The violent riots emerging from peaceful protests that have swept liberal, Democratic big cities across the United States in the aftermath of the horrifying death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25 can only be understood in the context of the evolving class structure of American and Western European society. In my recent book The New Class War and the essays on which it was based in the journal American Affairs, I have explained that in the United States and other North Atlantic democracies, the greatest geographic divide is between high-density hub cities and low-density heartlands. The riots are a hub city phenomenon—and so are their most striking participants, affluent young white rioters dressed like ninjas.

Most factories, warehouses, distribution centers, and new industrial structures like server farms are located in the low-density heartlands, along with industrialized agriculture and energy and mining. The class system in the heartlands tends to be more egalitarian, if only by default, because these regions have relatively fewer rich and poor people as a share of the population than working-class residents. Native-born white citizens are the majority in the decentralized exurban heartlands. However, contrary to the outdated equation of “urban” and “minority” and “poor,” most African Americans and Hispanic Americans belong to the working class and live in the suburbs, exurbs, and small towns.

The hub cities have a radically different social structure than the heartlands. At the top are affluent members of the managerial-professional overclass, which includes well-educated immigrants as well as natives. Their incomes vary, but people with college or post-graduate educations dominate the upper rungs of corporate management, finance, business and professional services, government and the nonprofit sector in hub cities like New York, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, and Austin.

As young adults, the children of the overclass often spend their 20s in the same few cities, living in gentrified bohemian neighborhoods that used to be factory or tenement districts. Often as they work their way up the cursus honorum of their class, they benefit from elite apprenticeships in the form of unpaid or underpaid internships, which are not available to young people whose parents cannot afford to subsidize them.

The greatest social divide in the United States is that between the overclass with at least a four-year college education, about a third of the national population, and the working class whose education ends with a high school diploma and perhaps a few more years of education or vocational training, regardless of income. These broad categories can be broken down further.

In hub cities like New York and San Francisco, the overclass is divided between what might be called the upper overclass—the well-paid managers and professionals in business and finance—and the lower overclass—made up of civil servants like public school teachers and government administrators who accept modest salaries in return for de facto job tenure and good benefits, including public pensions.

The hub city working class is even more fragmented. Foreign-born immigrant diasporas provide much of the low-wage workforce. In New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, between 30% and 40% of the residents are foreign-born. Some of these immigrants are self-employed and own businesses, but many of them work as menial domestic servants, health aides or insecure gig workers without fixed schedules or employer-provided benefits.

Minneapolis, May 28, 2020KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

In addition to immigrant diasporas, in many American cities there are pockets of concentrated African American poverty. Many of their residents are descendants of people who migrated from the rural South between WWI and the 1960s to work in industries that no longer exist or have been offshored to other regions of the United States or other countries. Following deindustrialization, many of these families have lacked the resources to move. Trapped in derelict neighborhoods, they suffer from a lack of employment, poor access to amenities like stores, and local organized crime, in addition to the effects of real but gradually diminishing racism in American society as a whole.

Finally, what might be called the “upper working class” in hub cities is dominated by a different group of public servants, particularly police, first responders, and jail and prison guards. This stratum of the working class increasingly is racially diverse. Law enforcement officers tend to be from working-class families, but are unionized and tend to earn more and have better benefits than low-income immigrant workers or the native urban poor. In some parts of the country the police and fire fighters can afford to live in low-end suburbs and commute to work in the cities.

The two groups that dominate the public sector—the lower overclass of civilian public servants and the upper working class of law enforcement personnel and first responders—form a kind of human barrier between the mostly nonwhite poor and the mostly white economic elite in American hub cities. Public school teachers interact on a daily basis with low-income urban student populations, while many affluent whites, including elite progressives, put their kids in private urban schools or suburban schools. Meanwhile, police and first responders are summoned on a daily basis to deal with crimes and disputes in the poor urban neighborhoods.

These interactions between the native and foreign-born urban poor and the frontline public sector employees in big cities can create suspicion and hostility on both sides. In order to qualify for means-tested programs like food stamps and Medicaid, poor people have to deal with civil servants in bureaucratic agencies who are often burned out and indifferent. Police forces and jails and prisons have always attracted some bullies and criminals, and the stress and danger of their jobs brutalizes others. The populations that are means-tested and policed often feel under siege while those doing the means-testing and policing can feel disrespected and endangered.

Thus the kindling accumulates until it is ignited by some incident at the interface between the urban public sector and the urban poor. Usually a police killing or beating triggers an eruption of protest in a hub city. Even if the protest is peaceful at first, it is often hijacked by criminal gangs for whom it is an opportunity for looting. This was the story of major U.S. urban riots between WWII and the 21st century. (Most so-called “race riots” in the United States between the Civil War and WWII were different; they were violent pogroms by working-class whites against black competitors for jobs and neighborhoods, who were sometimes brought up from the South by industrial corporations as strikebreakers.)

Beginning in the 1960s and the ’70s, with the Weather Underground terrorists, and continuing in the 1990s, with “black bloc” vandals traveling around the world to smash office and hotel windows at global financial meetings, there has been a violent subculture on the radical left in the United States and Europe. For the most part, the members of groups like Antifa, the latest incarnation of the violent left, have always been the pampered children of the white overclass. Twenty-somethings who are poor and working class lack the money to buy fancy black ninja outfits and the leisure to spend time plotting in advance of demonstrations. This is nothing new; as a veteran ’60s leftist told me, “Your Mom and Dad had to have a lot of money, for you to take part in the Summer of Love.”

What is new about the nationwide riots of the last week that have followed the death of George Floyd is the convergence of these two previously separate streams—traditional urban riots in poor neighborhoods triggered by police-related incidents, and the ideologically motivated vandalism by young white members of the overclass in downtown districts. This convergence is the result of hub city gentrification.

The deindustrialization of the cities and rising real estate prices have forced most of the working class of all races out of hub cities into low-income suburbs and exurbs. The children of the white urban elite—some of them downwardly mobile for life, some of them just going through the underpaid intern phase of professional careers—have colonized rowhouses where workers once lived and have converted former factories and warehouses into settings for la vie bohème.

This group of 20- and 30-somethings in the new urban bohemia are the constituency for the new progressive left. Children of the managerial overclass join the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and engage in purges and cancellations on Twitter and move to Brooklyn on allowances from their parents. They demand that the billionaires be soaked to pay for socialism (translation: Mom and Dad need to increase my allowance).

Gentrification explains why there are so many white young adults, both ordinary protesters and anarchist vandals, compared to African Americans in the videos we see of protests and riots in big cities across the United States, compared to images of urban riots in generations past. Thanks to rising rents, young white leftists and liberals have been displacing the nonwhite working class and poor, many of them social conservatives, in places like Brooklyn and Oakland and Austin. While the initial occasion of a protest may be the death of a member of a minority group in police custody, affluent young white leftists are more interested in symbolic violence against capitalism or patriarchy or whatever.

These children of the economic elite end up harming those on whose behalf they pretend to be speaking. Like the upper-middle-class hippies of the 1960s who called police officers “pigs,” today’s affluent hipsters despise the police, many of whom are their age but are more likely than leftist radicals to be from working-class backgrounds and to be nonwhite. Slogans of elite radicals like “Abolish the Police and Prisons” and comparisons of the Border Patrol to the Gestapo are insults to the unionized, working-class Americans of all races employed by those institutions.

Dressing up as revolutionaries like children on Halloween, the sociopathic heirs of the overclass, already living in neighborhoods from which the working class was forced out by economic privation, take part in the vandalization, looting, and burning of local businesses, many of them owned by immigrants or members of minority groups. If they get arrested, the fortunate among them can count on being bailed out after phone calls to their indulgent liberal or moderate conservative parents, who live in expensive, nearly all-white urban and suburban neighborhoods and denounce racism and fascism on their Facebook pages.

It will take years for the American hub cities damaged by the riots, along with the pandemic and the lockdown, to recover, if they ever recover. The black poor and working class first had their urban industrial jobs taken away from them by corporate executives in the white overclass who offshored them to Mexico or China. Then they were replaced in their former urban neighborhoods by the hipster children of the white overclass. Now even their grievances like protests against horrific police brutality are stolen from them by their supposed allies in the white overclass and turned into an occasion for virtue-signaling or vandalism by the elite.

Many of today’s big city riot ninjas will look back in the future with pride on their nights of prancing around in black leotards and spraypainting “BLM” and “Fuck Trump” on downtown buildings. A decade from now, the most successful will have well-paying jobs, many of them in the politically progressive sectors like the universities and NGOs. The unlucky ones may still be working at Starbucks—perhaps at the very stores whose plate glass windows they once spray-painted or smashed.

Michael Lind is a Professor of Practice at the University of Texas at Austin, a columnist for Tablet and a fellow at New America. His latest book is The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite.