The Narcissism of The New York Times’ Foreign Coverage

The paper now presents everything that happens, anywhere in the world, through the frame of American domestic politics

by Jacob Siegel
Stop Being Shocked

American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology—one with dangerous implications for Jews

by Bari Weiss
The Supreme Court Matters Like Never Before

Is it now a legislature?

by Michael Lind
Trump and the Joys of Hatred

Explaining the nihilist candidate’s brutish appeal

by Paul Berman
Weimar Germany and Donald Trump

How traditional and radical conservatives come to speak a common political language—that ultimately benefits the extremists

by Eric D. Weitz
Would a Biden Victory Be a Win for the Working Class?

Sorry, but the 2020s will be a decade of horrors no matter which party rules

by Michael Lind
Biden and the ‘Russiagate’ Theorists

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

by Paul Berman
Max Rose Comes Late to the Party

The Staten Island congressman faces a tough reelection battle and a reckoning with policies that might be pursued by Democrats after a Biden victory

by Jacob Siegel
Bullies, Inc.

How CNN head Jeff Zucker’s Miami high school days explain the bizarro alt-reality world of his future frenemy, Donald Trump

by Andrew Fox
France’s Anti-Islamist Crackdown Continues After Schoolteacher Is Beheaded in Paris

Tablet’s correspondent reports from the Paris demonstration in support of murdered teacher Samuel Paty

by Vladislav Davidzon
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
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
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 WASP Roots of the Social Justice Movement

The ideology is nothing less than the Anglosphere’s first modern authoritarian political movement

by B. Duncan Moench
The Tech Monsters

Not all mergers are the same. The ones underpinning our biggest Silicon Valley companies are uniquely bad—and deeply un-American.

by Michael Lind
The Work-Pleasure-Surveillance Machine Threatens All of Us

What happens when our homes become our employers’ offices?

by Justin E.H. Smith
The Tech Industry Is Dead! Long Live the Tech Monopolies!

The tech titans of the new digital economy aren’t really technology companies anymore, they’re network monopolies and they’re here to stay

by David Auerbach
The New American Blindness

How the data-driven political journalism of Ezra Klein, Nate Silver, and others, applies the techno-elitist values of Silicon Valley to flatten political reality

by Sean Cooper
The ‘Diversity’ Trap

Progressive ideas about diversity have taken over the corporate world but they offer a skin-deep version obsessed only with color and conformity

by Zaid Jilani
Stop Being Shocked

American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology—one with dangerous implications for Jews

by Bari Weiss
The Supreme Court Matters Like Never Before

Is it now a legislature?

by Michael Lind
Empire of Emperors: What Is China, and Why You Should Worry About It

An excerpt from David Goldman’s new book: ‘You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World’

by David P. Goldman
How China Is ‘Sino-Forming’ the Planet

David Goldman’s new book rings an urgent alarm on China’s plans for global takeover but misses the communist regime’s vulnerability

by Gordon G. Chang
Religion, Science, and the Religion of Science

New York’s scapegoated Haredi communities appear to be the last Americans capable of maintaining a sane balance between science and faith

by Liel Leibovitz
There’s a Way to Avert the Looming Coronavirus Crisis in Hasidic Brooklyn. But the City Needs to Choose It Right Now.

Religious Jews are about to celebrate Simchat Torah, one of the calendar’s most joyous holidays, typically filled with singing and dancing. It’s a virus spike waiting to happen, unless the city reconsiders its broken approach and charts a new course with the community. Here’s how.

by Yair Rosenberg
The Kornbluh Riot

The discontent over unfair coronavirus restrictions in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox communities is boiling over and turning inward

by Armin Rosen
Dostoevsky’s Demonologies of Terror

What the Russian novel’s account of cosmic evil says about radical terrorism

by Val Vinokur
A Zek Remembers Stalin’s Camps

A new foreword to Julius Margolin’s stunning, recovered memoir of the gulag

by Timothy Snyder
A Jewish Vampire Story

The battle for the soul of a novelist, at Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Crete’s old Venetian port town of Chania

by Vladislav Davidzon
The Soul of a Machine

How theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore’s life and loves shaped her eerie music

by Samantha Shokin
Is Frankenstein’s Monster the Golem’s Son?

A Jewish literary mystery for Halloween

by Ed Simon
A Golem for Halloween

Gustav Meyrink’s 1914 novel is a spectacle of horror and backhanded anti-Semitism. What’s there to be afraid of?

by Alexander Aciman
A Dance for Trump-o-ween!

Jules Feiffer’s American Follies: The goblins are coming

by Jules Feiffer
The Afterlife

Alexander ‘Sasha’ Pechersky led a successful prisoner revolt at the Sobibor death camp. His story of extraordinary courage was also the story of millions of Soviet Jews who lived and died in a country that refused to acknowledge their fate.

by David Bezmozgis
The Happiest Man on Earth

The lowbrow Israeli filmmaker Yehuda Barkan, who died of COVID last week, leaves an underappreciated legacy of joy

by Liel Leibovitz
After the Fires

Will this moment’s challenges—and those unknown still to come—help our civilization move past an obsession with material prosperity?

by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The Language of Privilege

The jargon and weird abstractions are central to the birth of a new elite, which uses the language of wokese as a barrier to entry

by Nicholas Clairmont
The Artist Formerly Known as Guston

The late painter, now mired in a controversy not of his own making, is remembered by Art Spiegelman and his old friend Archie Rand as an uncompromising Jewish artist

by Jake Marmer
Attack of the Alphabet People

The teen coming-out rom-com ‘Love, Simon’ is a gem. Now the author of the book it is based on is assailed for her sexuality not matching that of her protagonists.

by James Kirchick
Stanley Crouch (1945–2020)

The great jazz and cultural critic, soloing over changes, sang his enthusiasm for America

by Paul Berman
Some Imperfect Wagnerites

‘Wagnerism,’ Alex Ross’ new work of cultural history, shows how Richard Wagner has been a flashpoint for arguments about decadence, nationalism, sexual revolution, and fascism—and anti-Semitism

by David Mikics
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
A Park Bench in Manchester Tells Me a Story

And I tell it one back

by Howard Jacobson
The Virus and My Friend Bernard

Q&A with Bernard-Henri Lévy

by David Samuels
Will Self

The half-Jewish English writer’s new drug memoir, ‘Will,’ dives from Hampstead Garden Suburb into an underworld

by Mardean Isaac
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
Tom Stoppard and Tony Kushner Wander Around Mitteleuropa

Suspended productions of ‘Leopoldstadt’ and ‘The Visit’ try to update the traumas that broke families in World War II

by A.J. Goldmann
Who Wore ‘Faust’ Best?

Thomas Mann and his son Klaus Mann both wrote novels that updated Goethe’s ‘Faust’ for the horrors of the 20th century. Whose version will be remembered?

by David P. Goldman
Paul Berman’s Crisis Notebook, II

A collection of pandemic and political jottings from Tablet’s ‘Modern Times’ column

by Paul Berman
Michel Houellebecq’s Toxic New Novel of an Islamist France

by Marc Weitzmann
Cruelty & Perversity: Postprandial Reflections on the PEN Protesters

by Paul Berman
The Charlie Cover

Slander, ridicule, and terror in post-1968 France

by Paul Berman
The Evangelicalization of Orthodoxy

Republican partisanship is becoming expected of the Orthodox—the way it’s expected of evangelical Christians

by Joshua Shanes
Why Humdrum Cheshvan Is the Jewish Month We All Need Right Now

No holidays. No special rituals. But it’s the perfect chance to rediscover the divine possibility of the boring.

by Stuart Halpern
The Orthodox and Trump: A Response

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg replies to ‘The Evangelicalization of Orthodoxy’

by Rabbi Yitz Greenberg
‘Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters’

Lessons for 2020 from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s 1963 address on religion and race

by Micah Streiffer
‘We Must Engage the World Right Now’

Rabbi Norman Lamm—theologian, orator, and my grandfather—believed that in the struggle against racism, Jews should both teach and listen

by Ari Lamm
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 Emperor’s New Clothes

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

by Michael Doran
Inside the Struggle Between Israel and Hezbollah

With ongoing Iranian backing, the Lebanese terror group is more determined than ever to deliver offensive blows inside Israeli territory

by Shimon Shapira
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 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
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
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
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
The Lost Taste of Tiberias

The ancient Israeli city’s distinctive culinary heritage draws from Arabic, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi traditions

by Janna Gur
Sweet History

How sugar became integral to the Jewish palate

by Jenna Weissman Joselit
Liquid Gold

‘The Chicken Soup Manifesto’ explores the universal appeal—and regional variations—of a culinary classic

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
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
Talking About the Election With Your Kids

What are your values, and how will you explain them to your offspring?

by Marjorie Ingall
Mourning RBG

On Yom Kippur, trying to learn life lessons from the Supreme Court justice

by Marjorie Ingall
Not Just a Justice, but Also a Mensch

What I learned about Ruth Bader Ginsburg in writing two children’s books about her

by Debbie Levy
Ghosts of the Ghetto

Rokhl’s Golden City: Who’s haunting Warsaw—and how?

by Rokhl Kafrissen
Sweet History

How sugar became integral to the Jewish palate

by Jenna Weissman Joselit
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
The Halloween Dilemma

How did a holiday that once seemed like a bit of harmless fun turn into a source of conflict for many American Jews?

by Jenna Weissman Joselit
It’s the Messiah, Charlie Brown

My father taught me that a Jew waits. And so I wait, out here in the pumpkin patch.

by Alter Yisrael Shimon Feuerman
How I Learned to ‘Observe’ Halloween and Embrace My Inner Freak

Growing up, my family ignored Halloween because of its religious origins. Now, it fits right in with who I am.

by Gabriela Geselowitz
Where Are All the Scary Jewish Children’s Books?

It’s Halloween. Kids want to be scared. And there is a gaping, bloody hole in the canon.

by Marjorie Ingall
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
Civil Rights: The View From an Orthodox Yeshiva

Halachic thoughts on the present unrest

by Cole S. Aronson
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
Books for Kids With Anxiety

A recent spate of titles can help children struggling in our scary world

by Marjorie Ingall
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
The Boys of Summer

When my father disappeared, I was left with questions. Decades later, I found some answers—in a book about baseball.

by Debby Waldman
The American Jewish Soviet Experience

A conversation with Natan Sharansky, author of ‘Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People’

by Izabella Tabarovsky
The Children’s Hell of Minsk

Newly discovered oral histories and memoirs depict horrifying Jewish experiences of Nazi brutality that were silenced and erased under Soviet rule

by Anika Walke
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
The Politics of the Pale

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

by Joshua Meyers
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
About Time

How early modern European calendars changed Jewish conceptions of time

by Anthony Grafton
The Rebellion Against Rashi

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

by Eric Lawee
What Comes After Liberalism

An excerpt from Bruno Maçães’ new book, ‘History Has Begun,’ explores the emerging ‘virtualism’ of America's post-liberal society

by Bruno Maçães
Red Army Zionist Fighters

Latvian Jews fought with Stalin against the Nazis for their very existence

by Konstantin Fuks
An Erroneous Diagram in the Vilna Shas

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

by Eli Genauer
Q&A: Noam Chomsky

The world’s most important leftist intellectual talks about his Zionist childhood and his time with Hezbollah

by David Samuels
Portland in a Chokehold

A race-related police incident from the 1980s, in an excerpt from a seminal study of white supremacy

by Elinor Langer
The Remarkable Story of ‘Shtiler, Shtiler’

On the anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto, how one of the era’s most famous Jewish songs was written by an 11-year-old boy

by Aviad Te’eni
A Mighty Empire Brought Down by Plague

We have seen this story before, says Kyle Harper’s brilliant ‘The Fate of Rome’

by Edward N. Luttwak
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Who Cares About a Matchmaker, Anyway?

Opposing rabbinic conceptions of marriage and matchmaking in Ashkenaz and Sepharad

by Ephraim Kanarfogel
Jewish Self-Government in Europe Was Not Just a Dream—It Was a Failure

The Council of Four Lands was the central body of Jewish autonomy in Poland for nearly two centuries. What went wrong?

by Moshe Rosman
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
‘Yeah, Yeah’: Eulogy for Sidney Morgenbesser, Philosopher With a Yiddish Accent

As his 10th yahrzeit nears, a remembrance of Sidney the teacher, Sidney the humorist, Sidney the arguer, Sidney the Jew

by David Shatz
How Think Tanks Became Engines of Royal Propaganda

What their French origins, and their waning and rising relevance to the power structures over the centuries, say about the new Washington

by Jacob Soll
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
What Hasidic Communities Can Teach Us About Fighting the Coronavirus

For Hasidic residents of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, having a doctor who understands their culture can be a matter of life and death—especially in the age of COVID-19

by Eli Reiter
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
Human Sacrifice and the Digital Business Model

Debates over free speech ignore the deeper problem: The tech monopolies that control social media have built their profit model on burnt offerings to the digital platform god

by Geoff Shullenberger
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
Vera Rubin, Astronomer

The influential Jewish scientist, who would have been 92 today, now has an observatory named after her

by John Tuttle
Koshering Your IVF Embryo

How a ‘mashgicha’ religious fertility supervisor watches over lab eggs and sperm to make sure there are no mix-ups

by Amy Klein
Google Censorship Is a Danger to Public Health

The monopoly platform’s new policy of disappearing documents at odds with the expert opinion of the moment is both sinister and stupid

by Jacob Siegel
The Science of Risk

Who knows best how to avoid harm?

by Steven Landsburg
Viral Math

For hundreds of years, mathematical epidemiology has helped us understand how diseases spread and what treatments will be effective against them

by Fred Brauer
Do Jews Carry Trauma in Our Genes? A Conversation With Rachel Yehuda.

by David Samuels
Up next
Sundown: 9:29 PM
1 month, 10 days, 11 hours, 33 minutes until sundown

What is Hanukkah? Hanukkah, aka the Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in the 2nd century BCE and the Maccabees’ uprising against the Greeks.

When is Hanukkah? Hanukkah 2020 begins at sundown on Thursday, December 10, ending at sundown on Friday, December 18.

What's it all about? Hebrew for “dedication,” Hanukkah is an eight-day-long celebration commemorates just that: the purging and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE after the Jews’ successful uprising against the Greeks.

Any bad guys? Absolutely: Antiochus IV, one the best villains in all of Jewish history. As his nicknames—“the Illustrious” and “Bearer of Victory”—suggest, the ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire was fond of waging war. He was engaging in that pastime in Egypt when a rumor circulated in the region that he’d been killed. Meanwhile, Jason, a Hellenized Jew who’d been deposed as the Temple’s high priest, heard of Antiochus’ death and saw an opportunity to reclaim his position, so he marched on Jerusalem with 1,000 men. Antiochus interpreted the clash in the holy city as a full-fledged Jewish revolt against the foreign rulers, and, in 167 BCE, he attacked Judea and punished its population by outlawing all Jewish rites and practices and mandating the worship of Zeus.

By so doing, most modern scholars agree, the king was simply intervening in an existing civil war between those Hebrews who called for a strict adherence to tradition and those, like Jason, who preached assimilation to Hellenism. Antiochus’ involvement, however, aggravated the internecine struggle and prompted the traditionalists to launch a genuine anti-Greek revolt, led by an aged priest, Mattathias the Hasmonean, and his five sons—Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah—the latter nicknamed HaMakabi, or the hammer, for his combat skills. Followers of the fighting family eventually became known as Maccabees. Two years later, led by Judah, the Maccabees succeeded in defeating Antiochus’ troops, recaptured the Temple, and set out to purge it of idols.

According to the Talmud, the Maccabees wished to light the Temple’s menorah, a traditional candelabrum that customarily burned through the night in Judaism’s holiest place, but discovered just enough oil to last for one day. Miraculously, however, the oil burned for eight days, a wonder we commemorate by lighting candles for eight nights.

Given its themes of Jewish nationalism and rebellion, the rabbis downplayed Hanukkah’s importance throughout the centuries in exile, fearing it might inspire their flock to imitate the Maccabees and take up arms. More recently, however, the holiday has experienced a renaissance: Celebrated on the 25th day of Kislev—and therefore usually falling somewhere between late November and late December on the Gregorian calendar—Hanukkah has emerged as a Jewish equivalent to Christmas.

Any dos and don'ts? The major ritual of the holiday involves lighting the hanukkiah, the proper name for an eight-flamed menorah, which should be completed each night no later than half an hour after nightfall (except on Fridays). The Talmud, in Tractate Shabbat, specifies that unlike Shabbat candles, Hanukkah candles must serve not for illumination but for the sole purpose of reflecting on the Hanukkah miracle. This is why we light them with another candle, called the shamash, meaning servant, and why we place them on a windowsill so they advertise the holiday’s miracle to the world entire.

There’s the tradition of playing with a dreidel, the Hebrew letters on which stand for “a great miracle happened there” (or, in Israel, “a great miracle happened here”). There is also the habit of giving gelt, or money, to children and young adults. Although there are several explanations concerning the origins of this custom, the most commonly held one dates to the 17th century and explains that with miracles and the elation of the historic victory on everybody’s minds, young, impoverished students would visit the homes of wealthy Jews and receive a few coins in return. More recently, nimble chocolatiers presented their own gold-foil-covered alternatives. Whether cash or cocoa, however, giving gelt fits in nicely with the overall spirit of December’s gift-giving mania.

Anything good to eat? It’s traditional on Hanukkah to eat fried foods like latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts)—a natural choice for an oil-themed holiday.

Learn more about Hanukkah →︎
December 25, 2020Sundown: 9:34 PM
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Who Is Ilhan Omar’s Opponent?

Soft-spoken lawyer and pastor Antone Melton-Meaux takes on one of America’s biggest political celebrities in Minnesota’s Democratic primary elections

Armin Rosen
August 03, 2020
At left, Democratic primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux; at right, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.Getty Images
At left, Democratic primary challenger Antone Melton-Meaux; at right, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.Getty Images

Running against Ilhan Omar would have been a political suicide mission even without a virus that made traditional campaigning all but impossible. Then, on May 25, a white Minneapolis police officer choked a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd to death on video. The atrocity that unleashed a global wave of protest and is now a synecdoche for all racism occurred in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which Omar represents. Her opponent, a 47-year-old lawyer, part-time pastor, and political neophyte named Antone Melton-Meaux must now grapple with an emotional historic moment, a telegenic political superstar, and a killer virus. And his job only keeps getting harder.

A few days before Melton-Meaux and I met in a conference room at a midtown Minneapolis law office where his Democratic primary campaign rents space, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Omar, giving the polarizing congresswoman a seal of approval from a national party leadership that had once been sharply critical of her. Then, on July 20, Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison, an Omar backer and her predecessor as the 5th District’s congressional representative, held a press conference with Ken Martin, the chair of the state Democratic Party, in which they characterized Melton-Meaux’s primary challenge as a shadowy outside plot. The $3.6 million Melton-Meaux had raised was part of an effort to “silence a progressive champion rooted in xenophobia,” Martin alleged. “Minnesotans need to ask where is this mountain of money coming from and why are they doing it and what do they expect for it,” mused Ellison, a progressive icon who is also the state’s top law enforcement official.

It was clear from the moment I met him that Melton-Meaux has at least one quality that money can’t buy—he was already seated at the conference table when I arrived at 8:52 a.m. on July 21, meaning he had been at least eight minutes early. He was dressed in a sharp blue blazer and an almost-matching surgical mask that never came down from over his nose and mouth. Compared to his often thrillingly unpredictable opponent, Melton-Meaux is an image of modulation, always speaking at the ideal indoor volume, and at a cadence that’s never agitated or dull. This levelness is professionally honed: Melton-Meaux is a lawyer who leads a mediation-services firm that he founded seven years ago, a line of work that often requires him to sit down for days at a time with people who sometimes “can’t stand to be in the same room."

He is slim—from what I could tell, almost completely fatless—in the way of someone who runs a lot. Melton-Meaux recalled a recent morning jog with his wife, who is a colorectal surgeon and medical-school professor, where they detoured to 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s murder. “There was nobody else there,” he recalled, his voice slowing and his eyes reddening. He took a deep breath: “I kinda stood where he was murdered and I thought about being able to speak as a voice of the community going forward as the next member of Congress and it was a humbling feeling and one that was something of a heavy burden too.” Floyd’s murder, he said, “is something that has the potential of changing the course of our country and calls for the best of us at every level of government and civic service, someone who is willing to surrender to the moment and give their very all. And she hasn’t done that.”

A Minneapolis congressional primary race in 2020 should probably be about the incumbent’s record and the ramifying cruelties of the George Floyd episode, in whose aftermath entire blocks of minority and immigrant businesses were destroyed. Melton-Meaux rejects calls for police abolition. Instead, he believes in redefining the “core function” of law enforcement around fairly narrow public safety objectives and then exploring “how to move funds from the police function into more supportive services for homelessness, mental health crises, and then education in our communities.”

George Floyd’s murder has the potential of changing the course of our country. It calls for the best of us at every level of government and civic service, someone who is willing to surrender to the moment and give their very all. And Ilhan Omar hasn’t done that.

Melton-Meaux said that business owners on riot-hit Lake Street in south Minneapolis have complained to him that the police haven’t answered 911 calls since late May. He adds that residents have told him that there are now only eight active officers assigned to a vast and disproportionately Black swath of the city’s northern neighborhoods. “We’ve seen what happens when the police aren’t present and there’s been a lot more violence since then in Minneapolis, separate and apart from the civil unrest,” he said.

The candidate’s pro-defund yet explicitly anti-abolition stance presents a meaningful disagreement with Omar, who has called to “disband” the Minneapolis Police Department. Yet instead of this friction of ideas, the race is increasingly about Melton-Meaux’s money—which has made Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District a proxy battleground for another issue that’s also fairly distant from the concerns of most voters.

“It hasn’t been a top issue that people talk about,” Melton-Meaux said when asked how often voters bring up the U.S.-Israel relationship. “It’s come up in the context of campaign money.” Somali-American voters don’t seem to care much about the topic either. “I spent lots of time with Somali community leaders, elected officials, civic leaders, and they don’t raise the issue of the Jewish community or Israel.”

Melton-Meaux seems less concerned with policy specifics than with reclaiming the allegedly squandered goodwill between the district’s Jews—who are a majority of Minnesota’s Jews—and their congressional representation. “What would you have the Jewish community do?” Melton-Meaux asked, referring to Omar’s pro-BDS stance and various conspiratorial utterances. “You’re on the Foreign Affairs committee. You’ve said and done these things toward the Jewish community and Israel. What would you have them to do? They’re looking for someone who is consistent, who will listen—you may not agree on all things, but someone they can trust who’s going to be honest.”

That Israel has become a salient issue in this race during a national crisis around race and policing hints at the unhealthy obsession with the Jewish state in American politics—as well as at Omar’s talent for making that obsession work for her. Omar is on the wrong side of American public opinion on just about anything related to Israel. But she has made the world’s most emotionally resonant international issue her own, and can claim that any opposition is really about punishing her for daring to speak the truth or to step out of line. Thus a recent Omar campaign mailer wondered, “Can we trust Antone Melton-Meaux’s money?” accusing him of being in “the pocket” of both “Wall Street” and the “GOP” and noting contributions from three wealthy Jews as well as “Michael, a donor from Scarsdale, New York.”

However unsubtle the flyer’s message, the suggestion that Melton-Meaux is a sleeper agent for a right-wing Jewish conspiracy is potentially damaging enough for him to have to respond. “I have gotten strength and support from the Jewish community and I’m not ashamed of that,” Melton-Meaux told me, adding that “for her to harp on that particular subset of voters is inaccurate and concerning.” He claimed that Omar is talking about his funders to distract from her own potential money issues, alleging that 95% of her fundraising “comes from outside the state of Minnesota, and the dollars that she has raised, the large plurality, over 40%, goes to her husband’s firm.” Omar’s supporters have twisted references to Melton-Meaux’s “American story” in his campaign material into dark aspersions about the congresswoman’s origins, something that clearly bothers him. “I would say that some of the tactics that they use, certainly on social media, are frankly reprehensible, and not grounded in facts ... to call me xenophobic, Islamophobic, someone who supports cop killers is beyond the pale. But that’s the politics that she embraces.”

Far beyond individual magnetism or a talent for confrontation, Melton-Meaux’s opponent possesses the rarest and most valuable quality in American politics, one that negative campaigning might actually magnify: She’s famous. Since American politics is increasingly a battle of presentation and narrative, it’s possible that no pitch, no matter how rational or brilliantly formulated, and no sum of money, whether raised in or out of state, can make up for a fame deficit.

Melton-Meaux’s earnestness outstrips his charisma, another potentially decisive point of contrast with Omar. Professionally, he is a mediator who is also a part-time pastor—he says he’s still passably literate in biblical Hebrew, which he learned at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, a school he attended after several years of working as a lawyer.

“I’m not interested in writing a book or being a celebrity,” Melton-Meaux said. Earlier in the interview, he’d alleged that Omar had been absent from the first day of the George Floyd protests, which he had attended, because she was holding a virtual launch for her newly published memoir. “She came back when there was sufficient press for her to make an appearance, right? Because that is the way that she likes to have herself presented. What they really needed was someone to walk with them, simply to be there and to show solidarity with the frustration that the community was experiencing. But she opted to do her own thing for her own self.”

Melton-Meaux doesn’t seem to be challenging Omar out of egotism, though it’s also possible he’s underrating the chances that a calculated egomania helped Omar become so formidable in such a short time. Whatever Omar’s record, and no matter where the candidates stand on any issues, he will win only if the voters decide they want someone who is close to the opposite of the unique type of political celebrity they chose to represent them the last time around.

Armin Rosen is a staff writer for Tablet magazine.