Tablet Magazine - a new read on Jewish life

Shalom Goldman

Featured Contributor

Read more by the professor of Religion at Middlebury College. His most recent book is Starstruck in the Promised Land: How the Arts Shaped American Passions about Israel.

TABLET MAGAZINE; ORIGINAL IMAGES: GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE, ISRAEL; FLICKR COMMONS

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

FRED W. MCDARRAH/GETTY IMAGES

Denise Levertov’s Poetic Gifts and Her Hidden Inheritance from Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

How the influential Jewish apostate to Christianity and self-described ‘Hebrew-Christian’ Paul Philip Levertoff influenced the art and activism of his daughter

SOPHIE BASSOULS/SYGMA VIA GETTY IMAGES

Raymond Carver, Israeli Writer

Though the great American storyteller never felt at home during his months in Tel Aviv, Israelis saw themselves in his direct sensibility

TT NEWS AGENCY/ALAMY

A Polish Christian Writes the Great Jewish Novel

A 700-page Polish novel is all the rage in Israel, but can it heal the rift between Poles and Jews?

CECIL BEATON/CONDÉ NAST VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Jewish Auden

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

Philip K. Dick’s Last Great Obsession

The Dead Sea Scrolls blew the sci-fi writer’s mind

JERUSALEM POST ARCHIVES

Johnny Cash in the Holy Land

The country singer—and a founding father of American Christian Zionism—bound for the Promised Land

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Unorthodox

Staying Cool

Ep. 326: Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb on the joys of summer camp, Cantor Yisroel Leshes on reinterpreting Yiddish jazz music

July 28, 2022

The Tab, Issue 28

The Tab is a curated weekly printable digest that collects recently published articles, newly relevant archival hits, recipes, an insert from our afternoon newsletter The Scroll, and more.

Bookmark The Tab archive to get your new edition every Friday at 10 a.m.

Issue 28: Tisha B’Av: The end of the living memory of the Holocaust, the ‘network state,’ the new Jewish awakening, a cold cherry soup for summer, and more.

Issue 27: Redefining the kibbutz, performative politics, American literature as 21st-century refuge, a belated Kaddish, and more.

Issue 26: In full, Armin Rosen’s in-depth report on the background of the uniquely American life of Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Also: surveillance, Judaism in translation, chocolate, and more.

Get Issue 25: The left’s First Amendment, tech-bro Miami, the Catholic Land Movement revival, a chocolate sponge cake recipe, and more.

Get Issue 24: Early American Zionism, post-Cold-War Germany, the #MeToo Rabbi, David Milch, Jacob Taubes, and more.

Take our special Summer Fiction issue to the beach!

Issue 22: LGBTQ Jews, the ‘pro-Jewish’ left, lost Aleppo, the chair dance’s ubiquity, and more.

Issue 21: The martyrdom of Ariel Pink, the mystery of Deutekom, abortion battle, blood donor bans, my father’s luxury car, and more.

Issue 20: Narrativizing refugees, a report from Donbas, how American writers made misery work, the renaming of a plant, and more.

Issue 19 Shavuot: the rules of conversion, Ruth, Sapphic Hollywood, ‘The Northman,’ and more.

Issue 18: Getting to religious divorce, moralizing museums, Middle Eastern restaurants in London, and more.

Get Issue 13: Passover

Download the special Tablet LA edition here.

Download Issue 1 here.

SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM
SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM
An American Antidote to Rage

The most urgent writers of today are Ralph Ellison, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, and Elizabeth Bishop

“The information isn’t frozen, you are,” Michael Herr said in “Dispatches,” maybe the best book about the Vietnam War. Fifty years later, information keeps streaming through us, at a higher and higher velocity, and we are frozen. Our best writers can unfreeze us. They override the notion that we’re helpless, and sometimes they do it paradoxically, by depicting people who are paralyzed and stuck. In this final installment of my American literature series, I will focus on a few post-World War II writers who tell us about our information-addled, alienated selves, and assess the chances of finding refuge: Ralph Ellison, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, Flannery O’Connor, and Elizabeth Bishop. The harbinger novel of post-World War II America is Ellison’s Invisible Man, published in 1952. Riffing on the familiar Balzacian story of a young man from the provinces who arrives in Paris to find his fortune, Ellison brings his nameless hero from the Deep South to New York, where he is thrown into the cauldron of left-wing politics: Ellison’s Brotherhood was a dead-on satire of the Communist Party, to which he had been briefly sympathetic. Every reader notices Ellison’s relish for jazz, African American folklore, and preacherly rhetoric, but these aspects of Black life are not sufficient to lend the invisible man substance. Both white and Black people project onto him whatever they want, and so he remains unseen. He ducks down a manhole to avoid a Harlem race riot spurred by a fire-breathing radical named Ras the Exhorter, and secures a basement lair illuminated by 1,369 electric lightbulbs (the number is the square of 37, Ellison’s age when he wrote the novel). Unlike his precursors—Dostoevsky’s Underground Man, Faulkner’s Joe Christmas, and Richard Wright’s Bigger Thomas—the invisible man is never cruel. ...

Continue reading →︎

David Mikics’ Four-Part Excavation of our National Literature

  1. 1

    What Was Ahhmehricahn?

    Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson

  2. 2

    American Freedom Is Greater Than Slavery and Ends in Death

    Frederick Douglass, Henry James, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton

  3. 3

    The Sunny Side of American Life

    Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather, Wallace Stevens, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, and Robert Frost

My Favorite Anti-Semite

More from our occasional series of tributes to writers, artists, philosophers, and others who hate us and to why we still find value in their work.

Hans-Jürgen Syberberg

The director’s films tackled the grandest questions in German culture and politics, before he turned his critical eye to the Jews

BY MARDEAN ISAAC

E. F. Cooper/Wikimedia Commons

Edith Wharton

There’s a barbarian at every gate

BY ANNE ROIPHE

Library of Congress

Ty Cobb

He was the greatest and strangest of all ball players, a fierce competitor, and a hateful person

BY ARI HOFFMAN

BODIG/ULLSTEIN BILD VIA GETTY IMAGES

Gregor von Rezzori

Why the German-language writer and memoirist yearned for an era he never knew

BY WESLEY YANG

AP

Amiri Baraka

Kaddish for the late poet with a history of bigotry, from a poet with a feeling for jazz

BY JAKE MARMER

Wikimedia Commons

Frank Norris

The progressive-era novelist’s greedy, red-haired, Polish Jew, Zerkow, is the 20th century’s greatest golem

BY ELISA NEW

Lucian Bert Truesdale/Wikimedia Commons

H.P. Lovecraft

The 20th-century master of horror admired Hitler but married a Jew and hated ‘alien’ cultures but created some of the most memorable ones in literature

BY HUNTER C. EDEN

Wikimedia

Rupert Brooke

Regardless of whether or not we should forgive our favorite artists for these sorts of opinions, one thing is clear: We definitely want to.

BY ALEXANDER ACIMAN

Featured Contributor: Marco Roth

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Unorthodox

Mellow Yellow

The Gist host Mike Pesca on the value of disagreement, and Argentine journalist Javier Sinay on ‘The Murders of Moisés Ville’

July 14, 2022

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