Navigate to Arts & Letters section

Tablet Top Tens

Here are all the articles we highlighted at years’ ends, over the years. Happy New Year!

by
The Editors
December 26, 2022
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Editor’s note: Tablet Top Tens: Entirely subjective annual lists, presented in no particular order, of our 10 favorite articles from Tablet’s Arts & Letters, News, Science, History, Israel & Middle East, and Sports sections each year. “Favorite” here means somewhere at the nexus of these pieces’ intrinsic merits and the measurable ways that readers engaged with them. If you caught them when they came out, they bear re-reading. If you missed them, you’re in for a treat. We feature them, two a day, the last week of the year, so you can peruse at your holiday leisure, and remember another extraordinary year. 

2022

Brokenism: The real debate today isn’t between the left and right. It’s between those invested in our current institutions, and those who want to build anew.
BY ALANA NEWHOUSE

The Rower: A story about karma
BY DAVID SAMUELS

Valya: A love story
BY YELENA AKHTIORSKAYA

Ukraine Will Win: A tour of frontlines and liberated cities during Zelensky’s great counteroffensive revealed a country ruined, ravaged, and on the brink of victory
BY BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY

The Genizah of the Self: I bid goodbye to my boxes
BY MARCO ROTH

The Kveen: An English Jew pays his respects
BY HOWARD JACOBSON

Code Pink: How Pitchfork darling Ariel Pink became a music industry untouchable
BY ARMIN ROSEN

The End of Progressive Intellectual Life: How the Foundation-NGO complex quashed innovative thinking and open debate, first on the American right and now on the center-left
BY MICHAEL LIND

The Idol and the Mosque: The rebuilding of a temple that may never have existed on the site of a destroyed mosque in Ayodhya is part of a larger, decadeslong attempt by Hindu nationalists to recreate India in their own image
BY SIDDHARTHA DEB

The Cult of Masked Schoolchildren: History will not look kindly on our evidence-free decision to make kids suffer most
BY VINAY PRASAD

2021

An Almost-Country in the Desert That Doesn’t Care About Your Understanding of Politics: Observing the recent elections in Somaliland
BY ARMIN ROSEN

Everything is Broken: And how to fix it
BY ALANA NEWHOUSE

Needle Points: Why so many are hesitant to get the COVID vaccines, and what we can do about it
BY NORMAN DOIDGE

I Have Been Through This Before: Don’t wear a mask; you must wear a mask. Buy a pulse oximeter. Stock up on Tylenol, vitamin D, Pepcid. Whisper so you don’t spit. Stand six feet from others—no, 10. Wear gloves. Wear two masks! Open the windows. Close the schools. The dizzying madness of COVID, and the reliance on gurulike experts, has been eerily familiar.
BY ANN BAUER

The Thirty Tyrants: The deal that the American elite chose to make with China has a precedent in the history of Athens and Sparta
BY LEE SMITH

France’s Great Debate Over the Sources and Meaning of Muslim Terror: A rivalry between the country’s two most prominent ‘Islamologists,’ Olivier Roy and Gilles Kepel, holds the key to understanding the existential and geopolitical tensions in France’s bloody reality
BY MARC WEITZMANN

The Doublethinkers: In assessing my own liberation, I recall a conformity that feels terrifyingly familiar today
BY NATAN SHARANSKY WITH GIL TROY

The Woke Meritocracy: How telling the right stories about overcoming oppression in the right way became a requirement for entering the elite credentialing system
BY BLAKE SMITH

The New Americans: In a moment of anger, chaos, and disintegration, they gave us hope
BY DAVID SAMUELS

Clothes for the Man Who’s Got Nowhere to Wear Them: A Gatsby-esque collection of shirts and ties speaks to the COVID age of sweatpants and sneakers
BY HOWARD JACOBSON

2020

The American Soviet Mentality: Collective demonization invades our culture
BY IZABELLA TABAROVSKY

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

Stanley Crouch (1945–2020): The great jazz and cultural critic, soloing over changes, sang his enthusiasm for America
BY PAUL BERMAN

Do Holocaust Survivors Dream of Electric Sheep? The profound weirdness of the Shoah Foundation’s hologram effort
BY MATTHEW FISHBANE

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

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 AND PETER ROUGH

Stop Being Shocked: American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology—one with dangerous implications for Jews
BY BARI WEISS

The Fox and Lox: A high-stakes poker story for Valentine’s Day
BY LESLIE EPSTEIN

The Burning of Minneapolis: Visiting the site of the American Golgotha reveals an ongoing catastrophe that seems unlikely to end anytime soon
BY ARMIN ROSEN

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

Ilya Milstein

2019

Drakeo the Ruler Speaks to Tablet From Prison: West Coast rap god, shackled in the K-19 unit of the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, a week before his murder trial
BY JEFF WEISS

Cities of Ice: A dispatch from frozen Harbin, where Jews once flourished—and melted away
BY DARA HORN

America’s New Sex Bureaucracy: Meme Wars: How campus Title IX courts’ guilty-until-proven-innocent subversion of due process is a harbinger of a dangerous wider shift in liberalism
BY WESLEY YANG

‘Prairie Fire’ Memories: What does the Weather Underground’s 45-year-old manifesto have to tell us today?
BY JONAH RASKIN

I Destroyed a LeWitt: How the father of minimalism brought power to the people, and learned to let go
BY JEREMY SIGLER

2018

The Amazing Return of the Yabloner Rebbe: An astonishing true story of a man’s encounter with fate
BY PINI DUNNER

Me, U, Baku, Quba: How a tiny enclave of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan produced some of the former Soviet world’s richest men
BY JOSHUA COHEN

The Cross on Our Foreheads: The best Yiddish story ever written about a pogrom is by Lamed Shapiro, the early 20th-century American Yiddish writer who wanted the Jews to get woke
BY DARA HORN

Knives: Tablet Original Fiction: Anger management in a Vancouver restaurant
BY AYELET TSABARI

The Shocking Truth About Jordan Peterson: Meme Wars: How the Twitter mobs choose their targets
BY WESLEY YANG

The Truth About George Soros: Understanding the Jewish billionaire—who is neither the villain of right-wing caricature, nor the angel of left-wing hagiography
BY JAMES KIRCHICK

The Half-Life of Sexual Abuse in a Holocaust-Survivor Family: Helen Epstein completes her clear-eyed, fearless, taboo-breaking autobiographical trilogy
BY IRENA KLEPFISZ

Is This Story Real? A manuscript of a Holocaust tale published in France roped scores of people into a mystery. Including me.
BY MATTHEW FISHBANE

A Last Conversation with Aharon Appelfeld: The great Jewish writer on his linguistic and literary heritage, the Bohemian way, and the catastrophic modern break between Jews old and new
BY DAVID SAMUELS

In the Vernadsky Library: Newly digitized recordings offer an unprecedented glimpse of the Ukrainian-Jewish past
BY JAKE MARMER

2017

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 Gift of the Mishnah: For the first time in English, a short story by the Yiddish master, in which 19th-century Hasidism meets its radical grandchildren in the 20th
BY ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER

The Secrets of John Singer Sargent’s Jewess, Lady Adele Meyer: How the American master came to this living portrait, true to life—but what life?
BY JEREMY SIGLER

Raped By Carl Jung, Then Murdered by the Nazis: But the theft and erasure of Sabina Spielrein’s intellectual legacy by the psychoanalytic establishment may be an even more troubling crime
BY PHYLLIS CHESLER

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

Frederick Wiseman Is Here: With a penetrating new film on the Public Library, the master documentary filmmaker continues his generous 50-year X-ray view of the human systems behind American democratic life
BY SEAN COOPER

Fabien Clain and the Origins of Islamist Terror in France: Six Years of Syrian Civil War: A French citizen who disappeared into the wreckage of Assad’s state now sends operatives home to fight a brutal war with the West
BY MARC WEITZMANN

On Linda Sarsour’s Politics of Hate and the Pathos of Her Jewish Enablers: The Muslim American activist speaks at CUNY, where the twisted, anti-Semitic logic of the new left is that to be a good progressive, one must stand against Jewish self-assertion and national aspirations
BY JAMES KIRCHICK

Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press: How did we get from ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is to know about a flashy New York real estate salesman to not knowing anything about the President of the United States and his ties to Russia?
BY LEE SMITH

The Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto: How Kalonymous Kalman Shapira’s ‘Holy Fire’ spread out of the Holocaust and into the non-Hasidic world
BY SHAUL MAGID

From the editors of Tablet Magazine.

Become a Member of Tablet

Get access to exclusive conversations, our custom app, and special perks from our favorite Jewish artists, creators, and businesses. You’ll not only join our community of editors, writers, and friends—you’ll be helping us rebuild this broken world.