Bennett Muraskin

  • Essay

    The Long Jewish Relationship with Thomas Jefferson

    November 3, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    What explains the long history of Jewish admiration for this particular founding father?

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  • Essay

    Uri Avnery, 1923-2018

    August 21, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    The lion of Israel’s peace movement has passed away at age 94.

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    Rethinking the Exodus Story

    March 23, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    A Curmudgeonly, Skeptical Look at Those Miracles by Bennett Muraskin   THE PASSOVER HAGODE celebrates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt, but provides few details. Its source document is the Book of Exodus — which on this holiday deserves a closer look. Because Pharaoh fears that the burgeoning Israelite population will become a threat to his rule, he summons two Hebrew midwives and orders them to kill the newborn boys that they deliver from Hebrew women. Assuming ...

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    Arthur Szyk, a "Soldier in Art"

    February 14, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH ARTHUR SZYK (1894-1951) is best known today for his Illuminated Hagaddah (1940), still widely used at Passover seders, he was in many ways a political artist, a self-described "soldier in art," who used his talents to attack fascism, call for the rescue to European Jewry from Nazi-occupied Europe, promote the American war effort and make the case for a Jewish state in Israel. At the same time, he was a commercial artist  and book illustrator whose illustrations a...

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    Jewish Heretics and Heretical Jews

    January 25, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   A JEWISH HERETIC, in Yiddish and Hebrew, is an apikoyris -- a reference to the 3rd-century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus, who taught that the gods have no interest in human affairs and that people would be better off if we did not believe in divine rewards and punishment. (It is not surprising that Karl Marx, who was a materialist and atheist to the core, wrote his doctoral dissertation on Epicurean philosophy.) To Jews, however, the word was directed not only at atheis...

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    In Memoriam: Julius Lester

    January 24, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   JULIUS LESTER  (January 29, 1939-January 18, 2018) embodied the historic Black-Jewish bond in America, as well as Black-Jewish tensions, in his work as a prolific writer, folk musician, folklorist, and public intellectual -- and in the very fabric of his identity. The son of a Black minister, he grew up in the upper South, graduated  from the historically Black Fisk University in Nashville, then made his way to New York City with his guitar and joined the early 1960s fol...

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    In Memoriam: The Woman Who Popularized "Ms."

    January 18, 2018Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH Ms. magazine is most identified with Gloria Steinem, the woman who most popularized the term "Ms." was Sheila Michaels (1939-2017). The word enabled women to be identified as their own persons, rather than according to their marital status (Mrs. or Miss). Michaels' career included a variety of jobs including cabdriver, technical editor, co-owner of a Japanese restaurant (with her Japanese husband, a marriage that lasted for ten years), and oral historian. Her ac...

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    The UN Partition Plan, Seventy Years Later

    December 24, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   The United Nations Partition Plan of November 29, 1947 would have established an Arab state in about 45 percent of the British Mandate, with 55 percent allotted to a Jewish state. The two states were to form an economic union, and  Jerusalem was to be the capital of neither. but to be placed under UN control. I submit that the Arab failure to accept this two-state solution was a colossal, historic blunder, if for no other reason than the most Palestinians can hope to ach...

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    Nir Baram's Search for an Israeli-Palestinian Solution

    November 20, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: A Land Without Borders: My Journey Around East Jerusalem and the West Bank, by Nir Baram, translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen. Text Publishing, Melbourne, Australia, 2017, 284 pages.   FOR DECADES, Jewish Currents and others on the left have beat the drum for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the pre-Six-Day War 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and a limited "right of return" for...

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  • Writings Grid

    Aaron Lansky and the Gospel of Yiddish

    November 7, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   IS THERE A FUTURE for yidishkayt in North America? Aaron Lansky thinks so and offers as a model his National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. I just heard him speak at a synagogue in Livingston, New Jersey. Anyone who read his outstanding memoir, Outwitting History, would have been familiar with the first half of his talk: how his study of Yiddish in college led him to rescue old Yiddish books. By relying on Yiddish-speaking old-timers who stuffed him and h...

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    The Bund at 120

    October 31, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    A CONFERENCE REPORT by Bennett Muraskin Illustration by Aharon Varady TWENTY YEARS AGO, in honor of the centennial of the Jewish Labor Bund, a day-long conference took place in New York City. Among the speakers were a surviving Bundist leader, Motl Zelmanowicz, and a prominent historian of European Jewry and the left, Abraham Brumberg. Other speakers included historians Daniel Soyer and Jack Jacobs, both of whom specialize in the history of the Bund, and poet and educator Irena Klepfisz, who a...

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    More about Marxism: Time to Give Up the Ghost

    October 18, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   To read Sam Friedman's recent "Why I'm (Still) a Marxist" in Jewish Currents, click here. To read Lawrence Bush's "Why I'm Not (Still) a Marxist," click here. To read about Jewish Currents' communist history, click here.   IS THERE any precedent in world history for a successful socialist economy? Every place that it was tried, it failed. The Soviet Union and its East European satellites are the prime examples, but not the best. Comparisons between once or currently div...

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    Mishegos and Mayhem in the Yiddish Press

    September 22, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Bad Rabbi and Other Strange But True Stories From the Yiddish Press, by Eddy Portnoy. Stanford University Press, 2017, 264 pages.    EDDY PORTNOY, a senior researcher and director at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, who knows Yiddish as well as anyone in his field (and has unearthed such forgotten gems from Yiddish culture as Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler's Modicut Puppet Theater), has now scoured Yiddish newspapers published in New York City an...

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    Some Religious Roots of Jewish Humor

    August 26, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin No matter how bad things get, you've got to go on living, even if it kills you. --Sholem Aleichem   THE STEREOTYPE of the funny Jew is relatively new. Traditionally, Jews were the butt of antisemitic jokes. Among themselves they made fun of the gentiles, but it was far too dangerous to take that act on the road. The Haskalah, or Jewish enlightenment, loosened the hold of rabbis and introduced Jews to modern secular European civilization, and they soon became its greatest pr...

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    Free Palestine?

    August 15, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin At the convention of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in Chicago this month, a resolution was adopted calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. Its passage was accompanied by chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The resolution declares its “solidarity with Palestinian civil society’s non-violent struggle against apartheid, colonialism, military occupation and for equality, human rights and self-determination.” There is ...

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    Newark, 1967: Rebellion? Race Riot? Or Just Plain Riot?

    July 18, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin   PRIOR TO THE 1960s, race riots were indeed what they sound like: Violent clashes between mobs of Whites and Blacks. Whites were typically the aggressors. The best (or worst) examples were the 1863 Draft Riots in New York City where, in addition to protesting the military draft, poor Irish attacked Black people and their property, and the 1919 riots in Chicago, where White mobs rampaged through Black neighborhoods after a Black child had accidentally drifted into a beach r...

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  • Writings Grid

    The Rightwing Specter

    June 8, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick. Yale University Press, 2017, 288 pages, indexed.   A SPECTER is haunting Europe, but it sure as hell isn’t communism. It is rightwing nationalist populism. Its targets are the European Union, globalization of capital, and immigration. If unchecked, it may change Europe from a stronghold of democracy to a region of emergent authoritarianism. James Kirchick, an auth...

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    American Resistance to World War I

    May 23, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: War against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, by Michael Kazin. Simon and Schuster, 2017, 400 pages. THE UNITED STATES did not enter World War I until April 1917, over two and a half years after the war began. If the militaristic Theodore Roosevelt had won the presidency in 1912 (he came in second), and had the Republicans attained a majority in Congress, the U.S. would likely have declared war a lot sooner. But the Democrat Woodrow Wils...

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    In Memoriam: Irwin Corey

    February 16, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin "THE WORLD'S FOREMOST AUTHORITY," Irwin Corey, has died at the ripe old age of 102. His shtik was to impersonate a professor spouting intellectual gibberish. He typically started his shpil with "However," and, after a barrage of wordy non-sequiturs, ended it by asking "What was the question?" Typically in the course of his routine he would take questions from his audience and show off his improvisational abilities in response. His comedy was meant to deflate the pretensions ...

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    Constructing Liberty: An Immigration Anthology

    February 14, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Becoming Americans: Immigrants Tell Their Stories from Jamestown to Today, edited by Ilan Stavans, The Library of America, 2009 (paperback edition 2013), indexed, 724 pages. ILAN STAVANS is a Jewish immigrant to the U.S. from Mexico. His parents were born in Eastern Europe. As a Jew, and a secular Jew at that, he never felt at home in Mexico, but after a period of adjustment, he feels fully at home in the U.S. He is a professor of Latin American and...

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    In Memoriam: Henry Foner

    January 31, 2017Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin HENRY FONER (March 23, 1919—January 11, 2017), the last of the four activist Foner brothers -- all heroes to Jewish Currents readers and other progressives -- has left us at age 97. His loss will be felt deeply by JC: He was the eldest member of the magazine's Editorial Board and a contributor our pages. (His delightful Songs and Poems (For Better or Verse), published in 2013, is available from the JC Pushcart.) No one who met Henry can forget his warmth and sense of humor, ...

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    People of the Book 101

    December 15, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature, by Adam Kirsch. W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, 407 pages. LITERARY CRITIC, essayist, and secular Talmudist Adam Kirsch is a 40-year-old Jewish intellectual with an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge. He has a regular column in the online Jewish journal Tablet and contributes to the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker and other publications. At the same time, he directs th...

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    Publications for Secular Jewish Kids: A History

    December 2, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Raising Secular Jews: Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for American Children, 1917-1950 by Naomi Prawer Kadar. Brandeis University Press, 2017, 282 pages. READERS of Jewish Currents should already know something about the history of secular Jewish/Yiddish education in the U.S. from Barnett Zumoff’s review in Jewish Currents of Passionate Pioneers: The Story of Yiddish Secular Education in America, 1910-1960, an excellent survey of this subject ...

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    A Cornucopia of Yiddish Stories

    November 20, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Have I Got a Story For You: More than a Century of Fiction from the Forward, edited by Ezra Glinter. W.W. Norton, 2017, 433 pages. IT IS A TRIBUTE to the Jewish love of the written word that the Yiddish Forward newspaper regularly published Yiddish literature. More than a century of its selected fiction in translation has now been edited by Ezra Glinter, who writes for the Forward. Novelist Dara Horn provides the Introduction. One of the translators...

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    In Memoriam: Jack Greenberg, Gene Wilder

    October 29, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin JACK GREENBERG (December 22, 1924—October 12, 2016; shown above with Constance Baker Motley and Thurgood Marshall) was hired at 24 in 1949 by Thurgood Marshall, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as part of its legal team. He was the only white person on Marshall's staff. In one of his first cases, Greenberg convinced the Delaware courts to order the desegregation of the University of Delaware. The case became an important precedent for the landmark Brown v. Board of ...

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    Jews Among the Wobblies

    October 17, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin THE MOST RADICAL labor union in American history was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), colloquially known as the Wobblies. Its active years were from 1905 to 1919, with some campaigns extending into the 1920s. Fierce government repression during and after World War I, along with vigilante violence and internal divisions, dealt the IWW blows from which it never recovered, although it continues to exist on a very small scale until this day. Its philosophy can be desc...

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    In Memoriam: Fred Hellerman, Oscar Brand

    October 14, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    TWO PILLARS OF PROGRESSIVE FOLK MUSIC by Bennett Muraskin Fred Hellerman (May 13, 1927 - September 1, 2016) was the last surviving member of the Weavers, the legendary folk group made up of Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert. The group formed in late 1948, named by Hellerman after a German play that depicted an uprising by exploited weavers in the 19th century. Originally, the Weavers played for free at union halls, labor rallies and benefit concerts for leftwing causes. Th...

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    In Memoriam: Stanley Sheinbaum

    September 28, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    (JUNE 12, 1920--SEPTEMBER 12, 2016) by Bennett Muraskin STANLEY SHEINBAUM is proof positive that there is such a thing as a progressive millionaire. (Julius Rosenwald and Edward Filene are other examples.) In a career that spanned over five decades, he secured the release of a leftwing political prisoner in Greece; raised funds for the defense of Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times; met with Yasir Arafat to convince him to renounce terrorism and recognize the ...

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    Articles

    Premature Anti-Fascism

    September 4, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    LOOKING BACK AT THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Bennett Muraskin Published in the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1938, by Adam Hochschild. Princeton University Press, 2016, 288 pages. FOR THE AMERICAN LEFT, the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, was a noble cause.  As the U.S. stood by, fascism rose up in Spain, in a rehearsal, of sorts, for World War II. Young American progressives volunteered to fight, motivate...

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    Oedipus in Brooklyn

    August 22, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel, translated from the Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, Mandel Vilar Press/Dryad Press, 2016, 225 pages. THERE WAS A TIME when female Yiddish writers were virtually unknown in English translation. Irving Howe did not include a single one in his groundbreaking A Treasury of Yiddish Short Stories (1954). But this is no longer the case. I know of four anthologies of Yiddish short sto...

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    Against the Phrase, "White Privilege"

    July 23, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin THE TERM “white privilege” should be discarded. This is not to say that African-Americans are not subject to many forms of racial discrimination -- including in the realm of policing and the criminal justice system. Blacks are disadvantaged, historically and still today, in housing, education, employment, healthcare, and more. The "Do Black Lives Matter?" editorial in the Spring edition of Jewish Currents detailed that very effectively. Still, most white people in America a...

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    The Menorah Journal

    July 13, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin THE MENORAH JOURNAL, founded in 1915, was the leading English-language Jewish intellectual and literary journal of its era. Unfortunately, it was never fully appreciated by the secular Jewish movement of its day, and its impact on Jewish intellectual life continues to be neglected by the American Jewish community as a whole. The Journal had its roots in the Menorah Society, founded by sixteen Jewish students at Harvard University in 1906. Inspired by the humanist philosophe...

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    The Life, Times, and Legacy of Sholem Aleichem

    May 7, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    For His 100th Yortsayt, May 13th by Bennett Muraskin SHOLEM ALEICHEM (1859-1915) is best remembered as the author of the stories about Tevye the dairyman, which were adapted in our time into the hugely popular Broadway play and Hollywood movie, Fiddler on the Roof. He is most often been depicted as "writer of the people," a folk-writer, whose work captured the vanishing world of traditional Jewish life in the Russian shtetl with pathos and humor. For Americans who know little about him, he is ...

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  • Articles

    In Memoriam: Theodore Bikel

    May 1, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    May 2, 1924 — July 21, 2015 by Bennett Muraskin From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents THERE ARE FEW contemporary Jews who have been more steeped in the tradition of progressive yiddishkayt than Theodore Bikel. He grew up in Vienna, but after Nazi Germany took over the country in 1938, his family emigrated to Palestine. Bikel’s father was a socialist and a Zionist (he named his son for Theodor Herzl), fluent in both Hebrew and Yiddish, and he passed to Theo a love for Jewish languages,...

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    A Short History of Jews in the American Labor Movement, Part 3

    April 7, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin To read Part 1, click here. To read Part 2, click here. MUSIC was an integral part of the left wing of the labor movement -- Jewish and non-Jewish. Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger (non-Jews) began singing in union halls and picket lines across the country in the late 1930s. After World War II, Seeger, Lee Hays and two Jewish performers, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman, formed the Weavers, and packed concert halls in major venues, singing folk songs and songs of social justi...

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    A Short History of Jews in the American Labor Movement

    March 24, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin THINK OF the greatest strikes in U.S. labor history and, apart from the garment workers strikes in New York and Chicago before World War I, none come to mind in which Jews played a major role. The railroad workers strike in 1877, the strike for the eight-hour day in 1886, the Homestead Strike in 1892, the Pullman strike in 1894, the coalminers strike in 1902, the steelworkers strike in 1919, the general strike in San Francisco in 1934 and the autoworkers sit-down strike in 1...

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    Dispatches from Yiddish New York

    January 1, 2016Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin I CONFESS that I never made it to Klezkamp, which had its final hurrah a year ago. I was not willing to sacrifice the time and money to stay overnight at a hotel in the Catskills, and I had the impression that the program was mostly about klezmer music, which is only a shtikl (small piece) of Yiddish culture and not, for me, the most significant. But this year, the successor to Klezkamp came to New York City (the 14th Street YMHA and the Town and Village synagogue next door...

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  • Blog-Shmog

    Gun Control May Be a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    December 15, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin I RESPECTFULLY SUGGEST that “gun control” should not be accepted at face value by leftists. Take the current proposal to stop persons on the federal “no fly list” from buying guns. Such a ban would arguably affect innocent Arab and Muslim Americans who do not belong on that list to begin with. Mistaken identity is definitely an issue when it involves foreign surnames, but even assuming the accuracy of the “no fly list,” when the National Rifle Association argues that people...

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  • Articles

    From Yiddishland to America

    June 14, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    The Creation & Preservation of YIVO by Bennett Muraskin From the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation, by Cecile Esther Kuznitz, Cambridge University Press, 2014, 307 pages, indexed.   IN 1940, TO ESCAPE THE RAVAGES of World War II, Max Weinreich, the guiding light of YIVO — the Yiddish Scientific Institute — moved it from Vilna, Poland to New York City. He did not know at the time t...

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    Jews and Baseball: Highlights, Low Lights, and Shining Lights

    May 23, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin FOR JEWISH CITY KIDS in 20th-century ethnic ghettos, baseball was not so much a participatory sport as a spectator sport. Jewish boys could imitate baseball with stickball or punch ball on streets, courtyards, and alleyways, but they did not have enough open space to play actual baseball — at least not until the cities started building parks and ball fields, and Jewish kids started going to colleges that had baseball teams. Nevertheless, because baseball was the “national pa...

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    Torturing the Talmud

    March 13, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    In the Name of Feminism by Bennett Muraskin Reviewed in this essay: A Bride for One Night: Talmud Tales, by Ruth Calderon (translated by Ilana Kurshan). Jewish Publication Society,2014, 163 pages. RUTH CALDERON HOLDS a doctorate in Talmud from Hebrew University. She is currently a member of the Knesset representing the Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, which is part of the ruling coalition government in Israel led by Likud. She is also a secular Jew and a feminist who believes that the Orth...

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    Is Israel Really "The Jewish State"?

    February 28, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin OVER SIX MILLION Jews live in Israel, the largest Jewish community in the world. Its flag is a Jewish symbol; its national anthem appeals to the “Jewish soul;” Jewish holidays are national holidays; the official language is Hebrew. Jerusalem, the capital of ancient Judea, is the also the capital of modern Israel, and the longing for "Zion" is at the heart of Jewish liturgy. Can you get more Jewish than that? Millions of Jews outside Israel have visited and have relatives an...

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    BORING!! Reflections on a Bar Mitsve Service

    February 16, 2015Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin WENT TO A FAMILY bar mitsve in Brooklyn at a well-known Conservative synagogue. The service lasted around three hours, and it might have been longer but the rabbi did not even deliver a sermon and the parents did not come up to the bima to talk about their son. Actually, a sermon is one thing I look forward to. Some rabbis have important things to say. In this case the rabbi was a woman, assisted by a woman rabbinical student. They both stuck to the prescribed ritual like g...

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    You Know More Yiddish Than You Think

    December 10, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    Yiddish Words and Expressions Widely Used in American Culture by Bennett Muraskin Illustrations by Johanna Kovitz, from the Autumn 2013 issue of Jewish Currents   JEWS WITH ROOTS IN EASTERN EUROPE, where Yiddish once flourished, make up only a tiny percentage of the U.S. population, and very few speak the language today. Yet Yiddish has had a major impact on American English. That's because of the oversized role of Yiddish-speaking and Yiddish-influenced Jews in media — radio, TV, movies, pla...

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    The Last Empire: If Only

    November 14, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serghii Plokhy, Basic Books, 2014, indexed, 489 pages. THE COLLAPSE of the Soviet Union in December 1991 was a pivotal event in modern world history. The first self-proclaimed socialist state and by far the largest country in the world, which at one time commanded the allegiance or sympathy of millions of people on every continent, dissolved before our very eyes and split into fifteen independen...

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    Mameloshn: Jacob Dinezon, Yiddish Literary Patron and Participant

    November 2, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin Reviewed in this essay: Memories and Scenes: Shtetl, Childhood and Writers, edited and with an introduction by Scott Hilton Davis, translated from the Yiddish by Tina Lunson. Jewish Storyteller Press, 2014, 240 pages.   JACOB DINEZON WAS AN IMPORTANT PERSONALITY in the history of Yiddish literature. As noted by Scott Hilton Davis in his introduction to Memories and Scenes, Dinezon provided moral and material support to many Yiddish writers, in particular I. L. Peretz. Shol...

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    A Secular Yom Kippur Service

    October 2, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    Click here for a secular Yom Kippur service by Bennett Muraskin of the Jewish Cultural School and Society of New Jersey. For information about their services on October 4th, click here....

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    Why Reparations Now?

    August 7, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes "The Case for Reparations" in The Atlantic — But Our Blogger Respectfully Disagrees by Bennett Muraskin SLAVERY ENDED IN 1865. Jim Crow about a century later. Civil rights legislation banned de jure discrimination and anti-poverty and affirmative action programs have provided a degree of remediation. Many government agencies were established to eradicate racial discrimination in employment, education, housing, etc. As a result, since the 1960s, African Americans have mad...

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    When I Was Against Gun Control — and Why I Changed My Mind

    July 18, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennett Muraskin LIKE MANY OF MY GENERATION, I was active on the left. From the mid to late 1960s to the late 1970s, I was affiliated with Trotskyist organizations. We considered ourselves revolutionaries, and foresaw the day when the working class would rise up against capitalist oppression, overthrow the government, and establish a proletarian dictatorship. There was no doubt in our minds that this could not be accomplished without violence. When the revolutionary situation was ripe, we wo...

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  • Articles

    Sholem Aleichem's Show Biz Triumph

    July 6, 2014Bennett Muraskin

    by Bennet Muraskin From the Spring, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof, by Alisa Solomon. Metropolitan Books, 2013, 448 pages. It has been half a century since the Broadway opening of Fiddler on the Roof in 1964 — and a century since Sholem Aleichem wrote his last Tevye story in 1914, two years before his death. Such a time span gives rise to an historical reckoning, and Wonder of Wonders admirably fits the bill. ...

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