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In Memoriam: Henry Foner

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 […]

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People of the Book 101

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 […]

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Publications for Secular Jewish Kids: A History

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 […]

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A Cornucopia of Yiddish Stories

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 […]

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Jews Among the Wobblies

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, […]

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In Memoriam: Stanley Sheinbaum

(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 […]

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Premature Anti-Fascism

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 […]

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Oedipus in Brooklyn

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 […]

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