Advertisement

The Origins and Meanings of Ashkenazic Last Names

by Bennett Muraskin (Editor’s note: Corrections and updates for this article are listed at the end of it. See also Bennett Muraskin’s follow-up piece by clicking here. For a musical exploration of Ashkenazic names by Corey Weinstein, click here.) Ashkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some German-speaking Jews took last […]

Read More

Jews and the Left: A Conference Report

by Bennett Muraskin YIVO’s Jews and the Left International Conference (May 6-7) played to a packed house, but it was no celebration. Historian Ezra Mendelsohn, Hebrew University professor emeritus and editor of Essential Papers on Jews and the Left (1997), concluded the conference with a eulogy and not a very favorable one at that. The […]

Read More

Jews in American Sports

by Bennett Muraskin From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents FOR THE JEWS the Jews of the East European shtetls, strenuous physical activity was for goyim — and for those Jews unfortunate enough to have to earn their keep as shleppers, water-carriers, porters, and the like. A Jewish boy was supposed to study. From […]

Read More

Yiddish Literature in English Translation

An American Tale by Bennett Muraskin Modern Yiddish literature is a prime expression of Jewish humanism. Its creators were typically rebels against authority and proponents of universal ideals of freedom of thought, social justice and human dignity. Yiddish authors did not write for the educated elite, but for the average Jew. They formed a special […]

Read More

In Memoriam

Abie Nathan April 29, 1927 – August 27, 2008 Abraham Jacob Nathan was a free spirit and a visionary. In 1966, as tensions mounted between Israel and Egypt, he flew a small plane named “Shalom One” to Egypt to discuss peace with Egyptian President Gamel Abdul Nasser. Nathan attempted to repeat the deed in early […]

Read More

Demographics and Democracy in the Jewish State

Do demographics predict destiny? Probably the most common argument made by Jewish Israelis against annexation of the Occupied Territories is that it would “endanger the Jewish character of the state” by extending citizenship to millions of non-Jews. In the early 1990s, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a progressive American Zionist, opposed the building of Jewish settlements in […]

Read More