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Footnotes on Footnotes

Sarah Glidden & Mike Dawson on Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza by Nicholas Jahr The Israeli occupying army carried out bloody atrocities in the Gaza Strip [during the 1956 Sinai War], killing “at least 75 Palestinians immediately after capturing the strip during a brutal house-to-house search for weapons and fedayeen in Khan Yunis” and killing […]

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Ashes to Ashes

by Nicholas Jahr Discussed in this article: Phoenix, a film by Christian Petzold. IFC Films/Sundance Selects, 2014, 98 minutes. FACES DRAPED in bandages and shadows, mistaken identities and midnight doppelgangers, silhouettes and reflections, most of the soundtrack a diegetic refrain: this is all promising tinder, but Phoenix never quite bursts into illuminating flame.

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The Iran Index

Who’s Backing the Deal by Nicholas Jahr The Iran deal has unleashed a feeding frenzy of op-eds, as everyone weighs in on centrifuge storage and uranium enrichment and breakout time and trust and verification and diplomacy. (The 60-day review period is clearly Congress’ gift to op-editors across the country and around the world.) A few […]

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Irrational Man

Rationality Proves Allusive Reviewed in this article: Irrational Man, a film by Woody Allen. Sony Pictures Classics, 2015, 96 minutes. WOODY ALLEN GETS NO RESPECT. His latest film hasn’t even been out for three weeks, and it looks like it’ll be lucky to enjoy a fourth. The man’s unsavory personal life might have something to […]

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In Defense of the Diaspora

Has the Wandering Jew Reached Home? by Nicholas Jahr This is an edited version of an essay that originally appeared in the Spring, 2015 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this Essay: At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora is Good for the Jews, by Alan Wolfe. Beacon Press, 2014, 296 pages. The People in Between: […]

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An Interview with Tamar Zinn

Over at 365 Artists 365 Days, Jewish Currents editorial board member and painter Tamar Zinn is interviewed about her work, particularly her new series Blacks and Whites and Tangle. It’s tempting (but maybe too easy?) to see the former as her most recent experiments in color and the latter as her most recent in line, […]

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Bibi’s Victory

by Nicholas Jahr NETANYAHU’S LAST MINUTE DECLARATION that the Palestinians have no partner clinched an election that seemed to be slipping away from him, snatching an impressive victory from defeat’s drooling jaws. In truth, anyone who has been paying attention couldn’t be surprised by Bibi’s pronouncement that there would never be a Palestinian state, which […]

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Clearing the Threshold

A Look at Israeli Election Dynamics by Nicholas Jahr   BACK IN EARLY MARCH OF LAST YEAR, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Israeli Basic Law increasing the electoral threshold, the minimum percentage of votes a party needs to win to be allotted seats in the Knesset. The amendment was drafted in part by […]

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Zuckerman Bound

Dissecting Mort Zuckerman’s Defense of Netanyahu’s Speech by Nicholas Jahr LAST WEEK, on the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, billionaire Mort Zuckerman, chair of U.S. News & World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News, stood up on his soapbox and sang an ode to Bibi, justifying the […]

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World War 3 Revisited

by Nicholas Jahr Reviewed in this essay: World War 3 Illustrated: 1979-2014, edited by Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman. PM Press, 2014, 321 pages.   I VAGUELY REMEMBER WORLD WAR 3. Growing up, I was dimly aware of it lurking behind sleek curves and rippling muscles, spandex and tights and capes, the glossy sheen coating it […]

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Return of the Refuseniks

by Nicholas Jahr As the most recent war in Gaza blunders on, last week The Washington Post published a petition signed by more than 50 reservists who have refused to serve in the current conflict. Just about every one of Israel’s wars has generated similar small-scale resistance, but what struck me upon reading the petition […]

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Some Thoughts on “Noah”

by Nicholas Jahr In case you haven’t heard — and given the torrent of advertising that’s hard to imagine — Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) has a new film out, a $125 million dollar take on the biblical patriarch Noah in the standard mode of the contemporary Hollywood epic. Aronofsky takes the least interesting questions posed by the […]

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The Secret History of Palestinian Nonviolence

by Nicholas Jahr This is a revised and updated version of an article that originally appeared in the Spring, 2013 issue of Jewish Currents and was then republished in the Utne Reader. Photographs by the author SLOWLY, THE SMALL GROUP of demonstrators approaches the soldiers. Around seventy-five people had turned out for this week’s protest, […]

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Some Thoughts on Roman Vishniac

by Nicholas Jahr The International Center of Photography has taken a break from their usual work memorializing the Spanish Civil War — just kidding, they have what looks like a great retro of Chim’s work (Dawid Szymin) on the ground floor — to present an impressive look at the work of Roman Vishniac. Drawn from […]

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And the land we belong to is grand!

by Nicholas Jahr Over in the right sidebar is our tag cloud, and “anti-Semitism” looms large. Sometimes I find this frustrating; I’d like what we’re for to be at least as prominent as what we’re against. And then something like this comes along and I just can’t resist: I knew what was coming when I […]

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Sight & Fog

by Nicholas Jahr This past February and March, editorial board member Nicholas Jahr took his first trip to Israel, and made several visits to the West Bank. What follows are his reflections on his time there. — Ed.   Prelude with Flute . . . . Aeroport Mohammed Cinq, Morocco. We pass through security to […]

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Ravitch versus the 'Reformers'

by Nicholas Jahr This past week, New York Times columnist Michael Powell elegantly illustrated the inequities of the charter school movement with a look at East Harlem’s Public School 30 and Harlem Success Academy 2, which share the same building on East 128th Street in NYC. (Full disclosure: Powell is a friend and mentor.) The […]

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Every time they get out, we pull them back in

by Nicholas Jahr I’m a little behind the curve on this (as ever), but the end of April saw the return to the internet after nearly two years MIA of the KassaNostra, surely the world’s best-named anonymous folk music blogger. Where was this mysterious figure? Checking out the night life in Havana? Rubbing out their […]

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Boycotting Captain America

by Nicholas Jahr Having written about the Captain America movie recently, I’d be remiss if I didn’t follow that up by echoing Steve Bissette’s call for a boycott of all things Marvel. I only alluded to this in my earlier post, but the publishers of the early comics industry were infamous for screwing the artists […]

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Elliott Abrams on ‘the Settlement Obsession’

by Nicholas Jahr Today brought the news that the Netanyahu administration has approved the construction of 1,600 new apartments in East Jerusalem (with 2,700 more on deck and 930 already given the green light). Lest anyone think this might be a problem, former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams had taken to the pages of the […]

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Captain America vs. Hitler

by Nicholas Jahr So this weekend I caught the latest addition to Marvel Comics’/Disney’s $650-million-and-counting franchise, Captain America. If one can ignore the fact that the film proceeds at the level of a video game — and let me be clear, I can — it’s entertaining enough, as long as you don’t actually want to […]

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New work from Sarah Glidden

by Nicholas Jahr If you didn’t see it, the JC Cultcha & Funny Pages in our Winter 2010/11 issue featured an excerpt from Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less (see what you’re missing?) Now Glidden has a new comic up on the web called The Waiting Room, about Iraqi refugees […]

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Where is the Israeli Left?

by Nicholas Jahr A few weeks ago, the Israeli Knesset wrapped up a profoundly alarming session. It began in October with Netanyahu’s cabinet approving a change to the loyalty oath sworn by new Israeli citizens: instead of simply swearing “to respect the laws of the state of Israel,” new, non-Jewish citizens would now have to […]

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Let’s Hit the Attic

by Nicholas Jahr I was in the Netherlands last week, and finally took the opportunity to visit Amsterdam’s Anne Frank Museum. Not being much for standing on line, I decided to go in the evening (the museum is open late on Saturdays). I still stood on line. Which was vaguely disconcerting – it’s possible, even […]

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A Film Unfinished

by Nicholas Jahr Given a limited release to near limitless praise, Yael Hersonski’s A Film Unfinished is a documentary about a documentary. In May 1942, several hundred thousand Jews had been penned within the confines of the Warsaw Ghetto for a year and a half; the first mass deportation was only two months away. Perhaps […]

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Shalom Bayit

by Nicholas Jahr Like many kids, I grew up in a home where both my parents worked. Toss in a commute from Brooklyn to The City, and my folks were left with a three- or four-hour gap to cover every day, between the time school let out and the moment my mother finally made it […]

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'Ask Malcolm.'

by Nicholas Jahr It doesn’t quite have the ring of ‘Clear it with Sydney’, but to read Allison Hoffman’s profile in Tablet, at the height of his power Malcolm Hoenlein may have enjoyed a similar status. For those unfamiliar with the name—although I imagine that’s not an issue for most readers of Jewish Currents—Hoenlein is […]

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Arendt, Hilberg, & the Warsaw Ghetto

by Nicholas Jahr Nathaniel Popper (formerly of The Forward) has a great essay in The Nation on Hannah Arendt and Raul Hilberg. The latter’s The Destruction of the European Jews was the first serious scholarly study of the Holocaust and the bureaucracy necessary to murder 11 million people. Prior to Hilberg’s work, “there was not […]

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The Shattered Faith of Isaac Babel

by Nicholas Jahr A few years back, I was working as a lifeguard in lower Manhattan. One of my least favorite parts of the job was staying late on Tuesday nights to watch over a rambunctious bunch of yeshiva boys. Not wanting to spend the hour discussing how I could possibly call myself a Jew […]

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