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Inherited Neuroses

by Ilana Masad Discussed in this essay: Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables, and Problems, by Adam Ehrlich Sachs. Regan Arts, 2016, 272 pages. EVEN IF YOU didn’t assume that Adam Ehrlich Sachs is Jewish (and, I confess, I didn’t, and I still don’t know for certain, although his famous economist father, Jeffrey Sachs, is filed under […]

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The Importance of Gender Politics

The Millennial Generation Gets Behind a Radical Issue by Ilana Masad From the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Currents THIS IS AN ESSAY about gender. But first, a brief foray into pop culture: Late in 1990, in the second season of David Lynch’s TV show, Twin Peaks, David Duchovny entered the scene as Drug Enforcement […]

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“Hail, Caesar!” and the Commie Conspiracy

by Ilana Masad Reviewed in this essay: Hail, Caesar!, a film by Joel and Ethan Coen. Universal Pictures, 2016, 106 minutes. THE COEN BROTHERS’ films are a varied bunch, but as distinct and knowable as Woody Allen’s. Their quirks and oddities precede them to such a degree that we don’t often walk into a Coen […]

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Redefining the American Superhero: The Martian

by Ilana Masad MOST SUPERHEROES, like the ones featured in the spate of Marvel and DC films in the past ten or so years, are American. There are exceptions (Black Widow has Russian origins; Superman is from another planet), but for the most part, the words “superhero” and “American” go snugly hand in fist. But […]

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A Wistful Look at the West Wing

Bartlet for President! by Ilana Masad AARON SORKIN, creator of The West Wing, predicted a lot of what has happened in the U.S. over the last ten to fifteen years. He left the show in 2003, and in its first season after his departure, the whole thing floundered terribly, but by season six, the writers […]

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Ricki’s Wah Wah: Music and Male Privilege

by Ilana Masad WHEN I SAW the poster for Jonathan Demme’s new film, Ricki and the Flash, splashed across a huge billboard in Los Angeles, I knew immediately that I wanted to see it, no matter what it was about. There’s something about Meryl Streep dressed in what I dreamed of wearing in high school […]

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Growing Up In Israel, Part 10

Homeward Bound by Ilana Masad This is the final installment in Ilana Masad’s memoir. Read other installments in the series here. UNLIKE MANY American teens, I applied to colleges after I graduated from high school, because there are no guidance counselors in the Israeli education system to help students with that task; they’re not needed, […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 9

To IDF or Not IDF, That Is the Question by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. WHEN MY FRIENDS and I turned 16, we all began receiving, in the order of our birthdays, our first call to arms — that is to say, our first summons from Tzahal, the IDF as it’s […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 8

DMW by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. THE DAY my father went to the doctor’s appointment that would tell us if he did or did not have lung cancer, I happened to have several friends sitting in a row on my bed at home. When I heard my parents coming in, […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 7

Auschwitz: Roses and Malls by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. IN BETWEEN 10th and 11th grades, my high school, like most high schools in Israel, offered a guided trip to Poland. My father was very ill at the time, and I had been helping to take care of him. Despite that […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 6

Junior High in Tel Aviv by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. GIVATAYIM, where I grew up, has elementary schools that go from 1st to 8th grade. High school is 9th through 12th. No junior high. But when I was in 6th grade, I’d had enough: I’d been bullied both physically and […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 5

11.9.2001 by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. I MET ORIN (pronounced O-reen) in nursery school in Israel when we were both 3. We circled around a tree avoiding one another and then became friends. We did weird things together throughout nursery school and then kindergarten (played games with a broken radio; […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 4

Passed Over (and Thankful) by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. THE FIRST INTIFADA wasn’t called “the first” until the second came along. It’s like a World War at this point; there wasn’t a World War I before there was a World War II, there was only the Great War. History seems […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 3

Voting Rights (or Lefts) by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. WHEN I WAS 6, the excitement of going for the first time with my parents to my elementary school to watch them vote was palpable. My mother took me with her behind the flimsy cardboard booth where we put two pieces […]

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Growing Up In Israel, Part 2

Yes to Peace, No to Violence by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. MOVING FROM ONE COUNTRY to another involves a lot of getting ready and a lot of time spent in limbo. Even today, as my mother prepares to leave Israel twenty-two years after she arrived, the process of moving across […]

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Growing Up in Israel, Part 1

We Were Not Zionists by Ilana Masad Read other installments in this series here. THERE ARE MANY REASONS why people move to Israel. For some, it is getting away from oppressive countries or economies and coming to a place where they automatically get citizenship. For others, there is a deep connection to the idea of […]

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Martin Amis’ Humane Look at Inhumanity

by Ilana Masad Reviewed in this essay: The Zone of Interest, a novel by Martin Amis, 2014, Knopf, 320 pages THE FIRST MARTIN AMIS NOVEL I read was also the first one he published. The only thing The Rachel Papers (1973) shares with The Zone of Interest (2014) is the oddness of a romance that […]

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