August 3: Lenny Bruce

Pioneering comedian and free-speech warrior Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider) died on this date in 1966 at age 40 from a drug overdose. In the early 1950s he worked a double-act with his wife, stripper Honey Harlow, and began to make a name for himself with four recordings of his controversial rants about race, religion, […]

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March 25: The "Howl" Trial

Some 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, printed in England, were impounded by U.S. Customs on this date in 1957. Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti was charged with promoting obscenity, and after a long trial (covered in a Life magazine picture story), the book was ruled not obscene in a decision that paved the way for the […]

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With Achad Ha’am on the Road to Ramallah

An Encounter with the Father of Cultural Zionism by Michael Cooper I stand beneath the archway of the YMCA on King David Street in West Jerusalem, warm in the morning sun as I wait for the taxi that will take me to Ramallah. My transportation and lodging have been arranged by the Palestine Children’s Relief […]

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Jewish Radicalism, Broadly Speaking

by Jeffrey Dekro and Lawrence Bush The Jewish presence in America has created a cross-fertilization of two civilizations that has been profoundly democratizing to both. ‘Democratization’ was stirring within both cultures by the time their encounter truly began. Perhaps it is jarring to think of George Washington and the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, […]

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Radicalism and Jewish Values

This essay is adapted from the keynote address delivered by Lawrence Bush at the Jewish Currents Luncheon on May 4, 2003. Once upon a time, the word “radical” evoked in my mind such figures as Emma Goldman and Abbie Hoffman, Clara Lemlich and Allen Ginsberg. Simply by conjuring the names of a dozen landmark Jewish […]

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