The Freewheeling Jonathan Lethem

by Pam Black   A Gambler’s Anatomy, Jonathan Lethem’s tenth and most recent novel (2016), is a romp of a read, laden with lush language, cynical wit, and bizarre twists. It follows Alexander Bruno, a jaded, 50-ish backgammon ace and ladies’ man, to secret, international, high-stakes gambling parlors, where he fleeces the rich with his superior gaming […]

Read More

Danny Kaye from Brownsville

Actor/comedian Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kaminsky), a marvelous song-and-dance-and-everything man, died on this date in 1987. Kaye was born in 1911 in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY, to Ukrainian immigrant parents who called him “Duvidelleh.” After getting his start as a Borscht Belt entertainer, he would go on to star in seventeen movies, including The Secret […]

Read More

Topps Baseball Cards

Sy Berger, who revitalized baseball cards after World War II by introducing Topps cards in 1951, died at 91 on this date in 2014. The first cards were packaged with taffy inside instead of bubble gum, a nearly disastrous marketing error because the taffy ended up tasting like the varnish on the cards. But the […]

Read More

Carl Sagan

Astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1934. He was best known as the awe-inspired and awe-inspiring host and co-writer of the television series COSMOS: A Personal Voyage, and as the driving force behind NASA’s Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence program (SETI), which monitors radio signals and other possible indications […]

Read More

The Palmer Raids

Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and Mollie Steimer were among the large number of activist Jews arrested and eventually deported in the wake of the Palmer Raids, launched on this date in 1919 (the second anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution) by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. Between November and January, […]

Read More

A Walk Across the Border

by Elaine Steinmetz I HAVE GROWN accustomed to my story. I have through the years shaped it – like a bird building a nest, I have enlarged the narrative, put layers of gathered soft material to pad the unknown. Now, at age 92 (how is that possible!?), I own the story of my walk across […]

Read More

Robert Cooperman, from Alley to Continental Pass

by James E. Cherry Robert Cooperman has published fifteen poetry collections, most recently Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press), and has appeared frequently with poems in Jewish Currents. His In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains (Western Reflections Books) won the Colorado Book Award for Poetry. Cooperman received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. His […]

Read More

The Uncivil Servant: Bernie Comes Home

by Mitchell Abidor SOMEONE FROM the local Bernie campaign had the absolutely brilliant idea for Bernie to hold a rally not just anywhere in Brooklyn, but deep in the bowels of the borough, on East 26th Street and Kings Highway, in front of the building in which he grew up. The rally was announced at […]

Read More

Wednesday Night Fiction: Mahmoud

by Jeffrey Kassel WHEN I VISIT the old neighborhood to see my sister or visit my late mother’s house, I usually stop off at Essen Mart, a glatt-kosher heaven on Avenue M in Brooklyn. The neighborhood used to be secular, then Orthodox, now khasidic. Essen Mart makes wonderful soups, and I usually bring home a […]

Read More