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Jewish Heretics and Heretical Jews

by Bennett Muraskin   A JEWISH HERETIC, in Yiddish and Hebrew, is an apikoyris –– a reference to the 3rd-century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus, who taught that the gods have no interest in human affairs and that people would be better off if we did not believe in divine rewards and punishment. (It is not surprising […]

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Itche Goldberg and Yiddishkayt

Yiddish scholar, literary critic and educator Itche Goldberg died at 102 on this date in 2006. Goldberg founded and kept alive the  Yiddish literary journal, Yidishe Kultur, from 1964 to 2004, and was an eloquent and important theorist and cultivator of secular Jewish culture. From 1937 to 1951, he was the educational and cultural director of the Jewish People’s […]

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Splits in the Yiddish Socialist Movement

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEIR HISTORY by Hershl Hartman Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents MY BOLSHEVIK MOTHER in 1929 named me Hirsh Naftoli — not after departed grandfathers or uncles, but after two assassins of the diverse Socialist movements in Eastern Europe. You may have heard of one or both of them: […]

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May 26: In Israel, Yiddish Language and Culture Day

The Israeli Knesset observed Yiddish Language and Culture Day on this date in 2009 at the behest of MK Lia Shemtov of Israel Beiteinu, a rightwing nationalist party with strong support among Jews from Russia. A Yiddish-Hebrew parliamentary lexicon was released for the occasion, with such phrases as Ordners, derveytert im fun zal! – “Ushers, […]

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Jewish Troublemakers in America, Part 2

A History and An Analysis by Lawrence Bush From the Winter, 2014-15 issue (art calender) of Jewish Currents To read Part 1, click here. THE HISTORY OF JEWISH EXCLUSION and adaptability sketched in Part One of this article provides only half an explanation for the enduring nature of Jewish liberalism in America. Another element to […]

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May 6: Chaim Zhitlowsky

Celebrated Yiddishist philosopher and political radical Chaim Zhitlowsky died on this date in 1943 while on a speaking tour in Canada. Zhitlowsky was a founder and theoretician of the Socialist Revolutionary Party in Russia, but was attracted back into Jewish life and Jewish communal activism by the pogroms of the early 1880s, which some of […]

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