Remembering the Battle to Integrate Levittown

by Zachary Solomon   LAST YEAR, George Clooney’s Suburbicon, the sixth film that the actor has directed, bombed at the box office. Suburbicon was a combination of two scripts, one a neglected crime romp penned by Joel and Ethan Coen in the mid-1980s, the other a drama loosely informed by the notorious 1957 documentary, Crisis in Levittown. Suburbicon turned out to […]

Read More

In Memoriam: Julius Lester

by Bennett Muraskin   JULIUS LESTER  (January 29, 1939-January 18, 2018) embodied the historic Black-Jewish bond in America, as well as Black-Jewish tensions, in his work as a prolific writer, folk musician, folklorist, and public intellectual — and in the very fabric of his identity. The son of a Black minister, he grew up in the upper South, graduated  […]

Read More

In Memoriam: The Woman Who Popularized “Ms.”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH Ms. magazine is most identified with Gloria Steinem, the woman who most popularized the term “Ms.” was Sheila Michaels (1939-2017). The word enabled women to be identified as their own persons, rather than according to their marital status (Mrs. or Miss). Michaels’ career included a variety of jobs including cabdriver, technical editor, co-owner […]

Read More

Anti-Occupation Activists Undeterred By Israel’s Blacklist

Photo courtesy of Solidarity of Nations – Achvat Amim by Emily C. Bell   ISRAEL HAS ABRUPTLY closed the door on members of twenty organizations that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). The list of organizations referred to as a “BDS blacklist” was released on January 7 and includes Code Pink, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, […]

Read More

Six Million Ku Klux Klansmen

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition, by Linda Gordon. Liveright, 2017, 288 pages.   THE KU KLUX KLAN, America’s best-known racist society, has had three major phases of life since its founding right after the Civil War in 1866. […]

Read More

“Marshall” — Civil Rights and Old-Fashioned Shul Jews

by Elliot B. Gertel Discussed in this essay: Marshall, a film directed by directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff. THE WELL-WRITTEN and finely-acted movie Marshall may have taken some liberties in depicting Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) and Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad), the Bridgeport, Connecticut Jewish attorney who helped out with a noted […]

Read More

Opposing Segregation in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas began to integrate its public schools on this date in 1959 while segregationists rallied at the State Capitol and then marched to Central High School, where police arrested twenty-one of them. This followed the “Lost Year” of 1958, in which Governor Orval Faubus closed the public schools to avoid federally-ordered school integration; to head off a […]

Read More

The Short Season, Part 2

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   To read Part 1, click here.   THE SOCIAL DARWINIAN universe we inhabited filtered down to adolescent social mores. A friend in high school was on several occasions turned down for dates by girls because his family car was dingy. (No subways or buses ran in South Fallsburg.) […]

Read More

If It’s Not Genocide, What Word Should We Use?

A DISSENT FROM OUR EDITORIAL ON THE BLACK LIVES MATTER PLATFORM by Dorothy Zellner From the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   I TAKE ISSUE with the Jewish Currents editorial, “Supporting the Black Lives Matter Platform, Its Slander of Israel Notwithstanding” (Autumn, 2016), in which the magazine unfortunately joined the pack of the hands-in-the-air-I’m–shocked-and-horrified Zionist […]

Read More

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg

Arthur Hertzberg, a champion of Jewish liberalism and independent thought who led the American Jewish Congress, stoked Jewish support for the civil rights movement, called for Palestinian statehood immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War, helped to found Peace Now, and wrote, edited, or collaborated on thirteen books, many of them about American Jewish history and […]

Read More