January 5: The Attorney of Free Speech

Al Bendich, an attorney who in 1957 defended Lawrence Ferlinghetti against obscenity charges for publishing and distributing Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and in 1962 defended Lenny Bruce in his first of four obscenity trials, died on this date in 2015 at age 85. Bendich was only two years out of law school when he wrote the […]

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OpEdge: A Christian Nation?

by Marc Jampole Reviewed in this essay: One Nation Under God, by Kevin M. Kruse. Basic Books, 2015, 384 pages. IN ONE NATION UNDER GOD, Kevin M. Kruse, a Princeton history professor, reconstructs the story of the growth of the twin ideas that the United States is a Christian nation and that a free-market, deregulated, […]

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March 27: Anthony Lewis

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and columnist Anthony Lewis was born in New York on this date in 1927. He was especially known as an expert on the law, and covered both the U.S. Justice Department and the Supreme Court for the New York Times. Lewis’ articles, writes Adam Liptak in Lewis’ 2013 New York Times obituary, […]

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June 10: Nat Hentoff

First Amendment journalist and jazz critic Nat Hentoff was born in Boston on this date in 1925. After studying as a Fulbright scholar at the Sorbonne in Paris, he became a jazz critic with Down Beat magazine in 1952 and quickly established himself, in print and on radio, as one of the America’s most insightful […]

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OpEdge: Christian Prayers and Public Meetings

by Marc Jampole I’m still flabbergasted at the naiveté — or perhaps lack of experience in the world — displayed by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in his majority opinion upholding the right of upstate New York government officials to say Christian prayers before town meetings. Kennedy writes that the case comes down to whether people are […]

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Pete Seeger’s Project

by Dick Flacks Editor’s note: Pete Seeger died at 94 on January 27th, after a short hospitalization. We’re reposting this fine appreciation by our contributing writer Dick Flacks, originally published in Jewish Currents in 2009. When Pete Seeger turned 90 on May 3rd, providing the occasion for a huge celebratory concert in Madison Square Garden […]

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November 10: Neil Gaiman

Best-selling fantasy and sci fi author Neil Gaiman was born in Portchester, Hampshire on this date in 1960. His parents were Jewish Scientologists (a religion based on science fiction writings), and he was a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy throughout his childhood. Gaiman has been awarded Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as […]

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