We Are All Jews, But Where’s the Party?

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: Feeling Jewish (a Book for Just About Anyone) by Deborah Baum. Yale University Press, 2017, 296 pages.   “Modernization . . . is about everyone becoming Jewish [and no one] is better at being Jewish than the Jews themselves.” —Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century DEVORAH BAUM’S Feeling Jewish is a subtle […]

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What Is the Sin that Will Land Me in Hell?

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: Lincoln in the Bardo, a Novel, by George Saunders. Random House, 2017, 343 pages.   WHAT IS THE SIN that will land me in hell when I die? What is the shortcoming, illusion, mental script, that keeps me living in two dimensions instead of three, four, or five? I asked my […]

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Seeing Double: Israel and the Jewish-American Novel

by Dan Grossman   THE JEWISH-AMERICAN novel has left the States and flown El Al to Israel. Or so claims Canadian-Israeli journalist Matti Friedman in “Distant Cousins,” an essay that appeared last month in Jewish Review of Books. Friedman points out that Israel appears as a setting, plot-driver, and central character in four recent Jewish-American […]

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Oy, Rumania, Rumania

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: For Two Thousand Years, by Mihail Sebastian. Published in 1934, now translated by Philip Ó Ceallaigh into English, 2017, Other Press, 256 pages.   ARTHUR MILLER said that the Romanian Jewish writer Mihail Sebastian (1907-1945) wrote like Chekhov; Philip Roth that Sebastian’s Journal 1935-1944 deserves to be on the same shelf as The […]

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The Last Resort: A Century of Demagogues

by Al Vorspan THE CLICHE that truth is stranger than fiction is sometimes really right. About thirty years ago, my brother-in-law Sid was en route from New York City to Hillsdale, New York to visit with me and my family at our country place. He stopped off at a diner and, sitting at the counter, […]

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Channel Esther: “$10,000 for One Poem”

My Life in Books by Esther Cohen From the Spring 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Well, much happened this year involving words, but my most unexpected experience began last summer, the way many things do, with innocence and unintention. I’ve been writing a novel for years, the same novel, about upstate New York, about class […]

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An Astonishing Farce of Misperception: Philip Roth’s Epilogue to Fiddler

by Joey Perr This essay was adapted from a lecture by the author delivered at the 24th annual Conference of the American Literature Association (Boston, Massachusetts, May 2013). PHILIP ROTH’S AMERICAN PASTORAL is a contemporary American retelling of Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman stories. Looking past their different historical contexts, the Tevye stories and American […]

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