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More about Marxism: Time to Give Up the Ghost

by Bennett Muraskin   To read Sam Friedman’s recent “Why I’m (Still) a Marxist” in Jewish Currents, click here. To read Lawrence Bush’s “Why I’m Not (Still) a Marxist,” click here. To read about Jewish Currents’ communist history, click here.   IS THERE any precedent in world history for a successful socialist economy? Every place that it was […]

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The Tajik Dancer

Malika Kalantarova, a dancer specializing in the dance forms of Tajikistan, was born there on this date in 1950. She began her dance career in 1965 with Lola Dance Ensemble and then with the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Tajik Philharmonic. Kalantarova achieved international fame as a folk and traditional-form dancer throughout the USSR and in Japan, […]

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Ilya Ehrenburg and the Black Book

Soviet journalist, novelist, and poet Ilya Ehrenburg (some sources spell it “Ehrenberg”), who with Vasily Grossman created The Black Book, the first book documenting the Holocaust (before the killing had ended), died on this date in 1967. Ehrenburg was a popular communist writer and war correspondent, and an active member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC), organized […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Reading to Baby Bolsheviks

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: The Fire Horse by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Osip Mandelstam, and Daniil Kharms, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky. The New York Review’s Children’s Collection, 2017.   THE SOVIET UNION sought to turn babies into Bolshevik babies. Schools were, of course, a key element in this, as were the various youth organizations. But as in […]

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Partisans in the Brody Ghetto

Liquidation of the ghetto of Brody, Poland (now Ukraine) was completed on this date in 1943. Some 3,000 Jews of a pre-war population of 9,000 (nearly 70 percent of the town’s total population) were deported to their deaths in Madjanek. In the preceding months, a resistance group of young people led by Samuel Weiler had […]

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The First Country to Recognize Israel

The Soviet Union, despite its official view of Zionism as, in Lenin’s words, “bourgeois nationalism,” became the first country in the world to give legal recognition to Israel on this date in 1948, just three days after the state declared its independence. A year earlier, on May 14, 1947, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had […]

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Defending History

Yiddish scholar and teacher Dovid Katz, who built the Oxford University Yiddish program from 1978 to 1996 before relocating to Vilnius University, where he developed the Yiddish program (and trained numerous American Yiddishists) until 2010, was born in Brooklyn to the Yiddish poet Menke Katz and artist Rivke Katz on this date in 1956. A […]

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Yiddish Vilna Before the Destruction

COLORFUL SKETCHES FROM THE INTERWAR YEARS by Martha Roth From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Vilna My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz, translated from the Yiddish by Helen Mintz. Syracuse University Press, 2016, 216 pages. WHAT A PLACE it  must have been — the Jerusalem of Lithuania,  the Paris […]

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February 10: Soviet Deportations Begin in Poland

The Soviet Union began deporting Polish citizens to Siberia on this date in 1940 following the Soviet takeover of eastern Poland. The Nazis had already moved on western Poland; six out of ten of Poland’s 3.3 million Jews were now living and dying under the German occupation, while four out of ten were in the […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Jewish Radicalism, Worldwide

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Revolutionary Yiddishland, by Alain Brissat and Sylvie Klingberg. Verso Books, 2016, 304 pages, indexed. VERSO’S PRAISEWORTHY publication of Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s engaging, well-informed, and at times moving Revolutionary Yiddishland comes to us thirty-three years after its initial publication in French, and seven years after its reprinting […]

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