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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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March 21: Elliot Gant and the Button-Down Shirt

Elliot Gant (Gantmacher), who with his brother Martin and father Bernard perfected the button-down shirt, added a hook to its back for hanging, and turned it into an “Ivy League” fashion staple, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1926. Their father was a tailor who specialized in collars, his mother a seamstress who […]

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February 19: Logically Speaking

Ruth Bacan Marcus, a groundbreaking logician and professor of philosopher at Yale University, died at 90 on this date in 2012. She came to prominence with a 1946 article in The Journal of Symbolic Logic in which she proposed a formula for positing a connection between possibility and actuality. Her Barcan formula translates into words […]

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February 15: A Geneticist and Ethicist

Molecular biologist Maxine Frank Singer, who raised early alarms about the ethical issues involved in recombinant DNA research and organized the 1975 Asilomar Conference, which issued guidelines for dealing with those issues, was born in New York on this date in 1931. Singer was president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington from 1988 until 2002, […]

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November 8: Mother of American Hospice

Florence “Eppie” Wald (Schorske), who headed the Yale School of Nursing and cofounded the first hospice center in America, died at 91 on this date in 2008. Her mother was Jewish, her father gentile, and both were supporters of Ethical Culture. A 1963 lecture by Cicely Saunders about her efforts to establish a hospice in […]

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October 13: Alan Slifka and the Abraham Fund

Alan B. Slifka, a philanthropist who co-founded (with Eugene Wiener) the Abraham Fund Initiatives in 1989, the first nonprofit organization outside Israel dedicated to furthering coexistence between Israeli Arabs and Jews, was born along with his twin sister in New York on this date in 1929. Slifka was a product of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School […]

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August 15: The Shocking Stanley Milgram

Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist who responded to the Eichmann trial and the Holocaust by designing an experiment about human obedience to authority, was born in the Bronx on this date in 1933. Milgram received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University before teaching at Yale, Harvard, and the Graduate Center of the City […]

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Tisha b’Av in the Age of Climate Change

BINDING OURSELVES TO ONE ANOTHER THROUGH ACTIVISM by Rabbi Judy Weiss from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents THE FIRST TIME I went to Tisha b’Av morning services, I was surprised by something rather insignificant: According to Ashkenazic custom, Jews don’t wear talleisim (prayer shawls) or tefillin (phylacteries) during the morning Tisha b’Av service. […]

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July 5: Victor Navasky

Victor Saul Navasky, editor of The Nation from 1978 to 1995 and its publisher and co-owner from 1994 until 2005, was born in New York on this date in 1932. Navasky is director of the Delacorte Center of Magazines at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and chairs the Columbia Journalism Review. A graduate […]

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American Eugenics and German Nazism

by Dusty Sklar THE AMERICAN EUGENICS movement aimed at improving the human race through ethnic cleansing well before the Nazis did. The pseudo-science became popular here in the late 19th century. The emancipation of black slaves, their increased mobility, and widespread immigration of Jews, southern and eastern Europeans, Hispanics, and Asians prompted a good many […]

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