Columnists

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Brother’s Wife. Unless He Dies. Then—Well, Here’s the Thing…

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time

Marjorie Ingall

Kvelling Over My Daughter’s Bat Mitzvah

Josie made her own choices about how to express her Jewishness, on a day that marked a transition for the whole family

Marjorie Ingall

The 22 Most Jaw-Dropping Tidbits in Diane Von Furstenberg ’s New Memoir

The fashion designer’s name-dropping autobiography ‘The Woman I Wanted to Be’ is fascinating, inspiring, and troubling

Agents of Influence — Lee Smith

Now That He Has Lost the Senate, It’s Time for Obama To Seal His Deal With the Devil

By boasting of enabling Iran’s bloody nuclear hopes, the Obama administration ushers in the age of Renfield and Dracula

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Converting for Love (Like Natalie Portman’s Husband)? The Talmud Forbids It.

Talmudic Rabbis regulated not just actions but reputations, and left a legacy we debate and refute to this day

Literature — Adam Kirsch

How To Solve Disputes Between Schools of Jewish Thought? In Private, or Not at All.

At what point does a disagreement between groups of Jews become a point of religious principle, which cannot be compromised?

Agents of Influence — Lee Smith

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose

Literature — Adam Kirsch

The Talmud’s Difficulty Is What Makes the Talmud ‘Talmudic’—And Unlike the Law

Daf Yomi: In rabbinic Judaism, study is not merely a pragmatic enterprise, but a religious act in itself

Literature — Adam Kirsch

Sex With Your Uncle? OK. Sex With Your Widowed Daughter’s Rival? Not OK.

When two mitzvot conflict, the Talmud asks, how do we decide which takes precedence?

Literature — Adam Kirsch

The Study of Law as a Spiritual Act: Finding Truth and Meaning in the Talmud

Two years and 100 columns in to the Daf Yomi cycle, our critic pauses to reflect on its intellectual challenges and delights

Moses, Masada, and Eichmann Make Israel’s Newest TV Comedy Sparkle

‘Ha’Yehudim Ba’im’ takes on Jewish history, one sacred cow at a time

Searching for the Stars

‘We were told that everybody has to watch.’ Harrowing fiction from Polish great Marek Hlasko, in a first English translation.

Péter Forgács’ Memory Art Brings Phantoms of Eastern Europe to Light

‘Letters to Afar’ is the latest of an emergent and haunting new form, Jewish material-memory film

Letters From Multilingual Tel Aviv Show the Early Limits of Hebrew

How Jewish immigrants negotiated pressure to learn Western languages and maintain links between the Diaspora and Zion

Abbas’ Dangerous War

Unlike Arafat, the Palestinian leader can’t have his peace and eat it, too

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