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Today on Tablet

The still-Samaritans, cheesecake, and more

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Today in Tablet Magazine, Benjamin Balint reports on the would-be Jews—the small community of Samaritans who have lived uninterruptedly on what is now the West Bank for thousands of years. Books critic Adam Kirsch deals with the legacy of Irène Némirovsky. Our special Shavuot-themed Vox Tablet podcast involves … cheesecake. Mmm, says The Scroll, cheesecake.

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Adam Kirsch’s review of the newly translated bio of Irene Nemirovsky is totally brilliant. In a story that contains irony with a capital “I”, his balanced and thoughtful approach is deeply appreciated. As one who often finds ugliness in some aspects of Jewish culture and religion, although I can understand Nemirovsky’s need to align herself with French society and culture, in the context of those times, nevertheless the extremism of her written portraits of Jews makes the charge of an antisemitic Jew a truism. It would be interesting to compare her transition to Catholicism with that of Simone Weil. Although I do not know very much about Weil, I do know some great things about Msgr. John Oesterreicher, a German Jew who converted to Catholicism just before Hitler came into power. Oesterreicher came to America and taught and founded the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University and was its Director until he died in the 1990s. In his writing he showed an amazing balance between his love for Christianity and his love for his native Judaism. He was influential in pressing for the reforms of Vatican II and wrote a number of books that are filled with his passion and compassion for both religions and are hopefully still available. His was a very different path although similar in some respects to Nemirovsky’s.

Thanks for the Daily Tablet – it is insightful and engrossing.

Shalom, Cantor Bob Cohen


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Today on Tablet

The still-Samaritans, cheesecake, and more

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