People of the Book The Hedgehog and The Fox

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. The fox skits about, collecting from every place it can reach; the hedgehog collects exclusively from the small piece of land under which it burrows. The fox is clever and social, he easily escapes conflict and blends into his surroundings. The hedgehog is dogged and… Read More

People of the Book The Tolerance of Jewish Intolerance

I came across one of those trivial click-bait internet articles today that inevitably claimed it would “blow my mind.” But this one made an impression on me. The article’s about a recently out lesbian teen who shares her aunt’s horribly bigoted opinions about her choices, followed by an equally insulting apology. When the teen fights… Read More

People of the Book Family Business

When you watch Officer McCluskey slug Michael Corleone, it should be impossible for a Jew not to wonder how often small Jews got beaten up in the eras of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin by huge Irishman. McCluskey is the old American alpha male — Scotch-Irish, brawny, mercurial, a little dumb. The old American alpha… Read More

People of the Book The Unwinding - A History of the Distant Present

The world is 7 billion stories waiting to be told. America is perhaps the only nation conceived on the principle that individual stories are worth telling, but in this era of foreclosure, it’s the nation most likely to walk back its promise to tell them. No matter what America ever aspired to be, we’ve never come… Read More

People of the Book Der Rosenkavalier: 2017 in 3/4 Time

Excepting sex, comic opera’s the best thing in the world. The reason is simple, comic opera isn’t funny, it’s just opera without grand airs. All it does is imitate life’s flowing moods. Mozart’s its great master, every phrase of his operas simultaneously capturing all life’s moods. He’s the ph7 of expression. Composers tried to bring… Read More

People of the Book Chekhov Aleichem

In interviews, Amos Oz often talks about the revelations Chekhov gave him. When he first read Chekhov, he realized he could write about the people he knew — their disappointments, failures, thwarted aspirations (and Chekhov, the great poet of the disappointing life, knew how to write differently about all three). Chekhov writes about rural Russia, but… Read More

People of the Book How AIPAC Lost the Israel Debate

Talking about AIPAC is nearly impossible. So many contradictory statistics proliferate about AIPAC that nobody can quote them reliably. Nevertheless, one thing remains obvious. We all know AIPAC’s nowhere near as powerful as its opposition alleges. Whether AIPAC has a $25 million endowment or a $100 million endowment, conspiracy theorists would have us believe this… Read More