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The latest episode of “Conversations with Bill Kristol” features Ruth Wisse, the dean of the study of Jewish literature and distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. As it so happens, Professor Wisse is teaching the advanced institute “Jews and Power” at Tikvah’s New York office this week while her interviewer, William Kristol, is the […]

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Kishniev in Jerusalem

November 21, 2014 | By: Daniel Gordis

Tikvah faculty member Rabbi Daniel Gordis writes in his Bloomberg View column of the chilling similarities between the famous Kishniev Pogrom and the slaughter of Jews at prayer in Har Nof. In 1903, in what’s now Moldova, dozens of Jews were slaughtered and many more were raped, disfigured, and tortured. At the Sixth Zionist Congress […]

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The Lessons of 9/11

September 11, 2014

Three years ago, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Commentary senior editor Abe Greenwald penned an essay for Jewish Ideas Daily on the lessons of 9/11. Greenwald focuses on the realization of the world’s hatred: [T]he Obama White House has issued “guidelines” setting a tone for the American government’s commemoration of September 11 at home and […]

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The shtetls were not farming villages; they were merchant towns. Nor were the shtetls Jewish ghettos. Rather, Jews made up half the population. The popular image derived in large part from “Fiddler on the Roof” is romanticized and wrong. Fortunately, a recent book, The Golden Age Shtetl by Yonahan Petrovsky-Shtern, puts these myths to rest by […]

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What is the proper relationship between Jews and political power? To what extent should Jews eschew worldly power for the sake of piety? How Machiavellian can Jews allow themselves to be? Two of the Jewish world’s most esteemed intellectuals, Ruth Wisse and Moshe Halbertal, examined these questions for participants in the Tikvah Fund’s Summer Fellowship […]

Watch here.

To begin a close reading of one of Karl Marx’s most important early works, “On the Jewish Question”, Hoover Institution fellow Peter Berkowitz identified two kinds of emancipation Marx is concerned with. The first is political emancipation, or liberal democracy. But Marx sees that kind of freedom as insufficient; what is needed is “human emancipation.”

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Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a resolution condemning Israel for, among other libels, “the targeting of civilians.” The resolution never once mentioned “Hamas.” As is so often the case with absurd resolutions against Israel, the United States was the only nation to vote “no.” Why have the European capitals turned against […]

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European Anti-Semitism

July 24, 2014

Israeli operations against Hamas have coincided with a surge in anti-Jewish protests and riots in European capitals. French mobs have attacked nine synagogues—including trapping dozens in Paris’s Synagogue de la Roquette for hours—and looted kosher butcheries and Jewish-owned stores. Especially chilling given the location, a Berlin crowd was filmed chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on […]

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Lord Acton famously proposed that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In Jews and Power, Ruth Wisse provides an analysis of Jewish history that suggests the exact opposite.

Join us at 5:30PM to reconsider Jews and Power with its author, Professor Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University.

Watch the event stream here.

One winter after an unusually heavy run of funerals, the rabbi of our Montreal synagogue reminded the congregation that in traditional Judaism, dying was only a minhag (custom); it was not a mitzva. I would like to extend this excellent observation to political catastrophe, which is likewise not a Jewish obligation. Like many other Jews […]

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