"It's difficult to admit the obvious"
political world

Religion (Christian, Jewish, Muslim)

Scular Judaism Melkin;Jewish Atheism: From Medieval Origins to Its Dominant Position Among the World’s Jews Today. Polish Cardinal Hlond Was Righ

Friday, February 16, 2018
In the Foreword, Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine identifies author Yaakov Malkin, of Tel Aviv University, as “one of the significant intellectual leaders of this [secular Judaism] movement.” (p. vii). Agree with him or not, but realize that he knows what he is talking about. >>more...

Hasidim anew hisory;Hasidism Confronts Jewish Atheism. “Christianization” of the Holocaust? (Redemptive Suffering in Judaism). Joy AND Ascetism

Sunday, January 21, 2018
This magisterial work is a single-volume encyclopedia on Hasidism. It traces the history of Hasidic Judaism, and highlights the unexpected post-Holocaust rebirth of Hasidism in places such as Brooklyn, New York, and the State of Israel. Owing to the comprehensiveness of this work, my review is limited to certain issues surrounding mostly-recent Jewish-Polish and Jewish-Christian relations. The issues discussed are topical, not chronological. >>more...

Esau's Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews;Especially Valuable in Understanding Jews in Soviet Communism, Whose Significance Went Far Beyond Their Numbers,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
This work is richly filled with facts. I focus on distinctive information. Other reviewers have already informed the reader about the overall content of this book, and I do not repeat them. >>more...

Reconceptualizing the Role of Morality in Halacha Based on the Lichtenstein–Borowitz Debate

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Within the past two years, the Jewish world has mourned the passing of two of the most influential Jewish theologians of our generation: Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a leading student and son-in-law of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, and Rabbi Eugene Borowitz, a longtime faculty member at the Hebrew Union College and one of the most influential scholars in the American Reform Movement. >>more...

Jews and poles

Saturday, February 11, 2017
This book is much more than a biography of long-term Yiddishist activist Noah Prylucki (1882-1941). It offers a broad sweep of Jewish thinking from the latter part of the 19th to the first part of the 20th century. Owing to the fact that it is based primarily on Yiddish newspapers, it brings a wealth of information to light that would otherwise be inaccessible to the non-Yiddish reader. >>more...

Birkat haMinim: Jews and Christians in Conflict in the Ancient World (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The core of BIRKAT HAMINIM derives from the Babylonian Talmud (Berakhot 28b-29a). (p. 2). It was written in the Yavneh period, after the Second Temple, and was presented as a BARAITA, which included the obligation to say it as a whole, and without any mistake. This, in turn, implied that it had a special status. (p. 3) >>more...

The Rulers of Russia;Jews in Communism as a Fulfillment of Secularized Jewish Messianism. Insights on Freemasonry,

Sunday, January 15, 2017
The author was an Irish Catholic priest. Whether in agreement with the author or not, the reader may be impressed by the vibrancy of his writing, and the way it contrasts with the mush that characterizes most Catholic writings today. (My review is based on the original 1940 edition).

Why bring up Jews in Communism? For one thing, there is a tendency to airbrush this uncomfortable fact out of history. In addition, Jews commonly call on Poles to "face up to the dark chapters in their history" and to "come to terms with the past" for relatively trivial Polish wrongs to Jews. By the same standard, then, Jews should be called upon to "face up to the dark chapters in their history" and to "come to terms with the past" for their essential role in Communism and all its crimes. >>more...

Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism;The Moral/Cultural Nihilism of Many Influential Jews: Weimar Germany, USA, etc. Implications of Polonophobia,

Sunday, January 15, 2017
This work is a curious mixture of the very astute and the very superficial. I focus on a few major issues.


A major theme of Prager’s book is the one about Jews as a whole being unfairly blamed for the actions of a small number of Jews who committed misdeeds (e. g., Jewish Communists). But, unfortunately, that is exactly what Jews commonly do to others. For instance, Jews regularly call on Poles to “face up to the dark chapters of their history”, to “come to terms with the past”, and even to “give up the heroic narrative of Poles fighting the Nazis”---all just because some tiny fraction of 1% of Poles collaborated with the Nazis against Jews. So, if Poles are to be saddled with some form of collective responsibility, or collective accountability, for the misdeeds of a small number of their members, so also should Jews. Either that, or we have a clear double standard. >>more...

Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period;Medieval to Early Modern Jewish Practices. Conflict Between the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim Portrayed as Bitter at Times

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
This work covers many topics, and has a few chapters on women in Judaism. It has sections dealing with the life cycle, Torah and learning, Jewish community life, etc. I focus on a few salient topics: >>more...

Past Jewish Attitudes Towards Christians. Has a Widely-Quoted Talmud Apologetic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
My original review (expanded in 2015) now covers the use of this book as an apologetic for the Talmud in Jewish-gentile relations. For an example of, and evaluation of, one of the specific uses of this apologetic, please click on, and read my detailed review, of Katz' From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700-1933. >>more...
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