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The Last of the Chametz

In just a few hours, my colleague Efrat and I will set out for the London Book Fair, one of the major annual events in the global publishing industry. There thousands of editors, literary agents, authors, and booksellers from around the world will gather at the convention center at Earl’s Court to pitch new titles,… Read more »

Israel, Sans Rhetoric

I’m in the midst of the strange experience of having my hopes renewed by The Economist. (Despite our occasionally divergent political ideas—and the fact that I don’t know anything about economics—I covet the magazine’s haughty, intelligent, smartass-in-the-back-of-the-classroom-cracking-comments tone.) This week’s special report focuses on Israel, and if you’re discouraged by the whole matsav, you should… Read more »

Joseph and the Amazingly Expensive Commodity Crops

Today, I disagreed with Michael Pollan. (I know – I’m a little bit scared too.) According to an article in today’s NY Times, my favorite foodie believes that the rising price of commodity crops like wheat, corn, and soybeans is a good thing. The Times reports: “[Pollan] likes the idea that some kinds of food… Read more »


I am a happily self-conscious urban chauvinist, and that’s a fact.  I just love cities.  As much as I love nature and the pastoral, I just feel very tapped into the same primal instinct that led to the construction of Uruk, back in the day—people like people, and the bustle and the anonymity and the… Read more »

Weaving Words

We are often told that the way to learn to write well is by reading great literature. But I think that it is just as important to listen to a good speaker again and again, internalizing their style and learning to craft sentences that echo the cadences of their speech. I learned to write by… Read more »

To Ignore Bad News Or Not To Ignore Bad News?

I was tempted to ignore this item of news entirely since, as I’m fond of saying, it’s bad for the Jewesses. Scratch that, it’s just bad in general. The female principal of an ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne, Australia has been found to have, allegedly, molested several of her teenage students (the exact number is… Read more »


I had the supreme pleasure and honor of attending a wedding this weekend. It was so lovely, and the couple seemed so happy, that I considered revoking my recent decision to elope, if ever the opportunity arose. (Watching the wedding-preparation process is terrifying.) Then I went to the opening of “Di Ksube” (“The Wedding Contract”),… Read more »

Queen Esther the Vegetarian?

In this week’s Jerusalem Post, Dr. Richard Schwartz writes: “Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, was a vegetarian while she lived in the palace of King Achashverosh. She was thus able to avoid violating the kosher dietary laws while keeping her Jewish identity secret.” Well, sort of. As a vegetarian and a woman,… Read more »

Making Noise

The current issue of American Jewish Life magazine has a feature on “Women Who Rock,” including Sophie Milman, Marissa Nadler, Regina Spektor and Neshama Carlbach. In an introductory essay, Mordechai Shinefield writes, “most times the religion and gender of these singers are incidental. When I listen to Sophie Milman I’m not thinking of synagogue or… Read more »

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