Jewish Journal

Tag: Jonathan Kirsch

View the most popular tags overall?

  • ‘Rabbi-Averse’ biographer takes on rabbi who works with Evangelicals

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    1 week ago

    “I should say, right off, that I am not generally an admirer of rabbis,” journalist Zev Chafets writes in “The Bridge Builder: The Life and Continuing Legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, An Authorized Biography” (Sentinel). “Like a great many irreligious Israelis, I became — and have...

  • For Chanukah, books that bind us

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    2 weeks ago

    Giving a book as a Chanukah gift is a fine, old Jewish tradition, although nowadays books often take the form of a Kindle download or a digital gift certificate from Amazon rather than a festively wrapped hardcover. Still, the tactile pleasures of what publishers now refer to as a...

  • The story of Lincoln’s support for Jewry, in his own hand

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    3 weeks ago

    According to an old publishing industry joke, one title that is bound to be a best-seller is “Lincoln’s Dog’s Diet,” which helps to explain why more than 16,000 books about Abraham Lincoln have been published so far, and more are offered each year.

    At least one-third of the joke...

  • Ron Wolfson: A precious gift from his Zayde and Bubbe

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    October 21, 2015 | 3:49 pm

    The Jewish community in Southern California is richly blessed with high-profile pulpit rabbis, and we tend to turn to these influential women and men when we want to know about Jewish identity and practice. But respect must be paid, too, to those whose teaching takes place outside...

  • How Israel’s desert became a fecund source of water

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 25, 2015 | 9:47 am

    “Making the desert bloom” is one of the stirring and enduring tropes of Zionist history. So it makes sense for a drought-afflicted country like ours to turn to Israel for an example of how to solve the water crisis. That’s exactly what Seth M. Siegel has done in “Let There Be...

  • The Holocaust in a new and revelatory light

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 9, 2015 | 2:18 pm

    Scholars are notoriously critical and even cranky readers, especially when it comes to the Holocaust. Lucy Dawidowicz (“The War Against the Jews 1933-1945”) was bitterly disparaged by Raul Hilberg (“The Destruction of the European Jews”), and Hilberg was faulted by Hugh...

  • Words to amuse and amaze

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 8, 2015 | 2:42 pm

    Novelist Jonathan Franzen (“The Corrections,” “Freedom”) is such a draw that his public appearances are more like rock concerts than bookstore readings. For example, his gig promoting his new book, “Purity” (Bond Street Books), requires advance tickets at $33 apiece — the ticket...

  • Author, psychologist delves inside ‘The Israeli Mind’

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 2, 2015 | 11:36 am

    Alon Gratch practices psychology in New York but was born and raised in Jerusalem, which puts him in a unique position to tell us how Israelis see the world. Indeed, as he writes in “The Israeli Mind: How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World” (St. Martin’s Press), “I...

  • Rabbi counseling those at life’s thresholds shares her wisdom

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    August 19, 2015 | 3:38 pm

    “Rabbi” is derived from the Hebrew word for “my master,” which leaves a lot of room for describing what a rabbi actually does. A rabbi is trained to be the spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation, of course, but he or she may also serve as a teacher, a judge, an administrator and...

  • All-seeing mother watches family implode

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    July 9, 2015 | 9:49 am

    Rare is the writer who does not look at one of his earlier works and see something he would have changed. Rarer still is the writer who actually makes that change. In “Prayers for the Living” (Fig Tree Books), novelist, memoirist and National Public Radio book critic Alan Cheuse...

  • A funny — and touching — thing happened when a writer had a son

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    June 25, 2015 | 2:55 pm

    Etgar Keret is an Israeli writer with an international readership. His stories have been translated into 37 languages, and you can read them in The New Yorker and The New York Times. He’s also been a contributor to the radio program “This American Life.” But if you are not already...

  • An extensive history of the Holocaust

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 9, 2015 | 10:53 am

    On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we are confronted by a bitter irony. The vast and ever-expanded scholarship of the Shoah has never been greater, and yet, at the same time, we still hear insistent voices that minimize or even deny that it happened. That’s why the most crucial form of...

  • A ‘Frank’ assessment

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 11, 2015 | 1:11 pm

    Now and then, a politician comes along who is both cantankerous and somehow lovable, highly principled and yet open to argument, possessed of both a sense of honor and a sense of humor. The late New York Mayor Ed Koch was one example, and Arizona Sen. John McCain is another. And so...

  • ‘Anonymous Soldiers’ looks at terrorism from another troubling angle

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 25, 2015 | 12:43 pm

    “Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947” by Bruce Hoffman (Knopf) offers an uncomfortable but crucial message: Terrorism works. And the book is all the more disturbing because the examples Hoffman considers are the Irgun and Lehi (perhaps better known as the “Stern...

  • Ghosts of exile, examined

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 12, 2015 | 10:23 am

    Roger Cohen is an observer of Israel and the Middle East whose voice is especially commanding, and not only because he writes for The New York Times. As a former foreign correspondent, he is deeply experienced in the travails and troubles of the contemporary world. In “The Girl...

  • Moving ‘God, Faith & Identity’ passes mantle of remembrance

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    January 28, 2015 | 2:56 pm

    Seventy years ago, the Red Army liberated the death camp at Auschwitz, an event that now marks the observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ever since that day, we have been struggling to explain and understand what happened in the killing fields and concentration...

  • Can the ‘Creative Class’ survive?

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    January 14, 2015 | 1:14 pm

    The digital revolution has its winners and losers. If a question comes up in dinner conversation, there’s no item of information so obscure or so trivial that we cannot find it in a few seconds with a Google search on our smartphones. But, then, I have come to believe that...

  • The welcome enemy: Nazis in the U.S.

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    December 11, 2014 | 1:35 pm

    One of the bitter facts of history is that the United States’ immigration quota for Germany and Austria went unfilled during the 1930s when hundreds of thousands of Jews were clamoring to escape the Third Reich. And further, when the war against Germany was finally won in 1945,...

  • Ferreting out the truth about a complicated King David

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    November 25, 2014 | 1:13 pm

    King David is like no other figure in the Hebrew Bible. “We know David as majestic king and lowly shepherd, as valiant warrior and soothing singer, as ruthless killer and passionate lover, as enraptured dancer and pious saint,” observes Jacob Wright in “David, King of Israel, and...

  • Holiday season brings authors to SoCal

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    November 24, 2014 | 1:25 pm

    From the Bible to the Broadway stage, readers and gift-buyers can find a wealth of new books in the bookstores, and it’s the time of year when authors, too, are out in the world to talk about their work. Here are five choice opportunities in Southern California.

    It’s the year...

  • Leaving religious life: The ‘un-Orthodox’ path

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    November 21, 2014 | 12:09 pm

    The path between the secular world and highly observant Judaism is a two-way street. The baal t’shuvah travels in one direction, but he or she may be taking the place of someone who has abandoned Orthodoxy.  It is these so-called “defectors” whose lives are explored with color and...

  • A conversation with Erwin Chemerinsky

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    November 12, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Jonathan Kirsch: Let me begin with a quote from “The Case Against the Supreme Court.” You write: “From the outset, in writing this book, I have been concerned that it would be criticized as a liberal’s whining that the Court’s decisions have not been liberal enough.” What...

  • Carter, Begin and Sadat — Nostalgia for hope of peace

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    October 14, 2014 | 2:35 pm

    Lawrence Wright, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is attracted to moments of high drama and historical significance. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his account of Osama Bin Laden and the events of Sept. 11 in “The Looming Tower,” for example, and he penetrated the inner workings of...

  • Three books, three opinions about The Lubavitcher Rebbe

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 23, 2014 | 2:48 pm

    The 20th anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902-1994) has inspired no fewer than three new biographies, a fact that attests to his enduring importance even outside the Chasidic community he led for four decades. Even more telling, however, is the fact that he is...

  • Jules Feiffer’s ‘Kill My Mother’: You’ll Die Laughing

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    September 17, 2014 | 3:41 pm

    Last week, I happened to catch the 1971 movie “Little Murders,” adapted by Jules Feiffer from his stage play. It’s a black comedy, mordant but full of insight into the American psyche and the zeitgeist of the era, and it reminded me of the role that Feiffer, and especially his...

  • ‘Woody on Rye’: Jewishness in the works of Woody Allen

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    August 20, 2014 | 1:41 pm

    A few years ago, I discovered that there is actually something called The Big Lebowski Studies, a tongue-in-cheek academic discipline wholly devoted to a single Coen brothers movie (and, if I may say so, hardly their best movie). Yet, as far as I have been able to tell, no such...

  • ‘The Lion’s Gate’: Firsthand accounts of the Six Day War

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    July 23, 2014 | 1:05 pm

    From a distance of a half-century, the Six Day War looks very different indeed from what is happening today on the Gaza border, but “The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War” by Steven Pressfield (Sentinel) is a kind of companion reader for those of us who are...

  • The true story of how scientists battled Typhus and sabotaged the Nazis

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    July 9, 2014 | 10:29 am

    By now, of course, we know full well that the Holocaust is a bottomless pit. More than a half-century after the liberation of the last camp, new and wholly unsuspecting tales of both suffering and redemption continue to reach us. “The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two...

  • Calendar March 22-28

    By Laura Donney

    March 19, 2014 | 10:40 am

    SAT MAR | 22

    “L.A. DELI”

    Sometimes, you can’t get yourself to a New York deli — or a New York Broadway show, for that matter. Sam Bobrick’s new comedy solves both of these problems. Set in a Hollywood delicatessan, the show is a collage of comedic sketches that outline both the...

  • Boy Avenger

    By Michael Berenbaum

    April 3, 2013 | 9:19 am

    I began reading Jonathan Kirsch’s “The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris” (Liveright Publishing Co., 2013) with considerable skepticism. As Kirsch, a prolific author, attorney and book editor for the Journal,  notes,...

    Page 1     of 2 pages        1 2 >