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Tag: Jonathan Kirsch

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

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    3 weeks ago

    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...

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  • 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,...

  • Re-examining Twain’s work, Clemens’ life

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    July 25, 2012 | 11:07 am

    Ira Fistell is a familiar and even beloved figure in the Los Angeles radio market, where he long served as an exceptionally amiable, thoughtful and well-informed talk-show host on subjects ranging from politics and religion to vintage trains and Mississippi steamboats. Along with...

  • The last words from Tony Judt, an English, intellectual, Jew

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    February 29, 2012 | 11:19 am

    Imagine a private conversation — at moments, an intimate conversation — between two public intellectuals whose careers have been devoted to understanding the wider world in which we find ourselves. One is facing imminent death, and the other is recording the conversation in a...

  • In the beginning, there was Monterey

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    December 21, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    One way to mark the chronology of the counterculture, a pastime that is beloved by the baby boomers, is by reference to rock festivals. Woodstock and Altamont, for example, are now fully transformed into transcendent symbols of life and death, good and evil, the beginning and end of...

  • Wild Wild Left Coast

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    July 1, 2011 | 12:47 pm

    California is defined, both geographically and psychologically, by the fact that the state sits on the ragged edge of the continent — “an ambiguous portion of the whole state,” as Philip L. Fradkin puts it in “The Left Coast: California on the Edge” (University of...

  • Change and Stasis: The Ever-Evolving American Synagogue

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    June 21, 2011 | 5:26 pm

    Perhaps the single biggest surprise in “The Synagogue in America: A Short History,” by Marc Lee Raphael (New York University Press: $30), is its sheer entertainment value. Raphael, who holds the Nathan Gumenick chair of Judaic studies at the College of William and Mary, has...

  • The book festival gets a new home

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    April 26, 2011 | 5:05 pm

    The headliners at the 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books range from literary luminaries like Carolyn See, Dave Eggers, T.C. Boyle and Jennifer Egan, to fitness icon Jillian Michaels and master prestidigitator Ricky Jay, but the biggest news is the change of...

  • The City Where ‘Everything’ Began

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    March 10, 2011 | 10:35 am

    To sum up the exotic history of the Black Sea port of Odessa, Charles King, in “Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams” (Norton: $27.95), describes “a city that had been scouted by a Neapolitan mercenary, named by a Russian empress, governed by her one-eyed secret...

  • Obama, in the eyes of an activist liberal

    By Susan Freudenheim

    February 10, 2011 | 11:50 am

    Barack Obama has been fated to lead the nation in interesting times, including a free-fall recession, a natural disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a bitter and ongoing battle over healthcare reform, and the sea-changes that are only now welling up in the Middle East.

    That’s why Obama...

  • Victim of violence calls for peace

    By Jonathan Kirsch

    January 11, 2011 | 3:58 pm

    If there is a Palestinian Arab who deserves to feel aggrieved, surely it is Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. Three of his daughters and a niece were killed by a shell fired by the Israel Defense Forces during the fighting in Gaza in 2009. Yet Dr. Abuelaish has refused to resort to...

  • Poetic Master of Biblical Translation Receives Award

    April 22, 2009 | 4:00 am

    Robert Alter is the 2009 recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award, a lifetime achievement award named after my late father and given each year by the Los Angeles Times. It will be my honor to hand the award to Alter, a role I have been asked to perform on a few memorable occasions over...

  • Books: It’s the end of the world as we know it—again

    By Robert David Jaffee

    November 2, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    "A History of the End of the World" by Jonathan Kirsch (Harper San Francisco; $25.95)

    To true believers, North Korea's recent nuclear test was just the latest in a series of signs that the end-time is near. In Jonathan Kirsch's compelling new book, "A History of the End of the...

  • Q & A With Jonathan Kirsch

    By Sandee Brawarsky

    April 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    With best-selling books like "The Harlot by the Side of the Road" and "Moses: A Life," Jonathan Kirsch has been pioneering an unusual genre that combines themes religious, historical and literary, written with a Jewish sensibility. Kirsch, 54, who divides his time among the practice...

  • The Secret History

    By Ruth Andrew Ellenson

    November 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    "The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History of the Jewish People," by Jonathan Kirsch (Viking Press, $14.95).

    Jonathan Kirsch lives a double life that many lawyers only dream of.

    An attorney specializing in the field of publishing law by day, he is also the best-selling...

  • Moses: A Life

    November 4, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    If Jonathan Kirsch's purpose in writing "Moses: A Life," was to offer the reader a mightily researched, comprehensive chronicle of midrashic, scholarly, secular, Christian and even some Muslim commentaries about Moses and the events immediately surrounding his life as told in the...
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