Jewish Lives

Harvey Milk’s Jewish Identity

Lillian Faderman— The Jewish identity of Harvey Milk—arguably the most famous gay man in modern history—was as important to who he was and what he did as his gay identity. In San Francisco where he became a prominent gay leader and politician in the 1970s, he often introduced himself as

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To Go or Not To Go

Hasia R. Diner— Balancing the choices open to them—staying put; going to a big city in Europe, the Ottoman Empire, or North Africa; or emigrating to the new world— consumed the Jews in the old one. Joseph Austrian was born in 1833 in a small village, Wittelshoffen in Bavaria. His

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Divided Lands

Hasia R. Diner— Nearly every place the immigrant Jewish peddlers went, with the exception of the British Isles and Scandinavia, they stumbled into societies in which color mattered. In some places—Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand—the color divide followed a native-versus-European colonist divide. Where one stood across the native-European

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Streisand – Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power

Neal Gabler— She always seemed to be an example. She was an example of chutzpah. As one fan would say of Streisand’s legacy, “For me, it began with her first revelation: by shoving a Jewish girl’s face in front of the cameras she was announcing, beneath all the self-deprecation, I’m

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The American Prophet – Louis D. Brandeis

Jeffrey Rosen— Recognizing Brandeis as an American prophet seems more relevant today than ever. Brandeis’s consistent opposition to the curse of bigness made him one of the greatest constitutional philosophers of the twentieth century. He is also the Jeffersonian prophet whose prophecies have been most consistently vindicated. The “people’s lawyer”

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Shining a Spotlight on Jewish Lives

To celebrate the launch of the new Jewish Lives series website, you can get 25% off purchases of books in the series and enter for a chance to win all 35 books. The Jewish Lives series is a major series of interpretative biography designed to illuminate the imprint of Jewish figures upon

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How Marcus Rothkowitz Became Mark Rothko

Annie Cohen-Solal— Following his breakthrough into the art world, Marcus Rothkowitz seemed to build momentum, steadily lining up serious and interesting projects; however, as a New York artist, he still needed to establish a foothold. Despite his late start, by age thirty he could already boast about having his first

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Video: Allen and Wallace Shawn Discuss Leonard Bernstein

Brothers Allen and Wallace Shawn recently sat down to discuss the life of legendary composer, conductor, and author Leonard Bernstein. While most of us know him today for the spectacular scores he composed for The West Side Story, On The Waterfront, and A Quiet Place, few may not know his struggles as

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Analyzing Freud, the Master of Psychoanalysis

“Biographers, Freud knew even as a young man, spoke on other people’s behalf—like parents, doctors, rabbis, and politicians. Psychoanalysis was to be a medical treatment which enabled people to speak on their own behalf.”—Adam Phillips, Becoming Freud In his biography of Sigmund Freud’s early life, Becoming Freud: The Making of

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For the Introspective Writer

No one sings as purely as those who inhabit the deepest hell—what we take to be the song of angels is their song. —Franz Kafka in a letter to Milena Jesenska, August 26, 1920 The anguished metaphor that Kafka describes to Jesenska is perhaps characteristic of his life and work.

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