Mosaic Magazine

Mosaic Magazine Advancing ideas, argument, and reasoned judgment in all areas of Jewish endeavor.

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America has long maintained a presence in the Sinai peninsula to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt. Thus far it's ...
10/25/2020
Why America Shouldn’t Leave the Sinai

America has long maintained a presence in the Sinai peninsula to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt. Thus far it's been a success—and that's exactly why it shouldn't leave

Don’t take peace for granted.

In this video discussion, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Robert George chart the moral decline of the West since the 1960s, an...
10/23/2020
Restoring Our Moral Sense in Troubled Times

In this video discussion, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Robert George chart the moral decline of the West since the 1960s, and they ask how can we restore a common moral sense

“No Jew worthy of the name ever lost hope.”

Last week, we featured a review about a new book on the Jewish treasures of Oxford's Bodleian Library. While the book gi...
10/23/2020

Last week, we featured a review about a new book on the Jewish treasures of Oxford's Bodleian Library. While the book gives the treasures their due, it also tells the stories of the artifacts' curious, intrepid collectors. We wanted to tell you about a couple of them.

William Laud, the archbishop of Canterbury, collected a ton of Hebrew texts from Northern Italy, and other medieval Ashkenazi works. Laud brought these items together specifically to donate them to Oxford―and indeed they were, after he was unfairly executed for high treason.

David Oppenheim, one of the few Jews who contributed, also made a huge impact. He spent his life trying to collect every Jewish book in existence, and at his death owned 1,000 manuscripts and more than 4,500 printed volumes. He was perhaps the greatest bibliophile in Jewish history.

Finally, Matteo Luigi Canonici, an 18th-century Italian dealer, didn't have the same love for texts. But "his credo, he said, was to buy 'beautiful items,' but only 'if they [were] real bargains.'" The Bodleian purchased over 2,000 manuscripts of his―the largest purchase it's ever made .

Collectors, David Stern writes, have a unique value: "Libraries and librarians catalogue and preserve books; only rarely do they have the time, and even less often the resources, to build great collections, let alone to define new fields of inquiry by acquiring materials in them . . . . Collectors are different. Because they have abundant resources, or a highly developed talent for finagling, along with a compulsive, sometimes monomaniacal determination to acquire and own objects, they are able to unearth things discoverable by no one else."

Read the full piece here: https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/arts-culture/2020/10/jewish-treasures-from-oxfords-archives-and-their-intrepid-collectors/

Can Israel make peace with Qatar too? Maybe, but Qatar's diplomatic position is unusually complicated
10/23/2020
Can Israel Make Peace with Qatar?

Can Israel make peace with Qatar too? Maybe, but Qatar's diplomatic position is unusually complicated

A problematic partner—that exports anti-Western and anti-Semitic propaganda—already cooperates with both Jerusalem and Washington.

America's optimism is generally considered a virtue. But for many of its Jews, embracing that attitude has meant discard...
10/22/2020
How America's Idealism Drained Its Jews of Their Resilience

America's optimism is generally considered a virtue. But for many of its Jews, embracing that attitude has meant discarding their ability to seriously grapple with the pain of Jewish history

In Israel and in traditional communities, life and liturgy don’t run away from hardship. Most American Jews prefer to think on the brighter side, but that comes at a high cost.

Israel has little to gain and a lot to lose in renewed talks with Lebanon's Hizballah-led government. Michael Doran and ...
10/22/2020
Israel Stands to Gain Little from Talks with Lebanon

Israel has little to gain and a lot to lose in renewed talks with Lebanon's Hizballah-led government. Michael Doran and Tony Badran discuss

They only give credence to a Hizballah-controlled government.

Our podcast this week features Yossi Klein Halevi discussing the great Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, and his most ...
10/22/2020
Podcast: Yossi Klein Halevi on Jabotinsky 140 Years Later

Our podcast this week features Yossi Klein Halevi discussing the great Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, and his most famous and enduring essay: "The Iron Wall"

The Israeli writer and thinker joins us to discuss Jabotinsky’s Zionism and why “The Iron Wall” still matters today.

A short story about the murder of a leading Christian philosopher shows how ideological anti-Semitism blossomed in pre-W...
10/22/2020
Viennese Philosophy in the Shadow of Nazism

A short story about the murder of a leading Christian philosopher shows how ideological anti-Semitism blossomed in pre-World War II Vienna

How anti-Semites pitted Wittgenstein’s “Jewish mathematicality” against the thought of Heidegger.

Do all human languages descend from a single "mother" language, as the Tower of Babel story depicts? Some linguists thin...
10/21/2020
Do All Human Languages Derive From A Single Source?

Do all human languages descend from a single "mother" language, as the Tower of Babel story depicts? Some linguists think they might, but it's almost impossible to prove it

Some paleolinguists have floated the idea of an original human language they call “Proto-Sapiens.” Is that what our ancestors were speaking when they built the Tower of Babel?

In a new article, the New York Times gives anti-Semitism (and Louis Farrakhan) a pass―again.And in responding to critici...
10/21/2020
The “New York Times” Gives Anti-Semitism a Pass, Again

In a new article, the New York Times gives anti-Semitism (and Louis Farrakhan) a pass―again.

And in responding to criticism of the article, its author said that those "who have become white [i.e., Jews] should not be lecturing Black ppl [sic] about oppression"

While the author of a puff piece on Louis Farrakhan attacks her Jewish critics for their privilege.

A new novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has drawn rave reviews, but its boosters have missed something crucia...
10/20/2020
The Passion of Colum McCann

A new novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has drawn rave reviews, but its boosters have missed something crucial: it's also a veiled slander of Jews and Israel. Here's how:

The highly acclaimed Apeirogon, a recent novel about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, has a lot more to say about Jews and Israel than anybody has picked up on—none of it good.

How liberal American Jews have come to avoid confronting the suffering of Jewish history:
10/20/2020
How America's Idealism Drained Its Jews of Their Resilience

How liberal American Jews have come to avoid confronting the suffering of Jewish history:

In Israel and in traditional communities, life and liturgy don’t run away from hardship. Most American Jews prefer to think on the brighter side, but that comes at a high cost.

"The Creation concept also teaches us that, while physical existence is real, that is only the tip of the iceberg. The e...
10/20/2020
Why Does God Wish Us to Know about Creation?

"The Creation concept also teaches us that, while physical existence is real, that is only the tip of the iceberg. The encounter with the Creator makes us realize that there are important dimensions of existence that are not measurable or touchable—yet are as real and important as the visible"

Approaching existence as a work of art.

Hamas and Hizballah routinely use civilians as cover―as human shields―so Western countries won't destroy their terror ce...
10/19/2020
It’s Time for the U.S. to Act against the Use of Human Shields

Hamas and Hizballah routinely use civilians as cover―as human shields―so Western countries won't destroy their terror cells. Here's how the U.S. can finally end this disgusting tactic:

Congress has created the right tool. The president should use it.

"It does not matter how progressive you are, how vegan or how gay, how much you want universal healthcare and pre-K and ...
10/19/2020
The Anti-Liberal Left Poses the Greatest Danger to American Jewry

"It does not matter how progressive you are, how vegan or how gay, how much you want universal healthcare and pre-K and to end the drug war. To believe in the justness of the existence of the Jewish state—to believe in Jewish particularism at all—is to make yourself an enemy of this movement" writes Bari Weiss

Stop being shocked.

Why American Jewish optimism might not be such a bad thing: obsessing over tragedy and evil doesn't necessarily make any...
10/19/2020
Daniel Gordis's Hapless Americans Aren't Quite so Hapless

Why American Jewish optimism might not be such a bad thing: obsessing over tragedy and evil doesn't necessarily make anyone better at confronting it

Awareness of tragedy and evil doesn’t necessarily engender vigor and resilience—it can just as plausibly nurture fatalism and a sense of helplessness.

Why has the Arab world turned against Hizballah? Because of its violent, scorched-earth tactics to keep Bashar al-Assad ...
10/18/2020
How the Arab World Turned against Hizballah

Why has the Arab world turned against Hizballah? Because of its violent, scorched-earth tactics to keep Bashar al-Assad in control of Syria

Its atrocities in Syria have rivaled those of Islamic State.

"I approached a favorite professor with my dilemma—namely, that I had concluded that Reform Judaism was more of an organ...
10/16/2020
Liberal Judaism Is Dedicated to Identity Formation, Not a Religious Worldview

"I approached a favorite professor with my dilemma—namely, that I had concluded that Reform Judaism was more of an organizing strategy than religion. He listened and then smiled. 'You are correct. You’ve figured out what is difficult to say publicly.'"

North American synagogues experience these two purposes not as mutually reinforcing but as incongruous—which is why they’re in trouble.

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