This selection of writings from the pages of The Jewish Quarterly of London is a tribute to the skill of the founder/editor, Dr Jacob Sonntag, in keeping the magazine going, with no visible means of support, for more than 25 years. Many of the pieces within the book rise to the challenge of formulating a direct and serious response to the momentous events that have affected the Jews in our time. In other cases, we are offered echoes of the past that are relevant in a different sense, including, to choose almost at random, essays on Heine and Feuchtwanger, translations of Yiddish poetry from Eastern Europe, and rather surprisingly, extracts from plays in which classical Jewish situations are given dramatic form – a Christian-Jewish disputation before King James of Aragon in 13th century Spain, the dilemma of Spinoza on finding himself ex-communicated for heresy by the rabbis of 17th century Amsterdam, the passion of a Hassidic rabbi in 19th century Poland who sets out to force God to send the Messiah.
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The minimalist Fumio Sasaki 'confesses that as he began to purchase fewer consumer goods, his meals shrank in size. He decluttered and lost weight. Accumulation is not just an economic way of life but a form of embodiment too. Enlightenment is reduction.'
'The river’s desecration mirrors Colombia’s long history of violence: "for years we treated it like a sewer," says Ahmed, a survivor of a particularly brutal paramilitary massacre, "just like we treated each other".'
Patrick Wilcken on the Magdalena.
It's 'all lively and entertaining but rather too black and white. Her account of British politics and the success of the Brexit campaign verges on the cartoonish.'
@David_Goodhart on Anne Applebaum's 'Twilight on Democracy'.