Jews in Sports: Sam Nahem: Intellectual, Soldier, Pitcher, Communist

By Bill Simons

The baseball canon includes several notable lefties. From the mound, Lefty Grove and Lefty Gomez earned Hall of Fame plaques. And the Jewish phenom Sandy Koufax might rank as the greatest of all southpaw pitchers. For only one major league pitcher does the designation “left…

Off the Shelf: Injustice and Ethel Rosenberg

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

During my childhood, I was taught that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were innocent of spying. For those unfamiliar with the case, the Jewish couple was convicted and executed for passing U.S. atomic secrets to the U.S.S.R. Both proclaimed their innocence and my father …

Off the Shelf: Reviewing the Past

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” – L. P. Hartley

L. P. Hartley’s statement came to mind after reading Cynthia Ozick’s short novel “Antiquities” (Alfred A. Knopf) and Edmund De Waal’s musings in “Letters to Camondo…

Off the Shelf: Soviet Jews in Russia and the US

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Post-Soviet Union Jewish identity: is there such a thing? It’s difficult to come up with a specific name for those who once lived in what is now the former U.S.S.R.: Soviet Jews, Russian Jews, or Jews-whose-identity-card-may-have-said-they-were-Jewish-but-who-don…

Off the Shelf: They Fought Back

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Readers might think there are no more World War II stories to tell. Yet, new nonfiction works appear on a regular basis. Sometimes, it’s because a researcher takes an interest in a different aspect of the war or because top-secret files have finally been declassif…