Midstream

Magazine focusing on Jewish cultural, social, and political affairs.

Articles from Vol. 52, No. 4, July-August

A European Chazan at an American Bar Mitzvah
In 1930 in Linas Hatzedek shul in Philadelphia the president was a man named Mr. S. In the old country Mr. S. was a member of the exalted profession of chimney sweep. Upon his arrival in American from Galicia in Poland, he had to give up his original...
A Tisha B'Av Meditation: Yohanan Ben Zakkai: Yavneh's Lost Hero
In the dark days of the first great Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire, Yohanan Ben Zakkai emerged as a sober realist among a divided army of apocalyptic rebels. The early rabbi's actions during the revolt changed the course of Jewish history....
Bontche the Second
Since he was an unhappy man every day of his existence, I could not for the life of me figure out why he had finally committed suicide. I made it my project to find out. They found his body floating in the East River off the 23rd Street Pier in...
Constructions of the Kielce Pogrom
While Americans were celebrating their first fourth of July in 1946 after the end of World War II with parades and hamburgers and hot dogs, forty-two Jews in the Polish city of Kielce met their deaths as the victims of the last pogrom in Europe. This...
Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Bibliography
I started working on my bibliography of Isaac Bashevis Singer some 15 years ago. My work was prompted by several of our readers in the Jewish Division of The New York Public Library who, over a period of a few months, asked whether we could find the...
Isaac Bashevis Singer: An Unpublished Story
The year 2004 marked the centennial of Isaac Bashevis Singer's birth. I was on the staff of the Jewish Division at the 42nd Street library, and my colleague there, Roberta Saltzman, had already published her bibliography of Singer's works, which makes...
Judeo-Italian, Primo Levi's Grandmother Tongue
A century or so ago, Jews in Italy were typically bidialectal or even tridialectal. They could speak standard Italian or the local dialect or both, and they could also speak their own Jewish dialect of Italian. Judeo-Italian dialects at one time were...
On the Holiness of Jerusalem in Judaism and Islam
For 3000 years the eternal city of Jerusalem has held the most exalted position in the Jewish religion, and a place of unparalleled importance in Jewish life and history. First and foremost, King Solomon built the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem...
The Jewish Music of Osvaldo Golijov: (A Modern Composer Given the Rare Honor of a Month-Long Festival at Lincoln Center in NYC)
Most people discover a composer by reading about him in newspapers, CD liner notes, or printed concert programs. I got to know about Osvaldo Golijov (the "j" is pronounced like the "ch" in l'chayim) by accretion, first by listening to his music at...
The Life and Poetry of Itzik Manger Revisited
Itzik Manger's poetry reflects the vicissitudes of his life. It is filled with highs and lows, with works of joy and works of travail. Cited by Sol Liptzin in Maturinq of Yiddish Literature as the "last and greatest of Yiddish troubadours," he drew...
"What Balm for the Heart ...?" the Yiddish Poetry of David Fram (1903-1988)
In retrospect, it is amazing that a far-flung, troubled country like South Africa could have become a seed-bed for the ideal of "Yiddishism". Articulated by Khaym Zhitlovsky (1865-1943) and strongly canvassed at the Czernowitz languague conference...