Midstream

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

Articles from Vol. 57, No. 4, Fall

Conference Report: Trends in Jewish American Literature
Just where is Jewish American literature headed? A group of academics assembled in a sun-drenched room high above Philadelphia at the close of a conference of the Modern Language Association, the nation's largest professional organization in the humanities,...
Dangerous Ground: How Territory Has Influenced Israel's National Security Outlook
In the spring of 2000, Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon. In the fall of 2005, it withdrew from Gaza. These withdrawals, reasoned the governments of Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, respectively, would significantly promote the Jewish state's national...
Gilad Shalit: A Meditation on the Return of "The 1"
In Arad, the small city in the northern Negev where I've lived since 2008, the posters were taken down the very day after Gilad Shalit's release. For nearly four years, the greater part of his ordeal of incarceration and isolation, I passed the two...
Gustav Mahler: A Jew?
Gustav Mahler, one of the greatest composers and conductors of symphonic music, who died just a hundred years ago, was, unquestionably, born a Jew; whether he died as one is in dispute. His non-Jewish wife Alma said he often used to say that "I am...
Israel and the Tragedy of the "Altalena"
Brothers at War: Israel and the Tragedy of the Altalena, by Jerold Auerbach, (New Orleans, L.A: Quid Pro Books, 2011). MILCHEMET ACHIM!--Brothers at war!--is a subject that has preoccupied Jews throughout their literature and history, from the narratives...
James Joyce, "The Greatest Jew of All"
Frank O'Connor, novelist, short story writer, director of Dublin's Abbey Theater, literary critic and historian of Irish literature has called James Joyce, the greatest Jew of all. (1) This is certainly hyperbole, for Joyce was neither Jewish nor would...
Jonah, the Miserable Prophet
Although Jeremiah is usually ranked as the most miserable of prophets, Jonah follows close behind. I have tried to show in a previous essay on Jonah that there is a lot of humor in the way the small book is written and presented, but the prophet's...
Of Tchotchkes, Mavens, Schmattes and Other English Words
My word processor has just told me that I am wrong about mavens. According to it, maven does not have to be italicized; it is an English word, but the others have not yet been admitted and are therefore redlined. My bet would have been on tchoktchkes...
Opening Day
At Katz's Delicatessen on Houston Street, which had been around forever, there was still a World War II sign that read, "Send your soldier boy a salami." Seeing it and grinning, Harry Steinhardt ordered two pastrami and two corned beef sandwiches,...
The Great DiMaggio and the King of Judah
I was just a kid during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but growing up in a sea of impoverished Jews and other immigrant minorities on the Lower East Side of Manhattan meant that I was not terribly aware of this national calamity or even of any...
The Hasidic Revolution: Foundation of American Popular Culture
At the end of the nineteenth century, Askenazi Jewish immigrants from Poland and the Pale of Settlement in Russia came to the United States. Their behavior was perceived by many nativists to be distinctive and threatening. One set of behaviors stood...