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January, 1959Back to Top
Jewish Jester
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a footnote to Edouard Roditi's review of Cinque Storie Ferraresi by Giorgio Bassani (September 1958) it may be interesting to add that Ferrara also produced the first Jewish comedian known to us by name, and one of the earliest jesters to be represented in European art.

Merin of Sosnowiec
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I was greatly surprised to see that Philip Friedman, in his article “Two ‘Saviors’ Who Failed” (December) describes Moses Merin of Sosnowiec as having been “.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: Mr. Petersen, in his article “Prejudice in American Society” (October), first states that social scientists tend to define prejudice primarily as a hostile attitude, then criticizes rather strongly this presumed tendency, and finally argues that prejudice should be viewed as a prejudgment based upon insufficient facts.

“Inverted Diaspora”?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: While it is true that Alan Wood's (“I Sell My House,” November) gives every indication of being a “liberated” man, yet it seems to me he missed the whole point of why he “suffered,” and unfortunately makes the experience of living in an inverted diaspora meaningless.

Jewish Tradition & Reverence
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Thank you for the informative article on the etrog by Erich and Raël Isaac (“A Goodly Tree,” October).

The Perils of Political Moderation:
Our Self-Defeating Party System

by Dennis Wrong
For some time now, both major political parties have stressed the “politics of moderation,” with the result that neither has any defined social program.

Can de Gaulle Check the Gaullists?
The Threat of the Extreme Right

by Ray Alan
How republican is France's Fifth Republic, being launched under the presidency of General Charles de Gaulle? _____________     The bookseller was fondling a stack of bile-yellow paperbacks devoted to the “Jewish problem.” They dated from the period 1937-1943 and he had just bought them secondhand from the widow of a local Vichyite.

Virginia Jewry in the School Crisis:
Anti-Semitism and Desegregation

by Murray Friedman
Richmond A young Jewish attorney in a small city in central Virginia was discussing school desegregation with a non-Jewish friend. “I hear that the president of the NAACP is Jewish,” remarked the latter.

A. J. Heschel and the Philosophy of the Bible:
Mystic or Rationalist?
by E. Cherbonnier
In the May 1958 issue of COMMENTARY, Jakob J. Petuchowski makes a provocative analysis of the thought of Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Seek Haven
by Chayym Zeldis
We had it, we had it—the violet hour, We had the singed twilight for our     own; The lamps were headless and the years     unformed, And we had the silence in our hands Like a seer's ball. Today's face turns where there isn't any     wall, Today's heart yearns where the grass     is dry; There are shadows here that have forsaken     masters, And leaves of bronze that don't touch each     other, And light—without ecstacy. Appeal to black, numb trees and bloodless     snow, That are unseeing and beyond our clime; Appeal to the file-edged tongue of sky. Then swallow soul's silent poison, And seek haven in a hutch of rhyme. _____________  

Last of the War Criminals:
The Mystery of Erich Koch

by Gerald Reitlinger
Furtively presented in stray paragraphs of the world press during October and November 1958, an assiduous student might find traces of a weird, sacrificial, and Kafka-like Polish trial.

A Story

by Norma Stahl
Larry, awaking, heard his chin stubble rasp the satin ribbon of their white blanket. “Oh, you lucky bum!” he said to himself, as a small doubt hit him.

From the American Scene: A Kind of Tribute
by Donald Paneth
James W. Roder, a district man For the Associated Press who covered the Bronx at night from 5:30 P.M. to 2 A.M., had been a newspaper man in New York City for almost thirty years upon his death at the age of forty-nine.

by Leonard Wolf
Police or fire? We've been in bed because Of weariness and love; but it's not safe. Our sheets have lost their warmth, our     pillows twist— Someone's wounded; someone's breaking     laws. Drowsy, perfumed and beautiful, you lie No longer fast asleep; the night has lost All that the dark keeps commonplace and     clean, All the stillness that we slumber by. Ambulance or fire—what's the news? The stars are cut by gimlets, and their light Shines on kittens in cold alleys where Someone stumbles, someone else pursues. Sleep's the privilege we do not own However we have earned it.

Cedars of Lebanon: A Jewish Watchmaker in Old Virginia
by Our Readers
A vivid glimpse into Jewish life in Virginia during the last decades of the 18th century is given by the two letters we present below.

On the Horizon: Conscience and Consciousness in Japan
by Sidney Hook
Tokyo The modernization of Japan, with its great dangling balloons by day and dancing arabesques of neon lights at night, strikes the eye of the visitor at every turn, especially in the huge, sprawling cities.

The Study of Man: The Great Transformation
by George Lichtheim
Between 1890 and 1930 Europe underwent profound intellectual changes, reverberating throughout the Western world. Their significance is analyzed in the recently published Consciousness and Society (Knopf), by H.

The Gnostic Religion, by Hans Jonas
by Moses Hadas
A Famous Heresy The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity. by Hans Jonas. Beacon. 302 pp.

Oriental Despotism, by Karl Wittfogel
by A. Sherman
Asian Society Oriental Despotism. A Comparative Study of Total Power. by Karl Wittfogel. Yale University Press. 555 pp. $7.50.   Ours is an age of second thoughts, and of going back to earlier writers for inspiration and new insights.

The History of Coins and Symbols in Ancient Israel, by Wolf Wirgin and Siegfried Mandel
by Stanley Hyman
Numismatic Neurosis The History of Coins and Symbols in Ancient Israel. by Wolf Wirgin and Siegfried Mandel. Exposition. 264 pp. Illustrated. $7.50.   As the title suggests, here are two books stitched together with the seam visible.

The Russian Revolution, by Alan Moorehead
by Joel Carmichael
History, “Life” Style The Russian Revolution. by Alan Moorehead. Harper. 301 pp. $5.00.   This book has had an unprecedented success, having been selected as a Book-of-the-Month after being run in an abridged series of installments in Life Magazine.

Naming-Day in Eden, by Noah Jonathan Jacobs
by Abby Fink
When Adam Delved . . . Naming-Day in Eden. The Creation and Recreation of Language. by Noah Jonathan Jacobs. Macmillan. 159 pp. $3.95.   Naming-Day in Eden has clearly been designed for the man who knows nothing about the science of linguistics; it is a light concoction (a soufflé, according to the publishers) that may be downed whole, incurring no damage to the uninitiated digestive system.

The Intruder, by Adriaan Van der Veen
by Manfred Wolf
Becoming A Victim The Intruder. by Adriaan Van der Veen. Translated from the Dutch by James S. Holmes and Hans van Marle. Abelard-Schuman.

Reader Letters January 1959
by Our Readers
Jewish Tradition & Revernce TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Thank you for the informative article on the etrog by Erich and Rael Isaac ("A Goodly Tree," October).

February, 1959Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I have received a notice from you telling me that my subscription to COMMENTARY will soon expire. When I was in New York three years ago as a shahaih, I was able to take out a subscription before I left.

Algeria—Two Views
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It is easy to understand Maurice Carr's sympathy with Charles de Gaulle's effort to find a way out of the Algerian war (“Algeria After the Referendum,” December 1958).

Suburban Ghetto?
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I have belatedly read Alan Wood's “I Sell My House” (November 1958). “To tell/or not to tell” really does not seem to require an apparatus consisting of, potentially, two rabbis, the Ethical Culture Society, and the Ministers' Board.

Norfolk's Jews and Integration
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I read with interest Murray Friedman's accurate portrayal of “Virginia Jewry in the School Crisis” (January). However, I would like to add some observations from Norfolk, Virginia, and to point out that the dilemma here is not limited to Jews but extends to all liberals. On September 24, 1958, the following resolution was presented for adoption by the Norfolk Junior Chamber of Commerce: “That, we, the members of the Norfolk Junior Chamber of Commerce, believe that public education is vital for the preservation of civic and religious liberty in the United States of America.

Hero of Kovno
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . No one can deny that the stories of the Jewish Ghetto leaders presented by Philip Friedman (“Two ‘Saviors’ Who Failed,” December 1958) and earlier by Solomon Bloom (“Dictator of the Lodz Ghetto,” February 1949) make vivid reading.

The Cult of the “American Consensus”:
Homogenizing Our History

by John Higham
Examining the recent work of historians who argue that the essence of America's genius is its subordination of ideas to practical needs, John Higham enters a few caveats.  _____________     In retrospect, it is becoming apparent that the decade of the 1940's marked a fundamental change of direction in the exploration of the American past.

Nasser and the Iraqi Communists:
Arab Nationalism Meets the Soviet Advance

by Walter Laqueur
A year ago, Iraq seemed a pillar of the U.S.-sponsored Baghdad Pact; six months ago, it seemed an attractive rival to Nasser's Egypt.

Gentlemen's Agreement in Bronxville:
The “Holy Square Mile”

by Harry Gersh
Harry Gersh describes a personal investigation into anti-Semitic housing practices in a fashionable New York suburb.  _____________     Bronxville, New York, is a pleasant, handsome suburban village in lower Westchester County, fifteen miles north of New York City.

Four Midrashim for the Passover
by Leslie Fiedler
The Four Sons Four sons only says the Law Spring from all the seed we sow; Wise or wicked, foolish, dumb Suffice to name whatever son. Wise one, ask that I may still Recite what asking you know well. Only what is known is learned; Bow, be bored and yield the turn. Wicked, cry in scorn: “Why yet Remember to remember death!” Out of bondage when I pass You shall be the slave of was. Foolish, slobber as you seek To hear what you cannot repeat. The Law demands that I expend My breath though no one understand. Dumb innocence, you plead the best For vain expenditure of breath: To give the gift without a use, Each year just once to say the truth. Four sons only says the Law Spring from all the seed we sow; Wise and wicked, foolish, dumb Suffice to name my father's son. _____________   The Four Questions Why is this night different from others, The bread broken poor bread, The lines spoken cribbed from dead Fathers, the wine drunk four times, mothers Permitting? Why is this night different, Yeastless, only ceaseless prayers Rising—greens dipped twice in tears, Timeless? Why are the long absent present? Why do we go out of Egypt? Why are we forever there? Why is it God himself who goads us? Why do I do not care? Why is this night different, why leaning Are old men different, kings Of crumbs and wine-soaked napkins, Singing? What do they think they are    meaning, Touching the egg, brown bone, the bitter Herbs, howling through open doors The hopeless, unheard curse? No prophet enters, only dying winter.

A Politics of Peace:
Reflections on C. Wright Mills's “The Causes of World War III

by H. Hughes
Is there an alternative to the bi-partisan foreign policy framed by Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles? H. Stuart Hughes, professor of history at Harvard, sketches one here. _____________     For the past decade C.

Soviet Jews under Khrushchev:
Still the Total State

by A. Wiseman
Two experts on Russia review the latest turns in Soviet policy toward the Jews. _____________     Even Nikita Khrushchev does not claim that, forty-one years after the Bolshevik revolution, the Soviet Union has “solved the Jewish problem.” In an interview with a French journalist, Serge Groussard, published in Figaro last April, he deplored Jewish reluctance to accept the “remarkable gift” of Birobidzhan, and complained that Soviet Jews preferred intellectual pursuits to such “mass occupations” as the building trades and metal industry.

Names of Michalishek
by Menke Katz
Mine are the names outmoded as the kindness of my mother, humble as the cool shadows in the evening woods, where echoes do not pine away for the love of Narcissus, but in yearning for a yell of the vanished children of Michalishek. The restless brook roving through my tiny home town will repeat forever and a day the names of Michalishek. Listen: Yeiske—Meishke—Blumke—Menke—Berke—Elchik. Yeiske, real as this rhymeless prayer to love: a thrilling chill from the snows of my childhood, entrancing as Joseph through the dreams of Pharaoh, not in dungeons of Egypt but on mudlands of Lithuania cherished by a wish of a homeless, hunted Jew. Yeiske, genuine as the light of my eyes. Meishke, a name moving as an oar of a homemade rowboat, rowed idly by a lone, love-wounded lad, longing for his barefooted maiden over the Viliya River, which hugged the townlet of my bearded forefathers: rich in mighty dreams, proud with hoary wisdom. The crude oar in lover's hands, miraculous as Moses' wonder rod. Blumke, brisk as stray seeds flung into your face by a slapping wind. Her hair braided with tough flowers growing out of the stones of a ruin. Her fingers sore from plucking sorrel out of thornbushes. Winter, she mellows by the light of cherubs on wings of icicles. The sudden gust through frost-weeds rustled her in silks. Blumke, sister of dandelions—O, tear-kissed sister of mine! Menke, laughworthy, not worth the eyehole of a needle— but my eyebrows are opulent, bushy as thoughts of life after death. My father's eyebrows—the pride of the baretoed nights of Michalishek. My walk is light and free as my mother's laughter. I am dangerous as at twilight, a falling day, daring as a newborn word, startling as a freshly molded verse. I am chatty as Yiddish, my mother tongue. I dallied with dreams as in a game of jackstones, when stars paved the crooked, unpaved alley where I was born. Midnight. The candlelit house struggles with the night, blind as a mole. Berke—a boy left all alone in the depths of a cheder tale, where a dark forest glares only with the eyes of a threatening bear. The bear is shaken by the awe of the pleading boy: “O, bear, bear, bearele, be timid and kind, mamma will surely bring you tomorrow a tasty cooky flavored with poppy-seeds.” Elchik is the neighboring brother from the near-by cemetery: a lad wrought on a windowpane of our age-weary house, caressed by pitiless winter, pampered by bleak, freezing design. Elchik—a name scorched under the ashes of my burnt hometown. Michalishek in flames toward a deaf, godless sky, carried him to heaven, like Elijah, on horses of fire. The moon is a snow-apple of a delusive orchard, to tease hungry little brothers and a fright-skinned sister. Carved in traceries of frost-work appears Elijah of Gilead, seeking death, in vain, under a broom-bush, with God not in wind or fire, but in tender whisper. The smell of caves of the wilderness on his clothes. The kindness of a far, lucky morrow in his eyes. Real and near as the next-door neighbor, he opens for the children a bagful of bread, brought to him by ravens at the stream Kerith. Elchik is the light of his long shining beard. He scatters on the windowpane the three hundred bits of silver which Joseph gave to Benjamin in the land of Egypt. The cheery sister picks frost-beads for a fairy garland. The wealthy little brothers gather the fancied coins. _____________  

Family Ties
A Story

by Alex Miller
His father sitting at the glass-topped desk looked him square in the eyes. His father's deep-cut face lines were not hard now but compassionate.

The Bible of the Synagogue:
The Continuing Revelation

by Jakob Petuchowski
The “Bible of the Synagogue,” as Jakob J. Petuchowski chooses to call it, is the Hebrew Bible as interpreted and enriched by centuries of Rabbinic commentary.

Cedars of Lebanon: “Sanctify The Ordinary”
by Abraham Chein
Rabbi Abraham Yehudah Chein was born in Russia in 1878, and lived in Jerusalem during the latter part of his life, up to the day of his death, which happened on Yom Kippur day, 1957.

On the Horizon: Job on Broadway
by Herbert Weiner
“I wonder, Mr. MacLeish, if you realize how unlikable your character J.B. really is?” The poet seemed to start back in unpleasant surprise at the question asked by a lady sitting in the rear of the Anta Theater off Broadway. “Why, no.

Yom Kippur Lamentation
by Dachine Rainer
Knowing not the quantity nor precise degree of my sinning, And advised to abandon all antiquated notions of guilt, I atone for the sin of omission:    That I know not where my Lord resides    Nor in whose house I dwell,    That I know not, all else besides,    The dimensions of Heaven, the volume of Hell.    That I rear in wanton heresies    One younger than I, less innocent,    Whose perception of oracular verities    Is unmoved by pragmatic cant.    Atone, further, that between myself and His green world    Cataracting walls obscure bright earth from me,    Separate you from me, and Him, and cleave from the furled    Banner of my former self, my very atonement on this Day. _____________  

The Study of Man: Woodrow Wilson: Tragic Hero
by Robert Langbaum
Robert Langbaum offers a fresh evaluation of Woodrow Wilson, based on a body of recent historical research.  _____________     It is a sign of Woodrow Wilson's greatness that he has remained, since his death in 1924, both a living issue in American politics and a living figure in the American consciousness.

The Enemy Camp, by Jerome Weidman
by Raymond Rosenthal
What's in it for Weidman? The Enemy Camp. by Jerome Weidman. Random House. 561 pp. $4.95.   In most of his novels, at least until The Enemy Camp, Jerome Weidman has been the modest, self-effacing bard of New York Jewish life, a rather acidulous and satiric bard at times, yet, like the run of folk writers, one who was at bottom nourished and sustained by the common sentimental sources which he shared with his immediate subjects and audience.

Five Books on Catholicism
American Catholicism Today A Catholic Primer on the Ecumenical Movement. by Gustave Weigel. S. J. Newman Press (paperback). 79 pp. $.95. American Freedom and Catholic Power. by Paul Blanshard. Beacon Press (2nd edition).

Agee on Film, by James Agee
by William Poster
Man in the Movies Agee on Film. Criticism and Comment on the Movies. by James Agee. McDowell, Obolensky. 432 pp. $6.00.   Despite the ease with which legends are manufactured, there is one respect in which the Agee legend seems to me justified: namely, in the scope of his endeavors, the sheer variety of his efforts, and his endurance of involvements so multifarious as to create a kind of personal isolation.

The Academic Mind, by Paul Lazarsfeld and Wagner Thielens, Jr.
by Ernest den
McCarthyism and the Professors The Academic Mind. by Paul Lazarsfeld and Wagner Thielens, Jr. Free Press. 460 pp. $7.50.   This book is an attempt to assess the effects of the McCarthy episode on social scientists in the various colleges.

Art in Crisis, by Hans Sedlmayr
by Alfred Werner
God and Modern Art Art in Crisis. by Hans Sedlmayr. Regnery. 266 pp., ill. $6.50.   Panel discussions in academic circles are rarely characterized by violent outbursts of emotion.

Reader Letters February 1959
by Our Readers
Hero of Kovno TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: ... No one can deny that the stories of the Jewish Ghetto leaders presented by Philip Friedman ("Two 'Saviors' Who Failed," De- cember 1958) and earlier by Solomon Bloom ("Dictator of the Lodz Ghetto," February 1949) make vivid reading.

March, 1959Back to Top
Ancient Israel's Coins
by Our Readers
To the Editor: It is not easy to assess the technical evidence for reattributing the ambiguously inscribed coins of ancient Israel, so that we must give credit to Stanley Edgar Hyman for at least trying, in his review of The History of Coins and Symbols in Ancient Israel by Wolf Wirgin and myself (January).

Algerian Nationalism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In the exchange of letters in your February number between Mr. Maurice Goldbloom and Mr. Maurice Carr on the subject of the latter's article, “Algeria After the Referendum” (December), Mr.

Praise for a Poem
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . Much has been written about the little town (shtetl) in Europe, often in an unreal way.

A. J. Heschel's Philosophy
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Professor Cherbonnier (“A. J. Heschel and the Philosophy of the Bible,” January) has contributed so illuminatingly to the clarification of Heschel's religious approach from a metaphysical point of view that I gladly suffer being turned into a straw man, if demolishing my “position” can aid this enterprise.

Moderation and Moderatism
by Our Readers
To the Editor: COMMENTARY is to be congratulated for publishing the thoughtful, brilliantly argued essays of Dennis H. Wrong. I believe, however, that in his latest contribution, “The Perils of Political Moderation,” (January) Mr.

Jews and the Census
by Our Readers
To the Editor: There is an unconscious irony in your publication of Erich Rosenthal's quite competent article on the Jewish population of the United States (“Five Million American Jews,” December 1958).

Desegregation's Tortuous Course: Breakthrough in Norfolk
by Robert Smith
As an editor of the daily and Sunday Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Robert C. Smith has supervised his paper's coverage of the school crisis in Virginia, and more especially in Norfolk.

Desegregation's Tortuous Course: Washington: Showcase of Integration
by Erwin Knoll
Following the collapse of Virginia's “massive resistance” to public school desegregation in the face of adverse court decisions, Governor J.

The Israeli Scene:
Politics, Painting, and Other Matters

by Meir Mindlin
Jerusalem As it recedes into the past, the Suez-Sinai war may produce only labored rhetorical echoes in the House of Commons, or lingering heartburn in the State Department, but in Israel it looks more and more like a kind of watershed—at least on the short-term view, which is the one Israel lives by.

Liberal Government for “Backward” States:
Is Only Dictatorship Practical?

by William Newman
“Mandamus and certiorari are flowers of paradise, and the whole length and breadth of Pakistan is not wide enough to confine their perfume.

The Four Holy Communities:
The Jewries of Medieval Provence

by Allan Temko
  These . . . cities shall he a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger. .

The Blessedness of the Scholar:
Sources of the Tradition

by Moses Hadas
Scholars, like women, are deviations from the norm Man; and just as the position of women can serve as a criterion for a culture, so can the position of scholars also.

Cedars of Lebanon: Christian Traveler in the Holy Land
by John Stephens
In an earlier number (February 1957), in this department, we set forth some fascinating entries from a journal kept by Herman Melville on a pilgrimage which he made to the Holy Land in 1857.

On the Horizon: S. N. Behrman Comes Home
by Gerald Weales
Most American playwrights are fitted out with identification labels early in their careers. A conventional tag makes easy the reaction of the reviewers and the public to any play that a man writes.

Pious and Secular America, by Reinhold Niebuhr
by W. Bartley
Christians and Jews Pious and Secular America. by Reinhold Niebuhr. Scribners. 150 pp. $3.00.   A book by Reinhold Niebuhr is always an excellent illustration of the truth of his basic principle: that good and bad are inextricably mixed in any human product.

The Black March, by Peter Neumann
by Francis Golffing
Nazism as Seen from Below The Black March. by Peter Neumann. Translated by Constantine Fitz-Gibbon. William Sloane Associates. 312 pp. $4.00.   Peter Neumann—a former SS lieutenant in the Viking division—records in this diary faithfully and sans phrase his early upbringing in a small Prussian town, his activities in the Hitler Youth and various SS training camps, and his experiences at the Eastern front.

The Middle East in Transition, edited by Walter Z. Laqueur
by Joel Carmichael
Perspective on the Arabs The Middle East in Transition. by Walter Z. Laqueur. Praeger. 564 pp. $8.75.   The confluence of the Arab renaissance and Soviet policy, a central factor in world politics, is the dominant theme of this latest compilation of Middle East studies, edited by Walter Z.

The Picaresque Saint, by R. W. B. Lewis
by Jean Garrigue
Six Writers of Crisis The Picaresque Saint. by R. W. B. Lewis. J. B. Lippincott. 317 pp. $6.00.   This is criticism with a philosophical intent.

Spain, by Salvador de Madariaga
by George Lichtheim
The Historian as Patriot Spain. A Modern History. by Salvador de Madariaga. Praeger. 698 pp. $7.50.   When the first edition of this book was published in 1930, Salvador de Madariaga held the chair of Spanish literature at Oxford, a locality to which he returned in the fateful year 1936, having previously served as Spanish delegate to the League of Nations, Ambassador to the United States and France, and (for some turbulent weeks in 1934) as Minister of Education in one of the short-lived Republican cabinets.

Epstein, Photographs by Geoffrey Ireland, Introduction by Laurie Lee
by Alfred Werner
Images of Sculpture Epstein. Photographs by Geoffrey Ireland. by Laurie Lee. André Deutsch (London). Distributed by New York Graphic Society. Unpaginated. $12.00.   Sir Jacob Epstein told me that he was not too happy about this elegant volume: it was much too “personal.” Yet I found nothing more intimate in it than a picture of the artist with his collie.

The Poorhouse Fair, by John Updike
by David Fitelson
Conflict Unresolved The Poorhouse fair. by John Updike. Knopf. 185 pp. $3.50.   John Updike, one of the more talented of the New Yorker's resident storytellers, has had a hearty but not very successful try at a first novel.

Two Poems
by Delmore Schwartz
Abraham (To J. M. Kaplan) I was a mere boy in a stone-cutter's shop When, early one evening, my raised     hand Was halted and the soundless voice said: “Depart from your father and your country And the things to which you are accustomed, Go now into a country unknown and strange, I will make of your children a great nation, Your generations will haunt every     generation of all the nations, They will be like the stars at midnight,     like the sand of the sea.” Then I looked up at the infinite sky, Star-pointing and silent, and it was then,     on that evening, that I Became a man: that evening was my     manhood's birthday. I went then to Egypt, the greatest of nations. There I encountered the Pharaoh who built     the tombs, Great public buildings, many theaters, and     seashore villas: And my wife's beauty was such that, fearing     his power and lust, I called her my sister, a girl neither for     him nor for me. And soon was fugitive, homeless and almost     helpless again. Living alone with my sister, becoming very     rich In all but children, in herds, in possessions,     the herds continually and newly Increased my possessions through sublime     prodigies of progeny, and From time to time, in the afternoon's revery In the late sunlight or the cool of the     evening I called to mind the protracted vanity of the     promise Which had called me forth from my father's     house unwillingly Into the last strangeness of Egypt and the     childless desert. Then Sarah gave me her handmaid, a young     girl That I might at least at last have children     by another. And later, when a great deal else had     occurred, I put away Hagar, with almost unbearable     remorse Because the child was the cause of so much     rivalry and jealousy. At last when all this had passed or when The promise seemed the puzzle parts of an     old dream, When we were worn out and patient in all     things The stranger came, suave and elegant, A messenger who renewed the promise,     making Sarah Burst out laughing hysterically! But the boy was born and grew and I saw What I had known, I knew what I had seen,     for he Possessed his mother's beauty and his     father's humility, And was not marked and marred by her sour     irony and my endless anxiety. Then the angel returned, asking that I     surrender My son as a lamb to show that humility Still lived in me, and was not altered by     old age and prosperity. I said nothing, shocked and passive.

A Story

by James Purdy
“He's in that Greek restaurant every night. I thought you knew that,” Merta told her brother. “What does he do in it?” Spence said, wearily attentive. “I don't go to Greek restaurants and I don't spy on him,” she said. “Then how do you know so certainly he is there every night?” “How do you know anything? He's not popular at the college.

Reader Letters March 1959
by Our Readers
Jews and the Census TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: There is an unconscious irony in your pub- lication of Erich Rosenthal's quite competent article on the Jewish population of the United States ("Five Million American Jews," De- cember 1958).

April, 1959Back to Top
Perspective on Bronxville
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a Jew with a Bronxville, New York, Post Office address, I thought your readers might be interested in some of my own observations of the town described by Harry Gersh in “Gentlemen's Agreement in Bronxville” (February).

Conservative Historians
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I thoroughly enjoyed John Higham's article on Daniel J. Boorstin and “The Cult of the ‘American Consensus’“ (February).

Khrushchev's “Flexible Communism”:
The 21st Congress in Moscow

by Richard Lowenthal
What is the nature and likely future of Khrushchevian Communism?  _____________     The 21st Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union was more remarkable for the problems it shelved or disguised than for those which it solved.

What Should Our Foreign Policy Be?
An Exchange

by G. Arnold
In the February COMMENTARY, H. Stuart Hughes advocated disengagement in Central Europe and a more imaginative approach to Asia and Africa as the basis of “A Politics of Peace.” Here G.

For Pop
by Arthur Gold
In Florida and not Jerusalem, Being at last both prosperous and warm, He has his most cantankerous last words. And he is mourned by alien jungle birds, Flamingoes, rusty-legged, that pace the lawn: The cover on his parakeet is drawn. A hole is dug for him by Africans. Lament is made for him by some old men. When healthy lights on bathing beaches dim, They mourn themselves and Palestine     in him. _____________  

Eli, the Fanatic
A Story

by Philip Roth
Leo Tzuref stepped out from back of a white column to welcome Eli Peck. Eli jumped back, surprised; then they shook hands and Tzuref gestured him into the sagging old mansion.

Berlin: The Menaced City:
The Dilemmas Facing Our Diplomats

by G. Hudson
G. F. Hudson, of St. Antony's College, Oxford, here examines the alternatives for Western diplomacy in the Berlin crisis. _____________     In the nine and a half years between the raising of Stalin's Berlin blockade in May 1949 and Khrushchev's new challenge to the city in November 1958, the Soviet Union accepted the outcome of the trial of strength in which it had been worsted in 194849.

Rotting Trees
by Philip Levine
The cot trees rotting In the near orchard Have injured nothing If, in this lost world, One's eventual Decline is the last Duty, the slow fall Of ripe fruit to dust Or alluvial Mould surely behooves Creation—the scheme Compounded of loves With which the stumps teem Not for the lost tree, Nor for the lost sake Of eternity I presume to speak. Here, from the cursed mouth, I commit the act: These words you taught me When you taught me all, Are they from the tree In which was my fall? No, I was not there Nor knew the moment— The first breath of air— Nor know what it meant, But I am beneath You now, and I know The coming of breath And the fear of slow Withdrawal, and you do Not.

Yemenite Wedding:
From the Israeli Scene

by Koka Infield
At the time I met Masal she was about seventeen years old. She was working in the household of friends of mine.

The Adventures of Saul Bellow:
Progress of a Novelist

by Richard Chase
With the publication of Henderson the Rain King (Viking, $4.50), Saul Bellow confirms one's impression that he is just about the best novelist of his generation.

Conqueror's Causeway:
Why the Levant Is Levantine

by Ray Alan
The fickleness of Arab political commitments, which has bemused many Western observers, is viewed here in historical perspective. _____________     North from Beirut, the Lebanon foothills leave only a crumpled ribbon of coastal plain; and after five or six miles even this is crushed out.

Cedars of Lebanon: Toward My Biography
by Sholom Aleichem
Sholom Aleichem, the 100th anniversary of whose birth is currently being celebrated, is no stranger to COMMENTARY. Selections from his work published in earlier issues include: “Journalism in the New Kasrilevke” (July 1956), “Sholom Aleichem in Sickness” (October 1950), and “Sholom Aleichem in Exile” (December 1949).

The Study of Man: The Bible, Archaeology, and History
by Jacob Finkelstein
What kind of proof has archaeology furnished for the historical validity of the Bible? Jacob J. Finkelstein here examines the problem in the light of Nelson Glueck's Rivers in the Desert (Farrar, Straus and Cudahy; $6.50).

Ben Gurion, by Robert St. John
by A. Sherman
Israel's Prime Minister Ben Gurion: The Biography of an Extraordinary Man. by Robert St. John. Doubleday. 336 pp. $3.95.   A well-written biography of David Ben Gurion would make fascinating reading, and would be of far more than purely Jewish or “current affairs” interest.

Four Novels by Lawrence Durrell
by R. Flint
A Major Novelist Justine. by Lawrence Durrell. Dutton. 253 pp. $3.50. Balthazar. by Lawrence Durrell. Dutton. 250 pp. $3.50. Mountolive. by Lawrence Durrell. Dutton. 318 pp. $3.95. Esprit de Corps. by Lawrence Durrell. Dutton.

The Sacred and the Profane, by Mircea Eliade
by Robert Fitch
The Nature of Religion The Sacred and the Profane. by Mircea Eliade. Translated from the French by Willard R. Trask. Harcourt, Brace. 256 pp.

Islam-The Straight Path, edited by Kenneth W. Morgan
by G. von
Islam from Within Islam—The Straight Path. Islam Interpreted by Muslims. by Kenneth W. Morgan. Ronald Press. 453 pp. $6.00.   In an attempt “to present to Western readers the major religions of the world from the point of view of the followers of those faiths,” Kenneth W.

Le Traitre, by Andre Gorz
by Edouard Roditi
A “Jewish” Existentialist Le Traitre. by Andre Gorz. Preface by Jean-Paul Sartre. Editions du Seuil (Paris). 315 pp. $4.00.   In the heyday of the Mercure de France, some fifty years ago, when it was one of Europe's most intelligent literary monthlies, the French critic Jules de Gaultier, a frequent contributor, coined the word “bovarysme” in its pages to describe man's peculiar ability, unique among living creatures, “to conceive of himself as being different from what he is.” In a brilliant analysis of the psychology of the characters of Flaubert's novels, and especially of Emma Bovary, de Gaultier attributed their tragic failures to erroneous views about their own nature, abilities, or talents, as a consequence of which each one of them finds himself faced with the problems of one who has “bitten off more than he can chew.” An autobiography recently published in French, Le Traître, by André Görz, a half-Jewish former Austrian refugee from Nazi racial persecution, offers us a remarkable new example of “bovarysme” and a striking illustration of the validity of the somewhat neglected psychology of Flaubert and Jules de Gaultier. André Görz was born in Vienna, the younger of two children of an inadequate Jewish father and an ambitious Christian mother who had hoped by her marriage to escape from her shabby petit-bourgeois Czech background.

The Unsilent Generation, edited by Otto Butz
by Robert Gutman
Youth Past and Present The Unsilent Generation: An Anonymous Symposium in Which Eleven College Seniors Look at Themselves and Their World. by Otto Butz. Rinehart.

The Sugar Pill, by T. S. Matthews
by Erwin Canham
Newspapers and the News The Sugar Pill. by T. S. Matthews. Simon & Schuster. 221 pp. $3.75.   The modern newspaper suffers from the concessions it must make in solving the severe economic problem of holding a mass audience.

Reader Letters April 1959
by Our Readers
Conservative Historians TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: I thoroughly enjoyed John Higham's article on Daniel J. Boorstin and "The Cult of the 'American Consensus'" (February).

May, 1959Back to Top
Integration and Housing
by Our Readers
To the Editor: COMMENTARY rendered another significant service by publishing Erwin Knoll's progress report, “Washington: Showcase of Integration” (March). Mr. Knoll solidly refutes the myth that school desegregation has transformed the nation's capital into an all-Negro city. Many of our lawmakers need to learn the truth about Washington.

Job's Expectations
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Rabbi Weiner's scholarly critique of J.B. (“Job on Broadway,” February) begins with the remark: “I wonder, Mr. MacLeish, if you realize how unlikable your character J.B.

by Our Readers
To the Editor: The brilliant story by Philip Roth, “Eli, the Fanatic” in the April issue of COMMENTARY, is one of the most poignant I've read in a long time. It is worthy of special commendation, and you are also to be commended for printing it, even though it is of unusual length for your publication. Leon Rosenbloom Bronx, N.

“Exporting” Parliaments
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a conservative, I find the stress placed on parliamentary institutions and governmental checks and balances in William J.

As Iraq Goes Communist:
Days of Decision in Baghdad

by Walter Laqueur
In his book, Nationalism and Communism in the Middle East (1956), Walter Z. Laqueur predicted the collapse of the Iraqi monarchy.

From the Wandering Jew
by Irving Feldman
O Jerusalem, if I forget thee, may I die! If I forget thee not, how will I live!   The Gates of Gaza I sidelong in this obscene world going, Under battery of filth, bawdry of     elements, Perjurious day forsworn and grieving At night's bar, all loud and absurd, Absurd and foul, in this butchery Of flesh, carnival of fur, I Running, and on my back the Gates Of Gaza from the world's muck pulled Like a rotten tooth—to be carried where? Never to rest, never to sink down at road's     end, Knowing the journey over, the thing done; Never to reach settled city, never come     home, By every road moving from that; Never to rest, accounting this taint of The soul's honor, debasement of its gold; Never to sleep, never to know long rhythms Of earth, the water slowly moving, a light. O Jerusalem, where shall I build thee? What     hill Is high enough? what earth so rich? what     people Good? Where shall I set down the Gates? Having no city but this heart of weed and     cloud, Trampled and foraged by herd of folly, By brutal bodies' violent milling there. Ridden by goodness I go, God, in the damp mist descending, Running at my ankles like a dog. Why for the pure task these tools of dirt? This abstracted heart, this fever, this world? _____________   The Face of God Upon the altar of the kitchen stove, Enameled white and shining with     the cares Of hands that giving graced with love Three meals a day for thirty years— There at Friday dusk it crouched beside The week-end's pit, the mount of Sabbath: A tumbler-candle dimly hissed and sighed, Too sweet to judge, too nice for wrath. All night long the wax ran down —Crying dead to whom we burnt that rod. They in the ghostly tallow lay to drown The bent body of the dying god Who lit a platter-clock that ticked our sleep. Its even hands dipped in the dark streaming And up and down carried us in its sweep. Chests rose and fell like empires dreaming. And now I wander accused by that Sinai In a glass, by muteness of our closet wish, By a God humble, tiny, and good.

Britain and the Bomb:
What Price Coexistence?

by G. Arnold
London As something of a connoisseur of political demonstrations, I have no doubt that the last stages of this year's Aldermaston march provided the greatest turn-out for any cause that London has seen since the war.

Autobiography In The Year 1952
by Yehuda Amihai
Around me my father built a huge care     like a shipyard And then I went forth from it and I was     still unfinished And he was left with his huge and empty     care. And my mother—like a tree on the shore     between her arms stretched out after me. And in the year '31 my hands were merry     and small And in the year '41 they learned to use a     rifle And when I loved my first love My thoughts were like a burst of colored     balloons And a pale girl's hand held them all On a fine thread—and afterwards let them     fly. And in the year '51 the movement of     my life Was like the movement of many slaves     rowing a galley And my father's face was like a lantern at     the end of the receding train, And my mother shut up all the many clouds     in her brown wardrobe. And I climbed to the top of my street, With the 20th century the blood in my     veins, Blood that wanted to run out in many wars, Through many openings, And therefore it beats on my head from     within And reaches the heart in angry waves. But now, in the spring of '52, I see That more birds came back than left last     winter. And I return down the hillside to my house And in my room the woman, and her body     is heavy And full of time. _____________  

The Limits of “People-Centered” Judaism:
The Course of the American Synagogue

by Jakob Petuchowski
In recent decades the concept of Jewish peoplehood has not only dominated Jewish secular and nationalist movements, but has taken almost as important a place in the institutional Judaism of our day.

Return to Poland:
Pages from a Diary

by Maius Bergman
Glancing through the diary which I kept during my three-week stay in Poland last autumn, I keep returning to those pages which describe the young people I met, talked and argued with for hours without end in my hotel, in sundry kawiarnias (cafés), in untidy apartments, on the streets, in busses and in streetcars.

Liberal Hopes and Congress Realities:
The World of Capitol Hill Politics

by William Shannon
The 86th Congress demonstrates more vividly than usual the often ignored fact that in America we have not one but two kinds of national politics.

What It Feels Like To Be a Goy:
A Poet's Talk in Tel Aviv

by Robert Graves
“What It Feels Like To Be a Goy” was given as a talk to the Israel and Commonwealth Association in Tel Aviv earlier this year.  _____________     What does it feel like to be a Goy? Most modern Jewish fiction, or autobiography disguised as fiction, answers the complementary question “What does it feel like to be a Jew?” The goyim who surround each protagonist in these very similar dramas are described objectively; but the Jewish reader and the author himself can only guess what goes on behind their masks.

Daily Life in the Messianic Era
A Story

by J. Ayalti
“Are you lost?” The girl stood in the doorway of a wooden shack near the canal. Herman stopped. “No. But did you see an old lady pass by?” “With a black lace scarf on her head? I saw her.

The Middle Years of Henry Adams:
Women in his Life and Novels

by Edward Saveth
The second volume of Ernest Samuels' leisurely biography of Henry Adams (Henry Adams: The Middle Years, Harvard University Press, $6.50) is a book to delight the Adams buff, whose number, these days of despair, is legion.

Cedars of Lebanon: Up Goethe's Path
by Zalman Shneour
Zalman Shneour, who died on February 20, 1959, a contemporary of the Yiddish novelists Sholem Asch and I. J. Singer, was one of the major figures in modern Jewish literature.

The Study of Man: The Road to Economic Development
by Bert Hoselitz
Precisely how does a backward peasant society transform itself into a modern, technically advanced one? This question represents a new field of investigation for social scientists, whose studies have taken on political urgency since the end of World War II.

Chaim Weizmann, by Isaiah Berlin
by Ben Halpern
An Authentic Leader Chaim Weizmann. by Isaiah Berlin. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy. 60 pp. $2.25.   “To Know—to enjoy the friendship of—a great man,” says Sir Isaiah Berlin of his great friend, Chaim Weizmann, “must permanently transform one's ideas of what human beings can be or do.

Judaism and Christianity, by Leo Baeck
by Herman Schaalman
Romantic and Classic Religion Judaism and Christianity. by Leo Baeck. Jewish Publication Society. 292 pp. $4.00.   For two millennia, the coexistence of Judaism and Christianity has been marked by repeated conflict and controversy.

The Changing American Parent, by Daniel R. Miller and Guy E. Swanson
by Dennis Wrong
Bringing Up Mama The Changing American Parent. by Daniel R. Miller and Guy E. Swanson. John Wiley and Sons. 302 pp. $6.50.   This is the Age of Spock and Gesell, of child psychiatry, progressive education, and a host of other child-rearing pedagogies devised by professional experts and marketed under the brand of Science.

Five Books on Show Business
by Henry Popkin
The Follies of Show Business The Nine Lives of Mike Todd. by Art Cohn. Random House. 396 pp. $4.95. Charlie: The Improbable Life and Times of Charles MacArthur. by Ben Hecht. Harper.

The Democratic Vista, by Richard Chase
by Irving Howe
Culture and Radicalism The Democratic Vista. by Richard Chase. Doubleday. 180 pp. $3.95.   At a time when so many American intellectuals have been turning to conservatism, the literary critic Richard Chase has moved in the opposite direction.

The Housebreaker of Shady Hill, by John Cheever
by Isa Kapp
Suburban Sorrows The Housebreaker of Shady Hill. by John Cheever. Harper. 185 pp. $3.00.   In these polished, bittersweet stories, John Cheever is writing (as he has done over a long period in the New Yorker) about the fretfulness and decline of heart in middle-class people of middle years.

Reader Letters May 1959
by Our Readers
"Exporting" Parliaments TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: As a conservative, I find the stress placed on parliamentary institutions and governmental checks and balances in William J.

June, 1959Back to Top
Nuclear Arms & the Cold War
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Britain, G. L. Arnold insists (in “Britain and the Bomb,” May) is tired of the cold war: “The spring of 1959 finds the British government and public in a mood to have done with the cold war.” Evidence of this mood Mr.

New York's Lower East Side Today:
Notes and Impressions

by Dan Wakefield
Since the war, New York's famous Lower East Side has undergone a series of accelerating changes, and Dan Wakefield here gives us some impressions of the emerging new community.  _____________     The Garden Cafeteria, across from Seward Park on the Lower East Side of New York, is a crowded, noisy, American-style beanery where customers shove their trays down a chromium counter and are hurriedly dipped out the specials of the day.

Gateway to the Colleges:
An Examination of the College Entrance Board

by Spencer Brown
The nation-wide, machine-scored College Board examinations have come to exercise a dominant role in the admission of students to the colleges.

The Bible of the Israelis:
Sacred and Profane

by Herbert Weiner
The diverse meanings which the Bible holds for Israelis is the subject of Herbert Weiner's present report.  _____________     On the altar of the Baptist church in Nazareth is a painting of the River Jordan, flowing along gently curving green banks whose trees trail their boughs peacefully in its blue waters.

The Course of the South:
Descent into Barbarism?

by Arnold Rose
The average American is inclined to believe that the separation of the races in the United States goes all the way back to the beginning of things—indeed, that segregation is “natural” and rooted in human instinct.

Ferment in Franco Spain:
The Prospects of the Opposition

by Bogdan Raditsa
Twenty years ago, on March 28, 1939, Madrid fell to Franco's armies and Spain's short-lived Republic came to an end.

Homage to Benny Leonard
A Story

by Meyer Liben
“What's wrong with him?” asked Mr. Flaxman, as Davey got up from the table, where he had sat morosely through the meal, and walked off. Mrs.

New Hampshire Eclogue
by Francis Golffing
I watched rude farmers toiling east of     Keene: One farmer's engine coming on a corpse Ground through the bones, moved on, and    no harm done— No harm but to the gossamer-thin wraith Winding its way toward distant Golgotha. The unredeemed are strewn across the world, Clipped in this torment sleek as a machine, Their brave skulls used for playing skittles     now By jaunty seminarians after dark. But some men's minds cannot too well digest The word made flesh still writhing on its    rack, The raw bog sucking down indifferently Sheriff and murdered man and murderer: But, green-eyed sorceress peering from     each tree To see your bronze bees storming round    their hive, I keep your image in my pupil fixed, For yours, of all states, is the blessedest Who driving all things draw them to     yourself: The great browned plane leaves flapping    in a gale That comes from nowhere, or all sides     at once, Acknowledge you as motive, and I stare At your blind Pythian will that portions out To the dim fire-fly apprehending space Its magic scope; or in deep woods allows Brief fabulous dominion to the frog Or me to find enchanted in his tank One tiny turtle worshipping the sun. _____________  

The Jewish Revolt Against Rome:
The War of 66-70 C.E.

by Cecil Roth
Long familiar to COMMENTARY readers for his special historical investigations, Cecil Roth here offers a fresh analysis of the Jewish revolt of 66-70 C.E.

Cedars of Lebanon: An Appreciation of I. L. Peretz
by S. Niger
Samuel Charney, who died in New York in 1955, was known to Jewish readers as S. Niger and regarded as the dean of Yiddish literature.

On the Horizon: Thoughts on “A Raisin in the Sun”
by Gerald Weales
On the day that the New York Drama Critics' Award was announced, a student stopped me as I walked across the campus—where I pass as an expert on the theater—and asked a sensible question.

The Study of Man: The Revolution of the Righteous
by Anatole Shub
O what fears and tears, cries and prayers, night and day, was there in many places, and in my dear mother's house in particular.

Exodus, by Leon Uris
by Joel Blocker
Fantasy of Israel Exodus. by Leon Uris. Doubleday. 626 pp. $4.50.   Like many bestsellers, Exodus (a quarter-of-a-million copies sold to date; 30-odd weeks on the best-seller list; current sale 8,000 copies a week) was written with one eye on the movies.

The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt
by Lincoln Reis
Sunday-Supplement Apocalypse The Human Condition. by Hannah Arendt. University of Chicago Press. 333 pp. $4.75.   Why should so many critics look upon this book as brilliant rather than presumptuous? It has a grandiose intention: to diagnose what Dr.

The Zulu and the Zeide, by Dan Jacobson
by Irving Feldman
Stories from South Africa The Zulu and the Zeide. by Dan Jacobson. Atlantic-Little Brown. 247 pp. $3.75.   This collection of Dan Jacobson's short stories provides a valuable and illuminating addition to the three novels he has already published.

The Tradition of the New, by Harold Rosenberg
by Francis Golffing
Wiping the Slate Clean The Tradition of the New. by Harold Rosenberg. Horizon Press. 285 pp. $4.95.   Harold Rosenberg's reputation among the intelligentsia—hitherto based on his trenchant magazine articles only—may not need the support of this book, which presents the best of those same articles grouped under plausible headings and supported with a programmatic introduction.

S. Niger Memorial Volume, edited by Shlomo Bickel and Leibush Lehrer
by Israel Knox
Homage to a Critic Shmuel Niger Buch (S. Niger Memorial Volume). by Shlomo Bickel and Leibush Lehrer. YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. 333 pp.

Loathsome Women, by Leopold Stein, M.D.
by Ruth Dalin
A Witch Doctor's Tale Loathsome Women. by Leopold Stein, M.D., with Martha Alexander. McGraw Hill. 243 pp. $4.50.   Written by a Jungian psychoanalyst, Loathsome Women is a book about four witches.

Reader Letters June 1959
by Our Readers
Nuclear Arms & the Cold War TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Britain, G. L. Arnold insists (in "Britain and the Bomb," May) is tired of the cold war: "The spring of 1959 finds the British government and public in a mood to have done with the cold war." Evidence of this mood Mr.

July, 1959Back to Top
by Our Readers
To the Editor: . . . In his review of Exodus (June), Joel Blocker, apparently specializing in appearing “clever,” failed in or was incapable of understanding the real power of the book.

Jewish Law
by Our Readers
To the Editor: As a rabbi of Orthodox Judaism I must speak up when my tradition is misrepresented, even when this is done without any apparent polemic motivation.

Elliot E. Cohen
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Your June issue calls readers' attention to the death of the one who conceived COMMENTARY. I am not acquainted with any personality connected with this magazine, but the stimulating quality of the various items in its monthly repertoire would lead me to second all that was said of the originating spirit and to add that the crystallization of his dream has been a great success. My own work as an editor makes me not unaware of the drain on one's intuition, critical acumen, and technical competence that accompanies articles which later seem to be merely taken for granted.

Zion Revisited:
The Anomaly of Jewishness Remains

by Dan Jacobson
It is the things you don't remember, that you couldn't possibly remember, that come back with the most overwhelming sense of familiarity: you see them, you smell them, you taste them, and they are intimate and altogether familiar, as if you had seen or smelled or tasted them just the day before.

The Truth About Hitler's “Commissar Order”:
The Guilt of the German Generals

by Gerald Reitlinger
On February 6, 1959, two former SS guards from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp were sentenced to life imprisonment by a German court in Bonn.

Our Fifty Million Poor:
Forgotten Men of the Affluent Society

by Michael Harrington
A fair statement of a current myth about poverty in the United States would probably go something like this: the poor are a small, rapidly declining group; they have achieved a substantial measure of protection as a result of the reforms of the New Deal; insofar as they exist, they are mostly non-whites and rural Southerners; and as industrial productivity continues to rise, they will entirely disappear. Such is the myth.

Conversations in Jordan:
The Rulers and the Ruled

by Johann Caspar
American aid to Jordan has given the little kingdom an appearance of stability that may be misleading, this report suggests.

Mountain, Fire, Thornbush
by Harvey Shapiro
How everything gets tamed. The pronominal outcry, as if uttered in ecstasy, Is turned to syntax. We are Only a step from discursive prose When the voice speaks from the thornbush. Mountain, fire, and thornbush. Supplied only with these, even that aniconic Jew Could spell mystery.

Poland's Peculiar Dictatorship:
Gomulka Between Popular Feeling and Soviet Power

by Lucjan Blit
When I visited Poland in December 1956, its atmosphere was electric with hopes and fears, uncertainties and expectations. For most of the seventy or eighty thousand Jews still remaining in the country at the time, it is true, there were more fears than hopes.

Must the West Depend on Mideast Oil?
Petroleum Supply and the National Security

by Oscar Gass
American policy toward the Middle East, and Western policy in general, we have been assured for years, must base itself on the central, stubborn foil of our dependence on Middle East oil.

At Times in Flight
A Parable

by Henry Roth
“At Times in Flight” is Mr. Roth's first published story in many years. He writes: “. . . The main meaning of the story to me lies in the projection, so to speak, of the inadequacy of a man's art in the face of modern realities, and the implied decision to make a new start.” _____________     I was courting a young woman, if the kind of brusque, uncertain, equivocal attentions I paid her might be called courting: it was for me at any rate, never having done it before. I had met her at Z, the artists' colony, a place you've probably heard of, where writers, painters, and musicians were invited for the summer, or part of it, in the hope that, relieved of their usual pressures and preoccupations, and provided with abundant leisure, they would create.

The Jews in Albuquerque:
A Southwestern Community

by Morris Freedman
Albuquerque, originally settled in 1708, lies on the Rio Grande River in New Mexico, some sixty miles south of Santa Fe.

The Public Voice: Remarks on Poetry Today
The Reality of Verse

by Francis Golffing
Francis Golffing and Barbara Gibbs examine the newest styles in American poetry for their innovations in technique and for their implicit assumptions about society and the real world.  _____________     The prototypes of current American poetry are well known: William Butler Yeats, T.

Cedars of Lebanon: A Yiddish Tale of Chivalry
by Our Readers
We offer below a selection from a classic of Yiddish folk literature, the famous Boba Buch (or Bova Buch) of Elijah Bahur.

Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth
by Saul Bellow
The Swamp of Prosperity1 Goodbye, Columbus is a first book but it is not the book of a beginner. Unlike those of us who came howling into the world, blind and bare, Mr.

Ancient Judaism and the New Testament, by Frederick C. Grant
by Moses Hadas
Anti-Semitism & the New Testament Ancient Judaism and the New Testament. by Frederick C. Grant. Macmillan. 155 pp. $3.50.   For promoting understanding between Jews and Christians Professor Grant's little book is more effective than a thousand interfaith dinners.

Les 13 Complots du 13 Mai, by Merry and Serge Bromberger
by Ray Alan
How de Gaulle Came to Power Les 13 Complots du 13 Mai. by Merry and Serge Bromberger. Fayard (Paris). 439 pp. $4.60.   The Bromberger brothers' approach to anyone in power is cloyingly sycophantic; and they value their contacts too highly to venture more than a toe or two beyond the orthodoxy of the Defense Ministry and Jacques Soustelle.

The Jews in the United States: A Pictorial History-1654 to the Present, by Morris U. Schappes
by Milton Hindus
Jewish History in Pictures The Jews in the United States: A Pictorial History—1654 to the Present. by Morris U. Schappes. Citadel Press. 319 pp.

Communism in India, by Gene D. Overstreet and Marshall Windmiller
by John Kautsky
From Proletarianism to Nationalism Communism in India. by Gene D. Overstreet and Marshall Windmiller. University of California Press. 603 pp. $10.00.   Until the end of World War II, Indian Communists numbered hardly more than a handful.

The Charm of Politics, by R. H. S. Crossman
by Charles Curran
Report from Pandemonium The Charm of Politics. by R. H. S. Crossman. Harper. 256 pp. $4.00.   When Satan and his angels were expelled from heaven, they built a palace in space which they named Pandemonium; and there they met in conclave to decide “What do we do now?” Milton has reported the debate in detail: the clash between the bitter-ender who wanted a fight to a finish, the appeaser who urged surrender as the lesser evil, the peace-by-negotiation orator who argued that a show of resistance would produce better terms, and the middle-way advocate of a diversionary blow at Earth, their enemy's soft under-belly, in order to create a fifth column there.

Reader Letters July 1959
by Our Readers
Elliot E. Cohen TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: Your June issue calls readers' attention to the death of the one who conceived COMMEN- TARY.

August, 1959Back to Top
The Puritan Insight
To the editor: I never expected to find Hitlerian thoughts revived by an associate editor of COMMENTARY, yet Anatole Shub in reviewing C.

“Raisin In The Sun”
To the editor: I happened to see Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun, and read Gerald Weales's review of it (June) in the same week.

The “Essential” Jew
To the editor: Herbert Weiner, in his very graceful article “The Bible of the Israelis” (June), says that “Ahad Ha-am's thesis was that the Jewish people possessed a national ego, a ‘will to live’ capable of creating not only prophets like Moses, but an image of the Creator of the World.

Test Scores Vs. Discrimination
by Our Readers
To the editor: In “Gateway to the Colleges” (June), Spencer Brown seems to doubt the validity of testing the “knowledge or skill” of a college applicant through the multiple-choice questions used by the College Entrance Examination Board.

Labor's Time of Troubles:
The Failure of Bread-and-Butter Unionism

by A. Raskin
Organized labor in the United States is in serious difficulties today—and it may prove to be the healthiest thing that has happened to it in the last fifteen years.

Notes on Southern California:
“A Reasonable Suggestion as to How Things Can Be”?

by Nathan Glazer
Southern California has long been a favorite target for critics of American life and culture; Nathan Glazer here elects to defend it.  _____________     When I left Los Angeles one day last February, after a week in Southern California, the newspaper I picked up at the airport reported that the population of Los Angeles County was now 5,800,000, and that it would reach some unimaginable figure by 1975.

The Supreme Court's Crusade for Freedom:
Balancing the Interests of Society and the Individual

by Earl Latham
In his inaugural lecture on “Two Concepts of Liberty” at Oxford University last October, Sir Isaiah Berlin professed a faith in freedom that resembles the philosophy of John Stuart Mill and of the liberal group in the Supreme Court of the United States.

One Morning in a Maabera:
From the Israeli Scene

by Alex Weingrod
It was one of those winter days between rains, when the air is bright and clear, yet never warm enough to take the chill from your feet.

Harold Ross's “New Yorker”:
Life as a Drawing-Room Comedy

by Hilton Kramer
A few years ago when the art critic for the New Yorker went abroad to report on current art activities in London, Paris, and other European centers, I began receiving regular telephone calls, often several a week, from a zealous young man in that magazine's Checking Department.

Incident in Genesis
by Leonard Nathan
All the way there forebode him nothing     but fact: “Here am I, Father, son! Here, biding land,” Vague in the first light of morning milkers. Nor could the fagotted ass better understand The impending hack of bones or blackened     fat That now walked upright and tender for     a difference. The child was Abraham's own, but what     was that Among beasts, four legged or two     with shaggy hands To labor distinctions among the common     flock? It was nothing.

Jewish Existence and the Living God:
The Religious Duty of Survival

by Emil Fackenheim
The modern Jew is an enigma to himself. When he reflects on his existence as a Jew, he cannot but be filled with wonder.

Tourists in Muscovy:
How True Is the New Image of Russia?

by Alexander Dallin
In the last five years, Moscow and Leningrad have become favored tourist spots for all sorts of Americans—the curious, well-heeled, or confused; students, businessmen, journalists, balletomanes; innocents and not-so-innocents abroad.

A Taste of Sweetness
A Story

by Thomas Curley
“A handsome evening,” Phil was saying. “Look at that steam come off the street. Beautiful.” He paused, and I nodded, all the while admiring my cigar. “I really ought to get married,” he concluded, as if the evening's beauty had begotten the inference. Again, I nodded; I understood him perfectly.

Utopianism and Politics:
A Conservative View

by J. Talmon
The present essay was first delivered as an address before the Conservative party's National Summer School at Oxford in July of 1957. _____________     Since the time of the French Revolution, a substantial proportion of the most politically conscious and active people have tended to equate Politics with Utopianism.

Cedars of Lebanon: King Macbrun and the Jewish Knight
by Our Readers
We offer a second episode from J. I. Trunk's modern Yiddish version of the classic medieval Boba Buch, again in translation by Jacob Slone.

The Study of Man: Is Keynesian Economics Outdated?
by Robert Lekachman
When prices went up instead of down during last year's recession, all economic theories, including those of the late John Maynard Keynes, were defied.

On Not Knowing Yiddish
by Florence Victor
“Speak to it in Yiddish,” I kept hearing From the time I climbed out of my     crib and Almost broke my skull. It was the same in Kindergarten, first and second grades, then High school, college, talking to my friends     just Back from Europe, always taking language Tests, always horrified by grammar, Missing punch-lines, reading tales that     were insipid Due to losses in translation. When I first started chattering in ink My parents had my I.Q.

A Tower from the Enemy, by Albert Nirenstein
by Philip Friedman
The Resistance of Polish Jewry A Tower from the Enemy. Contributions to a History of Jewish Resistance in Poland. By Albert Nirenstein. The Orion Press.

The Ironic German, by Erich Heller; Last Essays, by Thomas Mann
by F. Dupee
The More-Than-German Mann The Ironic German. By Erich Heller. Little, Brown. 298 pp. $6.00. Last Essays. By Thomas Mann. Knopf. 211 pp. $4.50.   If novelists are in some degree historians, Thomas Mann was the great historian of the present crisis in Western culture.

To Be a Politician, by Stimson Bullitt
by D. Brogan
Politics as a Profession To Be a Politician. By Stimson Bullitt, with an introduction by David Riesman. Doubleday. 190 pp. $3.50.   As Mr.

The Empire City, by Paul Goodman
by Irving Feldman
An Odd Tetralogy The Empire City. By Paul Goodman. Bobbs-Merrill. 621 pp. $6.95.   This tetralogy-plus of novels is a very odd work. Odd not because of its abundant and ingenious fantasy, or the variety of literary genres it includes, or its encyclopedic learning, or the many points of view—Marxist, Freudian, Reichian, Taoist, Buberian, Anarchistic, Aristotelian—it brings to bear on this learning, or the successive metamorphoses of its central characters, or its wealth of unpopular and once-unpopular opinions.

American Jewry: Documents, Eighteenth Century, edited by Jacob Rader Marcus
by Charles Reznikoff
18th-Century American Jewry American Jewry: Documents, Eighteenth Century. by Jacob Rader Marcus. The Hebrew Union College Press. 492 pp. $8.50.   Most of the Jews of the 18th century in North America were engaged in trade, but their business letters to one another also touched on religious and personal matters, so that Dr.

Who Live in Shadow, by John M. Murtagh and Sarah Harris
by Emanuel Celler
The Narcotics Problem Who Live in Shadow. By John M. Murtagh and Sarah Harris. McGraw-Hill. 207 pp. $4.50.   Who line in shadow is a constructive and challenging appraisal of the problem of narcotics addiction.

The Politics of Despair, by Hadley Cantril
by Paul Kecskemeti
Communism in Western Europe The Politics of Despair. By Hadley Cantril. Basic Books. 269 pp. $5.00.   Why is the Communist party so much stronger in France and Italy than in any other democratic country of the Western world? It is a prevalent notion among Americans that the iniquities of the French and Italian social system are to blame for this; a strong CP is the nemesis of a backward capitalism. The analysis of the problem of the French and Italian Communist “protest vote” presented in The Politics of Despair starts on a note reminiscent of the “nemesis” theory.

Two Poems
by Neil Weiss
Song for my Dead Grandmother I wonder whether I might tether my hope to the hair of her head. Or rejecting that after service is said walk away shrugging, my shoulder lugging a wisp of her bread. Strange to bury in a hurry. I saw in a dream her heavy old skirt go screaming against the wind, hurtling neat parabola, trajectory rejected, box pined. Easy, lower her gently, lest it fire the dead crater— we can't have that now or later, we can't take a chance of interrupting the dance round her grave as long as we live! _____________   Mother at Poker With the dishes mouldering in neon, she sits, a marvel to the local wits, arms swollen as a haunchbone, breasts huge in turkey muslin, knees once for kisses now glossed decencies tighter than our art and more careless— sits within the knotted rope of species from which I come wetter than the tides of learning to owe my life to her and want to pay it constantly in one perplex of tidal motion— sits and gets the one, two, three, four, five of hearts, complete with floral dress and ancient sonnets in her hair soon to be rooted.

Reader Letters August 1959
by Our Readers
Test Scores vs. Discrimination TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In "Gateway to the Colleges" (June), Spencer Brown seems to doubt the validity of testing the "knowledge or skill" of a college applicant through the multiple-choice ques- tions used by the College Entrance Examina- tion Board.

September, 1959Back to Top
Chivalry and the Shtetl
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Though Jacob Sloan's delightful translation of the retelling of the Bovo [Boba] tale by J. I. Trunk (Cedars of Lebanon, July and August) is admirable in its fidelity to the text and the spirit of the original, I'm afraid that Mr.

The Statistics of Poverty
by Our Readers
To the Editor: Although I am in sympathy with Michael Harrington's plea for the poor (“Our Fifty Million Poor,” July), I feel duty-bound, as a student of income distribution, to correct some glaring errors in his account.

The New Yorker
by Our Readers
To the Editor: I would like to ask you a few questions about Hilton Kramer's article on the New Yorker. (August) which I have just read.

Iraq's Impact on the Middle East: The Great Arab Schism
Can Kassem and Nasser Coexist?

by Ray Alan
The revolutionary struggle in Iraq, and its impact on the entire Middle East, is the subject of two articles in this issue: this analysis by Ray Alan, and the report by Johann Caspar which follows.

Iraq's Impact on the Middle East: Baghdad's Year of Revolution
A Firsthand Report

by Johann Caspar
At first glance, the streets of Baghdad do not appear to have changed since the revolution of July 14, 1958, which overthrew the old monarchy and established the Iraqi Republic.

By Love Redeemed:
A Fantasy on “God and Freud”

by Hans Meyerhoff
“In this interior monologue,” Hans Meyerhoff writes, “all statements set off by double quotation marks are Leonard Gross's own words in the book God and Freud [David McKay, 215 pp., $3.95].

Tension in the Western Alliance:
Europe Awaits the Meeting at the Top

by Max Beloff
Soviet Premier Khrushchev's impending visit to the United States, and President Eisenhower's visit to Europe to consult with America's principal allies, come as the climax to a summer in which the content and method of Western diplomacy has been under critical scrutiny.

The Mist from Tree to Tree
by Arthur Gregor
They seemed this morning on their way         to work, not mindful of the fog they could not see, not mindful of an eye hidden somewhere, the sign on someone rushing by: the mist from tree to tree. They hurried on. They reached their destination one by one. The eye looked on when they went in,         when they came out.

Decade in Northrup:
A Natural Jewishness Emerges

by Evelyn Rossman
This is the fourth article of a series by Evelyn N. Rossman, which is a pseudonym; “Northrup” is the imaginary name of the real Massachusetts suburb she lives in.

How Progressive Is Our Tax System?
The Attrition of a Democratic Idea

by Robert Lampman
Taxes in our country have increased tenfold since Herbert Hoover was President. We now pay out $110 billion a year—30 per cent of our personal income—to the Federal, state, and local governments.

Paul and Jewish Theology:
A New View of the Christian Apostle

by Jakob Petuchowski
In the whole history of the Christian Church there is probably no more fascinating and controversial figure than that of the great Apostle to the Gentiles.

A Story

by Joseph Papaleo
Something had happened to the river, perhaps when the city had taken it for sewage. The green banks had worn down and been washed away to wherever it was the river went, away like the 19th century Miss Rafferty told them about.

by Cynthia Ozick
Listen, I am one of those idiot-saints who         teach by unexample. My house is full of disciples. What I do not    do they seek. What I have not done they praise.

Cedars of Lebanon: Mark Twain and the British Ladies
by Theodor Herzl
Between 1884 and his death twenty years later, Theodor Herzl wrote many light, non-political pieces of literary criticism, travelogue, and fiction or semi-fiction, of the genre known as “feuilleton.” Collecting about seventy of these in a two-volume set (published in Berlin in 1903), Herzl gave it the simple tide Feuilletons.

On the Horizon: On Catfish Row
by James Baldwin
The film version of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess is appraised here by the novelist James Baldwin. _____________     Grandiose, foolish, and heavy with the stale perfume of self-congratulation, the Hollywood-Goldwyn-Preminger production of Porgy and Bess lumbered into the Warner theater shortly before the death of Billie Holiday.

The Study of Man: Rethinking World Politics
by George Lichtheim
The ideas which separate Western democracy from Soviet Communism are the subject of this essay by George Lichtheim, a regular contributor and former associate editor of this magazine.

Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews, by Victor Tcherikover
by Moses Hadas
Judaism in the Hellenistic World1   Until a century ago the interval between the classical ages of Greece and Rome, which then received the designation Hellenistic, was a barren stretch despised and neglected by classical, and ignored by Jewish, scholars.

Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb
by H. Trevor-Roper
The Triumph of Evolution Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution. by Gertrude Himmelfarb. Doubleday. 480 pp. $5.95.   Eighteen fifty-nine was the annus mirabilis of the 19th-century intellectual revolution.

The Status Seekers, by Vance Packard
by Robert Lekachman
Popular Sociology The Status Seekers. by Vance Packard. McKay. 376 pp. $4.50.   By now both social scientists and ordinary book critics have had their say about Vance Packard's latest exercise in popular sociology.

On the Game of Politics in France, by Nathan Leites
by A. P.
Game Without Object? On the Game of Politics in France. by Nathan Leites. With a foreword by D. W. Brogan. Stanford University Press.

Life Studies, by Robert Lowell
by Richard Stern
A Poet's Self-Portrait Life Studies. by Robert Lowell. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy. 90 pp. $3.50.   Robert Lowell's new book does not pose as a full-fledged autobiography, but even those of the ninety pages which are not explicitly autobiographical are controlled by either the poet's “I” or the themes of loss, violent sexuality, and insanity which are central to the other sections.

Halicha Ladror: The History of the Liberation of Mankind, by Reuven Arje-Lev
by A. Sherman
Last of the Maskilim Halicha Ladror: The History of the Liberation of Mankind. by Reuven Arje-Lev. Milah Books (Tel Aviv).   This book conveys the special flavor of the political thinking produced in the Russian Pale of Settlement in the late 19th century, when Jewish youths whose studies had been confined to the Talmud suddenly discovered the world of secular learning.

Reader Letters September 1959
by Our Readers
The New Yorker TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: I would like to ask you a few questions about Hilton Kramer's article on the New Yorker. CAugust) which I have just read.

October, 1959Back to Top
The Poet's Value
by Our Readers
To the Editor: The article in your July issue by Francis Golffing and Barbara Gibbs (“The Public Voice: Remarks on Poetry Today”) seems to me to deal with the subject in a peripheral manner, too remote from any central, vital issue.

“New Yorker”: Pro & Con
by Our Readers
To the Editor: My warm congratulations to Hilton Kramer for his article “Harold Ross's ‘New Yorker’” in your August number. I am sure Mr.

Israel and Hebrew
by Our Readers
To the Editor: “Zion Revisited” by Dan Jacobson in your July issue calls for a reaction. I accept all his criticisms of the country, and some of its institutions certainly remind one of Chelm.

Jewish Survival
by Our Readers
To the Editor: In his brilliant article “Jewish Existence and the Living God” (August) Emil L. Fackenheim confronts the Jew with the religious question “Whether or not the Nameless can be present to us,” and with the question of whether Jewish survival is a duty, and Concludes: “He will have accepted himself as a Jew, because he will have accepted the time-honored Jewish obligation: to prepare and wait for the End in which all that is to be done by either main or God will be fulfilled.” To label this Messianic hope as post-Biblical or 20th-century Judaic is rather farfetched.

Khrushchev's Visit: The German Problem Remains
Possibilities for a Settlement

by G. Hudson
In a letter to Dr. Konrad Adenauer some time before his own trip to the United States, Premier Khrushchev warned the Federal German Chancellor against “fanning of passions and preparation for conflict” and declared that in his meetings with President Eisenhower “we naturally cannot limit our talks to the question of corn or cucumbers.

The Dangers of Literacy:
Has Democracy Debased Culture?

by David Daiches
Mass literacy is a new phenomenon in the history of civilization, and it is no surprise that thoughtful people find its effects disturbing.

The “Affluent” Kibbutzim:
Ideology and Complacency

by Gerda Cohen
Revisiting the Jordan Valley, we thought how prosperous, and how ugly, it had become. Not only the immigrant suburbia clinging to the yellow hills over Tiberias, but the kibbutzim also, their collective rectangularity grown as commonplace and neutral as the porridge doled out in their dining halls each day.

Yom Kippur and the Jew of Today:
The Time of Renewal

by David Baumgardt
Is our prayerbook for the Day of Atonement, the Mahzor of Yom Kippur, a chance compilation of orisons? Or may we trace some intuitive design—however unobtrusive—in the order and structure of this remarkable set of devotional pieces? I wish to limit my own discussion of this question to a brief analysis of the Ashkenazic Mahzor as used, with minor variations, in Europe and America.

Greenwich Village Challenges Tammany:
Ethnic Politics and the New Reformers

by Dan Wakefield
Greenwich village and Tammany Hall are among the few social institutions still standing on our flat, gray, affluent landscape which lend themselves at all to romanticism.

Freedom, Virtue, and the New Scholasticism:
The Supreme Court as Philosopher-Kings

by David Spitz
Once again, as in the days of the New Deal, the Supreme Court is the center of a vigorous national debate.

A Group of Poems
by Leonard Wolf
The group we paint in this number is unique in one special respect, having been, according to Mr. Wolf, “composed in Yiddish and translated, almost at once, into English.” _____________     My Mother My Mother used to say:      Laughter and light— That's all it takes to deal with life. And, with that, She became urgently busy, Worked like a horse, Cooking, washing, Bedroom to cellar, Cupboard to attic, Windows and walls, Until her hands were like the hands Of a day laborer: Out of the water Into the dough, Out of the dough, Into the water. And running, running Running like a heavy bird Newly created and already sick That hardly knows what food It ought to eat Well .

Social Revolution in Cuba:
The Future of the New Regime

by Harold Lavine
When Fidel Castro was in the Sierra Maestra, he spent most of his time talking. What little fighting there was, was done by his firebrand younger brother Raul, and by Major Ernesto Guevara, his pro-Communist aide.

Mrs. Benson
A Story

by James Purdy
“I don't know why Mrs. Carlin entertained,” Mrs. Benson admitted. “She didn't like it, and she couldn't do it.” “I had to sit an entire hour under one of those potted palms she had in her house,” Mrs.

An English Girl Finds Palestine
A Personal Memoir

by Ann Roelofs
When I was young my family lived in a suburb of London called Blackheath. This was rather a pleasant, old-fashioned part of London, not as sooty as it sounds.

From the American Scene: Make Mine Manhattan
by Gerald Weales
I am not quite a classic case. When I stepped off the train at Pennsylvania Station in September 1946, I was not carrying my few but spotless possessions in a cardboard suitcase; there were not even metaphorical bits of straw sticking to my clothes.

Spirit of Rabbi Nachman
by Harvey Shapiro
“The word moves a bit of air,     And this the next, until it reaches The man who receives the word of his       friend And receives his soul therein And is therein awakened”— Rabbi Nachman's preachment on the word, Which I gloomily thumb Wondering how it is with me That I am not yet on the first Rung (and many with me!). To move a bit of air! If a man ask, can he have This thing, whether it be An infusion of soul, or souls, Steadfast to complete the journeying? Words moving a bit of air So that the whole morning moves. _____________  

Cedars of Lebanon: Jochebed Mourns for Moses
by Our Readers
Cecil Roth, the historian, translates for this department a hymn from the Aramaic, commenting: “The traditional Jewish feast of Simhat Torah (the Rejoicing of the Law), which is celebrated on the last of the nine days of Succoth [this year October 25], is generally regarded as an occasion for almost unmitigated carnivalesque hilarity.

The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader, edited by Arthur Hertzberg
by Milton Himmelfarb
Jewish Nationalism The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader. by Arthur Hertzberg. Doubleday and Herzl Press. 638 pp. $7.50.   Nothing fails like success.

From Shakespeare to Existentialism, by Walter Kaufmann
by Henry Aiken
Nietzschean Hardheartedness From Shakespeare to Existentialism. by Walter Kaufmann. Beacon Press. 404 pp. $4.95.   Professor Kaufmann's new book purports to trace a grand historical development of ideas; actually it is only a collection of scattered essays and reviews, most of them previously published during the last ten years.

The Little Disturbances of Man, by Grace Paley
by Isa Kapp
City People in Tight Places The Little Disturbances of Man. by Grace Paley. Doubleday. 189 pp. $3.00.   Mrs. Paley's stories are about city people in tight places and rushed moments, and she tells them, from the first phrases, with great urban momentum and no rural moonshine.

The Image Industries, by Fr. William Lynch, S.J.
by Richard Hoggart
Mass Culture and the Good Life The Image Industries. by Fr. William Lynch, S.J. Sheed and Ward. 159 pp. $3.50.   Reading books about mass entertainments is, in the long run, exceptionally depressing.

Radio Free Europe, by Robert T. Holt
by Paul Willen
Voice of the Exiles Radio Free Europe. by Robert T. Holt. University of Minnesota Press. 249 pp. $5.00.   The week of Vice President Nixon's visit to Moscow last July coincided with the official U.

Confucian China and Its Modern Fate, by Joseph R. Levenson
by H. Hughes
From Confucianism to Communism Confucian China and Its Modern Fate: the Problem of Intellectual Continuity. by Joseph R. Levenson. University of California Press.

The Way It Was, by Harold Loeb
by Henry Popkin
The Expatriate Twenties The Way It Was. by Harold Loeb. Criterion. 310 pp. $5.95.   This sober, unintentionally funny record of a strange literary career might have been called “Portrait of the Artist as a Shlimazl.” Its author, Harold Loeb, was a leading spirit in the expatriate literary activities of the 1920's.

Reader Letters October 1959
by Our Readers
Jewish Survival TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: In his brilliant article "Jewish Existence and the Living God" (August) Emil L. Fackenheim confronts the Jew with the religious question "Whether or not the Nameless can be present to us," and with the question of whether Jew- ish survival is a duty, and concludes: "He will have accepted himself as a Jew, because he will have accepted the time-honored Jewish obliga- tion: to prepare and wait for the End in which all that is to be done by either man or God will be fulfilled." To label this Messianic hope as post-Biblical or 20th-century Judaic is rather farfetched.

November, 1959Back to Top
Lowly Chronology
To the Editor: May I add a footnote to David Daiches's excellent article (“The Dangers of Literacy,” October)? The passage he quotes indignantly from Sir Harold Nicolson after Barzun's House of Intellect is even more “monstrous as history” than he supposes: “The Emperor Frederick II was wont to sneer at King René of Sicily for his addiction to the arts, obliging that monarch to indulge his gift for painting in the privacy of his own closet.” It also sins against that low, elementary, and exact part of the discipline of history called chronology.

Taxes: Evasion & Avoidance
To the Editor: “How Progressive is Our Tax System?” by Robert J. Lampman (September) discusses a most important issue. . .

Sources for Judaism
To the Editor: Rabbi Jakob Petuchowski concludes his article “Paul and Jewish Theology” (September) that “here Paul's stress on ‘faith’ becomes relevant to the modern Jew.

Macdonald's Case
by Our Readers
To the Editor: A little of the old steam A little of the bold steam— That's what will keep the kramer1 from the    door.    You can snarl at second-rate books,    Find the fraud in all those Great Books,        Twist the tail of Adler, Mortimer J.2    You can polemize with Trotsky,3    Show the Bible's gone to potsky,4        Colin Wilson's epidermis you can flay.5    You can judge the Ford Foundation,6    Discourse on cinematization,        With instances from Griffiths to today.7 But—    A little of the old steam,    A little of the bold steam,    Or Hilton Kramer's baying at the door. And—    It don't count (no it don't count)    If it's in that strictly no count    That provincial adolescent schizophrenic        deliquescent    Languid effete and congenitally non-        effervescent8    Rag—and I don't mean COMMENTARY. _____________   1According to Miss Florabel Spurgeon's Myth and Ritual in the Black Forest (Chatto & Windo, 1905), those woodcutters who had not chopped down their quota of Established Reputations were visited at night by a “kramer,” a small rodent-like creature which nibbled at their toes, until they got back to work. 2“The Book-of-the-Millennium dub,” New Yorker, Nov.

The Politics of Stalemate:
Will the Republican-Southern Democratic Coalition Continue?

by William Shannon
Washington At the foot of Capitol Hill stands the newly dedicated Taft Memorial Carillon and, in front of it, a statue of the late Ohio Senator, It is easy to see the carillon and the statue as a monument to the perpetual frustration of a political faction whose hero thrice sought the presidency in vain.

The Failure of American Sociology:
C. Wright Mills's Indictment

by Dennis Wrong
College students, however unlettered, often possess what journalists call “the instinct for the jugular.” Meeting a class one day which had just been reading C.

Khrushchev's New Cold War Strategy:
Prestige Diplomacy

by Hans Morgenthau
According to Plutarch, Julius Caesar announced his victory at Zela in 47 B.C.E. to his friend Amintius with the words, “Veni, vidi, vici—I came, I saw, I conquered.” Is it likely that Khrushchev similarly described his American visit to his friends in the Kremlin; and, if so, did he have a point? There can he no doubt that Khrushchev came here, although, as one watched, listened, and read about this extraordinary voyage, Which the London Economist properly called a “coast to coast riot,” it was sometimes hard to believe that it was real.

Satmar in Brooklyn:
A Zealot Community

by Harry Gersh
Williamsburg, one of the oldest parts of Brooklyn, is the new home of the Hasidic followers of the Satmar Rebbe.

Can British Labor Come Back?
Planning England's “Scandinavian” Future

by George Lichtheim
London The remarkable thing about the British general election of October 1959 was not that the Conservatives won, but that anyone should have thought they might lose.

D. H. Lawrence and Our Life Today:
Re-reading “Lady Chatterley's Lover”

by Sonya Rudikoff
Anyone will defend D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover against censorship, but who will defend it as a novel? Who, for that matter, will attack it? No one.

Existentialism's Meaning for Judaism:
A Contemporary Midrash

by Eugene Borowitz
Why has existentialism had so little impact upon the leaders of American Jewry? The educators and social workers move in another philosophic universe entirely.

A Story

by Albert Halper
Doctor Harris had his office on Amsterdam Avenue, in the Upper Eighties of New York City. His office was on the second floor, over a drugstore, and his premises possessed north and east windows, through which the light streamed so blindingly that he had to angle his Venetian blinds all the way down until noon.

Cedars of Lebanon: A Feminist Before Her Time
by Our Readers
Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) has achieved lasting fame as the outstanding philosopher of the Jewish Middle Ages. Philosophy was only one of his accomplishments.

Now When the Waters Press in Force
by Yehuda Amihai
Now, when the waters press in force On the walls of the dams, Now, when the white returning cranes Change in the middle of the air to flights of jets, Again we will feel how strong the ribs are, And how courageous the warm air inside the lungs, And how much daring is needed to love in the open plain When the high dangers are arching overhead, And how much love is demanded To fill all the empty vessels And the watches which have stopped telling time, And how much breath, A storm of breath, To sing the small song of spring. _____________  

On the Horizon: The Criminal as Public Servant
by Edouard Roditi
All through 1946, I was employed by the Department of the Army as an interpreter at the International Military Tribunal's war crimes trials in Nuremberg.

The Study of Man: How to Understand Prejudice--An Exchange
by William Petersen
Here two social psychologists at Harvard University take exception to the views presented by William Petersen in his article “Prejudice in American Society” (October 1958), and Mr.

The Soviet Union and the Middle East, by Walter Z. Laqueur
by G. von
Russia Woos the Arabs The Soviet Union and the Middle East. by Walter Z. Laqueur. Praeger. 366 pp. $6.00.   Of the many lessons Walter Laqueur's remarkable new book contains, perhaps the most significant is the demonstration that only through the most careful, almost pedantic assembling of details can we perceive the broad lines of political development.

Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days, by Karl Doenitz
by H. Trevor-Roper
Hitler's Chosen Heir Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days. by Karl Doenitz. World. 500 pp. $6.00.   The career of Grand Admiral Doenitz was unique in Germany.

Freud, the Mind of the Moralist, by Philip Rieff
by Richard Peters
Sociologizing Freud Freud, the Mind of the Moralist. by Philip Rieff. Viking Press. 448 pp. $6.00.   There was a time, at a congress in 1910, when a professor banged the table when Freud's theories were mentioned and shouted, “This is not a topic for discussion at a scientific meeting; it is a matter for the police.” Now, it seems, Freud's theories have become a matter for the sociologist.

The Midrash on Psalms, translated by William G. Braude
by Sidney Hoenig
Commentary on the Psalms The Midrash on Psalms. by William G. Braude. Translated from the Hebrew and Aramaic. Yale University Press (Yale Judaica Series XIII: 1 & 2).

The Rise of the Meritocracy, by Michael Young
by Ronald Gross
Survival for What? The Rise of the Meritocracy. by Michael Young. Random House. 160 pp. $3.50.   H. G. Wells's warning that we are engaged in “a race between education and catastrophe” has taken on new meaning.

Reader Letters November 1959
by Our Readers
Macdonald's Case TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: A little of the old steam A little of the bold steam- That's what will keep the kramerl from the door. You can snarl at second-rate books, Find the fraud in all those Great Books, Twist the tail of Adler, Mortimer J.

December, 1959Back to Top
Democracy's Standards
To the Editor: Professor David Spitz's fear of the restrictions of political liberty—in his article, “Freedom, Virtue, and the New Scholasticism,” (October)—is a valuable antidote to tyrannical excesses that may arise, even in a democracy, under such guises as McCarthyism; his dread of government by the few is well founded both theoretically and historically; and he speaks well when he indicates that liberty of ruler as well as that of the ruled must be kept within proper bounds.

Yom Kippur Mahzor
To the Editor: I read with great interest Dr. David Baumgardt's article “Yom Kippur and the Jew of Today,” in your October issue, in which he attempts to discover some new meaning in the Day of Atonement ritual.

Russian Radicals and Jews
To the Editor: In his review (October) of The Zionist Idea, edited by Arthur Hertzberg, Milton Himmelfarb traces the origin of the nationalism of many Russian Jews to two events: (I) “.

“Unfeeling Disdain”
To the Editor: The interesting review of my recent book, From Shakespeare to Existentialism, by Professor Henry Aiken (October) contains more misrepresentations than I could unscramble in a short letter.

Can Ben Gurion Reshape Israeli Politics?
A Victory for the “New Image” Mapai

by A. Sherman
The Israeli election last month was a spectacular personal triumph for Premier David Ben Gurion, as well for his party, Mapai (the Israel Workers' party).

Time Inc. Offers an Ideology:
Max Ways's “Beyond Survival”

by William Newman
Time, the Weekly Newsmagazine, like every good weekly news magazine, is acutely sensitive to both the fears of mankind and the trend of the market.

Labor Unions and the Negro:
The Record of Discrimination

by Herbert Hill
The removal of the sanction of law from racial segregation has sharply posed the issue of the Negro's status in virtually every area of American life.

The Only Jewish Family in Town:
In Rural Ohio

by Louise Laser
The names Louise Laser, Foxton, and Rufus College are fictitious, but this article by the wife of an American sociologist describes an authentic experience of an Ohio town.

The Groom on Zlota Street
A Story

by Hugh Nissenson
In the first decade of the century, when he was twelve years old, my father, his parents, and his cousin Yecheil all lived in a little shop on Mila Street in Warsaw where my grandfather made carriage whips.

The American and European Minds Compared:
An Essay in Definition

by Francis Golffing
In connection with the present essay, Mr. Golffing writes: “The author spent his formative years in Central Europe and in England, before settling, in 1940, in the United States.

From the American Scene: Bucks County, Pennsylvania
by Josephine Herbst
If it is not so easy to trace the historic developments that have taken place in Bucks County, it is possible to discover the point at which the locality became fashionable.

Cedars of Lebanon: Chess at Chanukah
by Z. Finot
Z. F. Finot was the pen name of Dr. Z. F. Finkelstein, who was born in Lvov in 1886. For many years he was a resident of Vienna, where he was editor of Die Stimme as well as correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Long active as a Zionist, he wrote a book on Theodor Herzl, Schicksalsstuden eines Führers—A Leader's Hour of Destiny.

On the Horizon: Paddy Chayefsky's Minyan
by Anatole Shub
Paddy Chayefsky, it has been said many times, is the Clifford Odets of the 1950's, and the differences between the two playwrights largely reflect a shift in popular attitudes since the 30's.

In Egypt
by Harold Enrico
Once-born from the womb of your mother; Twice-born from the grave-meant room; Thrice-born through the gate at the border Into the Egyptian noon, the stones and the thorns. Then born again from the catacomb, Reader of the dreams of the sevenfold things In the dominion of the locust and the shining bone, In the acres of the Pharaohs' sepulchers With the sculptured foreheads of their fallen queens, Joseph, father-far, did heart wring boyhood, Wish for the Zion of lean synagogues, The dialect of your father's pastures? Joseph in the land of the lion and the linen dead, Joseph, brother-sold forever, Benjamin-belovèd ever! _____________  

The Study of Man: Reviewing the Loyalty Controversy
by Alan Westin
Six years have passed since American hysteria over internal security measures reached a crescendo; in that rush of months in 1954 when sober men wondered when—and whether—our society would break free from the fratricidal conflict which had overtaken it.

The Cave, by Robert Penn Warren
by Lionel Abel
Refinement and Vulgarity1   Robert Penn Warren is generally regarded as a novelist of stature, for he is thought to combine high spiritual concern for moral problems with a craftsman's approach to the problems of his art.

The Last Pharisee, by Joshua Podro
by Nahum Glatzer
A 1st-Century Sage The Last Pharisee: The Life and Times of Rabbi Joshua Ben Hananyah. by Joshua Podro. Vallentine, Mitchell (London). 128 pp.

Road to Revolution, by Avrahm Yarmolinsky
by Kathryn Feuer
Russia's Great Tradition Road to Revolution. by Avrahm Yarmolinsky. Macmillan. 369 pp. $5.95.   The Slavonic reading room of the New York Public Library is for its habituées a special and fondly esteemed place.

Anatomy of a Moral, by Milovan Djilas
by Hugh Seton-Watson
The Uniqueness of a Rebel Anatomy of a Moral. The Political Essays of Milovan Djilas. Praeger. 181 pp. $2.95.   This volume contains translations of the articles written by Milovan Djilas in the last months of 1953 in the official newspaper of the Yugoslav League of Communists, Borba, of which he was then the director.

Jewish Ceremonial Art, edited by Stephen S. Kayser and Guido Schoenberger
by Alfred Werner
Art for the Synagogue Jewish Ceremonial Art. by Stephen S. Kayser and Guido Schoenberger. Jewish Publication Society of America. 189 pp. $3.00.   Among Jewish historians and theologians nowadays one often encounters the notion that the plastic arts were never a particular concern of the Jewish people, and that Judaism traditionally has been opposed to “sensate culture.” Art did flourish among the Israelites in antiquity, and the dearth of medieval Jewish art should be ascribed (as Dr.

Collected Essays, by Aldous Huxley
by Martin Green
More than a Clever Man Collected Essays. by Aldous Huxley. Harper and Brothers. 399 pp. $5.00.   When people told me I was clever to console me when I was growing up, I would add, sotto voce, to myself, sourly, “Like Aldous Huxley, I suppose.” He somehow summed up the word clever for me, filled it out in more directions than one could imagine, almost than one could believe, and yet did not overflow it.

Reader Letters December 1959
by Our Readers
"Unfeeling Disdain" TO THE EDITOR OF COMMENTARY: The interesting review of my recent book, From Shakespeare to Existentialism, by Pro- fessor Henry Aiken (October) contains more misrepresentations than I could unscramble in a short letter.

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