In this issue: The politics of paradox—finding Jewish meaning in unexpected places. The occluded Jewish core that drove a white, middle-class mom to lead risky civil-rights missions into Mississippi 40 years ago. An annual bacon sandwich that honors the legacy of Holocaust-survivor grandparents. And the recrudescence of the Austrian national dress — why Jewish teen girls in Europe now love a dirndl.

The Politics of Paradox

Some of our most Jewish acts are driven by paradox. Here, three fascinating and very different angles on some unexpected twists of Jewish identity.

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Four Photographs of Rukhl

by Miriam Isaacs

The author would never have been born if the woman in these pictures had survived. Read Isaacs’s homage to her father’s first wife. 

How Not to Trust

by Rachel Maizes

A resilient girl foils assault, thanks to the awkward lessons learned in her own unreliable family.

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Even in Dreams, She Leaves Me Every Time

fiction by Hilary Zaid

I thought I’d found a clever way around this ending, and yet we’re barreling toward the moment that always leaves me smeared and choking on my pillow. 

Mrs. Akiva Speaks

by Yochi Brandes, translated from the Hebrew by Ilana Kurshan

The life of Rabbi Akiva’s wife, told in her own words, topped the fiction charts in Israel. Find out why.

The Woman Who Brought Smut Up from the Gutter

by Josh Lambert

Pioneering anti-obscenity lawyer Harriet Pilpel (Columbia Law ’36) understood
that both birth control and Ulysses were banned for offending “gentlemen of the upper middle class.”


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