I think that Braiterman's critique of the Jewish Review of Books is 
wide of the mark.  I have read almost all of the articles that have 
appeared.  In the cases where it is possible to detect any political 
leanings of authors, it would be a sort of middle of the road 
liberalism.  It is true, to Braiterman's apparent 
disappointment,  that the reviewers do not subscribe to some of the 
radical post-Zionist critiques.  The reviews of political and 
historical works are balanced and fair.  There is also no evidence of 
extremely conservative theological reviews.  The review of Art Green, 
in my opinion, was unreasonably nasty and was too negative, but much 
of the article was a legitimate difference of opinion.

I know one of the senior editors, who was the author of some of the 
articles that Braiterman found tendentious.  This author is in no way 
a political right winger and is certainly not someone of conservative 
theological leanings.  He goes out of his way to be fair.  It is 
ironic that Braiterman is upset with the review of David Biale's new 
book, since the critique in the article is extremely mild, and much 
sharper reviews have been published elsewhere.  I have not heard of 
any political coercion by the Tikvah Fund, nor of any effort by the 
editors to impose a right wing agenda on the authors.

If Braiterman wants to attack the mission of the Tikvah Fund, that's 
his right.  Others can judge where he is accurate or mistaken.  In 
the case of the Jewish Review of Books, he has completely 
misinterpreted the nature of the articles.  I invite Hasafran members 
to read the articles he particularly attacks and to see how much he 
has read them through a distorted lens.

The Jewish Review of books is a wonderful development.  The articles, 
although written with non-academics in mind, meet the standards of 
scholarly articles, and open up the rich world of current Jewish 
literature and research to a very wide community.  I hope that the 
review is at least as successful as the New York Review of 
Books.  Braiterman's poor review will hopefully not in any way keep 
more and more people from becoming readers.

I recommend that every library subscribe to this (very inexpensive) journal.

Jim Rosenbloom
James P. Rosenbloom
Judaica Librarian, Brandeis University
President, Association of Jewish Libraries

James P Rosenbloom
Library and Technology Services
Mailstop 045
Brandeis University
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02454 9110


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