Judaism's High Holy Days begin at sundown tomorrow with Rosh Hashanah and continue through Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which beguns at sundown on Friday, Sept. 13.
One book, Resurgent Antisemitism, edited by Alvin Rosenfeld, I reviewed here for The National Catholic Reporter earlier this summer. I called it an "important, if depressing, new book," in that it detailed the countless ways across many countries in which antisemitism has returned with vigor.
The second book, which so far I've not read, only read about, obviously is in harmony with the Rosenfeld work. It's called The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism, by Daniel Goldhagen. You can read a bit about it here and hear a half-hour interview with Goldhagen at the same site.
About midway through the interview, Goldhagen talks about anti-Judaism in Christian history and the ways in which that has toned down in recent years, though much more anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions today are coming from certain segments of Islam. For my own essay describing anti-Judaism in Christian history, look under the "check this out" headline on the right side of this page. (By the way, I consider anti-Judaism to be theological in nature while antisemitism has more to do with race and ethnicity.)
If you want an excellent book that provides a long-view look at antisemitism (including anti-Judaism), I recommend Holy Hatred, by Robert Michael.
It's simply astonishing to me that a significant portion of the world's population seems unable simply to let Jews be Jews and to be grateful for the many gifts Judaism and Jews have given the world.
So as Jews enter their annual holy week, these two new -- and one former -- books can help all of us understand why antisemitism seems never to disappear.
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BUT DID FROST EVER INTERVIEW HIM?
British TV star David Frost died the other day, and I enjoyed this story about him in which his wife, when asked if her husband was religious, said, "Absolutely. He thinks he's God."