The Top 20 Most-Read Stories of 2020
BY LILLY GELMAN | December 31, 2020
As we count down the hours left of this challenging year, take a look back at the stories that shaped the American Jewish conversation in 2020. With a mix of serious and light coverage of 2020 politics, pandemics and more, here are Moment’s top articles of 2020.
Why Were Jews Blamed for the Black Death?
Coming in at number one is Dan Freedman‘s overview of why Jews were blamed for the Black Death. Back in March, with an uptick in anti-Semitism coinciding with the pandemic, many wondered if a comparable attack on Jews was brewing. Should we still be worried?
What to Watch: ‘The Restaurant,’ Swedish Cuisine, with a Jewish Flavor
In 2020, Moment launched Mark I. Pinsky‘s “What to Watch” column, exploring foreign TV shows with Jewish themes. His May review of “The Restaurant” made our top story list at number two.
The Anti-Semitism Monitor
Though not a typical article, Moment’s Anti-Semitism Monitor was our third most visited page in 2020. Curated by Ira N. Forman, the Anti-Semitism Monitor reports anti-Semitic incidents worldwide by country and date every week.
Israeli Humor in the Time of Coronavirus
Coming in at number four is some lighter fare we hoped would get our readers through the tougher days of 2020. We know you can’t laugh away a pandemic, but Israel sure did try.
Jojo Rabbit and the Nice Nazi
This thoughtful entertainment writer has two stories in our top 20 list. With the 5th most popular article of 2020, Sam Gelman explores what he sees as some problematic characters in Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit.
What Zombie Expert Max Brooks Can Teach Us About Coronavirus
Max Brooks is best known as the author of the novel World War Z. But he also uses apocalyptic stories to teach us how to respond to large-scale crises. In February, as the coronavirus infections spread to the U.S., Moment editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein spoke with Brooks at his home about what governments—and individuals—can do to help stop the virus’s spread.
Natan Sharansky’s Advice for Coronavirus Isolation
We may be used to the stay-at-home orders by now, but the early lockdowns had some of us going stir crazy. That’s why Natan Sharansky‘s advice for COVID-19 isolation was the 7th most-read story of 2020.
If anyone had a good year in 2020, it was Zoom. Moment took advantage of our new favorite video-conferencing service by bringing you weekly Zoominars, covering everything from politics and anti-Semitism to cooking and Jewish humor.
The Triumphs and Failures of a Jewish Son-In-Law
Jared Kushner earned bipartisan praise by brokering the breakthrough deal between the UAE and Israel. But he remains an elusive and divisive figure. Before his time in the White House ends, check out our ninth most-read article of 2020.
Opinion | ‘Mrs. America’ Gets It Wrong
2020 was a good year for TV. But what happens when historical dramas get it wrong? Opinion columnist Letty Cotting Pogrebin explores the issues and inaccuracies of Hulu’s Mrs. America in her May column.
A Soundtrack of the Jewish People
One of the great powers of music is that it brings people together. It’s one of those rare realms where people of varying beliefs and proclivities can find common ground. With unity in short supply this year, Moment embarked on an ambitious year-long undertaking—talking with a diverse array of musicians, scholars and music lovers—to gather music with Jewish significance. The result is a rich tapestry of genres, evoking the breadth of Jewish spirituality, culture, experience and history. We’ve also created playlists, so your ears can feast on the beauty and healing power of these Jewish and Jewish-inspired sounds.
What to Watch: ‘A Place to Call Home’
We spent a lot of time at home this year, which meant nearly running out of movies to watch and TV shows to binge. But thanks to Mark I. Pinsky’s “What To Watch” recommendations, we made it through.
Roberta Kaplan Takes White Supremacy to Court
Roberta Kaplan has a new legal strategy to fight 21st-century extremism. If she wins, it could be groundbreaking. Ellen Wexler’s January interview with the New York lawyer made our list at number 13.
Interview: Geraldine Brooks on Lessons from the ‘Plague Village’
When Sarah Breger heard about COVID-19, she thought of Geraldine Brooks‘s novel Year of Wonders, which tells the story of the 17th-century English village Eyam that fell victim to the Plague. Why are we attracted to dystopian fiction during times of trouble?
Why Ramy is the Most Jewish Show on TV
In every person’s life, there is a moment when they see themselves for the first time in fiction. For Sam Gelman, a 24-year old American Jew, that moment came while watching Hulu’s Ramy, a semi-autobiographical comedy starring Ramy Youssef.
Are We Moving Towards a Better Society or Regressing?
During this challenging, chaotic year, there were moments when many of us feared that society is regressing. Is this fear justified? Are we really moving backward? Or is what we are seeing a temporary detour on the path forward? Is there even evidence that such a phenomenon as progress exists? Our thinkers, of varied ages and backgrounds, touch upon a breadth of topics and diagnose different problems. We hope you take your time going through their insights, and return to them, as you ponder our shared future.
Debra Katz: Ahead of Her Time
She was the go-to lawyer for whistleblower and sexual discrimination claims long before #MeToo got its name.
The Year Everything Changed
In the midst of today’s cataclysmic events, it is hard not to view 2020 as a year that will change the course of human history. And while it may, there have been many other years that felt—and were—equally significant. Moment looks back at them and how they altered the world for Jews and non-Jews alike. For this endeavor, we’ve enlisted the help of a distinguished group of thinkers who study the past or contemplate the future. Each contribution tells its own story, and together they compose a bigger one that we hope will expand your thinking.
The Gang Rape in Eilat Is Not the Exception Israel Thinks It Is
What started as a way to stay abreast of COVID details in Israel, turned into a fruitful column about the issues and dilemmas facing Israeli society. Eetta Prince-Gibson‘s Israel dispatch made out top 20 list at number 19.
Faulkner the Anti-Fascist
There are clear anti-fascist themes in Faulkner’s work, long before awareness of and opposition to fascism became widespread in the United States.