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The Jews of the former Soviet Union have always been the subject of intense controversy. In the past 25 years, however, they have become more puzzling. How many of them are there? How strongly so they identify themselves as Jews? How do they perceive antisemetism in their countries? Will they leave, where will they go? Theses ate among the questions that have enlivened the discussions of Jews in republics known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. they have sparked debate because they have deep policy implications for Russia, Israel, the United States, and other countries. They are the questions which this book seeks to examine. Too little fact has informed this debate, and even less theory. Until very recently, surveys of the actual intentions, perceptions, motivations, and fears of Jews in the region were out of the question. This is now beginning to change. Here is the first book based on an on site survey of a representative sample of Jews in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In addition to providing data in the Jews of Moscow, Kiev, and Minsk- who collectively account for 28% of all Jews residing in the three Slavic republics of the CIS- the author places the survey results in their social and historical context. He explains why ethnic distinctiveness persisted and even became accentuated in the Soviet era and also describes the position of Jews in Soviet and post-Soviet society and some of the dilemmas they face. This book will be crucial reading for anyone interested not only in the general situation of the Jews of the former Soviet Union but also in their perceptions, worldviews, and plans for the future.
During the past two generations, Jewish public thought and discourse has differed dramatically from that of the era between the Emancipation and the Second World War. The chasm of the Holocaust and the watershed establishment of a Jewish state has radically changed the Jewish intellectual landscape. With their two largest concentrations in Israel and the United States, the Jews are no longer a European nation. Above all, the Jews, for the first time since they went into exile, have become free individuals, with the right to choose between the land of their birth and their ancestral homeland in Israel.
Are the Jews then a religious community dispersed among other nations? A community of equal citizens of various countries with their own cultural and historical identity? Or are the Jewish people a nation with its own homeland? However one answers this question, the political, socio-economic and cultural ramifications are enormous. Moreover, since world Jewry is now crisscrossed by divisions between religious and secular Jews, between groups of different cultural backgrounds, and between those living in a sovereign Jewish state and those who are citizens of other countries, it is the link between Israel and the Diaspora which confers a collective identity on this multiform entity. Yosef Gorny's central theme is Jewish public thought concerning the identity and essence of the Jewish people from the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel up to the present day. Chapters address such topics as The Zionist Movement in Search of a National Role, The Zionist Movement in Quest of its Ideological Essence, The Intellectuals in Search of a Jewish Identity, The Diminishing Status of Israel as a Jewish State, Revolutionary RadicalismThe Left-Wing Jewish Student Movement, 1967-1973, Neo-Conservative Radicalism, The Alternative Zionism of Gush-Emunim, The Conservative Liberalism, and In Defense of Perpetual Zionist Revolt. Reflecting the collective thinking of Jewish intellectuals, this is a volume of interest to anyone concerned with issues of Jewish identity.
In this publication new light is shed on the Qumran community, its organisational structure, its ultra conservative way of life, and how its leaders interpreted the books of the Old Testament by compiling their own commentaries. Emphasis is also placed on facilitating an understanding of references in the Gospels whilst providing an insight into a community that existed parallel to the New Testament community, and to which some of Jesus' followers could have belonged.
In hierdie publikasie word nuwe lig gewerp op die Qumran-gemeenskap, die struktuur waarin hulle georganiseer was en hul ultrakonserwatiewe leefwyse. Die wyse waarop hul leiers die boeke van die Ou Testament geinterpreteer het, blyk uit die kommentare wat hulle geskryf het. Hierdie publikasie help die leser om verwysings in die evangelies beter te begryp en bied insig in 'n gemeenskap wat in dieselfde tyd as die Nuwe-Testamentiese gemeenskap geleef het en waaraan sommige van Jesus se volgelinge moontlik behoort het.
Following The People and the Books, which "covers more than 2,500 years of highly variegated Jewish cultural expression" (Robert Alter, New York Times Book Review), poet and literary critic Adam Kirsch now turns to the story of modern Jewish literature. From the vast emigration of Jews out of Eastern Europe to the Holocaust to the creation of Israel, the twentieth century transformed Jewish life. The same was true of Jewish writing: the novels, plays, poems, and memoirs of Jewish writers provided intimate access to new worlds of experience. Kirsch surveys four themes that shaped the twentieth century in Jewish literature and culture: Europe, America, Israel, and the endeavor to reimagine Judaism as a modern faith. With discussions of major books by over thirty writers-ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Elie Wiesel to Tony Kushner, Hannah Arendt to Judith Plaskow-he argues that literature offers a new way to think about what it means to be Jewish in the modern world. With a wide scope and diverse, original observations, Kirsch draws fascinating parallels between familiar writers and their less familiar counterparts. While everyone knows the diary of Anne Frank, for example, few outside of Israel have read the diary of Hannah Senesh. Kirsch sheds new light on the literature of the Holocaust through the work of Primo Levi, explores the emergence of America as a Jewish home through the stories of Bernard Malamud, and shows how Yehuda Amichai captured the paradoxes of Israeli identity. An insightful and engaging work from "one of America's finest literary critics" (Wall Street Journal), The Blessing and the Curse brings the Jewish experience vividly to life.
Hidden lives, hidden history, and hidden manuscripts. In The Virgin of Guadalupe and the Conversos, Marie-Theresa Hernandez unmasks the secret lives of conversos and judaizantes and their likely influence on the Catholic Church in the New World. The terms converso and juidaizante are often used for descendants of Spanish Jews (the Sephardi, or Sefarditas as they are sometimes called), who converted under duress to Christianity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. There are few, if any, archival documents that prove the existence of judaizantes after the Spanish expulsion of the Jews in 1492 and the Portuguese expulsion in 1497, as it is unlikely that a secret Jew in sixteenth-century Spain would have documented his allegiance to the Law of Moses, thereby providing evidence for the Inquisition. On a Da Vinci Code-style quest, Hernandez persisted in hunting for a trove of forgotten manuscripts at the New York Public Library. These documents, once unearthed, describe the Jewish/Christian religious beliefs of an early nineteenth-century Catholic priest in Mexico City, focusing on the relationship between the Virgin of Guadalupe and Judaism. With this discovery in hand, the author traces the cult of Guadalupe backwards to its fourteenth-century Spanish origins. The trail from that point forward can then be followed to its interface with early modern conversos and their descendants at the highest levels of the Church and the monarchy in Spain and Colonial Mexico. She describes key players who were somehow immune to the dangers of the Inquisition and who were allowed the freedom to display, albeit in a camouflaged manner, vestiges of their family's Jewish identity. By exploring the narratives produced by these individuals, Hernandez reveals the existence of those conversos and judaizantes who did not return to the "covenantal bond of rabbinic law," who did not publicly identify themselves as Jews, and who continued to exhibit in their influential writings a covert allegiance and longing for a Jewish past. This is a spellbinding and controversial story that offers a fresh perspective on the origins and history of conversos."
Raised in a traditional Jewish family, international television
host Jonathan Bernis was taught from a young age that "Jews
don't--and can't --believe in Jesus." Yet in his study of the
Bible, including the Torah, he found overwhelming evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth really was the Jewish Messiah.
Flamboyant mobster Arnold Rothstein was gambling and money. He was the inspiration for Meyer Wolfsheim in "The Great Gatsby" and Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls." It was rumored he masterminded the 1919 World Series fix. He was Mr. Broadway, a king of corruption holding court from his private booth at Lindy's Restaurant.
In this lively, sprawling biography, the inimitable Nick Tosches -- "one of the greatest living American writers" ("Dallas Observer") -- examines the myth and extraordinary legacy of Arnold Rothstein. It is an elegy to old New York that places an iconic, larger-than-life criminal kingpin firmly at the center of nothing less than the history of the entire Western world.
This superb abridgement and annotated translation of Maimonides' monumental work includes discussions of divine language, the scope and limits of human knowledge, cosmological doctrines concerning the creation or eternity of the world, prophecy and providence, the nature and purpose of divine law, and moral and political philosophy.
Hebrew scholar Dr. Kenneth Hanson tells the of enthralling story the Dead Sea Scrolls for the first time. Hanson describes the astounding discovery itself, the half-century of intrigue that followed and the mysterious sect which wrote, preserved and died defending these treasured works, which for them and countless others contained the word of God.
'A deeply humane, learned and personal reflection on Jewish identity' Rowan Williams 'This inspiring book has made me a better Jew, one who understands more, who knows more' Daniel Finkelstein 'This remarkable book takes us on a journey: geographic, historical, cultural, philosophical, political, autobiographical and, yes, religious' Michael Marmot Being Jewish Today gives an account of both the journey of a particular British Jew and the journey of millions of women and men through today's perplexing and difficult world. With honesty and integrity Rabbi Tony Bayfield breaks new ground in exploring the meaning of Jewish identity and its relationship to Jewish tradition and belief. He does so from the perspective of a person fully integrated into the modern Western world. The rigorous questions he asks of his Jewishness, Judaism and the Jewish God are therefore substantially the same as those asked by individuals of all faiths and none. Beginning with an account of the journey of Jewish people and thought from ancient times to the present day, Bayfield goes on to consider Jewish identity, Israel as land and the scourge of anti-Semitism. He then turns to the twin concerns of Torah: Halakhah - practice, and Aggadah - ethics, along with the matter of belief in a world faced with global extinction. Finally, in addressing the manifest injustice of life, Rabbi Bayfield confronts the widely evaded questions of universal suffering and divine inaction. Drawing on key religious and secular thinkers who contribute to the force of his argument, Bayfield's masterful, challenging and urgent book will appeal to all Jews, whether religious or cultural, and to anyone curious about the nature of Judaism and religion today.
The term Niddah means separation. During her menstrual flow and for
several days thereafter, a Jewish woman is considered Niddah --
separate from her husband and unable to practice the sacred rituals
of Judaism. Purification in a miqveh (a ritual bath) following her
period restores full status as a wife and member of the Jewish
community. In the contemporary world, debates about Niddah focus
less on the literal exclusion of menstruating women from the
synagogue, instead emphasizing relations between husband and wife
and the general role of Jewish women in Judaism.
Based on the author's lectures at the Judisches Freies Lehrhaus, these essays include notes for a group of lectures of 1920, Faith and Knowledge, followed by a three-part lecture series of 1922, The Science of God, The Science of Man, and The Science of World.
The Bible is harshly opposed to participation by Israelites in the worship of other nations' gods. Was this strict command to the nation of Israel not to worship other deities extended to other nations? Or was it legitimate and acceptable for other nations to worship their own gods just as Israel worshipped the God of the Covenant?
In The Nations That Know Thee Not, Robert Goldenberg takes a historical look at attitudes towards foreign religions that are found in Israel's scriptures and in post-Biblical Judaism, and he traces an ambivalent attitude toward foreign religions as it developed through the history of Judaism. How did Jewish outlooks on gentile religions vary so much over time? As Jewish acceptance of paganism grew under rabbinic leadership, did Christianity become heir to other, harsher biblical attitudes toward other religions?
Systematically covering the entire range of Jewish literature of antiquity from the Bible through the rabbinic canons, Goldenberg sheds light on the ways in which ancient Jews understood the religious worlds in which they lived.
From the archetypical story of Abraham smashing his father's household idols to God's commandment at Mount Sinai that "You shall have no other gods before Me," the prohibition in Judaism against the worship of idols has been unyielding. Idolatry is conceived as the antithesis to the worship of the invisible, unnamed, and articulate God.
The proscription against using images in worship sets Judaism, together with Islam, apart from all other religious systems. In "Beyond the Graven Image, " Lionel Kochan sets out to explain the reasons for this prohibition and to demonstrate how influential this image-ban has been in determining key aspects of Jewish thinking. The Jewish conceptions of holiness and symbolism, our relationship with God, and the role of memory in religion, he argues, as well as the preference for non- material arts such as music over visual modes of artistic expression within Judaism, have all been profoundly shaped by the prohibition against physical representations of God.
Unlike earlier generations, Jewish American artists born between the 1930s and the early 1960s were among the first to overtly embrace and challenge religious themes in their work. These Jewish artists felt comfortable as assimilated Americans yet developed an overwhelming desire to explore their cultural and religious heritage. They became the first generation willing to take risks with their material and to discover new ways to create art with Jewish religious content. In his most recent book, Baigell explores the art and influences of eleven artists who enlarged the parameters of Jewish American art through their varied approaches to subject matter, to feminist concerns, and to finding contemporary relevance in the ancient texts. Along with detailed essays on each artist, the book includes nearly one hundred stunning illustrations that testify to the beauty, depth, and importance of the paintings and sculptures produced by this groundbreaking generation of artists.
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