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A few years after its invention by James Naismith, basketball became the primary sport in the crowded streets of the Jewish neighborhood on New York's Lower East Side. Participating in the new game was a quick and enjoyable way to become Americanized. Jews not only dominated the sport for the next fifty-plus years but were also instrumental in modernizing the game. Barney Sedran was considered the best player in the country at the City College of New York from 1909 to 1911. In 1927 Abe Saperstein took over management of the Harlem Globetrotters, playing a key role in popularizing and integrating the game. Later he helped found the American Basketball Association and introduced the three-point shot. More recently, Nancy Lieberman played in a men's pro summer league and became the first woman to coach a men's pro team, and Larry Brown became the only coach to win both NCAA and the NBA championships. While the influence of Jewish players, referees, coaches, and administrators has gradually diminished since the mid-1950s, the current basketball scene features numerous Jews in important positions. Through interviews and lively anecdotes from franchise owners, coaches, players, and referees, The Chosen Game explores the contribution of Jews to the evolution of present-day pro basketball.
A major literary figure and frequent contributor to the Yiddish-language newspaper Forverts from the 1920s to the mid-1930s, Jonah Rosenfeld was recognized during and after his lifetime as an explorer of human psychology. His work foregrounds loneliness, social anxiety, and people's frustrated longing for meaningful relationships - themes just as relevant to today's Western society as they were during his era. The Rivals and Other Stories introduces nineteen of Rosenfeld's short stories to an English-reading audience for the first time. Unlike much of Yiddish literature that offers a sentimentalized view of the tight knit communities of early twentieth-century Jewish life, Rosenfeld's stories portray an entirely different view of pre-war Jewish families. His stories are urban, domestic dramas that probe the often painful disjunctions between men and women, parents and children, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, self and society. They explore eroticism and family dysfunction in narratives that were often shocking to readers at the time they were published. Following the Modernist tradition, Rosenfeld rejected many established norms, such as religion and the assumption of absolute truth. Rather, his work is rooted in psychological realism, portraying the inner lives of alienated individuals who struggle to construct a world in which they can live. These deeply moving, empathetic stories provide a counterbalance to the prevailing idealized portrait of shtetl life and enrich our understanding of Yiddish literature.
This is the first full treatment of Jewish childhood in the Roman world. It follows minors into the spaces where they lived, learned, played, slept, and died and examines the actions and interaction of children with other children, with close-kin adults, and with strangers, both inside and outside the home. A wide range of sources are used, from the rabbinic rules to the surviving painted representations of children from synagogues, and due attention is paid to broader theoretical issues and approaches. Hagith Sivan concludes with four beautifully reconstructed 'autobiographies' of specific children, from a boy living and dying in a desert cave during the Bar-Kokhba revolt to an Alexandrian girl forced to leave her home and wander through the Mediterranean in search of a respite from persecution. The book tackles the major questions of the relationship between Jewish childhood and Jewish identity which remain important to this day.
In the 2015-16 NBA season, the Jewish presence in the league was largely confined to Adam Silver, the commissioner; David Blatt, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers; and Omri Casspi, a player for the Sacramento Kings. Basketball, however, was once referred to as a Jewish sport. Shortly after the game was invented at the end of the nineteenth century, it spread throughout the country and became particularly popular among Jewish immigrant children in northeastern cities because it could easily be played in an urban setting. Many of basketball's early stars were Jewish, including Shikey Gotthoffer, Sonny Hertzberg, Nat Holman, Red Klotz, Dolph Schayes, Moe Spahn, and Max Zaslofsky. In this oral history collection, Douglas Stark chronicles Jewish basketball throughout the twentieth century, focusing on 1900 to 1960. As told by the prominent voices of twenty people who played, coached, and refereed it, these conversations shed light on what it means to be a Jew and on how the game evolved from its humble origins to the sport enjoyed worldwide by billions of fans today. The game's development, changes in style, rise in popularity, and national emergence after World War II are narrated by men reliving their youth, when basketball was a game they played for the love of it. When Basketball Was Jewish reveals, as no previous book has, the evolving role of Jews in basketball and illuminates their contributions to American Jewish history as well as basketball history.
'An unusual and compelling insight into Jewish history... sheer detail and breadth of scale' BBC History Magazine
This newly revised and updated edition of Martin Gilbert's Atlas of Jewish History spans over four thousand years of history in 154 maps, presenting a vivid picture of a fascinating people and the trials and tribulations which have haunted their story.
The themes covered include:
This new edition is also updated to include maps showing Jewish museums in the United States and Canada, and Europe, as well as American conservation efforts abroad. Other topics covered in this revised edition include Jewish educational outreach projects in various parts of the world, and Jews living under Muslim rule. Forty years on from its first publication, this book is still an indispensible guide to Jewish history.
Eliezer Gruenbaum (1908-1948) was a Polish Jew denounced for
serving as a Kapo while interned at Auschwitz. He was the communist
son of Itzhak Gruenbaum, the most prominent secular leader of
interwar Polish Jewry who later became the chairman of the Jewish
Agency's Rescue Committee during the Holocaust and Israel's first
minister of the interior. In light of the father's high placement
in both Polish and Israeli politics, the denunciation of the
younger Gruenbaum and his suspicious death during the 1948
Arab-Israeli war add intrigue to a controversy that really centers
on the question of what constitutes--and how do we evaluate--moral
behavior in Auschwitz.
Philosophy and Rabbinic Culture is a study of the great, and curiously underappreciated, engagement of a Medieval European Jewish community with the philosophic tradition. This lucid description of the Languedocian Jewish community's multigenerational cultivation of - and acculturation to - scientific and philosophic teachings into Judaism fulfils a major desideratum in Jewish cultural history.
In the first detailed account of this long-forgotten Jewish community and its cultural ideal, the author gives an expansive reappraisal of the role of the philosophic interpretation in rabbinic culture and medieval Judaism. Looking at how the cultural ideal of Languedocian Jewry continued to develop and flourish throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with particular reference to the literary style and religious teaching of the great Talmudist, Menahem ha-Meiri, Stern explores issues such as MeiriOCOs theory of civilized religions, including Christianity and Islam, controversy over philosophy and philosophic allegory in Languedoc and Catalonia, and the cultural significance of the medical use of astrological images.
This book will be of great interest to scholars and students of Religion, of Judaism in particular, and of Philosophy, History and Medieval Europe, as well as those interested in Jewish-Christian relations."
Traditional Jewish family law has persevered for hundreds of years and rules covering marriage, the raising of children, and divorce are well established; yet pressures from modern society are causing long held views to be re-examined. The Jewish Family: Between Family Law and Contract Law examines the tenets of Jewish family law in the light of new attitudes concerning the role of women, assisted reproduction technologies, and prenuptial agreements. Through interdisciplinary research combining the legal aspects of family law and contract law, it explores how the Jewish family can cope with both old and modern obstacles and challenges. Focusing on the nexus of Jewish family law and contract law to propose how 'freedom of contract' can be part of how family law can be interpreted, The Jewish Family will appeal to practitioners, activists, academic researchers, and laymen readers who are interested in the fields of law, theology, and social science.
Founded in Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century, the Hasidic
movement and its religious thinking have dramatically transformed
modern Judaism. The figure of the Ba'al Shem Tov (known in acronym
form as the BeSHT)--the purported founder of the Hasidic
movement--has fascinated scholars, Jewish philosophers, and
laypeople interested in popular Jewish mysticism in general and the
contemporary Hasidic movement in all its variety.
Anglophone Jewish literature is not traditionally numbered among the new literatures in English. Rather, Jewish literary production in English has conventionally been classified as 'hyphenated' and has therefore not yet been subjected as such to the scrutiny of scholars of literary or cultural history. The collection of essays addresses this lack and initiates the scholarly exploration of transnational and transcultural Anglophone Jewish literature as one of the New English Literatures. Without attempting to impose what would seem to be a misguided conceptual unity on the many-facetted field of Anglophone Jewish literature, the book is based on a plurality of theoretical frameworks. Alert to the productive friction between these discourses, which it aims to elicit, it confronts Jewish literary studies with postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and other contemporary theoretical frameworks. Featuring contributions from among the best-known scholars in the fields of British and American Jewish literature, including Bryan Cheyette and Emily Miller Budick, this collection transcends borders of both nations and academic disciplines and takes into account cultural and historical affinities and differences of the Anglophone diaspora which have contributed to the formation and development of the English-language segment of Jewish literature.
This classic work draws together the whole rich field of Jewish folklore -- the popular beliefs, practices, superstitions and traditional wisdom relating to all aspects of life. Dr Rappaport has organized the book around four main themes: nature, the heavenly bodies and mythological and cosmological motifs; fauna and flora; human life including birth, marriage, illness and death, omens and portents; and supernatural and natural powers including demons and spirits, witchcraft, charms and spells. There are chapters on folk medicine, demonology and customs and practices. He also includes a selection of Jewish legends and folktales, as well as a collection of Hebrew and Yiddish proverbs and popular sayings.
Much of what we know about life in the medieval Islamic Middle East comes from texts written to impart religious ideals or to chronicle the movements of great men. How did women participate in the societies these texts describe? What about non-Muslims, whose own religious traditions descended partly from pre-Islamic late antiquity? Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt approaches these questions through Jewish women's adolescence in Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt and Syria (c. 969-1250). Using hundreds of everyday papers preserved in the Cairo Geniza, Eve Krakowski follows the lives of girls from different social classes--rich and poor, secluded and physically mobile--as they prepared to marry and become social adults. She argues that the families on whom these girls depended were more varied, fragmented, and fluid than has been thought. Krakowski also suggests a new approach to religious identity in premodern Islamic societies--and to the history of rabbinic Judaism. Through the lens of women's coming-of-age, she demonstrates that even Jews who faithfully observed rabbinic law did not always understand the world in rabbinic terms. By tracing the fault lines between rabbinic legal practice and its practitioners' lives, Krakowski explains how rabbinic Judaism adapted to the Islamic Middle Ages. Coming of Age in Medieval Egypt offers a new way to understand how women took part in premodern Middle Eastern societies, and how families and religious law worked in the medieval Islamic world.
Set against the glamorous backdrop of the Iranian National Ballet Company in 1970s Tehran, Romance and Revolution is the compelling memoir of Clair Symonds, a naive 19 year old Jewish dancer who grew up in apartheid South Africa, who sets off to join the national ballet company in Iran. Within a few months she has met and fallen in love with Arash Alizadeh, a dashing student of architecture. Much to both sets of parents' disdain, they marry, although Clair's Jewish roots are kept strictly under wraps. But Arash proves to be more charming in courtship and seduction than in wedlock and matrimony. Undeterred, Clair decides to marry for a second time. Does love conquer all? Are religious and cultural differences insurmountable? Read and decide for yourself.
This landmark contribution to ongoing debates about perceptions of the Jews in antiquity examines the attitudes of Greek writers of the Hellenistic period toward the Jewish people. Among the leading Greek intellectuals who devoted special attention to the Jews were Theophrastus (the successor of Aristotle), Hecataeus of Abdera (the father of "scientific" ethnography), and Apollonius Molon (probably the greatest rhetorician of the Hellenistic world). Bezalel Bar-Kochva examines the references of these writers and others to the Jews in light of their literary output and personal background; their religious, social, and political views; their literary and stylistic methods; ethnographic stereotypes current at the time; and more.
Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity. Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics. Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.
Despite their common heritage, Jews born and raised on opposite sides of the Polish-Soviet border during the interwar period acquired distinct beliefs, values, and attitudes. Variances in civic commitment, school lessons, youth activities, religious observance, housing arrangements, and perceptions of security deeply influenced these adolescents who would soon face a common enemy. Set in two cities flanking the border, Grodno in the interwar Polish Republic and Vitebsk in the Soviet Union, Borderland Generation traces the prewar and wartime experiences of young adult Jews raised under distinct political and social systems. Each cohort harnessed the knowledge and skills attained during their formative years to seek survival during the Holocaust through narrow windows of chance. Antisemitism in Polish Grodno encouraged Jewish adolescents to seek the support of their peers in youth groups. Across the border to the east, the Soviet system offered young Vitebsk Jews opportunities for advancement not possible in Poland, but only if they integrated into the predominantly Slavic society. These backgrounds shaped responses during the Holocaust. Grodno Jews deported to concentration camps acted in continuity with prewar social behaviors by forming bonds with other prisoners. Young survivors among Vitebsk's Jews often looked to survive by posing under false identities as Belarusians, Russians, or Tatars. Tapping archival resources in six languages, Borderland Generation offers an original and groundbreaking exploration of the ways in which young Polish and Soviet Jews fought for survival and the complex impulses that shaped their varying methods.
Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country's Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism, one promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular. Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. He traces the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of a "new antisemitism" in recent years. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France.
The first comprehensive account of the evolution and exploitation of the Judeo-Bolshevik myth, from its origins to the present day. For much of the twentieth century, Europe was haunted by a threat of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. This myth-that Communism was a Jewish plot to destroy the nations of Europe-was a paranoid fantasy, and yet fears of a Jewish Bolshevik conspiracy took hold during the Russian Revolution and spread across Europe. During World War II, these fears sparked genocide. Paul Hanebrink's history begins with the counterrevolutionary movements that roiled Europe at the end of World War I. Fascists, Nazis, conservative Christians, and other Europeans, terrified by Communism, imagined Jewish Bolsheviks as enemies who crossed borders to subvert order from within and bring destructive ideas from abroad. In the years that followed, Judeo-Bolshevism was an accessible and potent political weapon. After the Holocaust, the specter of Judeo-Bolshevism did not die. Instead, it adapted to, and became a part of, the Cold War world. Transformed yet again, it persists today on both sides of the Atlantic in the toxic politics of revitalized right-wing nationalism. Drawing a worrisome parallel across one hundred years, Hanebrink argues that Europeans and Americans continue to imagine a transnational ethno-religious threat to national ways of life, this time from Muslims rather than Jews.
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 This book is the first to offer a full account of the varied contributions of German Jews to Imperial Germany's endeavors during the Great War. Historian Tim Grady examines the efforts of the 100,000 Jewish soldiers who served in the German military (12,000 of whom died), as well as the various activities Jewish communities supported at home, such as raising funds for the war effort and securing vital food supplies. However, Grady's research goes much deeper: he shows that German Jews were never at the periphery of Germany's warfare, but were in fact heavily involved. The author finds that many German Jews were committed to the same brutal and destructive war that other Germans endorsed, and he discusses how the conflict was in many ways lived by both groups alike. What none could have foreseen was the dangerous legacy they created together, a legacy that enabled Hitler's rise to power and planted the seeds of the Holocaust to come.
Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Bernhardt and Kafka. Between the middle of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a few dozen men and women changed the way we see the world. But many have vanished from our collective memory despite their enduring importance in our daily lives. Without Karl Landsteiner, for instance, there would be no blood transfusions or major surgery. Without Paul Ehrlich no chemotherapy. Without Siegfried Marcus no motor car. Without Rosalind Franklin genetic science would look very different. Without Fritz Haber there would not be enough food to sustain life on earth. These visionaries all have something in common - their Jewish origins and a gift for thinking outside the box. In 1847 the Jewish people made up less than 0.25% of the world's population, and yet they saw what others could not. How?
The love of books in the Jewish tradition extends back over many centuries, and the ways of interpreting those books are as myriad as the traditions themselves. Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink offers the first full survey of Jewish illuminated manuscripts, ranging from their origins in the Middle Ages to the present day. Featuring some of the most beautiful examples of Jewish art of all time--including hand-illustrated versions of the Bible, the Haggadah, the prayer book, marriage documents, and other beloved Jewish texts--the book introduces readers to the history of these manuscripts and their interpretation. Edited by Marc Michael Epstein with contributions from leading experts, this sumptuous volume features a lively and informative text, showing how Jewish aesthetic tastes and iconography overlapped with and diverged from those of Christianity, Islam, and other traditions. Featured manuscripts were commissioned by Jews and produced by Jews and non-Jews over many centuries, and represent Eastern and Western perspectives and the views of both pietistic and liberal communities across the Diaspora, including Europe, Israel, the Middle East, and Africa. Magnificently illustrated with pages from hundreds of manuscripts, many previously unpublished or rarely seen, Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink offers surprising new perspectives on Jewish life, presenting the books of the People of the Book as never before.
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