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This book challenges a common historical narrative, which portrays medieval Jews as moneylenders who filled an essential economic role in Europe. Where Volume I traced the development of the narrative in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and refuted it with an in-depth study of English Jewry, Volume II explores the significance of dissolving the Jewish narrative for European history. It extends the study from England to northern France, the Mediterranean, and central Europe and deploys the methodologies of legal, cultural, and religious history alongside economic history. Each chapter offers a novel interpretation of key topics, such as the Christian usury campaign, the commercial revolution, and gift economy / profit economy, to demonstrate how the revision of Jewish history leads to new insights in European history.
Between 1935 and 1938 the celebrated photographer Roman Vishniac
explored the cities and villages of Eastern Europe, capturing life
in the Jewish "shtetlekh" of Poland, Romania, Russia, and Hungary,
communities that even then seemed threatened--not by destruction
and extermination, which no one foresaw, but by change. Using a
hidden camera and under difficult circumstances, Vishniac was able
to take over sixteen thousand photographs; most were left with his
father in a village in France for the duration of the war. With the
publication of "Children of a Vanished World," seventy of those
photographs are available, thirty-six for the first time. The book
is devoted to a subject Vishniac especially loved, and one whose
mystery and spontaneity he captured with particular poignancy:
The Jews: A History is a comprehensive and accessible text that explores the religious, cultural, social, and economic diversity of the Jewish people and their faith. Placing Jewish history within its wider cultural context, the book covers a broad time span, stretching from ancient Israel to the modern day. It examines Jewish history across a range of settings, including the ancient Near East, the age of Greek and Roman rule, the medieval realms of Christianity and Islam, modern Europe, including the World Wars and the Holocaust, and contemporary America and Israel, covering a variety of topics, such as legal emancipation, acculturation, and religious innovation. The third edition is fully updated to include more case studies and to encompass recent events in Jewish history, as well as religion, social life, economics, culture, and gender. Supported by case studies, online references, further reading, maps, and illustrations, The Jews: A History provides students with a comprehensive and wide-ranging grounding in Jewish history.
From the Reform secession of the 1840s and the founding of Liberal Judaism six decades later, to the 'Jacobs Affair' and the rise of Conservative (Masorti) theology towards the end of the twentieth century, the British Chief Rabbinate has faced challenges and controversy on an ever-deepening scale. Using contemporary accounts, broadsides and hitherto unpublished archival material, Faith Against Reason is an incisive and indispensable contribution to an understanding of the fissures and fragmentation besetting Anglo-Jewry in modern times. At its core are the mavericks, ministers, grandees and God-fearers who grappled with the currents and complexities of the hour - and with each other - in their pursuit of communal power and pulpit supremacy. The chroniclers of Anglo-Jewry have not always been kind to Britain's Chief Rabbis. In truth, the verdicts have been mixed, and sometimes muted, but, with communal censure and strife continuing unabated, they have become increasingly forthright as the centuries have turned. In Faith Against Reason, some of these verdicts are subjected to scrutiny; others emerge and, with them, a clearer picture of the Chief Rabbinical stance on religious pluralism.
What is it like to travel to Berlin today, particularly as a Jew, and bring with you the baggage of history? And what happens when an American Jew, raised by a secular family, falls in love with Berlin not in spite of his being a Jew but because of it? The answer is Berlin for Jews. Part history and part travel companion, Leonard Barkan's personal love letter to the city shows how its long Jewish heritage, despite the atrocities of the Nazi era, has left an inspiring imprint on the vibrant metropolis of today. Barkan, voraciously curious and witty, offers a self-deprecating guide to the history of Jewish life in Berlin, revealing how, beginning in the early nineteenth century, Jews became prominent in the arts, the sciences, and the city's public life. With him, we tour the ivy-covered confines of the Sch nhauser Allee cemetery, where many distinguished Jewish Berliners have been buried, and we stroll through Bayerisches Viertel, an elegant neighborhood created by a Jewish developer and that came to be called Berlin's "Jewish Switzerland." We travel back to the early nineteenth century to the salon of Rahel Varnhagen, a Jewish society doyenne, who frequently hosted famous artists, writers, politicians, and the occasional royal. Barkan also introduces us to James Simon, a turn-of-the-century philanthropist and art collector, and we explore the life of Walter Benjamin, who wrote a memoir of his childhood in Berlin as a member of the assimilated Jewish upper-middle class. Throughout, Barkan muses about his own Jewishness, while celebrating the rich Jewish culture on view in today's Berlin. A winning, idiosyncratic travel companion, Berlin for Jews offers a way to engage with German history, to acknowledge the unspeakable while extolling the indelible influence of Jewish culture.
At least 8,000 Jewish soldiers fought for the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. A few served together in Jewish companies while most fought alongside Christian comrades. Yet even as they stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" on the front lines, they encountered unique challenges.
In Jews and the Civil War, Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn assemble for the first time the foremost scholarship on Jews and the Civil War, little known even to specialists in the field. These accessible and far-ranging essays from top scholars are grouped into seven thematic sections--Jews and Slavery, Jews and Abolition, Rabbis and the March to War, Jewish Soldiers during the Civil War, The Home Front, Jews as a Class, and Aftermath--each with an introduction by the editors. Together they reappraise the impact of the war on Jews in the North and the South, offering a rich and fascinating portrait of the experience of Jewish soldiers and civilians from the home front to the battle front.
In The Feminine Mystique, Jewish-raised Betty Friedan struck out against a postwar American culture that pressured women to play the role of subservient housewives. However, Friedan never acknowledged that many American women refused to retreat from public life during these years. Now, A Jewish Feminine Mystique? examines how Jewish women sought opportunities and created images that defied the stereotypes and prescriptive ideology of the "feminine mystique." As workers with or without pay, social justice activists, community builders, entertainers, and businesswomen, most Jewish women championed responsibilities outside their homes. Jewishness played a role in shaping their choices, shattering Friedan's assumptions about how middle-class women lived in the postwar years. Focusing on ordinary Jewish women as well as prominent figures such as Judy Holliday, Jennie Grossinger, and Herman Wouk's fictional Marjorie Morningstar, leading scholars from a variety of disciplines explore here the wide canvas upon which American Jewish women made their mark after the Second World War.
The changes and divisions on the left over the Israel-Palestine conflict forms the central theme of this archive based study. While the Labour Party's supported establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, as a modernising force, the communist movement opposed it, on the grounds that it facilitated imperial influence in the Middle East. In 1947, however, the British Communist Party rallied to the Zionist cause, leaving the Palestinian cause with no effective protagonists in Britain. The left's sympathy, at the time, was overwhelmingly with the Israeli state, considering its establishment a recompense to the Jewish people for the Holocaust. It was only after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, that the new left in Britain began to articulate a critical attitude to Israel and support for Palestinian nationalism. It is a perspective which has gradually gained ground in the political mainstream. -- .
Biography of a Jewish doctor who survived and triumphed over the horrors of the Holocaust. Eli's Story: A Twentieth-Century Jewish Life is first and foremost a biography. Its subject is Eli G. Rochelson, MD (1907-1984), author Meri-Jane Rochelson's father. At its core is Eli's story in his own words, taken from an interview he did with his son, Burt Rochelson, in the mid-1970s. The book tells the story of a man whose life and memory spanned two world wars, several migrations, an educational odyssey, the massive upheaval of the Holocaust, and finally, a frustrating yet ultimately successful effort to restore his professional credentials and identity, as well as reestablish family life. Eli's Story contains a mostly chronological narration that embeds the story in the context of further research. It begins with Eli's earliest memories of childhood in Kovno and ends with his death, his legacy, and the author's own unanswered questions that are as much a part of Eli's story as his own words. The narrative is illuminated and expanded through Eli's personal archive of papers, letters, and photographs, as well as research in institutional archives, libraries, and personal interviews. Rochelson covers Eli's family's relocation to southern Russia; his education, military service, and first marriage after he returned to Kovno; his and his family's experiences in the Dachau, Stutthof, and Auschwitz concentration camps-including the deaths of his wife and child; his postwar experience in the Landsberg Displaced Persons (DP) camp, and his immigration to the United States, where he determinedly restored his medical credentials and started a new family. Rochelson recognizes that both the effort of reconstructing events and the reality of having personal accounts that confi rm and also differ from each other in detail, make the process of gap-fi lling itself a kind of fi ction??an attempt to shape the incompleteness that is inherent to the story. An earlier reviewer said of the book, ""Eli's Story combines the care of a scholar with the care of a daughter."" Both scholars and general readers interested in Holocaust narratives will be moved by this monograph.
A book that challenges our most basic assumptions about Judeo-Christian monotheism Contrary to popular belief, Judaism was not always strictly monotheistic. Two Gods in Heaven reveals the long and little-known history of a second, junior god in Judaism, showing how this idea was embraced by rabbis and Jewish mystics in the early centuries of the common era and casting Judaism's relationship with Christianity in an entirely different light. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of ancient sources that have received little attention until now, Peter Schafer demonstrates how the Jews of the pre-Christian Second Temple period had various names for a second heavenly power-such as Son of Man, Son of the Most High, and Firstborn before All Creation. He traces the development of the concept from the Son of Man vision in the biblical book of Daniel to the Qumran literature, the Ethiopic book of Enoch, and the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the picture changes drastically. While the early Christians of the New Testament took up the idea and developed it further, their Jewish contemporaries were divided. Most rejected the second god, but some-particularly the Jews of Babylonia and the writers of early Jewish mysticism-revived the ancient Jewish notion of two gods in heaven. Describing how early Christianity and certain strands of rabbinic Judaism competed for ownership of a second god to the creator, this boldly argued and elegantly written book radically transforms our understanding of Judeo-Christian monotheism.
In The Odyssey of an Apple Thief, Moishe Rozenbaumas (1922-2016) recounts his fascinating life, from his Lithuanian boyhood, to the fraught experiences that take him across Europe and Central Asia and back again, to his daring escape from Soviet Russia to build a new life in Paris. Along the way, we get a rarely seen portrait of the lives of working-class Jewish youth in Telz/Telsiai, a religious town renowned for its yeshiva. We hear of the games children played, the theft of apples from a Catholic orchard, and Rozenbaumas's early apprenticeship as a tailor once his father leaves the country. The war breaks out and the teenaged Rozenbaumas flees Lithuania alone, unable to convince his mother and sibling to go with him. We learn of his life as a starved refugee in an Uzbek kolkhoz, his escape into the Red Army, and his unlikely work in the reconnaissance unit of the Soviet Army. After the war, Rozenbaumas is drafted into the Marxist-Leninist university and as a cadre of the Communist Party, ultimately escaping in 1956 with his family to Paris, where he and his wife give an openly Jewish education to their children. In the vast literature of memory written by Jewish witnesses before, during, and after WWII, Rozenbaumas's account stands out for the singularity of his experience and for his deft narration of events of mythological dimension from a personal perspective. The Odyssey of an Apple Thief offers not only invaluable testimony of this historical moment but also an illuminating and original portrait of Lithuanian Jews in the twentieth century.
On a typical weekday, men of the Beverly-La Brea Orthodox community wake up early, beginning their day with Talmud reading and prayer at 5:45am, before joining Los Angeles' traffic. Those who work "Jewish jobs"--teachers, kosher supervisors, or rabbis--will stay enmeshed in the Orthodox world throughout the workday. But even for the majority of men who spend their days in the world of gentiles, religious life constantly reasserts itself. Neighborhood fixtures like Jewish schools and synagogues are always after more involvement; evening classes and prayers pull them in; the streets themselves seem to remind them of who they are. And so the week goes, culminating as the sabbatical observances on Friday afternoon stretch into Saturday evening. Life in this community, as Iddo Tavory describes it, is palpably thick with the twin pulls of observance and sociality. In Summoned, Tavory takes readers to the heart of the exhilarating--at times exhausting--life of the Beverly-La Brea Orthodox community. Just blocks from West Hollywood's nightlife, the Orthodox community thrives next to the impure sights, sounds, and smells they encounter every day. But to sustain this life, as Tavory shows, is not simply a moral decision they make. To be Orthodox is to be constantly called into being. People are reminded of who they are as they are called upon by organizations, prayer quorums, the nods of strangers, whiffs of unkosher food floating through the street, or the rarer Anti-Semitic remarks. Again and again, they find themselves summoned both into social life and into their identity as Orthodox Jews. At the close of Tavory's fascinating ethnography, we come away with a better understanding of the dynamics of social worlds, identity, interaction and self--not only in Beverly-La Brea, but in society at large.
Headlines from France suggest that Muslims have renewed an age-old struggle against Jews and that the two groups are once more inevitably at odds. But the past tells a different story. The Burdens of Brotherhood is a sweeping history of Jews and Muslims in France from World War I to the present. Here Ethan Katz introduces a richer and more complex world that offers fresh perspective for understanding the opportunities and challenges in France today. Focusing on the experiences of ordinary people, Katz shows how Jewish-Muslim relations were shaped by everyday encounters and by perceptions of deeply rooted collective similarities or differences. We meet Jews and Muslims advocating common and divergent political visions, enjoying common culinary and musical traditions, and interacting on more intimate terms as neighbors, friends, enemies, and even lovers and family members. Drawing upon dozens of archives, newspapers, and interviews, Katz tackles controversial subjects like Muslim collaboration and resistance during World War II and the Holocaust, Jewish participation in French colonialism, the international impact of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and contemporary Muslim antisemitism in France. We see how Jews and Muslims, as ethno-religious minorities, understood and related to one another through their respective relationships to the French state and society. Through their eyes, we see colonial France as a multiethnic, multireligious society more open to public displays of difference than its postcolonial successor. This book thus dramatically reconceives the meaning and history not only of Jewish-Muslim relations but ultimately of modern France itself.
This text traces Israel's path to national stability and its relationships with the United States, the United Nations, and the Arab world. It discusses the crisis over the Suez canal, the Camp David talks, the war in Old Jerusalem, and its various leaders.
In this sparkling debut, a young critic offers an original, passionate, and erudite account of what it means to feel Jewish-even when you're not. Self-hatred. Guilt. Resentment. Paranoia. Hysteria. Overbearing Mother-Love.
In this witty, insightful, and poignant book, Devorah Baum delves into fiction, film, memoir, and psychoanalysis to present a dazzlingly original exploration of a series of feelings famously associated with modern Jews. Reflecting on why Jews have so often been depicted, both by others and by themselves, as prone to "negative" feelings, she queries how negative these feelings really are. And as the pace of globalization leaves countless people feeling more marginalized, uprooted, and existentially threatened, she argues that such "Jewish" feelings are becoming increasingly common to us all.
Ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Sarah Bernhardt to Woody Allen, Anne Frank to Nathan Englander, Feeling Jewish bridges the usual fault lines between left and right, insider and outsider, Jew and Gentile, and even Semite and anti-Semite, to offer an indispensable guide for our divisive times.
Today the Borscht Belt is recalled through the nostalgic lens of summer swims, Saturday night dances, and comedy performances. But its current state, like that of many other formerly glorious regions, is nothing like its earlier status. Forgotten about and exhausted, much of its structural environment has been left to decay. The Borscht Belt, which features essays by Stefan Kanfer and Jenna Weissman Joselit, presents Marisa Scheinfeld's photographs of abandoned sites where resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York.
The book assembles images Scheinfeld has shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. Some of the structures have been lying abandoned for periods ranging from four to twenty years, depending on the specific hotel or bungalow colony and the conditions under which it closed. Other sites have since been demolished or repurposed, making this book an even more significant documentation of a pivotal era in American Jewish history.
The Borscht Belt presents a contemporary view of more than forty hotel and bungalow sites. From entire expanses of abandoned properties to small lots containing drained swimming pools, the remains of the Borscht Belt era now lie forgotten, overgrown, and vacant. In the absence of human activity, nature has reclaimed the sites, having encroached upon or completely overtaken them. Many of the interiors have been vandalized or marked by paintball players and graffiti artists. Each ruin lies radically altered by the elements and effects of time. Scheinfeld s images record all of these developments.
Restoring the Jewish half-genius in women's drama, this collection powerfully conveys the exile of Jewish womanhood within the community, the traumas of the Holocaust on victim and survivor, Black-Jewish confrontation, Arab-Israeli conflict, and other topics.
An essential introduction to Josephus's momentous war narrative The Jewish War is Josephus's superbly evocative account of the Jewish revolt against Rome, which was crushed in 70 CE with the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Martin Goodman describes the life of this book, from its composition in Greek for a Roman readership to the myriad ways it touched the lives of Jews and Christians over the span of two millennia. The scion of a priestly Jewish family, Josephus became a rebel general at the start of the war. Captured by the enemy general Vespasian, Josephus predicted correctly that Vespasian would be the future emperor of Rome and thus witnessed the final stages of the siege of Jerusalem from the safety of the Roman camp and wrote his history of these cataclysmic events from a comfortable exile in Rome. His history enjoyed enormous popularity among Christians, who saw it as a testimony to the world that gave rise to their faith and a record of the suffering of the Jews due to their rejection of Christ. Jews were hardly aware of the book until the Renaissance. In the nineteenth century, Josephus's history became an important source for recovering Jewish history, yet Jewish enthusiasm for his stories of heroism-such as the doomed defense of Masada-has been tempered by suspicion of a writer who betrayed his own people. Goodman provides a concise biography of one of the greatest war narratives ever written, explaining why Josephus's book continues to hold such fascination today.
"To this day I am unable to understand how I managed to survive against all odds." So relates the memoir of a young woman, Eva Szek (later Eisenkeit), who survived the Nazi onslaught against Jews in her beloved city of Lublin in Poland, an important centre of Jewish religion and culture. Eva recounts with compelling testimony her fearless fight not to fall into German hands and to save her family. Her experiences under German occupation, her struggle to survive and her subsequent liberation is an historical account of the tragedy of a Jewish community destroyed. The memoir describes Jewish Lublin life before the war, its religious institutions and charities; Polish-Jewish relations; the German bombing and invasion; the Russian escape options; the German occupation and registration of Jews; Eva's escape from the ghetto and two labour camps; her hiding in villages and farms, and complex wartime relations with Poles; her negotiated freedom with Mr. X (a Polish man who hid Jews for money, and cannot be considered a "Righteous"; life in liberated Lublin, including the first Passover celebration; meeting other survivors and trying to make a living; and Eva's postwar move to Lodz and marriage, and then to a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in Germany. As her eighty-fifth birthday approached, Eva asked her daughter Esther to take down her life story "so the whole world will know what the Germans did." A Lublin Survivor: Life is Like a Dream not only provides an extraordinarily complete and descriptive picture of life in pre-war and liberated Lublin but a first-hand account of the obliteration of its Jewish community and one individual's indomitable determination to survive against all odds.
Modernity has provided more than enough reason to give up believing in holiness, still we have learned that to give up the struggle to achieve it means that we become less human. As we leave the twentieth century, we discover new reasons to return to old faith. We rediscover an urgent need to defend the sacred, even as our understanding differs from our ancestors. We choose not to retreat from the world, but to struggle within it, to stain ourselves with sin even as we seek to establish the good. from Chapter 13, Humanity
The cataclysm of the Holocaust seems to forbid speech. Yet even in the heart of that darkness, sparks of sacredness were kept alive. From these sparks, Rabbi Edward Feld suggests, Jews and others can renew a faith and find a language that recovers the holy even after experiencing the reign of a Kingdom of Night unimaginable to previous generations.
In a voice that is engaging, often poetic, Rabbi Edward Feld helps the modern reader understand events that span almost 4,000 years of the history of Judaism and the Jewish people. With rare clarity, insight, and gentleness, he offers a thought-provoking yet accessible study of the way tragedy has shaped Jewish history and the self-understanding of Jews.
"The Spirit of Renewal" explores four key events that reshaped religious expression, two ancient and two modern: the Babylonian exile; the Bar Kochba revolution; the Holocaust; and the establishment of the State of Israel.
"The Spirit of Renewal" shows how, even under the most traumatic of circumstances, Judaism survives, renewing itself and flourishing again. This profound and wise meditation opens the way to a powerful new understanding of the nature of God and the spiritual life.
These studies explore the history of the Jewish minority of Ashkenaz (northern France and the German Empire) during the High Middle Ages. Although the Jews in medieval Europe are usually thought to have been isolated from the Christian majority, they actually were part of a 'Jewish-Christian symbiosis.' A number of studies in the collection focus on Jewish-Christian cultural and social interactions, the foundations of the community ascribed to Charlemagne, and especially on the fashioning of a martyrological collective identity in 1096. Even when Jews resisted Christian pressures they often did so by internalizing Christian motifs and turning them on their heads to argue for the truth of Judaism alone. This may be seen especially in the formation of Jews as martyrs, a trope that places Jews as collective Christ figures whose suffering brings about vicarious atonement. The remainder of the studies delve into the lives and writings of a group of Jewish ascetic pietists, Hasidei Ashkenaz, which shaped the religious culture of most European Jews before modernity. In Sefer Hasidim (Book of the Pietists), attributed to Rabbi Judah the Pietist of Regensburg (d. 1217), one finds a mirror of everyday Jewish-Christian interactions even while the author advances a radical view of Jewish religious pietism.
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