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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 Using contemporary accounts, broadsides and hitherto unpublished archival material, Faith Against Reason is an incisive and indispensable contribution to an understanding of the fissures and fragmentation besetting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.
A groundbreaking examination of a little-known but defining episode in early modern Jewish history A refugee crisis of huge proportions erupted as a result of the mid-seventeenth-century wars in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Tens of thousands of Jews fled their homes, or were captured and trafficked across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Rescue the Surviving Souls is the first book to examine this horrific moment of displacement and flight, and to assess its social, economic, religious, cultural, and psychological consequences. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources in twelve languages, Adam Teller traces the entire course of the crisis, shedding fresh light on the refugee experience and the various relief strategies developed by the major Jewish centers of the day. Teller pays particular attention to those thousands of Jews sent for sale on the slave markets of Istanbul and the extensive transregional Jewish economic network that coalesced to ransom them. He also explores how Jewish communities rallied to support the refugees in central and western Europe, as well as in Poland-Lithuania, doing everything possible to help them overcome their traumatic experiences and rebuild their lives. Rescue the Surviving Souls offers an intimate study of an international refugee crisis, from outbreak to resolution, that is profoundly relevant today.
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.
German and Jewish ways of life have been interwoven in Worms,
Germany, for over a thousand years. Despite radical changes brought
about by expulsion of Jews, wartime devastation, social
advancement, cultural and religious renewal, and the Jewish
community's destruction during the Holocaust, the Jewish sites of
Worms display a remarkable degree of continuity, which has
contributed to the development of distinct urban Jewish cultures,
memories, and identities.
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.
How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. Many have attempted to explain this singular success as a result of divine intervention. In this engaging book, David N. Myers charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely-and decidedly this-worldly-factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation. Usually regarded as grave dangers, these two factors have continually interacted with one other to enable the persistence of the Jews. At every turn in their history, not just in the modern age, Jews have adapted to new environments, cultures, languages, and social norms. These bountiful encounters with host societies have exercised the cultural muscle of the Jews, preventing the atrophy that would have occurred if they had not interacted so extensively with the non-Jewish world. It is through these encounters-indeed, through a process of assimilation-that Jews came to develop distinct local customs, speak many different languages, and cultivate diverse musical, culinary, and intellectual traditions. Left unchecked, the Jews' well-honed ability to absorb from surrounding cultures might have led to their disappearance. And yet, the route toward full and unbridled assimilation was checked by the nearly constant presence of hatred toward the Jew. Anti-Jewish expression and actions have regularly accompanied Jews throughout history. Part of the ironic success of antisemitism is its malleability, its talent in assuming new forms and portraying the Jew in diverse and often contradictory images-for example, at once the arch-capitalist and revolutionary Communist. Antisemitism not only served to blunt further assimilation, but, in a paradoxical twist, affirmed the Jew's sense of difference from the host society. And thus together assimilation and antisemitism (at least up to a certain limit) contribute to the survival of the Jews as a highly adaptable and yet distinct group.
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.
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.
Written by the core faculty of the Hebrew Written by the core faculty of the Hebrew Program at Brandeis University, Brandeis Modern Hebrew is an accessible introduction to the Hebrew language for American undergraduates and high school students. Its functional and contextual elements are designed to bring students from the beginner level to the intermediate level, and to familiarize them with those linguistic aspects that will prepare them to function in advanced stages. This volume reflects some of the main principles that have shaped the Brandeis Hebrew curriculum during the past decade. These include: * an emphasis on the learner's ability to use the target language in all four skills areas: speaking, listening, reading, and writing * an effort to contextualize each unit within a specific subject or theme * exposing the student to authentic and semi-authentic materials (texts written by native speakers) * exploring different elements from Israeli and Jewish culture in the language drills, reading passages, and in selections of sources from the Hebrew literary canon The text in this edition comprises a short introduction to the instructor, 11 units, supplementary Hebrew proficiency guidelines, and a vocabulary list. Audio-visual components for all reading passages are available online for download.Program at Brandeis University, Brandeis Modern Hebrew is an accessible introduction to the Hebrew language for American undergraduates and high school students.
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.
A handy guide for anyone seeking knowledge about the Jewish faith and the Jewish people. Containing thousands of entries, it describes a vast number of features of the Jewish religion as well as Jewish figures from the past to the present. From angels to the Zohar, from Moses to Groucho Marx, from the Garden of Eden to the Babylonian Talmud, this dictionary contains a treasure house of information about Jews and Judaism as well as some typical Jewish jokes. Not only is A Dictionary of Jews and Jewish Life marvellously informative, its considerable scholarship is leavened by a wit that is both profoundly Jewish and inimitably Dan Cohn-Sherbok's. (Professor Melissa Raphael, Professor of History, Religion, Philosophy and Ethics, University of Gloucestershire) A very useful and easy-to -read dictionary for anyone interested in Jews and Judaism. Dan Cohn-Sherbok has produced an accessible and impressive one-volume dictionary which will help anyone who wants to turn to a single source for brief definitions of Jewish customs, practices, religion and history as well as Jewish biographies. (Ed Kessler, Founder Director of the Woolf Institute, and Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge) A lively and informative source of information, very useful for anyone working in Jewish Studies. (Oliver Leaman, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kentucky) An invaluable, detailed but handy guide to the Jewish religion, history and major figures and events. Punctuated brilliantly by hilarious 'Jewish jokes', illustrating the famous community humour in poking fun at itself. (Imam Dr Usama Hasan, London, UK) This is an excellent dictionary of important concepts, events, and individuals in Jewish life and history. It provides cogent and concise information about the Jewish people, which will be very useful to scholars, students, and interested readers. (William D. Rubinstein, Emeritus Professor, University of Wales- Aberystwyth)
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.
"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.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Yiddish was widely viewed, even by many of its speakers, as a corrupt form of German that Jews had to abandon if they hoped to engage in serious intellectual, cultural, or political work. Yet, by 1917 it was the dominant language of the Russian Jewish press, a medium for modern literary criticism, a vehicle for science and learning, and the foundation of an ideology of Jewish liberation. ""The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917"" investigates how this change in status occurred and three major figures responsible for its transformation.Trachtenberg reveals how, following the model set by other nationalist movements that were developing in the Russian empire, one-time revolutionaries such as the literary critic Shmuel Niger, the Marxist Zionist leader Ber Borochov, and the linguist Nokhem Shtif committed themselves to the creation of a new branch of Jewish scholarship dedicated to their native language. The new 'Yiddish science' was concerned with the tasks of standardizing Yiddish grammar, orthography, and word corpus; establishing a Yiddish literary tradition; exploring Jewish folk traditions; and creating an institutional structure to support their language's development. In doing so, the author argues, they hoped to reimagine Russian Jewry as a modern nation with a mature language and culture and one that deserved the same collective rights and autonomy that were being demanded by other groups in the empire.
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.
How the rabbis of the Talmud transformed everything into a legal question-and Jewish law into a way of thinking and talking about everything Though typically translated as "Jewish law," the term halakhah is not an easy match for what is usually thought of as law. This is because the rabbinic legal system has rarely wielded the political power to enforce its many detailed rules, nor has it ever been the law of any state. Even more idiosyncratically, the talmudic rabbis claim that the study of halakhah is a holy endeavor that brings a person closer to God-a claim no country makes of its law. In this panoramic book, Chaim Saiman traces how generations of rabbis have used concepts forged in talmudic disputation to do the work that other societies assign not only to philosophy, political theory, theology, and ethics but also to art, drama, and literature. In the multifaceted world of halakhah where everything is law, law is also everything, and even laws that serve no practical purpose can, when properly studied, provide surprising insights into timeless questions about the very nature of human existence. What does it mean for legal analysis to connect humans to God? Can spiritual teachings remain meaningful and at the same time rigidly codified? Can a modern state be governed by such law? Guiding readers across two millennia of richly illuminating perspectives, this book shows how halakhah is not just "law" but an entire way of thinking, being, and knowing.
While acknowledging the ways in which persecution inevitably affects a community, this book deviates from most Jewish studies to survey the ways in which Jewish history has been shaped by the everyday experience of love. It examines erotic poetry, sensual art and literature, and biblical and rabbinic stories about lust. It reviews the ways in which Jewish law has both encouraged and regulated sexual interaction and studies the diversity of Jewish attitudes toward such relationships. It is a vast array of works whose authors and artists often speak to the confusion and failure of love while also finding a purpose in its pursuance. It tells the stories of those people who revel in love and of others who remember love and grieve in its absence.
The Kosher Capones tells the fascinating story of Chicago's Jewish gangsters from Prohibition into the 1980s. Author Joe Kraus traces these gangsters through the lives, criminal careers, and conflicts of Benjamin "Zuckie the Bookie" Zuckerman, last of the independent West Side Jewish bosses, and Lenny Patrick, eventual head of the Syndicate's "Jewish wing." These two men linked the early Jewish gangsters of the neighborhoods of Maxwell Street and Lawndale to the notorious Chicago Outfit that emerged from Al Capone's criminal confederation. Focusing on the murder of Zuckerman by Patrick, Kraus introduces us to the different models of organized crime they represented, a raft of largely forgotten Jewish gangsters, and the changing nature of Chicago's political corruption. Hard-to-believe anecdotes of corrupt politicians, seasoned killers, and in-over-their-heads criminal operators spotlight the magnitude and importance of Jewish gangsters to the story of Windy City mob rule. With an eye for the dramatic, The Kosher Capones takes us deep inside a hidden society and offers glimpses of the men who ran the Jewish criminal community in Chicago for more than sixty years.
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