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A memoir of coming of age and struggling to leave the USSR. Shrayer chronicles the triumphs and humiliations of a Soviet childhood and expresses the dreams and fears of a Jewish family that never gave up its hopes for a better life.
While photographing the Congregation Montefiore Cemetery in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in 1985, Cary Herz first heard whispers about "the other people." Thus began a twenty-year search for descendants of crypto-Jews, the Sephardic Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions centuries ago. Many openly professed Catholicism, but continued to practice the Jewish faith privately. Herz's photographs and the accompanying essays honor the people whose ancestors, through families' oral histories and genealogical records, knew about their heritage. Other New Mexican Hispanics have recently begun to explore their families' customs and are only beginning to examine their possible blended lineage. To help complete her exploration, Herz sought out symbols--gravesites, artifacts, and icons--that might point toward the presence of the descendants of crypto-Jews who came to the New World. There has recently been a renewed interest in crypto-Jews, as DNA tests have revealed the Jewish heritage of a number of Hispanic New Mexicans.
From what israel means to me
"The Mediterranean landscape, the exuberance of the Israelis,
the way politics is a matter of life and death there--all these
things beguiled me."
"Israel is part of me, and I am part of Israel."
"Wholly apart from my feelings as a Jew, strong support for
Israel is the logical consequence of my political
"What does Israel mean to me? Courage. The Israelis have more
courage in their pinky finger than I have in my whole life."
"It is an unparalleled story of tenacity and determination, of
courage and renewal. And it is ultimately a metaphor for the
triumph and enduring hope over the temptation of despair."
"I have no desire to be like everyone else. Something in me
wants the entry of the Jewish people into world politics to be
judged by the highest conceivable measure. Indeed, that may be what
is both so inspiring and confounding about the existence of
"Israel isn't a symbol. Israel is the practical manifestation of
hope, freedom, and self-determination."
"Israel is a free society. The rights of the minority, of the
oppressed, indeed, of the criminally foolish are protected."
"Having the ability to shape our lives as Jews, to defend them
and fulfill them, that is what Israel means to me."
Ten Myths about the Jews analyzes the complex facets of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism in an accessible and easy-to-read format. Based on wide research, Brazilian historian Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro examines different manifestations against Jews and their faith through history and political culture along the centuries. Ten omnipresent accusations were configured by anti-Semites in axioms that became myths: Myth 1: The Jews killed Christ. Myth 2: The Jews are a secret entity. Myth 3: The Jews control the world economy. Myth 4: There are no poor Jews. Myth 5: The Jews are greedy. Myth 6: The Jews have no homeland. Myth 7: The Jews are racists. Myth 8: The Jews are parasites. Myth 9: The Jews control the media. Myth 10: The Jews manipulate the United States. Tucci Carneiro unmasks the roots of anti-Semitism and exposes contemporary prejudices. Her book is an invitation to reflect upon current realities marked by racism and shows how the main myths about the Jews have been vested of a verisimilitude that has persisted for the last 2000 years, all over the world, by means of hatred of the other, political/religious opportunism and economic deceit. The myths are kept alive by means of constant repetition and re-elaboration of a particular narrative, invariably seductive. The author proves each of the ten myths in terms of their historical record, their origins and purposes. Even though Jews are fully integrated into western society in multiple ways (entrepreneurship, medicine, literature, philosophy, the arts), racist myths against the community have been particularly resilient; they attempt to override common sense and their continuous circulation and rehashing through scapegoating and caricature has had profound negative repercussions for society as a whole. Ten Myths, now published in five languages, is an essential tool in the struggle against the discourse of racist hatred.
Philosophers have long struggled to reconcile Martin Heidegger's involvement in Nazism with his status as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. The recent publication of his Black Notebooks has reignited fierce debate on the subject. These thousand-odd pages of jotted observations profoundly challenge our image of the quiet philosopher's exile in the Black Forest, revealing the shocking extent of his anti-Semitism for the first time. For much of the philosophical community, the Black Notebooks have been either used to discredit Heidegger or seen as a bibliographical detail irrelevant to his thought. Yet, in this new book, renowned philosopher Donatella Di Cesare argues that Heidegger's "metaphysical anti-Semitism" was a central part of his philosophical project. Within the context of the Nuremberg race laws, Heidegger felt compelled to define Jewishness and its relationship to his concept of Being. Di Cesare shows that Heidegger saw the Jews as the agents of a modernity that had disfigured the spirit of the West. In a deeply disturbing extrapolation, he presented the Holocaust as both a means for the purification of Being and the Jews' own "self-destruction": a process of death on an industrialized scale that was the logical conclusion of the acceleration in technology they themselves had brought about. Situating Heidegger's anti-Semitism firmly within the context of his thought, this groundbreaking work will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and history as well as the many readers interested in Heidegger's life, work, and legacy.
The office of rabbi is the most visible symbol of power and prestige in Jewish communities. Rabbis both interpret to their congregations the requirements of Jewish life and instruct congregants in how best to live this life. Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation documents a monumental change in Jewish life as eighteen lesbian rabbis reflect on their experiences as trailblazers in Judaism's journey into an increasingly multicultural world. In frank and revealing essays, the contributors discuss their decisions to become rabbis and describe their experiences both at the seminaries and in their rabbinical positions. They also reflect on the dilemma whether to conceal or reveal their sexual identities to their congregants and superiors, or to serve specifically gay and lesbian congregations. The contributors consider the tensions between lesbian identity and Jewish identity, and inquire whether there are particularly ""lesbian"" readings of traditional texts. These essays also ask how the language of Jewish tradition touches the lives of lesbians and how lesbianism challenges traditional notions of the Jewish family. ""'Today I am completely 'out' personally and professionally, and yet I have learned that the 'coming out' process never ends. Even today, I find myself in professional situations in which yet again I must reveal that I am a lesbian, yet again I must prove myself worthy of functioning professionally in the 'straight' world. I still encounter moments of awkwardness, some hostility, and some sense of exclusion as I negotiate the pathways of my professional life.""-Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, from Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation
Before the French Revolution, tens of thousands of foreigners served in France's army. They included troops from not only all parts of Europe but also places as far away as Madagascar, West Africa, and New York City. Beginning in 1789, the French revolutionaries, driven by a new political ideology that placed ""the nation"" at the center of sovereignty, began aggressively purging the army of men they did not consider French, even if those troops supported the new regime. Such efforts proved much more difficult than the revolutionaries anticipated, however, owing to both their need for soldiers as France waged war against much of the rest of Europe and the difficulty of defining nationality cleanly at the dawn of the modern era. Napoleon later faced the same conundrums as he vacillated between policies favoring and rejecting foreigners from his army. It was not until the Bourbon Restoration, when the modern French Foreign Legion appeared, that the French state established an enduring policy on the place of foreigners within its armed forces. By telling the story of France's noncitizen soldiers-who included not only men born abroad but also Jews and blacks whose citizenship rights were subject to contestation-Christopher Tozzi sheds new light on the roots of revolutionary France's inability to integrate its national community despite the inclusionary promise of French republicanism. Drawing on a range of original, unpublished archival sources, Tozzi also highlights the linguistic, religious, cultural, and racial differences that France's experiments with noncitizen soldiers introduced to eighteenth and nineteenth-century French society. Winner of the Walker Cowen Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Work of Scholarship in Eighteenth-Century Studies
In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the Jewish historian Zosa Szajkowski stole tens of thousands of archival documents related to French Jewish history from public archives and collections in France and moved them, illicitly, to New York. Why did this respectable historian become a thief? And why did librarians in the United States and Israel accept these materials from him, turning a blind eye to the signs of ownership they bore? With her award-winning book, The Archive Thief, Lisa Moses Leff reconstructs Szajkowski's gripping story in all its ambiguity. Born into poverty in Russian Poland in 1911, Szajkowski was a self-made man who managed to make a life for himself as an intellectual, first as a journalist in 1930s Paris, and then, after a harrowing escape to New York in 1941, as a scholar. Although he never taught at a university or even earned a PhD, Szajkowski became one of the world's foremost experts on the history of the Jews in modern France, publishing in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew. His work opened up new ways of thinking about Jewish emancipation, economic and social modernization, and the rise of modern anti-Semitism. But beneath Szajkowski's scholarly accomplishments lay his shameful secret: his pathbreaking articles were based upon documents that he moved illicitly to New York. Eventually, he sold these documents, piecemeal, to American and Israeli research libraries where they still remain. Leff takes us into the backstage of the archives, revealing the powerful ideological, economic, and psychological forces that made Holocaust-era Jewish scholars care more deeply than ever before about preserving the remnants of their past. As Leff shows, it is only when we understand the issues at the heart of his story, in all their ambiguity and complexity, that we can begin to address the larger questions of the rightful ownership of Jewish archives, as well as other contested archives, that are still at issue today.
David Cesarani's Final Solution is an intelligent and thought-provoking short history of the Holocaust. Not only does David Cesarani draw together and engage with the latest scholarly research, making extensive use of previously untapped resources such as diaries and letters from within the ghettos and camps (many of them in Polish or Yiddish and therefore previously largely inaccessible to Anglo-American scholars) but by adopting a rigorously Judeocentric approach the whole narrative of the march to genocide and its aftermath, the book presents a subtly different timeline which casts afresh the horror of the period and engenders a significant re-evaluation of the how and why. Eschewing some of the more fevered theses about the guilt of the perpetrators (and indeed recasting how wide that net should be spread), David Cesarani's measured and skilful negotiation of a crowded field is, as a result, all the more devastating.
Ravensbruck was the only major Nazi concentration camp for women. Between 1939 and 1945, it was the site of murder by slave labour, torture, starvation, shooting, lethal injection, medical experimentation, and gassing. In its six-year history, 132,000 women from twenty-seven countries were imprisoned in Ravensbruck. Only about 15,000 in all survived. The Jewish Women Prisoners of Ravensbruck reclaims the lost identities of these victims. Together with a team of researchers, Judith Buber Agassi interviewed 138 survivors of Ravensbruck on four continents. Using the survivor testimonies to corroborate her research from major archives in Germany, Israel, and the United States, as well as from transport and death registration lists and from records that were smuggled out of the camp before liberation, Buber Agassi constructs an image of the women of Ravensbruck: their countries of origin, age distribution, professional roles prior to the war, religious backgrounds, and the types of social interactions and emotional support that existed among and between the various groups of women. To date, Buber Agassi has recovered the identity of over 16,000 Ravensbruck prisoners. Now in paperback, this study of Ravenbruck, largely overlooked in favour of more notorious killing campus, continues the female approach to understanding the Holocaust.
The Healthy Jew traces the culturally revealing story of how Moses, the rabbis, and other Jewish thinkers came to be understood as medical authorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Such a radically different interpretation, by scholars and popular writers alike, resulted in new, widespread views on the salubrious effects of, for example, circumcision, Jewish sexual purity laws, and kosher foods. The Healthy Jew explores this interpretative tradition in the light of a number of broader debates over 'civilization' and 'culture, ' Orientalism, religion and science (in the wake of Darwin), anti-Semitism and Jewish apologetics, and the scientific and medical discoveries and debates that revolutionized the fields of bacteriology, preventive medicine, and genetics/eugenics.
This volume brings together essays by leading scholars from North America, Europe, and Israel who have drawn on literary analysis of the biblical text as well as archaeology, anthropology, and sociology to make significant contributions to our understanding of the history and religion of ancient Israel. An introduction by the editors summarizes issues that have emerged over the past generation, including competing positions as to the reliability of the biblical accounts and the relevance of archaeological evidence; it also places the essays that are reproduced in the following pages into this larger context. The first section of essays then offers several that present different views as to the methodology for reconstructing the history of ancient Israel. Subsequent sections examine issues pertaining to what the Bible depicts as the patriarchal period, the exodus from Egypt and occupation of the Promised Land, the united monarchy and its subsequent division, and the Babylonian exile and return. The final section includes essays that explore Israelite religion, focusing on fundamental beliefs and practices as well as relationships to the religions of neighboring cultures.
In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't-including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology-and he illuminates the relationship between Kaballah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinating historical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the most potent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading. Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for the Kabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality? In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The powerful writings and art of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto Hidden in metal containers and buried underground during World War II, these works from the Warsaw Ghetto record the Holocaust from the perspective of its first interpreters, the victims themselves. Gathered clandestinely by an underground ghetto collective called Oyneg Shabes, the collection of reportage, diaries, prose, artwork, poems, jokes, and sermons captures the heroism, tragedy, humor, and social dynamics of the ghetto. Miraculously surviving the devastation of war, this extraordinary archive encompasses a vast range of voices-young and old, men and women, the pious and the secular, optimists and pessimists-and chronicles different perspectives on the topics of the day while also preserving rapidly endangered cultural traditions. Described by David G. Roskies as "a civilization responding to its own destruction," these texts tell the story of the Warsaw Ghetto in real time, against time, and for all time.
Distinguished American, Canadian, Palestinian and Israeli contributors illuminate the building blocks on the possible path from conflict to reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. The book is divided into three parts: Part I looks at the Arab-Jewish Conflict, from early Zionism to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; Part II, Israel and the Arab States, focuses on Israel's relations with its neighbouring countries, Syria, and Lebanon; and Part III is concerned with the Peace Process, its dynamics and the missed opportunities for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Following the horrors of Kristallnacht in November of 1938, frightened parents were forced to find refuge for their children, far from the escalating anti-Jewish violence. To that end, a courageous group of Belgian women organized a desperate and highly dangerous rescue mission to usher nearly 1,000 children out of Germany and Austria. Of these children, ninety-three were placed on a freight train, traveling through the night away from their families and into the relative safety of Vichy France. Ranging in age from five to sixteen years, the children along with their protectors spent a harsh winter in an abanoned barn with little food before eventually finding shelter in the isolated Chateau de la Hille in southern France. While several of the youngest children were safely routed to the United States, those who remained continued to be hunted by Nazi soldiers until finally smuggled illegally across the Swiss Alps to safe houses. Remarkably, all but eleven of the original ninety-three children survived the war due to the unrelenting efforts of their protectors and their own resilience. In The Children of La Hille, Reed narrates this stunning firsthand account of the amazing rescue and the countless heroic efforts of those who helped along the way. As one of the La Hille children, Reed recalls with poignant detail traveling from lice-infested, abandoned convents to stately homes in the foothills of the Pyrenees, always scrambling to keep one step ahead of the Nazis. Drawing upon survivor interviews, journals, and letters, Reed affectionately describes rousing afternoon swims in a nearby natural pond and lively renditions of Moliere plays performed for an audience of local farmers. He tells of heart-stopping near misses as the Vichy police roundups intensified, forcing children to hide in the woods to escape capture. The Children of La Hille gives readers an intimate glimpse of a harrowing moment in history, paying tribute to ordinary people acting in extraordinary ways.
This masterwork of interpretative history begins with a bold declaration: The Modern Age is the Jewish Age--and we are all, to varying degrees, Jews.
The assertion is, of course, metaphorical. But it underscores Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis. Not only have Jews adapted better than many other groups to living in the modern world, they have become the premiere symbol and standard of modern life everywhere.
Slezkine argues that the Jews were, in effect, among the world's first free agents. They traditionally belonged to a social and anthropological category known as "service nomads," an outsider group specializing in the delivery of goods and services. Their role, Slezkine argues, was part of a broader division of human labor between what he calls Mercurians-entrepreneurial minorities--and Apollonians--food-producing majorities.
Since the dawning of the Modern Age, Mercurians have taken center stage. In fact, Slezkine argues, modernity is all about Apollonians becoming Mercurians--urban, mobile, literate, articulate, intellectually intricate, physically fastidious, and occupationally flexible. Since no group has been more adept at Mercurianism than the Jews, he contends, these exemplary ancients are now model moderns.
The book concentrates on the drama of the Russian Jews, including emigres and their offspring in America, Palestine, and the Soviet Union. But Slezkine has as much to say about the many faces of modernity--nationalism, socialism, capitalism, and liberalism--as he does about Jewry. Marxism and Freudianism, for example, sprang largely from the Jewish predicament, Slezkine notes, and both Soviet Bolshevism and American liberalism were affected in fundamental ways by the Jewish exodus from the Pale of Settlement.
Rich in its insight, sweeping in its chronology, and fearless in its analysis, this sure-to-be-controversial work is an important contribution not only to Jewish and Russian history but to the history of Europe and America as well."
The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography provides an overview of Jewish history from the biblical to the contemporary period, while simultaneously placing Jewish history into conversation with the most central historiographical methods and issues and some of the core source materials used by scholars within the field. The field of Jewish history is profitably interdisciplinary. Drawing from the historical methods and themes employed in the study of various periods and geographical regions as well as from academic fields outside of history, it utilizes a broad range of source materials produced by Jews and non-Jews. It grapples with many issues that were core to Jewish life, culture, community, and identity in the past, while reflecting and addressing contemporary concerns and perspectives. Divided into four parts, this volume examines how Jewish history has engaged with and developed more general historiographical methods and considerations. Part I provides a general overview of Jewish history, while Parts II and III respectively address the rich sources and methodologies used to study Jewish history. Concluding in Part IV with a timeline, glossary, and index to help frame and connect the history, sources, and methodologies presented throughout, The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography is the perfect volume for anyone interested in Jewish history.
Did Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages cohabit in a peaceful "interfaith utopia"? Or were Jews under Muslim rule persecuted, much as they were in Christian lands? Rejecting both polemically charged ideas as myths, Mark Cohen offers a systematic comparison of Jewish life in medieval Islam and Christendom--and the first in-depth explanation of why medieval Islamic-Jewish relations, though not utopic, were less confrontational and violent than those between Christians and Jews in the West.
"Under Crescent and Cross" has been translated into Turkish, Hebrew, German, Arabic, French, and Spanish, and its historic message continues to be relevant across continents and time. This updated edition, which contains an important new introduction and afterword by the author, serves as a great companion to the original.
Budapest at the fin de siecle was famed and emulated for its cosmopolitan urban culture and nightlife. It was also the second-largest Jewish city in Europe. Mary Gluck delves into the popular culture of Budapest's coffee houses, music halls, and humor magazines to uncover the enormous influence of assimilated Jews in creating modernist Budapest between 1867 and 1914. She explores the paradox of Budapest in this era: because much of the Jewish population embraced and promoted a secular, metropolitan culture, their influence as Jews was both profound and invisible.
'I suppose you know who I am? I was in charge of the actions in Germany and Poland and Czechoslovakia. I am prepared to sell you one million Jews: Goods for blood ... Blood for goods.' These were the chilling words uttered by one of the most notorious Nazi bureaucrats, SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann, to a young Jewish businessman called Joel Brand in the spring of 1944. Brand embarked on a desperate mission to persuade the Allies to barter with Eichmann - and failed. At the same time, the SS deported hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau packed in cattle trains. The majority were gassed, then incinerated. For decades after 1945, many blamed the Allies for callously abandoning a million Hungarian Jews to their fate. In Deception, Christopher Hale presents a new account of the 'Brand Mission' based on evidence in the national archives of Germany, Hungary, Britain and the United States. Hale reveals that Eichmann's offer formed one part of a monstrous deception designed to outwit the leaders of the last surviving Jewish community in Europe. The deception was more complex and - from the German point of view - more successful than any operation mounted by the secret services of the Allied governments.
This book tells the story of Di Warheit ("The Truth"), a Yiddish daily established in New York in late 1905. Its founder, Louis Miller (1866-1927), emigrated from Russia to the US in 1884, and by 1897 was the leader of a group that established the Forverts, later to be the most successful Yiddish newspaper in the United States. Common wisdom depict Millers social leaning as stemming from ego and opportunism, but Ehud Manor suggests that his publishing philosophy was based primarily on ideological and political grounds. Why to begin his story in 1905? Because in that year 'The Jewish Question', especially in Russia with its pogroms, turned dramatic. Miller understood that the time had come for a paradigm shift. The result was labelled Klal-Yisruel Politics, a combined nationalist all-Jewish effort to ameliorate the Jewish condition wherever Jews suffered or were oppressed. The drive behind Millers decision to run Di Warheit was his eagerness to promote a progressive, non-radical and pragmatic political mind set among his immigrant brethren. This somewhat forgotten chapter in American Jewish history is told here in chronological order, mainly through the texts of Millers newspaper. Each chapter is dedicated to the main issue that drove Millers publishing effort at a specific time period, and in response to external events impacting on Jewry, until the management forced him out of Di Warheit due to his non-conventional interpretation of the war that broke out in Europe in 1914. This long-awaited book tells the story of a Yiddish-speaking socialist, who, after denying the very existence of a specific Jewish people, was open-minded enough to re-examine his beliefs and courageous enough to publicly change his mind. But he paid the price for telling, or at least trying to tell, that truth.
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