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This book tells the story of Judaism from the medieval ghettos through the Enlightenment to the tragedy of the Holocaust and the birth of modern Israel, with over 250 illustrations. It is a rich visual account of one of the world's great religions, following Judaism through centuries of persecution to the establishment of a global civilization. It offers special focus on Jewish culture and society in recent times, including medicine, science, art, literature and music. This in-depth history of the Jewish faith explores how Jews have lived under Christianity and Islamic rule, survived centuries of anti-Semitism, life in the Diaspora, the Holocaust and the revival of Judaism today. In the 19th century, mass migration to America coincided with the rise of Zionism. Today, most Jews live in Israel and the USA, yet France and Britain maintain vibrant Jewish populations, and Germany, once the birthplace of Nazism, is Europe's fastest-growing community. With over 250 illustrations, this is a fascinating history of one of the world's most influential religions, forming a perfect study aid for anyone with an interest in the story of the Jews.
In 1900 over five million Jews lived in the Russian empire; today, there are four times as many Russian-speaking Jews residing outside the former Soviet Union than there are in that region. The New Jewish Diaspora is the first English-language study of the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora. This migration has made deep marks on the social, cultural, and political terrain of many countries, in particular the United States, Israel, and Germany. The contributors examine the varied ways these immigrants have adapted to new environments, while identifying the common cultural bonds that continue to unite them. Assembling an international array of experts on the Soviet and post-Soviet Jewish diaspora, the book makes room for a wide range of scholarly approaches, allowing readers to appreciate the significance of this migration from many different angles. Some chapters offer data-driven analyses that seek to quantify the impact Russian-speaking Jewish populations are making in their adoptive countries and their adaptations there. Others take a more ethnographic approach, using interviews and observations to determine how these immigrants integrate their old traditions and affiliations into their new identities. Further chapters examine how, despite the oceans separating them, members of this diaspora form imagined communities within cyberspace and through literature, enabling them to keep their shared culture alive. Above all, the scholars in The New Jewish Diaspora place the migration of Russian-speaking Jews in its historical and social contexts, showing where it fits within the larger historic saga of the Jewish diaspora, exploring its dynamic engagement with the contemporary world, and pointing to future paths these immigrants and their descendants might follow.
With the publication of The Origins of the Kabbalah in 1950, one of the most important scholars of our century brought the obscure world of Jewish mysticism to a wider audience for the first time. A crucial work in the oeuvre of Gershom Scholem, this book details the beginnings of the Kabbalah in twelfth- and thirteenth-century southern France and Spain, showing its rich tradition of repeated attempts to achieve and portray direct experiences of God. The Origins of the Kabbalah is a contribution not only to the history of Jewish medieval mysticism, but also to the study of medieval mysticism in general. Now with a new foreword by David Biale, this book remains essential reading for students of the history of religion.
From its earliest days, Christianity has viewed Judaism and Jews ambiguously. Given its roots within the Jewish community of first-century Palestine, there was much in Judaism that demanded Church admiration and praise; however, as Jews continued to resist Christian truth, there was also much that had to be condemned. Major Christian thinkers of antiquity - while disparaging their Jewish contemporaries for rejecting Christian truth - depicted the Jewish past and future in balanced terms, identifying both positives and negatives. Beginning at the end of the first millennium, an increasingly large Jewish community started to coalesce across rapidly developing northern Europe, becoming the object of intense popular animosity and radically negative popular imagery. The portrayals of the broad trajectory of Jewish history offered by major medieval European intellectual leaders became increasingly negative as well. The popular animosity and the negative intellectual formulations were bequeathed to the modern West, which had tragic consequences in the twentieth century. In this book, Robert Chazan traces the path that began as anti-Judaism, evolved into heightened medieval hatred and fear of Jews, and culminated in modern anti-Semitism.
Gersonides was a highly original Jewish philosopher, scientist and biblical exegete, active in Provence in the first half of the fourteenth century. Ruth Glasner explores his impressive achievements, and argues that the key to understanding his originality is his perspective as an applied mathematical scientist. It was this perspective that led him to examine Aristotelianism from directions different from those usually adopted by contemporary scholastic scholars. Gersonides started on his way, as he himself claims, as a 'mathematician, natural scientist, and philosopher', who believed in his power to solve the main problems of medieval science. He ended up concentrating on his work as a mathematical astronomer, developing techniques of observation and computation, and somewhat less optimistic about the prospect of scientific knowledge.
Can someone be considered Jewish if he or she never goes to synagogue, doesn't keep kosher, and for whom the only connection to his or her ancestral past is attending an annual Passover seder?
In Religion or Ethnicity? fifteen leading scholars trace the evolution of Jewish identity. The book examines Judaism from the Greco-Roman age, through medieval times, modern western and eastern Europe, to today. Jewish identity has been defined as an ethnicity, a nation, a culture, and even a race. Religion or Ethnicity? questions what it means to be Jewish. The contributors show how the Jewish people have evolved over time in different ethnic, religious, and political movements. In his closing essay, Gitelman questions the viability of secular Jewishness outside Israel but suggests that the continued interest in exploring the relationship between Judaism's secular and religious forms will keep the heritage alive for generations to come.
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.
Exploring the issues of the separation between religion and state in Israel, this book by Knesset parliament member Rabbi Dov Lipman lays out his vision for the future. Lipman was elected to the Yesh Atid party, which, though largely secular, calls for a more moderate and open form of Judaism. His is a voice of reason in the religious debates and battles that have threatened to undermine Jewish unity in Israel and around the world. Lipman has observed firsthand the polarization, extremism, and discrimination that have been on the upswing in Israel, and his book examines specific practical issues rather than general theological questions in the Israeli political scene. As the only ultra-Orthodox member of the current coalition, he offers a unique insight into the internal societal struggles of the Jewish community as well as the hope for a better future for both Israel and Jews around the world.
From the very moment of the liberation of camps at Auschwitz, Belsen and Buchenwald, Germans have been held accountable for the crimes committed in the Holocaust. The Nazi regime unleashed the most systematic attempt in history to wipe out an entire people, murdering men, women and children for the simple 'crime' of being Jewish. After the war ended in 1945, the Jewish State of Israel was created and Jewish communities were re-established in a now divided Germany. Germans have engaged actively with their Nazi legacy and the Jewish communities have remained and grown stronger, but neo-Nazism has also persisted. Young Germans have learned the horrific deeds of the past at school, and throughout the world, people of all nations have tried to learn the lesson 'never again', while Germany has become 'Israel's best friend in Europe'. Pol O Dochartaigh analyses the ways in which Germans and Jews alike have attempted to come to terms with the Holocaust and its terrible legacy. He also looks at efforts to remember - and to forget - the Holocaust, movement towards recompense and reparation, and the survival of anti-Semitism.
This edited volume places Jewish-Latin Americans within the context of Latin American and ethnic studies. It departs from traditional scholarship that segregates Jews as inhabitants "in" Latin America republics rather than as citizens "of" Latin American republics. The essays draw examples primarily from Argentina and Brazil, the two South American countries with the largest Jewish populations, and span from the late nineteenth century into the 1990s.
By giving primacy to the national identity of Jewish-Latin Americans, the essays included here emphasize human actors and accounts of lived experiences. Lesser and Rein's thought-provoking introduction outlines seven new formulations of the relationship between Jews, the nation-state, and their Diasporic experience. Individual contributors then pursue new perspectives of the Jewish experience, including those of the working class, labor organizing and anarchist activities, women, and the reconceptualization of racism and anti-Semitism.
The widespread and long-held preconception that all Jews lived in ghettos and were relentlessly subject to discrimination prior to the Enlightenment has only slowly eroded. Geographically speaking, Jews rarely lived in ghettos and have never been confined within the borders of one nation or country. Power struggles and wars often led to the creation of new national borders that divided communities once united. But if identity formation is subject to change and negotiation, it does not depend solely on shifting geographical borders. A variety of boundaries were and are still being constructed and maintained between ethnic and other collective identities. The contributors to this book, like other post-modernist historians, turn their gaze to a wide range of identities once taken for granted, identities located on the border lines between one country and the next, between Jews and non-Jews as well as on those between one group of Jews and another.
The Jewish practice of bar mitzvah dates back to the twelfth century, but this ancient cultural ritual has changed radically since then, evolving with the times and adapting to local conditions. For many Jewish-American families, a child's bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is both a major social event and a symbolic means of asserting the family's ongoing connection to the core values of Judaism. Coming of Age in Jewish America takes an inside look at bar and bat mitzvahs in the twenty-first century, examining how the practices have continued to morph and exploring how they serve as a sometimes shaky bridge between the values of contemporary American culture and Judaic tradition. Interviewing over 200 individuals involved in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, from family members to religious educators to rabbis, Patricia Keer Munro presents a candid portrait of the conflicts that often emerge and the negotiations that ensue. In the course of her study, she charts how this ritual is rife with contradictions; it is a private family event and a public community activity, and for the child, it is both an educational process and a high-stakes performance. Through detailed observations of Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and independent congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Munro draws intriguing, broad-reaching conclusions about both the current state and likely future of American Judaism. In the process, she shows not only how American Jews have forged a unique set of bar and bat mitzvah practices, but also how these rituals continue to shape a distinctive Jewish-American identity.
During the 1990s and early 2000s in Europe, more than fifty historical commissions were created to confront, discuss, and document the genocide of the Holocaust and to address some of its unresolved injustices.Amending the Past offers the first in-depth account of these commissions, examining the complexities of reckoning with past atrocities and large-scale human rights violations. Alexander Karn analyzes more than a dozen Holocaust commissions-in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, and elsewhere- in a comparative framework, situating each in the context of past and present politics, to evaluate their potential for promoting justice and their capacity for bringing the perspectives of rival groups more closely together. Karn also evaluates the media coverage these commissions received and probes their public reception from multiple angles. Arguing that historical commissions have been underused as a tool for conflict management, Karn develops a program for historical mediation and moral reparation that can deepen democratic commitment and strengthen human rights in both transitional regimes and existing liberal states.
Traveling in Europe in August 1938, one year before the outbreak of World War II, David Kurtz, the author's grandfather, captured three minutes of ordinary life in a small, predominantly Jewish town in Poland on 16 mm Kodachrome colour film. More than seventy years later, through the brutal twists of history, these few minutes of home-movie footage would become a memorial to an entire community, an entire culture that was annihilated in the Holocaust. Three Minutes in Poland traces Glenn Kurtz's remarkable four year journey to identify the people in his grandfather's haunting images. His search takes him across the United States to Canada, England, Poland, and Israel. To archives, film preservation laboratories, and an abandoned Luftwaffe airfield. Ultimately, Kurtz locates seven living survivors from this lost town, including an eighty six year old man who appears in the film as a thirteen year old boy. Painstakingly assembled from interviews, photographs, documents, and artifacts, Three Minutes in Poland tells the rich, funny, harrowing, and surprisingly intertwined stories of these seven survivors and their Polish hometown. Originally a travel souvenir, David Kurtz's home movie became the sole remaining record of a vibrant town on the brink of catastrophe. From this brief film, Glenn Kurtz creates a riveting exploration of memory, loss, and improbable survival, a monument to a lost world.
A Palestinian-Israeli poet declares a new state whose language, "Homelandic," is a combination of Arabic and Hebrew. A Jewish-Israeli author imagines a "language plague" that infects young Hebrew speakers with old world accents, and sends the narrator in search of his Arabic heritage. In "Poetic Trespass," Lital Levy brings together such startling visions to offer the first in-depth study of the relationship between Hebrew and Arabic in the literature and culture of Israel/Palestine. More than that, she presents a captivating portrait of the literary imagination's power to transgress political boundaries and transform ideas about language and belonging. Blending history and literature, "Poetic Trespass" traces the interwoven life of Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine from the turn of the twentieth century to the present, exposing the two languages' intimate entanglements in contemporary works of prose, poetry, film, and visual art by both Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel.
In a context where intense political and social pressures work to identify Jews with Hebrew and Palestinians with Arabic, Levy finds writers who have boldly crossed over this divide to create literature in the language of their "other," as well as writers who bring the two languages into dialogue to rewrite them from within. Exploring such acts of poetic trespass, Levy introduces new readings of canonical and lesser-known authors, including Emile Habiby, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Anton Shammas, Saul Tchernichowsky, Samir Naqqash, Ronit Matalon, Salman Masalha, A. B. Yehoshua, and Almog Behar. By revealing uncommon visions of what it means to write in Arabic and Hebrew, "Poetic Trespass" will change the way we understand literature and culture in the shadow of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The essays in this anthology study Israeli television, its different forms of representation, audiences and production processes, past and present, examining Israeli television in both its local, cultural dynamics, and global interfaces. The book looks at Israeli television as a creator, negotiator, guardian and warden of collective Israeli memory, examining instances of Israeli original television exported and circulated to the US and the global markets, as well as instances of American, British, and global TV formats, adapted and translated to the Israeli scene and screen. The trajectory of this volume is to shed light on major themes and issues Israeli television negotiates: history and memory, war and trauma, Zionism and national disillusionment, place and home, ethnicity in its unique local variations of Ashkenazim and Mizrahim, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians, gender in its unique Israeli formations, specifically masculinity as shaped by the military and constant violent conflict, femininity in this same context as well as within a complex Jewish oriented society, religion, and secularism. Providing multifaceted portraits of Israeli television and culture in its Middle Eastern political and local context, this book will be a key resource to readers interested in media and television studies, cultural studies, Israel, and the Middle East.
The recognized cultural historian and researcher of the Middle Ages relates about the gruesome year of 1944 in Hungary, as she has seen the events with the eyes of a small Jewish girl. The memoir describes life in Budapest and in Komarom, in the Hungarian countryside, in the preceding years before March 1944 when the German army marched in, and what happened thereafter. "It is not true that you can no longer write anything new about the Holocaust. All you need is an excellent memory, restraint, irony hidden among the lines, and know-how. The bulk of Marianna D. Birnbaum's book is about her relatives, her childhood friends and their parents who have not returned. She attached photos of several of them; here and there the author too appears as a small child. Well-to-do adults, nicely dressed children: They ought to have lived out their days in peace. With a vision pointing toward the grotesque and using experience honed on literary criticism, the author avoids provoking our tears. That makes this book beautiful and true." (G. Spiro)
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."
Kosharovsky's authoritative four-volume history of the Jewish movement in the Soviet Union is now available in a condensed and edited volume that makes this compelling insider's account of Soviet Jewish activism after Stalin available to a wider audience. Originally published in Russian from 2008 to 2012, ""We Are Jews Again"" chronicles the struggles of Jews who wanted nothing more than the freedom to learn Hebrew, the ability to provide a Jewish education for their children, and the right to immigrate to Israel. Through dozens of interviews with former refuseniks and famous activists, Kosharovsky provides a vivid and intimate view of the Jewish movement and a detailed account of the persecution many faced from Soviet authorities.
Born over a fifty-year period, the artists in this volume represent several generations of twentieth-century artists. Examining the work of such influential artists as Mark Rothko, Max Weber, and Ruth Weisberg, Baigell directly confronts their Jewish identity - as a religious, cultural, and psychological component of their lives - and explores the way in which this influence is reflected in their art. Drawing upon their common heritage, Baigell reveals the different ways these artists responded to the Great Immigration, the Depression, the Holocaust, the founding of the state of Israel, and the rise of feminism. Each artist's varied Jewish experiences have contributed to the creation of a visual language and subject matter that reflect both Jewish assimilation and Jewish continuity in ways that inform modern Jewish history and changes in present-day America. Offering a fresh examination of well-known artists, as well as long overdue attention to lesser-known artists, Baigell's incisive observations are indispensable to our understanding of the Jewish themes in these artists' work. Written in a lively and spirited prose, this book is compulsory reading for those interested in modern American art and Jewish studies.
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