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Eli Ben Amrams correspondence, discovered in the Genizah of Cairo, consists of his communications with Jewish figures from Egypt, Palestine, Babylon and Spain. As the Fustat community leader during the second half of the eleventh century his writings reveal not only the political situation pertaining to the Mediterranean Basin at the time, but are unique with regard to how Jewish society fared and functioned. He was a determined writer in that he expressed himself well on many topics and wrote up his plans for his community, as well as his reservations, in dozens of letters, court documents and poems, all of which were revealed in the Genizah. Although not a senior Jewish leader, he was head of the Fustat community in Egypt -- the most important in the Jewish hemisphere during the eleventh century. He had been appointed by higher-ranked leaders, such as the Gaon from the Palestine Yeshiva, and by wealthy Jewish courtiers from Cairo. Ben Amrams local decision-making was dependent in some ways on the policies adopted by these leaders, but in turn they were aware of his key role and influence as leader of the wealthy Fustat community. His wide-ranging correspondence sheds light not only on Jewish leadership at this time, but on the prevailing circumstances under which Judaism was able to flourish. Eli Ben Amrams correspondence reveals that despite geo-political differences, there were substantive similarities among the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean Basin during early-medieval period.
Kolbuszowa is gone now. Before World War II it was a thriving, small Polish town of 4,000 people, half Polish Catholics, half Jews, where family and the traditional ways of life were strong. It was the town where Norman Salsitz was born, in 1920, the last of nine children. It was the town that he helped to destroy, forced by the Nazis in 1941 to assist in the brick-by-brick destruction of the Jewish ghetto in which his family lived. Salsitz was subsequently sent to a German work camp, but escaped into the woods to live and later tell his story of Kolbuszowa to Richard Skolnik. Salsitz speaks to us both as an exceptional witness to everyday events in the town and as a shrewd observer of the broader landscape. Colorful details bring the people, the customs, and habits, both religious and secular, back to life.
Susanne Klingenstein's influential work reveals two important subjects: how the philosophy and literature departments of Ivy League colleges in the early twentieth century gradually opened their doors to Jewish men of letters; and how this integration transformed the thinking of these Jewish professors, many of whom had been raised in Orthodox homes.
Klingenstein examines in depth the careers and works of prominent Jewish-American teachers, from Leo Wiener, the Harvard professor with thirty languages at his command, to philosophy professors Harry Wolfson, Horace Kallen, and Morris Cohen, Joel Elias Spingarn, writer-critic Ludwig Lewisohn, and finally Lionel Trilling, who won the hard-fought battle in 1936 to become the first Jewish professor of English and American literature at Columbia University.
This book debunks the conventional stereotype that Jews and sports are somehow anathema and clearly demonstrates that sports have long been a significant institution in Jewish American life. Jews were among the very first professional baseball players and the most outstanding early American track stars. In the 1920s and 1930s they dominated inner-city sports such as basketball and boxing and produced star athletes in virtually all sports. Many Jews were also prominent in the business, communication, and literary aspects of sport. These essays, written by leading contemporary sports historians, examine the contributions of Jewish men and women to American sports. Steven A. Riess's article on this topic is the most comprehensive overview ever written and will doubtless become a standard reference for years to come.
Hebrew has survived as a continuously written literature for nearly 3,000 years. It is the oldest, and in some ways most successful, minority literature. While Hebrew is central to the social history of the Jews, its history also offers a panoramic window into the relationships of other minority literatures to their majority cultures.
Until 1948, written Hebrew was created primarily under the rule of empires, notably those of ancient Mesopotamia, Rome, medieval Islam, and Tsarist Russia. In this controversial volume, David Aberbach analyzes Hebrew's development, arguing that several of the most original periods in its history coincided with--and resulted partially from--imperial crisis. During these periods, social and political instability set off violence against the Jews. In each case a revolutionary body of Hebrew literature emerged, influenced decisively by the dominant culture, but asserting Jewish separatism and, to varying degrees, nationalism.
Revolutionary Hebrew offers a historical account of Judaism from biblical times to 1948, as exemplified through the growth or decline of Hebrew writing. Examining patterns in the social development of Hebrew, Aberbach explicates the role of Hebrew in the survival of Judaism and sheds light on the significance of literary creativity in ethnic survival.
An essential history of the greatest love poem ever written The Song of Songs has been embraced for centuries as the ultimate song of love. But the kind of love readers have found in this ancient poem is strikingly varied. Ilana Pardes invites us to explore the dramatic shift from readings of the Song as a poem on divine love to celebrations of its exuberant account of human love. With a refreshingly nuanced approach, she reveals how allegorical and literal interpretations are inextricably intertwined in the Song's tumultuous life. The body in all its aspects-pleasure and pain, even erotic fervor-is key to many allegorical commentaries. And although the literal, sensual Song thrives in modernity, allegory has not disappeared. New modes of allegory have emerged in modern settings, from the literary and the scholarly to the communal. Offering rare insights into the story of this remarkable poem, Pardes traces a diverse line of passionate readers. She looks at Jewish and Christian interpreters of late antiquity who were engaged in disputes over the Song's allegorical meaning, at medieval Hebrew poets who introduced it into the opulent world of courtly banquets, and at kabbalists who used it as a springboard to the celestial spheres. She shows how feminist critics have marveled at the Song's egalitarian representation of courtship, and how it became a song of America for Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Toni Morrison. Throughout these explorations of the Song's reception, Pardes highlights the unparalleled beauty of its audacious language of love.
Besa is a code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims. It dictates a moral behavior so absolute that non adherence brings shame and dishonor on oneself and one's family. Simply stated, it demands that one take responsibility for the lives of others in their time of need. In Albania and Kosovo, Muslims sheltered, at grave risk to themselves and their families, not only the Jews of their cities and villages, but thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis from other European countries.Over a five-year period, photographer Norman H. Gershman sought out, photographed, and collected these powerful and moving stories of heroism in ""Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II"". The book reveals a hidden period in history, slowly emerging after the fall of an isolationist communist regime, and shows the compassionate side of ordinary people in saving Jews. They acted within their true Muslim faith.
A major new history of the century-long debate over what a Jewish state should be Many Zionists who advocated the creation of a Jewish state envisioned a nation like any other. Yet for Israel's founders, the state that emerged against all odds in 1948 was anything but ordinary. Born from the ashes of genocide and a long history of suffering, Israel was conceived to be unique, a model society and the heart of a prosperous new Middle East. It is this paradox, says historian Michael Brenner--the Jewish people's wish for a homeland both normal and exceptional-that shapes Israel's ongoing struggle to define itself and secure a place among nations. In Search of Israel is a major new history of this struggle from the late nineteenth century to our time. When Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in 1897, no single solution to the problem of "normalizing" the Jewish people emerged. Herzl proposed a secular-liberal "New Society" that would be home to Jews and non-Jews alike. East European Zionists advocated the renewal of the Hebrew language and the creation of a distinct Jewish culture. Socialists imagined a society of workers' collectives and farm settlements. The Orthodox dreamt of a society based on the laws of Jewish scripture. The stage was set for a clash of Zionist dreams and Israeli realities that continues today. Seventy years after its founding, Israel has achieved much, but for a state widely viewed as either a paragon or a pariah, Brenner argues, the goal of becoming a state like any other remains elusive. If the Jews were the archetypal "other" in history, ironically, Israel-which so much wanted to avoid the stamp of otherness-has become the Jew among the nations.
In 1144, the mutilated body of William of Norwich, a young apprentice leatherworker, was found abandoned outside the city's walls. The boy bore disturbing signs of torture, and a story soon spread that it was a ritual murder, performed by Jews in imitation of the Crucifixion as a mockery of Christianity. The outline of William's tale swiftly gained currency far beyond Norwich, and the idea that Jews engaged in ritual murder became firmly rooted in the European imagination. E.M Rose's engaging book delves into the story of William's murder and the notorious trial that followed to uncover the origin of the ritual murder accusation-known as the "blood libel"-in western Europe in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the specific historical context-the 12th-century reform of the Church, the position of Jews in England, and the Second Crusade-and suspensefully unraveling the facts of the case, Rose makes a powerful argument for why the Norwich Jews (and particularly one Jewish banker) were accused of killing the youth, and how the malevolent blood libel accusation managed to take hold. She also considers four "copycat" cases, in which Jews were similarly blamed for the death of young Christians, and traces the adaptations of the story over time. In the centuries after its appearance, the ritual murder accusation provoked instances of torture, death and expulsion of thousands of Jews and the extermination of hundreds of communities. Although no charge of ritual murder has withstood historical scrutiny, the concept of the blood libel is so emotionally charged and deeply rooted in cultural memory that it endures even today. Rose's groundbreaking work, driven by fascinating characters, a gripping narrative, and impressive scholarship, provides clear answers as to why the blood libel emerged when it did and how it was able to gain such widespread acceptance, laying the foundations for enduring anti-Semitic myths that continue to the present.
How a controversial biblical tale of conquest and genocide became a founding story of modern Israel No biblical text has been more central to the politics of modern Israel than the book of Joshua. Named after a military leader who became the successor to Moses, it depicts the march of the ancient Israelites into Canaan, describing how they subjugated and massacred the indigenous peoples. The Joshua Generation examines the book's centrality to the Israeli occupation today, revealing why nationalist longing and social reality are tragically out of sync in the Promised Land. Though the book of Joshua was largely ignored and reviled by diaspora Jews, the leaders of modern Israel have invoked it to promote national cohesion. Critics of occupation, meanwhile, have denounced it as a book that celebrates genocide. Rachel Havrelock looks at the composition of Joshua, showing how it reflected the fractious nature of ancient Israelite society and a desire to unify the populace under a strong monarchy. She describes how David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, convened a study group at his home in the late 1950s, where generals, politicians, and professors reformulated the story of Israel's founding in the language of Joshua. Havrelock traces how Ben-Gurion used a brutal tale of conquest to unite an immigrant population of Jews of different ethnicities and backgrounds, casting modern Israelis and Palestinians as latter-day Israelites and Canaanites. Providing an alternative reading of Joshua, The Joshua Generation finds evidence of a decentralized society composed of tribes, clans, and woman-run households, one with relevance to today when diverse peoples share the dwindling resources of a scarred land.
If there was one person who could be said to light the touch-paper for the epochal transformation of European religion and culture that we now call the Reformation, it was Martin Luther. And Luther and his followers were to play a central role in the Protestant world that was to emerge from the Reformation process, both in Germany and the wider world. In all senses of the term, this religious pioneer was a huge figure in European history. Yet there is also the very uncomfortable but at the same time undeniable fact that he was an anti-semite. Written by one of the world's leading authorities on the Reformation, this is the vexed and sometimes shocking story of Martin Luther's increasingly vitriolic attitude towards the Jews over the course of his lifetime, set against the backdrop of a world in religious turmoil. A final chapter then reflects on the extent to which the legacy of Luther's anti-semitism was to taint the Lutheran church over the following centuries. Scheduled for publication on the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation's birth, in light of the subsequent course of German history it is a tale both sobering and ominous in equal measure.
The Brady Street and Alderney Road cemeteries are among the oldest Jewish burial grounds in the UK, dating back to the arrival of the Jewish immigrants in the time of Oliver Cromwell. As the Jewish community expanded, by the middle of the nineteenth century both cemeteries had reached capacity and were closed. Since that time nature has been reclaiming these tranquil and unique spaces in the heart of one of the most densely populated areas of London. The cemeteries are natural oases of trees and shrubs which support an environment that contradicts the dense housing blocks surrounding them and the imposing commercial towers of the City of London seen in the distance. Photographer and writer Louis Berk was given exclusive access to the cemeteries by their owner, the United Synagogue of Great Britain, and charted the impact of the seasons on the landscape over a four-year period. The result is a collection of beautiful images that provides the reader with the opportunity to see the unique environmental aspects of the cemeteries which are hidden from ordinary view.
This first comprehensive biography of Jewish American writer and humorist Harry Golden (1903-1981)-author of the 1958 national best-seller Only in America-illuminates a remarkable life intertwined with the rise of the civil rights movement, Jewish popular culture, and the sometimes precarious position of Jews in the South and across America during the 1950s. After recounting Golden's childhood on New York's Lower East Side, Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett points to his stint in prison as a young man, after a widely publicized conviction for investment fraud during the Great Depression, as the root of his empathy for the underdog in any story. During World War II, the cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur landed in Charlotte, North Carolina, and founded the Carolina Israelite newspaper, which was published into the 1960s. Golden's writings on race relations and equal rights attracted a huge popular readership. Golden used his celebrity to editorialize for civil rights as the momentous story unfolded. He charmed his way into friendships and lively correspondence with Carl Sandburg, Adlai Stevenson, Robert Kennedy, and Billy Graham, among other notable Americans, and he appeared on the Tonight Show as well as other national television programs. Hartnett's spirited chronicle captures Golden's message of social inclusion for a new audience today.
A major literary figure and frequent contributor to the Yiddish-language newspaper Forverts from the 1920s to the mid-1930s, Jonah Rosenfeld was recognized during and after his lifetime as an explorer of human psychology. His work foregrounds loneliness, social anxiety, and people's frustrated longing for meaningful relationships - themes just as relevant to today's Western society as they were during his era. The Rivals and Other Stories introduces nineteen of Rosenfeld's short stories to an English-reading audience for the first time. Unlike much of Yiddish literature that offers a sentimentalized view of the tight knit communities of early twentieth-century Jewish life, Rosenfeld's stories portray an entirely different view of pre-war Jewish families. His stories are urban, domestic dramas that probe the often painful disjunctions between men and women, parents and children, rich and poor, Jews and Gentiles, self and society. They explore eroticism and family dysfunction in narratives that were often shocking to readers at the time they were published. Following the Modernist tradition, Rosenfeld rejected many established norms, such as religion and the assumption of absolute truth. Rather, his work is rooted in psychological realism, portraying the inner lives of alienated individuals who struggle to construct a world in which they can live. These deeply moving, empathetic stories provide a counterbalance to the prevailing idealized portrait of shtetl life and enrich our understanding of Yiddish literature.
"Beyond the Border" sets the lives and work of Huguenot goldsmiths in the context of the different societies in which they lived and worked. Distinguished international scholars explore the contributions of individual goldsmiths drawing on new research. Michele Bimbenet Privat examines the lives and work of Huguenot goldsmiths in France during times of tolerance of the Protestant religion in the 16th and 17th centuries. She explains how protestant craftsmen dominated regional centres but found establishing a presence in the metropolis more challenging. The influence of the Louis XIV style was greater on the leading Dutch goldsmiths in the late 17th and 18th centuries. In contrast to London, first generation Huguenot goldsmiths played only a minor role in their adopted cities of The Hague and Amsterdam. Those who settled in Berlin and Kassel, often from Metz in Northern France, made a greater impact through the purity of style in which they continued to work in the 18th century. Those who settled in the English speaking world benefited from ambitious patronage from noble and professional clients. Goldsmiths who settled in the American colonies had more in common stylistically with those who worked in Dublin and Cork. First generation Huguenot goldsmiths in London set the pace for the next generation which produced in Paul de Lamerie one of the most successful craft businesses of his generation. "Beyond the Border" explores the transatlantic links between the Huguenot goldsmiths who settled in Europe and America.
"[An] unusual meditation on sex, death, art, and Jewishness. . . . Weber weaves in musings on his own sexual and religious experiences, creating a freewheeling psychoanalytic document whose approach would surely delight the doctor, even if its conclusions might surprise him." -New Yorker "Freud's Trip to Orvieto is at once profound and wonderfully diverse, and as gripping as any detective story. Nicholas Fox Weber mixes psychoanalysis, art history, and the personal with an intricacy and spiritedness that Freud himself would have admired." -John Banville, author of The Sea and The Blue Guitar "This is an ingenious and fascinating reading of Freud's response to Signorelli's frescoes at Orvieto. It is also a meditation on Jewish identity, and on masculinity, memory, and the power of the image. It is filled with intelligence, wit, and clear-eyed analysis not only of the paintings themselves, but how we respond to them in all their startling sexuality and invigorating beauty." -Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn and Nora Webster After a visit to the cathedral at Orvieto in Italy, Sigmund Freud deemed Luca Signorelli's frescoes the greatest artwork he'd ever encountered; yet, a year later, he couldn't recall the artist's name. When the name came back to him, the images he had so admired vanished from his mind's eye. This is known as the "Signorelli parapraxis" in the annals of Freudian psychoanalysis and is a famous example from Freud's own life of his principle of repressed memory. What was at the bottom of this? There have been many theories on the subject, but Nicholas Fox Weber is the first to study the actual Signorelli frescoes for clues. What Weber finds in these extraordinary Renaissance paintings provides unexpected insight into this famously confounding incident in Freud's biography. As he sounds the depths of Freud's feelings surrounding his masculinity and Jewish identity, Weber is drawn back into his own past, including his memories of an adolescent obsession with a much older woman. Freud's Trip to Orvieto is an intellectual mystery with a very personal, intimate dimension. Through rich illustrations, Weber evokes art's singular capacity to provoke, destabilize, and enchant us, as it did Freud, and awaken our deepest memories, fears, and desires. Nicholas Fox Weber is the director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and author of fourteen books, including biographies of Balthus and Le Corbusier. He has written for the New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, ARTnews, Town & Country, and Vogue, among other publications.
The dog has captured the Jewish imagination from antiquity to the contemporary period, with the image of the dog often used to characterise and demean Jewish populations in medieval Christendom. In the interwar period, dogs were still considered goyishe nakhes ("a gentile pleasure") and virtually unheard of in the Jewish homes of the shtetl. Yet Azit the Paratrooping Dog of modern Israeli cinema, one of many examples of dogs as heroes of the Zionist narrative, demonstrates that the dog has captured the contemporary Jewish imagination. The book discusses specific cultural manifestations of the relationship between dogs and Jews, from ancient times to the present. Covering a geographical range extending from the Middle East through Europe and to North America, the contributors -- all of whom are senior university scholars specializing in various disciplines -- provide a unique cross-cultural, trans-national, diachronic perspective. An important theme is the constant tension between domination/control and partnership which underpins the relationship of humans to animals, as well as the connection between Jewish societies and their broader host cultures. A public increasingly interested in cultural history in general and Jewish history in particular will benefit from the diverse perspectives provided herein. One need look no further than the popular media surrounding President Obama's choice of a canine companion: dog-owners and dog-lovers, and all those involved at university level with cultural studies, can deepen their understanding of the humancanine relationship by reading this volume.
How the book of Samuel offers a timeless meditation on the dilemmas of statecraft The book of Samuel is universally acknowledged as one of the supreme achievements of biblical literature. Yet the book's anonymous author was more than an inspired storyteller. The author was also an uncannily astute observer of political life and the moral compromises and contradictions that the struggle for power inevitably entails. The Beginning of Politics mines the story of Israel's first two kings to unearth a natural history of power, providing a forceful new reading of what is arguably the first and greatest work of Western political thought. Through stories such as Saul's madness, David's murder of Uriah, the rape of Tamar, and the rebellion of Absalom, the author of Samuel deepens our understanding not only of the necessity of sovereign rule but also of its costs-to the people it is intended to protect and to those who wield it. Moshe Halbertal and Stephen Holmes show how these beautifully crafted narratives cut to the core of politics, offering a timely meditation on the dark side of sovereign power and the enduring dilemmas of statecraft.
No history is so disputed as the history of Israel. Some see Israel's creation as a dramatic act of justice for the Jewish people. Others insist that it was a crime against Palestine's Arabs. Author David Brog untangles the facts from the myths to reveal the truth about the Arab-Israeli conflict. In Reclaiming Israel's History you'll learn how the Jewish people have maintained a continual presence in the Land of Israel for over 3,000 years-despite centuries of Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim persecution; how the Romans invented the word "Palestine" as a way to sever the connection between the Jewish people and their land (and how subsequent conquerors doubled down on this strategy); how modern Jewish immigration to Palestine did not displace Arabs but instead sparked an Arab population boom; and the largely untold story of how the leader of Palestine's Arabs collaborated with the Nazis to murder Jews in Europe before they could reach their ancestral homeland. You'll also learn why most of Palestine's Arabs never identified themselves as "Palestinians" until after the 1967 War; the extraordinary lengths to which Israel's military goes to protect Palestinian civilians (and the high price Israel's soldiers pay for this morality), and how the Palestinians have on separate occasions rejected Israel's offers of a Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza. Brog frankly admits to Israel's "sins both large and small," but notes that in any fair-minded analysis these have been far out- weighed by Israel's commitment to Western values, including freedom, democracy, and human rights. Honest, provocative, and timely, especially given rising anti-Semitism and the aggressive delegitimization of Israel, David Brog's Reclaiming Israel's History is the book for every reader who wants to understand what is really happening in the Middle East.
Rabbi Barry Marcus MBE was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has accomplished a great deal and is a dynamic speaker but is perhaps best known for his services to Holocaust education, pioneering one-day educational trips to Auschwitz. This book celebrates his remarkable accomplishments through a collection of articles and photographs.
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