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This new JPS ethics series deals with some of the most critical moral issues of our time Each volume in this series presents traditional and contemporary sources on specific topics, followed by hypothetical cases and study questions to provoke discussion. Supplementing these are brief essays written by a diverse group -- political figures and journalists, business professionals and authors, scholars and artists, young voices and old, traditional believers and iconoclasts. As a conclusion, Dorff and Newman present their own reflections, providing a counterpoint to the contributors' perspectives. These voices from the Jewish tradition and today's Jewish community give us new questions and perspectives to think about and encourage us to consider our moral choices in a new light. Jewish Choices Jewish Voices: Money Is it O.K. to be wealthy? How do we know when we have too much? Enough? Is wealth relative--are those born into wealth entitled to accumulate more money than those born in poorer circumstances? What are we obligated to do with our money? How much are we supposed to give to charity? Can Jewish charitable institutions accept money that may be "tainted"? How big a role should income play in our identity, in our life plan, in our pursuit of happiness?
Does the study of aesthetics have tangible effects in the real world? Does examining the work of diaspora writers and artists change our view of ""the Other""? In this thoughtful book, Ebrahimi argues that an education in the humanities is as essential as one in politics and ethics, critically training the imagination toward greater empathy. Despite the surge in Iranian memoirs, their contributions to debunking an abstract idea of terror and their role in encouraging democratic thinking remain understudied. In examining creative work by women of Iranian descent, Ebrahimi argues that Shirin Neshat, Marjane Satrapi, and Parsua Bashi make the Other familiar and break a cycle of reactionary xenophobia. These authors, instead of relying on indignation, build imaginative bridges in their work that make it impossible to blame one evil, external enemy. Ebrahimi explores both classic and hybrid art forms, including graphic novels and photo-poetry, to advocate for the importance of aesthetics to inform and influence a global community. Drawing on the theories of Ranciere, Butler, Arendt, and Levinas, Ebrahimi identifies the ways in which these works give a human face to the Other, creating the space and language to imagine a new political and ethical landscape.
Jewish law is a singular legal system that has been evolving for generations. Often conflated with Biblical law or Israeli law, Jewish law needs to be studied in its own right. An Introduction to Jewish Law expounds the general structure of Jewish law and presents the cardinal principles of this religious legal system. An introduction to modern Jewish law as it applies to the daily life of Jews around the world, this volume presents Jewish law in a way that answers all the questions that a student of comparative law would ask when encountering an unfamiliar legal system. Sources of Jewish law such as revelation, rabbinical and communal legislation, judicial decisions, and legal reasoning are defined and analyzed, and the authority of who decides what Jewish law is and why their decisions are binding is investigated.
Named a 2007 National Jewish Book Award Runner-Up in the category of Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice.
JPS's holiday books take us through the joys, spirit, and meaning of the seasons. Blending the old and the new, they ground us in the origins and traditions of each holiday and open up to us ways we can add our own expression to these special days. Although synagogue ritual is touched upon, the real focus here is on our personal connections to each holiday and our home observance.
As we move from season to season, Paul Steinberg shares with us a rich collection of readings from many of the Jewish greats--Maimonides, Rashi, Nachmanides, Shlomo Carlebach, Marge Piercy, Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, and others--and he guides us in discovering for ourselves the many treasures within each text. The readings teach us about the history of each holiday, as well as its theological, ethical, agricultural, and seasonal importance and interpretation; others give us inspiration and much food for thought. These stories, essays, poems, anecdotes, and rituals help us discover how deeply Jewish traditions are rooted in nature's yearly cycle, and how beautifully season and spirit are woven together throughout the Jewish year.
Traditional Jewish family law has persevered for hundreds of years and rules covering marriage, the raising of children, and divorce are well established; yet pressures from modern society are causing long held views to be re-examined. The Jewish Family: Between Family Law and Contract Law examines the tenets of Jewish family law in the light of new attitudes concerning the role of women, assisted reproduction technologies, and prenuptial agreements. It explores, through interdisciplinary research combining the legal aspects of family law and contract law, how the Jewish family can cope with both old and modern obstacles and challenges. Focusing on the nexus of Jewish family law and contract law to propose how 'freedom of contract' can be part of how family law can be interpreted, The Jewish Family will appeal to practitioners, activists, academic researchers, and laymen readers who are interested in the fields of law, theology, and social science.
The Jazz Age of the 1920s, centered in New York City, is an era remembered for illegal liquor, innovative music and dance styles, and burgeoning ideas of social equality. It was also the period during which second-generation Jews began to emerge as a significant demographic in the city. ""In Their Own Image"" examines the growing cultural visibility of Jewish life amid this vibrant scene. From the vaudeville routines of Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, and Sophie Tucker, to the slew of Broadway comedies about Jewish life - such as the phenomenally popular Abie's ""Irish Rose"" - to the silent films that showed immigrant families struggling to leave the ghetto, images and representations of Jews became staples of inter war popular culture. Through the performing arts, Jews expressed highly ambivalent feelings about their identification with Jewish and American cultures. Ted Merwin shows how they became American by producing and consuming not images of another group, but self-made images of themselves. As a result, they humanized Jewish stereotypes, softened anti-Semitic attitudes, and laid the groundwork for Jewish comedians from Mel Brooks to Billy Crystal. A lively and entertaining look at the role that popular culture can play in promoting the acculturation of an ethnic group, ""In Their Own Image"" both enhances our understanding of American Jewish history and provides a model for the study of other groups and their integration into society.
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.
Since the Holocaust, traces of memory are virtually all that remain of more than 800 years of Jewish life in Poland. Yet some of that past can still be found if one knows how and where to look. In this remarkable album, 74 stunning color photographs bear witness to the great Jewish civilization that once flourished here. The images record the sites of Jewish life and death, and the ways in which Jewish culture is being remembered today. Captions and detailed notes explain and contextualize the photographs. An invaluable sourcebook on the Jewish heritage of Polish Galicia, this album also illustrates how photographs can help us understand the past and discover its relevance for the present.
In this original and wide-ranging study, Gabriel Piterberg examines the ideology and literature behind the colonization of Palestine, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Exploring Zionism's origins in Central-Eastern European nationalism and settler movements, he shows how its texts can be placed within a wider discourse of western colonization. Piterberg revisits the work of Theodor Herzl, Gershom Scholem, Anita Shapira and David Ben-Gurion, among other thinkers influential in the formation of the Zionist myth, to break open prevailing views of Zionism. He demonstrates that it was in fact unexceptional, expressing a consciousness and imagination typical of colonial settler movement. Shaped by European ideological currents and the realities of colonial life, Zionism constructed its own story as a unique and impregnable one, in the process excluding the voices of an indigenous people - the Palestinian Arabs.
This major reinterpretation of the Holocaust surveys the destruction of the European Jews within the broader context of Nazi violence against other victim groups. Christian Gerlach offers a unique social history of mass violence which reveals why particular groups were persecuted and what it was that connected the fate of these groups and the policies against them. He explores the diverse ideological, political and economic motivations which lay behind the murder of the Jews and charts the changing dynamics of persecution during the course of the war. The book brings together both German actions and those of non-German states and societies, shedding new light on the different groups and vested interests involved and their role in the persecution of non-Jews as well. Ranging across continental Europe, it reveals that popular notions of race were often more important in shaping persecution than scientific racism or Nazi dogma.
"Who made the clouds?" Abraham asks. "Who made the flowers?" Even as a child, he knows there must be something greater than idols of clay and stone. As he observes and questions the world around him, Abraham comes to the conclusion that there is one God. A creative midrash about the father of the world's religions.
He destroys in order to create. In a sweeping critique of the field, Benjamin Schreier resituates Jewish Studies in order to make room for a critical study of identity and identification. Displacing the assumption that Jewish Studies is necessarily the study of Jews, this book aims to break down the walls of the academic ghetto in which the study of Jewish American literature often seems to be contained: alienated from fields like comparative ethnicity studies, American studies, and multicultural studies; suffering from the unwillingness of Jewish Studies to accept critical literary studies as a legitimate part of its project; and so often refusing itself to engage in self-critique. The Impossible Jew interrogates how the concept of identity is critically put to work by identity-based literary study. Through readings of key authors from across the canon of Jewish American literature and culture-including Abraham Cahan, the New York Intellectuals, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Safran Foer-Benjamin Schreier shows how texts resist the historicist expectation that self-evident Jewish populations are represented in and recoverable from them. Through ornate, scabrous, funny polemics, Schreier draws the lines of relation between Jewish American literary study and American studies, multiethnic studies, critical theory, and Jewish Studies formations. He maintains that a Jewish Studies beyond ethnicity is essential for a viable future of Jewish literary study.
It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance against destruction, of creativity in oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life against the steepest of odds. It spans the millennia and the continents - from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain. Within these pages, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with spice and gems founder at sea. And a great story unfolds. Not - as often imagined - of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians. Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.
View the Table of Contents "Nadell makes explicit the diverse roles
and experiences of Jewish women in the United States."
"Historians...who have heretofore not taken notice...of the
scholarship on Jewish women would benefit the most from perusing
"Anyone wanting an interesting read will find the information
presented by these women lively, well written, and well
"This is a very interesting, well-written and well-researched
"This anthology conveys the breadth of the historical
experiences of American Jewish women."
"An impressive compendium of essays, "American Jewish Women's
History" paints a broad and diverse portrait of American Jewish
women. Written by some of the most incisive historians of the
American Jewish community, the chapters examine Jewish women in
many different venues: the home and the marketplace, religious and
secular institutions, and picket lines and cultural
"It's a thought-provoking book that should be read by women and
"The essays Nadell has collected highlight the diversity of the
American Jewish women whose identities over time and place were
shaped by the interplay of complex forces.... And they demonstrate,
too, that the history of American Jewish women is finally being
accorded its own 'room' within the house of women's history."
"It gives me a secret pleasure to observe the fair character our family has inthe place by Jews & Christians," Abigail Levy Franks wrote to her son from New York City in 1733. Abigail was part of a tiny community of Jews living in the new world. In the centuries that followed, as that community swelled to several millions, women came to occupy diverse and changing roles.
American Jewish Women's History, an anthology covering colonial times to the present, illuminates that historical diversity. It shows women shaping Judaism and their American Jewish communities as they engaged in volunteer activities and political crusades, battled stereotypes, and constructed relationships with their Christian neighbors. It ranges from Rebecca Gratz's development of the Jewish Sunday School in Philadelphia in 1838 to protest the rising prices of kosher meat at the turn of the century, to the shaping of southern Jewish women's cultural identity through food. There is currently no other reader conveying the breadth of the historical experiences of American Jewish women available.
The reader is divided into four sections complete with detailed introductions. The contributors include: Joyce Antler, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Alice Kessler-Harris, Paula E. Hyman, Riv-Ellen Prell, and Jonathan D. Sarna.
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.
Joseph Smith, Jr, founder of the Mormon movement, and George J Adams, one of his least known followers -- two Gentile dreamers of Zion -- were instrumental in encouraging Jews and Christians to support the restoration of Israel. For Joseph Smith, Jewish responsibility for establishing Zion had not been forfeited or terminated. It was continuous: the Jews would return as Jews; they would rebuild Jerusalem as Jews. In his view, neither the denigration of Jews, so often characteristic of Christianity, nor supersession by the Church, was tenable. According to Josephs perception of the Scriptures, and his own prophetic insights, there are to be two strategic centres -- Zion at historical Jerusalem, and Zion in a New Jerusalem in the heartland of America. He believed that a renewed Israel and a church, restored to its primal purpose, shared a mandate to body forth in society the dream of the Kingdom of God. He called this dream the cause of Zion, which became a major emphasis of the Mormon movement. Adams, separated from the Mormons following the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844, founded his own Church of the Messiah. Most of his congregations were in Maine, where he readied his followers for a mission as the "Children of Ephraim", which he explicated with persuasive skill from the Old Testament. Later he led 156 of his followers to found an agricultural and commercial colony in Jaffa, Israel. This book explains the rejection by Smith and Adams of "normal" Christian replacement theology and sets out the apologetics by which Smith and Adams promoted courage and conviction in all who joined them in encouraging the in-gathering of the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.
This pioneering handbook is presenting Israel in its intellectual controversies regarding Zionism, the making of the State of Israel and contemporary Israeli society. In more than a dozen of thematic sections, a wide range of perspectives is covered. Among the debated key topics are "Israel and Democracy," "Religion and State," and "Zionism vs. Post-Zionism." The Handbook constitutes a major reference work for anyone dealing with Israel.
In 1980, an entire body of Jewish literature - the physical remnant of Yiddish culture - was on the verge of extinction. Precious volumes that had survived Hitler and Stalin were being passed down from older generations of Jewish immigrants to their non-Yiddish speaking children only to be discarded or destroyed. A twenty-three-year-old student named Aaron Lansky set out to rescue the world's abandoned Yiddish books before it was too late. Outwitting History is an adventure tale filled with unforgettable characters and told with the exhuberence of a man whose passion led him from house to house, country to country, collecting treasured books and heartfelt, often hilarious stories of the vibrant intellectual world these older Jews inhabited. Lansky and a team of young volunteers shlepped books from various attics and basements, demolition sites and dumpsters, while schmoozing with their owners, who insisted on feeding them a little nosh - gefilte fish, kasha, blintzes, latkes, kigel - before handing over, one book at a time, their beloved literary heritage. When Lansky started out, experts believed that fewer than 70,000 Yiddish-language books still existed, he has now saved over 1.5 million books. As he takes us along on his groundbreaking journey, Lansky explores the roots of the Yiddish language and introduces us to the brilliant Yiddish writers - from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem to Issac Bashevis Singer - whose lasting cultural relevance is evident on every page.
In 70 CE, the Jews were an agrarian and illiterate people living mostly in the Land of Israel and Mesopotamia. By 1492 the Jewish people had become a small group of literate urbanites specializing in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine in hundreds of places across the Old World, from Seville to Mangalore. What caused this radical change? "The Chosen Few "presents a new answer to this question by applying the lens of economic analysis to the key facts of fifteen formative centuries of Jewish history. Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein offer a powerful new explanation of one of the most significant transformations in Jewish history while also providing fresh insights into the growing debate about the social and economic impact of religion.
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.
That Gad Beck, a Jew in the Berlin of Nazi Germany, lived through the Holocaust at all is surprising. The fact that he lived it as a homosexual Jew who spent the entire war funnelling food, money and clothing to hidden Jews and helping smuggle others out of the country is amazing. It was love that gave him both the impetus and the strength to fight. The rise of National Socialism was tearing his family apart, destroying his school, thwarting his dream of emigration to Israel. Then the Nazis came for Manfred Lewin, Beck's first love, and for his family. Gad's love for Manfred gave him the courage to don a three-sizes-too-large Hitler Youth uniform, march into the transit camp where the Lewins were being held, and demand - and obtain, to his astonishment - the release of his lover. But Manfred would not leave without his family, and so went back into the camp. The Lewins did not survive. Coming of age as a gay man during the war and maintaining a series of romantic relationships while carrying on his resistance work, Beck reveals a tenacity and irrepressible spirit that is his real legacy. His determination to keep loving, living and believing in every human possibility without compromise - even in the face of the unthinkably monstrous - makes this quite a different story of the Holocaust.
The Israeli regime is a paradox. Considered a democracy, it has no recognized borders and controls the majority of Palestinians by military rule, while the resistance of non-citizen Palestinians exerts major influence over politics and policies.
Drawing on detailed academic research and a broad knowledge of Israeli politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this book narrates and analyzes the political developments of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the conflict with Hezbollah and Hamas, explaining the dangers to future negotiations and how hopes for a settlement have been dashed by the ongoing violence. The author explores the internal Israel and Palestinian politics, showing how they influence the conflict and explaining the central role of military organizations in shaping the relations towards the other nation. With particular relevance to current events, he analyzes the Unilateral Disengagement from Gaza and the second Lebanon War, which account for the deterioration into the present violence and political crisis, explaining the need for international mediation in order to reach a peace agreement and suggesting a new innovative model for future Israeli-Palestinian relations.
A leading historian argues that historically Jews were more often voluntary migrants than involuntary refugees For millennia, Jews and non-Jews alike have viewed forced population movement as a core aspect of the Jewish experience. This involuntary Jewish wandering has been explained by pre-modern Jews and Christians as divine punishment, by some modern non-Jews as the result of Jewish harmfulness, by some modern Jews as fostered by Christian anti-Jewish imagery, and by other modern Jews as caused by misguided Jewish acceptance of minority status. In this absorbing book, Robert Chazan explores these various perspectives and argues that pre-modern Jewish population movement was in most cases voluntary, the result of a sense among Jews that there were alternatives available for making a better life elsewhere.
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