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A story of the impossible choices of vulnerable individuals living under the Third Reich and the blurred boundaries between victim, bystander, and accomplice.
The Jewish Journey is unique in three respects. First, it is a short, accessible, affordable and illustrated history of the Jewish people. Most books of this kind are heavy, unwieldy, expensive coffee-table books. Secondly, the book is absolutely unique in highlighting Jewish objects from the standing collection of a world-renowned public museum. Jewish history is more normally confined to dedicated Jewish museums. This book breaks new ground by showing Jewish history in its wider historical, social and cultural context, and presents objects that reflect on daily life over the centuries, e.g. family, marriage, trade and travel, rather than the much more common depictions of artefacts for sacred and religious use. Thirdly, the Jewish significance of these particular 22 objects has until now been overlooked. This book draws them together for the first time to tell their specifically Jewish story, highlighting both the distinctive features of Jewish experience and the long history of close interaction with other cultures and religions. The 22 objects include pottery, coins, jewellery, household artefacts, sacred items, musical instruments and paintings.Together they bring to life the experiences of the real men and women who owned, made and used them, from kings, courtiers and scholars to guerrilla fighters, musicians and market stall holders. Individually and collectively, the objects vividly document dark periods of persecution and forced migration, whilst highlighting the astonishing resilience and diversity of Jewish life, revealing centuries of two-way interaction with many other cultures and religions. Through the histories of each of the objects, the reader is guided on a double journey. One path leads through the galleries of the Ashmolean; the other accompanies the Jewish people across the centuries. The Jewish Journey brings to light for the first time the amazing Jewish treasures in the Ashmolean Museum, explaining their specifically Jewish significance in a direct, accessible style for the general reader.
Examining the entire span of Jewish history by focusing on thirty pivotal moments in the Jewish people's experience from biblical times through the present-essentially the most important events in the life of the Jewish people-Turning Points in Jewish History provides "the big picture": both a broad and a deep understanding of the Jewish historical experience. Zeroing in on eight turning points in the biblical period, four in Hellenistic-Roman times, five in the Middle Ages, and thirteen in modernity, Marc J. Rosenstein elucidates each formative event with a focused history, a timeline, a primary text with commentary as an intimate window into the period, and a discussion of its legacy for subsequent generations. Along the way he candidly analyzes various controversies and schisms arising from Judaism's encounters with power, powerlessness, exile, messianism, rationalism, mysticism, catastrophe, modernity, nationalism, feminism, and more. The book's thirty distinct and logically connected events lend themselves to a full course or to customized classes on specific turning points. Discussion questions for every chapter (some in print, more online) facilitate reflection and continuing conversation.
This brilliant analysis of American Judaism in the last half of the 20th century won the 1993-94 National Jewish Book Award for the best book on contemporary Jewry and also was named an Outstanding Book of 1993 by Choice. Jack Wertheimer examines how fundamental changes in American society have affected Jewish religious and communal life, paying special attention to contradictions and schisms that threaten the integrity of American Jewish practices and beliefs. A People Divided remains an essential primer for anyone interested in the ongoing debate about what constitutes Jewishness and who is a Jew.
Jacob Katz presents the developing interrelationship between Jews and their Gentile environment as a whole, from both Jewish and non-Jewish points of view. If the results of the Jewish emancipation process differed from country to country, the forces effecting the changes were identical -- the upheaval of the French Revolution, the loosening of bonds between church and state, and the ideas of the Enlightenment. It was those humanistic ideas that made impossible the Jews' transition from the ghetto to partial inclusion in society at large and that attracted Jewish intellectuals to the "secular knowledge" of languages, mathematics, philosophy, and the wider world beyond their ancient learning.
This superb and highly nuanced study traces the development and ramifications of the ideology of Zionism from its roots in Europe to its full flowering in the establishment of the State of Israel. Gideon Shimoni begins by carefully outlining the social origins of Zionism, including its debt to European nationalism and its subsequent emergence in the 1880s, precipitated by the pogroms in the Russian Empire. He then describes the various streams of Zionist thought and how they were transmogrified by events and individuals, and concludes by examining both Zionism's connection with a secular Jewish identity and the nature of the Jewish claim to Eretz Israel. Throughout this comprehensive survey of the interplay of historical events, ideas, and personalities, Shimoni finds and follows Zionism's common thread: the underlying axiom "that the Jews are a single, distinctive, entity possessing national, not just religious, attributes".
In Socialism of Fools, Michele Battini focuses on the critical moment during the Enlightenment in which anti-Jewish stereotypes morphed into a sophisticated, modern social anti-Semitism. He recovers the potent anti-Jewish, anticapitalist propaganda that cemented the idea of a Jewish conspiracy in the European mind and connects it to the atrocities that characterized the Jewish experience in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Beginning in the eighteenth century, counter-Enlightenment intellectuals and intransigent Catholic writers singled out Jews for conspiring to exploit self-sustaining markets and the liberal state. These ideas spread among socialist and labor movements in the nineteenth century and intensified during the Long Depression of the 1870s. Anti-Jewish anticapitalism then migrated to the Habsburg Empire with the Christian Social Party; to Germany with the Anti-Semitic Leagues; to France with the nationalist movements; and to Italy, where Revolutionary Syndicalists made anti-Jewish anticapitalism the basis of an alliance with the nationalists. Exemplified best in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous document that "leaked" Jewish plans to conquer the world, the Jewish-conspiracy myth inverts reality and creates a perverse relationship to historical and judicial truth. Isolating the intellectual roots of this phenomenon and its contemporary resonances, Battini shows us why, so many decades after the Holocaust, Jewish people continue to be a powerful political target.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935) was the first Ashkenazic
chief rabbi of mandatory Palestine. Admired for the incredible
diversity of his talents and interests--talmudist, halakhist,
kabbalist, mystic, theologian, moralist, poet, and communal
leader--Rav Kook's world outlook extolled breadth and derided
narrow specialization. More than any other Orthodox thinker in
modern times, he addressed, squarely and boldly, the confrontation
between Judaism and the modern world. Kook serves as a natural
model to those Jews who seek a religious understanding of and
response to the culture and politics of the modern age.
No work has informed Jewish life and history more than the Talmud. This unique and vast collection of teachings and traditions contains within it the intellectual output of hundreds of Jewish sages who considered all aspects of an entire people's life from the Hellenistic period in Palestine (c. 315 B.C.E.) until the end of the Sassanian era in Babylonia (615 C.E.). This volume adds the insights of modern talmudic scholarship and criticism to the growing number of more traditionally oriented works that seek to open the talmudic heritage and tradition to contemporary readers. These central essays provide a taste of the myriad ways in which talmudic study can intersect with such diverse disciplines as economics, history, ethics, law, literary criticism, and philosophy.
Contributors: Baruch Micah Bokser, Boaz Cohen, Ari Elon, Meyer S. Feldblum, Louis Ginzberg, Abraham Goldberg, Robert Goldenberg, Heinrich Graetz, Louis Jacobs, David Kraemer, Geoffrey B. Levey, Aaron Levine, Saul Lieberman, Jacob Neusner, Nahum Rakover, and David Weiss-Halivni.
Facing the dizzying array of changes commonly referred to as modernity, Jews in 19th-century Eastern Europe and early 20th-century America reflected the crises and opportunities of the modern world most eloquently in their speech, culture, and literature. Relying on those spoken and written words as eyewitnesses, Eli Lederhendler illustrates how the self- perceptions of Jews evolved, both in the Old World and among immigrants to America. He focuses on a wide range of subjects to provide an overview of this clash between old and new and to reveal ways in which cultural conflicts were reconciled.
How, for instance, was messianic language adapted to serve nationalistic goals? What did America signify to Jewish thinkers at the turn of the century? What do Jewish user's guides to the New World tell us about Jewish secular culture and its perspective on sex, love, marriage, etiquette, and health? More generally, what do Jewish letters and literature tell us about how communities adapt to radically new environments?
"Jewish Responses to Modernity" highlights the manner in which codes and symbols are passed from one generation to the next, reinforcing a group's sense of self and helping to define its relations with other. The book clearly demonstrates the importance of language as a vehicle for minority-group self-expression in the past and in the present.
The evocative and riveting stories of four brothers-Gershom the Zionist, Werner the Communist, Reinhold the nationalist, and Erich the liberal-weave together in The Scholems, a biography of an eminent middle-class Jewish Berlin family and a social history of the Jews in Germany in the decades leading up to World War II. Across four generations, Jay Howard Geller illuminates the transformation of traditional Jews into modern German citizens, the challenges they faced, and the ways that they shaped the German-Jewish century, beginning with Prussia's emancipation of the Jews in 1812 and ending with exclusion and disenfranchisement under the Nazis. Focusing on the renowned philosopher and Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem and his family, their story beautifully draws out the rise and fall of bourgeois life in the unique subculture that was Jewish Berlin. Geller portrays the family within a much larger context of economic advancement, the adoption of German culture and debates on Jewish identity, struggles for integration into society, and varying political choices during the German Empire, World War I, the Weimar Republic, and the Nazi era. What Geller discovers, and unveils for the reader, is a fascinating portal through which to view the experience of the Jewish middle class in Germany.
Jewish drama and theatre has followed a tortuous path from extreme rabbinical intolerance to eventual secular liberalism, with its openness to the heritages of both Judaism as a culture and prominent foreign cultures, to the extent of multicultural integration. No wonder, therefore, that since biblical times until the seventeenth century there are only examples of tangential theatre practices. This initial intolerance, shared by the Church, was rooted in pagan connotations of theatre rather than in the neutral nature of the theatre medium, capable of formulating and communicating contrasting thoughts. Whereas by the tenth century the Church understood that theatre could be harnessed to its own ends, Jewish theatre was only created seven centuries later through spontaneous and amateurish theatrical practices, such as the Yiddish purim-shpil and the purim-rabbi. Due to their carnivalesque and cathartic nature these practices were tolerated by the rabbinical establishment, albeit only during the Purim holiday. But as a result, Jewish drama and theatre were created and emerged despite rabbinical antagonism. Under the influence of the Jewish Enlightenment, Yiddish-speaking theatres were increasingly established, a trend that became central in the cultural enterprise of the Jews in Israel. This process involved a renewed use of Hebrew as a spoken language, and the transition from a profound religious identity to a secular Jewish one, characterised by a basic liberalism to the extent of openness to cultures traditionally perceived as archetypal enemies of Judaism. This book sets out to analyse play-scripts and performance-texts produced in the Israeli theatre in order to illustrate these trends, and concludes that only a liberal society can bring about the full realisation of theatres potentialities.
"An acknowledged classic. Katz has transformed our conception of
Jewish history from the 16th to the 18th century. Because of his
work, we now understand that the ghetto was no longer sealed off at
that time from outside opinions and that the movement towards
modernity had begun long before the Jews were actually legally
emancipated. Making this work available again in the revised
edition is a service to scholarship and to public
"Since it first appeared in Hebrew in 1958, "Tradition and
Crisis" has had a tremendous impact on generations of students and
scholars. Katz's innovative use of sources has introduced scholars
to new methodologies and opened new vistas for research. This new,
unabridged translation is therefore highly welcome. It will ensure
its continued use in the English-speaking world."
"Like a lovingly restored painting, Bernard Cooperman's new,
annotated translation of Jacob Katz's classic portrait of early
Jewish modernity can now be fully appreciated for the first time.
An admirable achievement."
When it first appeared in Hebrew in 1958 and in English in 1961, Tradition and Crisis, Jacob Katz's groundbreaking study of Jewish society at the end of the Middle Ages, dramatically changed our perceptions of the Jewish community prior to the era of modernity. This new, unabridged translation by Bernard Dov Cooperman makes this classic available to new generations of students and scholars, together with Katz's original source notes, and an afterword and an updating bibliographic appendix by Professor Cooperman.
Katz revolutionized the field by tapping into a rich and hitherto unexplored source for reconstructing the sociology of a previous era: the responsa literature of the Rabbinic establishment during the Middle Ages. The self-governing communities of Jews in Europe dealt with issues both civil and religious. The questions and answers addressed to the rabbinic authorities and courts provide an incomparable wealth of insights into life as it was lived in this period and into the social, historical, cultural, and economic issues of the day.
How did European Jewry progress from a socially and culturally segregated society to become a component of European society at large? What were Jewish attitudes toward the Gentile world from which Jewry had been secluded for centuries? What were the bridges from the old to the new era?
Tradition and Crisis traces the roots of modernity to internal
developments within the communities themselves. Katz traces the
modern movements of the Haskalah (Enlightenment) in the West and
Hasidism in the East, to an internal breakdown in the structure of
these communities and the emergence of an alternative leadership in
the wake of the Sabbatian challenge.
During the course of her fieldwork in Paris, anthropologist
Kimberly Arkin heard what she thought was a surprising admission. A
French-born, North African Jewish (Sephardi) teenage girl
laughingly told Arkin she was a racist. When asked what she meant
by that, the girl responded, "It means I hate Arabs."
A new 30th Anniversary paperback edition of an award-winning classic.
Winner of the National Book Award, 1976
World of Our Fathers traces the story of Eastern Europe's Jews to America over four decades. Beginning in the 1880s, it offers a rich portrayal of the East European Jewish experience in New York, and shows how the immigrant generation tried to maintain their Yiddish culture while becoming American. It is essential reading for those interested in understanding why these forebears to many of today's American Jews made the decision to leave their homelands, the challenges these new Jewish Americans faced, and how they experienced every aspect of immigrant life in the early part of the twentieth century.
This invaluable contribution to Jewish literature and culture is now back in print in a new paperback edition, which includes a new foreword by noted author and literary critic Morris Dickstein.
Winner of the J. Russell Major Prize, American Historical Association Winner of the David H. Pinkney Prize, Society for French Historical Studies Winner of the JDC-Herbert Katzki Award, National Jewish Book AwardsWinner of the American Library in Paris Book Award A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year Headlines from France suggest that Muslims have renewed an age-old struggle against Jews and that the two groups are once more inevitably at odds. But the past tells a different story. The Burdens of Brotherhood is a sweeping history of Jews and Muslims in France from World War I to the present. "Katz has uncovered fascinating stories of interactions between Muslims and Jews in France and French colonial North Africa over the past 100 years that defy our expectations...His insights are absolutely relevant for understanding such recent trends as rising anti-Semitism among French Muslims, rising Islamophobia among French Jews and, to a lesser degree, rising rates of aliyah from France." -Lisa M. Leff, Haaretz "Katz has written a compelling, important, and timely history of Jewish/Muslim relations in France since 1914 that investigates the ways and venues in which Muslims and Jews interacted in metropolitan France...This insightful, well-researched, and elegantly written book is mandatory reading for scholars of the subject and for those approaching it for the first time." -J. Haus, Choice
Antisemitism, as hatred of Jews and Judaism, has been a central problem of Western civilization for millennia, and its history continues to invite debate. This Very Short Introduction untangles the history of the phenomenon, from ancient religious conflict to 'new' antisemitism in the 21st century. Steven Beller reveals how Antisemitism grew as a political and ideological movement in the 19th century, how it reached its dark apogee in the worst genocide in modern history - the Holocaust - and how Antisemitism still persists around the world today. In the new edition of this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Beller brings his examination of this complex and still controversial issue up to date with a discussion of Antisemitism in light of the 2008 financial crash, the Arab Spring, and the on-going crisis between Israel and Palestine. 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.
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.
There have been many amazing heroes down through the ages. The achievements of American heroes like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln certainly resonate, but how many heroes of Jewish heritage come to mind? Each of the eleven Jewish heroes presented in this volume, some famous and others less so, overcame tremendous challenges to achieve greatness, persevering through their faith in God and belief in freedom and human dignity. Queen Esther maintained her traditions in the house of Ahasuerus for nine years while also hiding her true origins, and then orchestrated the salvation of the Jewish Persians at great personal risk. When urgent funding was needed for the Continental Army in 1781, General George Washington turned to none other than a financial genius named Haym Salomon. Felix Zandman survived World War II as a teenager by living with three others in a pit for seventeen months, and then went on to graduate from the Sorbonne and found a company that was innovational in the world of electronics and communication. Our heroes many feats and great accomplishments, and their dedication to freedom and its ideals, are truly amazing, and their stories stand the test of time.
A timely analysis of the new antisemitism, by the historian who defeated Holocaust denier David Irving in court.
What is antisemitism? Does it come from the right or the left? Is anti-Zionism the same as antisemitism? Are there different kinds of antisemites? And what can be done to combat this extremely damaging racist ideology?
Antisemitism has been on the rise worldwide for the last ten years. From violent white-nationalist protests in Charlottesville, USA, to attacks on synagogues across Europe and the US, and from the targeting of Jewish students at American universities to the antisemitism row raging in the British Labour Party, does this resurgence of anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence mark a return to the brutality of the 1930s?
In this penetrating and provocative analysis, Deborah Lipstadt connects distinct currents in contemporary culture, such as the resurgence of racist right-wing nationalisms, left-liberal tolerance of hostility to Jews, the plight of the Palestinians, and the rise of Islamic extremism, to explore how contradictory forces have found common scapegoats.
Lucid and convincing, Antisemitism will calm the fearful, rouse the complacent, and demand a response from readers.
Jews have long seen the interwar years as a "golden age" for Polish Jewry and hold it in special reverence because of the community's heroic struggle against the encroaching darkness of antisemitism. During the years 1918 to 1939, Polish Jews constituted the largest Jewish community in noncommunist Europe and were the leading cultural and political force in the Jewish Diaspora. In this volume distinguished American, West European, Israeli, and Polish scholars combine forces to explore the politics, antisemitism, economic and social life, religious patterns, and cultural creativity of a period whose relevance is heightened because of current changes under way in Eastern Europe.
Touted as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," the Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the city's incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval that compelled Salonica's Jews to reimagine their community and status as citizens of a nation-state. Jewish Salonica is the first book to tell the story of this tumultuous transition through the voices and perspectives of Salonican Jews as they forged a new place for themselves in Greek society. Devin E. Naar traveled the globe, from New York to Salonica, Jerusalem, and Moscow, to excavate archives once confiscated by the Nazis. Written in Ladino, Greek, French, and Hebrew, these archives, combined with local newspapers, reveal how Salonica's Jews fashioned a new hybrid identity as Hellenic Jews during a period marked by rising nationalism and economic crisis as well as unprecedented Jewish cultural and political vibrancy. Salonica's Jews-Zionists, assimilationists, and socialists-reinvigorated their connection to the city and claimed it as their own until the Holocaust. Through the case of Salonica's Jews, Naar recovers the diverse experiences of a lost religious, linguistic, and national minority at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East.
Today the Borscht Belt is recalled through the nostalgic lens of summer swims, Saturday night dances, and comedy performances. But its current state, like that of many other formerly glorious regions, is nothing like its earlier status. Forgotten about and exhausted, much of its structural environment has been left to decay. The Borscht Belt, which features essays by Stefan Kanfer and Jenna Weissman Joselit, presents Marisa Scheinfeld's photographs of abandoned sites where resorts, hotels, and bungalow colonies once boomed in the Catskill Mountain region of upstate New York.
The book assembles images Scheinfeld has shot inside and outside locations that once buzzed with life as year-round havens for generations of people. Some of the structures have been lying abandoned for periods ranging from four to twenty years, depending on the specific hotel or bungalow colony and the conditions under which it closed. Other sites have since been demolished or repurposed, making this book an even more significant documentation of a pivotal era in American Jewish history.
The Borscht Belt presents a contemporary view of more than forty hotel and bungalow sites. From entire expanses of abandoned properties to small lots containing drained swimming pools, the remains of the Borscht Belt era now lie forgotten, overgrown, and vacant. In the absence of human activity, nature has reclaimed the sites, having encroached upon or completely overtaken them. Many of the interiors have been vandalized or marked by paintball players and graffiti artists. Each ruin lies radically altered by the elements and effects of time. Scheinfeld s images record all of these developments.
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