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A memoir of coming of age and struggling to leave the USSR. Shrayer chronicles the triumphs and humiliations of a Soviet childhood and expresses the dreams and fears of a Jewish family that never gave up its hopes for a better life.
A story of a young Jewish girl's coming of age during the tragic years of the Holocaust.
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.
This book tells the story of the Jewish community, of its individuals and its groups, who contributed to the First World War. It describes the experiences of some of those who served and the impact the war had on the community and its members, and explores some of the uniquely Jewish experiences and questions that the war raised: for example, how do you stay kosher on the front line? In August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. Immediately following the declaration, an appeal went out for volunteers to join the army. Despite a huge global empire and large navy, Britain had a small professional army. The Jewish communities of Britain stepped up in response, providing well over 40,000 men for the forces and thousands more for activities on the home front. The Jewish community was a small ethnic-religious minority but one that was prepared to stand up and be counted. The stories and experiences of Britain's Jewry and the First World War is the story of how a community often viewed as outsiders became very much entwined with British society. This book shows how British society and culture became very much a part of the Anglo-Jewish experience and identity.
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.
Philosophers have long struggled to reconcile Martin Heidegger's involvement in Nazism with his status as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. The recent publication of his Black Notebooks has reignited fierce debate on the subject. These thousand-odd pages of jotted observations profoundly challenge our image of the quiet philosopher's exile in the Black Forest, revealing the shocking extent of his anti-Semitism for the first time. For much of the philosophical community, the Black Notebooks have been either used to discredit Heidegger or seen as a bibliographical detail irrelevant to his thought. Yet, in this new book, renowned philosopher Donatella Di Cesare argues that Heidegger's "metaphysical anti-Semitism" was a central part of his philosophical project. Within the context of the Nuremberg race laws, Heidegger felt compelled to define Jewishness and its relationship to his concept of Being. Di Cesare shows that Heidegger saw the Jews as the agents of a modernity that had disfigured the spirit of the West. In a deeply disturbing extrapolation, he presented the Holocaust as both a means for the purification of Being and the Jews' own "self-destruction": a process of death on an industrialized scale that was the logical conclusion of the acceleration in technology they themselves had brought about. Situating Heidegger's anti-Semitism firmly within the context of his thought, this groundbreaking work will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and history as well as the many readers interested in Heidegger's life, work, and legacy.
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.
Lately, it seems as if we wake up to a new atrocity each day. Every morning is now a ritual of scrolling through our Twitter feeds or scanning our newspapers for the latest updates on fresh horrors around the globe. Despite the countless protests we attend, the phone calls we make, or the streets we march, it sometimes feels like no matter how hard we fight, the relentless crush of injustice will never abate. David Shulman knows intimately what it takes to live your beliefs, to return, day after day, to the struggle, despite knowing you are often more likely to lose than win. Interweaving powerful stories and deep meditations, Freedom and Despair offers vivid firsthand reports from the occupied West Bank in Palestine as seen through the eyes of an experienced Israeli peace activist who has seen the Israeli occupation close up as it impacts on the lives of all Palestinian civilians. Alongside a handful of beautifully written and often shocking tales from the field, Shulman meditates deeply on how to understand the evils around him, what it means to persevere as an activist decade after decade, and what it truly means to be free. The violent realities of the occupation are on full display. We get to know and understand the Palestinian shepherds and farmers and Israeli volunteers who face this situation head-on with nonviolent resistance. Shulman does not hold back on acknowledging the daily struggles that often leave him and his fellow activists full of despair. Inspired by these committed individuals who are not prepared to be silent or passive, Shulman suggests a model for ordinary people everywhere. Anyone prepared to take a risk and fight their oppressive political systems, he argues, can make a difference-if they strive to act with compassion and to keep hope alive. This is the moving story of a man who continues to fight for good in the midst of despair. An indispensable book in our era of reactionary politics and refugee crises, political violence and ecological devastation, Freedom and Despair is a gripping memoir of struggle, activism, and hope for peace.
Recent scholarship has brought to light the existence of a dynamic world of specifically Jewish forms of literature in the nineteenth century--fiction by Jews, about Jews, and often designed largely for Jews. This volume makes this material accessible to English speakers for the first time, offering a selection of Jewish fiction from France, Great Britain, and the German-speaking world. The stories are remarkably varied, ranging from historical fiction to sentimental romance, to social satire, but they all engage with key dilemmas including assimilation, national allegiance, and the position of women. Offering unique insights into the hopes and fears of Jews experiencing the dramatic impact of modernity, the literature collected in this book will provide compelling reading for all those interested in modern Jewish history and culture, whether general readers, students, or scholars.
A groundbreaking historical reexamination of one of the most infamous episodes in the history of anti-Semitism Joseph Suss Oppenheimer--"Jew Suss"--is one of the most iconic figures in the history of anti-Semitism. In 1733, Oppenheimer became the "court Jew" of Carl Alexander, the duke of the small German state of Wurttemberg. When Carl Alexander died unexpectedly, the Wurttemberg authorities arrested Oppenheimer, put him on trial, and condemned him to death for unspecified "misdeeds." On February 4, 1738, Oppenheimer was hanged in front of a large crowd just outside Stuttgart. He is most often remembered today through several works of fiction, chief among them a vicious Nazi propaganda movie made in 1940 at the behest of Joseph Goebbels. The Many Deaths of Jew Suss is a compelling new account of Oppenheimer's notorious trial. Drawing on a wealth of rare archival evidence, Yair Mintzker investigates conflicting versions of Oppenheimer's life and death as told by four contemporaries: the leading inquisitor in the criminal investigation, the most important eyewitness to Oppenheimer's final days, a fellow court Jew who was permitted to visit Oppenheimer on the eve of his execution, and one of Oppenheimer's earliest biographers. What emerges is a lurid tale of greed, sex, violence, and disgrace--but are these narrators to be trusted? Meticulously reconstructing the social world in which they lived, and taking nothing they say at face value, Mintzker conjures an unforgettable picture of "Jew Suss" in his final days that is at once moving, disturbing, and profound. The Many Deaths of Jew Suss is a masterfully innovative work of history, and an illuminating parable about Jewish life in the fraught transition to modernity.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the holocaust in Hungary renowned photographer Iren Acs collected photographs from her birth place of Szecseny and told her own story of a Jewish childhood in the Hungarian countryside to author Julia Levendel. 'Keep it Safe!' is a moving document of a lost world and a fascinating example of the possibilities of found photographs when accompanied by an appropriate commentary.
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 unique literary study of Yiddish children's periodicals casts new light on secular Yiddish schools in America in the first half of the twentieth century. Rejecting the traditional religious education of the Talmud Torahs and congregational schools, these Yiddish schools chose Yiddish itself as the primary conduit of Jewish identity and culture. Four Yiddish school networks emerged, which despite their political and ideological differences were all committed to propagating the Yiddish language, supporting social justice, and preparing their students for participation in both Jewish and American culture. Focusing on the Yiddish children's periodicals produced by the Labor Zionist Farband, the secular Sholem Aleichem schools, the socialist Workmen's Circle, and the Ordn schools of the Communist-aligned International Workers Order, Naomi Kadar shows how secular immigrant Jews sought to pass on their identity and values as they prepared their youth to become full-fledged Americans.
What do Jews think scripture is? How do the People of the Book conceive of the Book of Books? In what ways is it authoritative? Who has the right to interpret it? Is it divinely or humanly written? And have Jews always thought about the Bible in the same way? In seventeen cohesive and rigorously researched essays, this volume traces the way some of the most important Jewish thinkers throughout history have addressed these questions from the rabbinic era through the medieval Islamic world to modern Jewish scholarship. They address why different Jewish thinkers, writers, and communities have turned to the Bible--and what they expect to get from it. Ultimately, argues editor Benjamin D. Sommer, in understanding the ways Jews construct scripture, we begin to understand the ways Jews construct themselves.
What does it mean to be a Jew in the twenty-first century? Exploring the multifaceted and intensely complicated characteristics of this age-old, ever-changing community, Judaisms examines how Jews are a culture, ethnicity, nation, nationality, race, religion, and more. With each chapter revolving around a single theme (Narratives, Sinais, Zions, Messiahs, Laws, Mysticisms, Cultures, Movements, Genocides, Powers, Borders, and Futures) this introductory textbook interrogates and broadens readers' understandings of Jewish communities. Written for a new mode of teaching-one that recognizes the core role that identity formation plays in our lives-this book weaves together alternative and marginalized voices to illustrate how Jews have always been in the process of reshaping their customs, practices, and beliefs. Judaisms is the first book to assess and summarize Jewish history from the time of the Hebrew Bible through today using multiple perspectives. Ideal for classroom use, Judaisms: provides a synthetic and coherent alternative understanding of Jewish identity for students of all backgrounds; focuses on both the history of and potential futures for physical and ideological survival; includes an array of engaging images, many in color; and, offers extensive online resources including notes, key terms, a timeline of major texts, and chapter-by-chapter activities for teaching.
"The Holocaust in Italian Culture, 1944-2010" is the first major study of how postwar Italy confronted, or failed to confront, the Holocaust. Fascist Italy was the model for Nazi Germany, and Mussolini was Hitler's prime ally in the Second World War. But Italy also became a theater of war and a victim of Nazi persecution after 1943, as resistance, collaboration, and civil war raged. Many thousands of Italians--Jews and others--were deported to concentration camps throughout Europe. After the war, Italian culture produced a vast array of stories, images, and debate through which it came to terms with the Holocaust's difficult legacy. Gordon probes a rich range of cultural material as he paints a picture of this shared encounter with the darkest moment of twentieth-century history. His book explores aspects of Italian national identity and memory, offering a new model for analyzing the interactions between national and international images of the Holocaust.
Chava Rosenfarb (1923-2011) was one of the most prominent Yiddish novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Poland in 1923, she survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, immigrating to Canada in 1950 and settling in Montreal. There she wrote novels, poetry, short stories, plays, and essays, including The Tree of Life: A Trilogy of Life in the Lodz Ghetto, a seminal novel on the Holocaust. Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays comprises thirteen personal and literary essays by Rosenfarb, ranging from autobiographical accounts of her childhood and experiences before and during the Holocaust to literary criticism that discusses the work of other Jewish writers. The collection also includes two travelogues, which recount a trip to Australia and another to Prague in 1993, the year it became the capital of the Czech Republic. While several of these essays appeared in the prestigious Yiddish literary journal Di goldene keyt, most were never translated. This book marks the first time that Rosenfarb's non-fiction writings have been presented together in English. A compilation of the memoir and diary excerpts that formed the basis of Rosenfarb's widely acclaimed fiction, Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays deepens the reader's understanding of an incredible Yiddish woman and her experiences as a survivor in the post-Holocaust world.
Can we remember other people's memories? The Generation of Postmemory argues we can: that memories of traumatic events live on to mark the lives of those who were not there to experience them. Children of survivors and their contemporaries inherit catastrophic histories not through direct recollection but through haunting postmemories--multiply mediated images, objects, stories, behaviors, and affects passed down within the family and the culture at large. In these new and revised critical readings of the literary and visual legacies of the Holocaust and other, related sites of memory, Marianne Hirsch builds on her influential concept of postmemory. The book's chapters, two of which were written collaboratively with the historian Leo Spitzer, engage the work of postgeneration artists and writers such as Art Spiegelman, W.G. Sebald, Eva Hoffman, Tatana Kellner, Muriel Hasbun, Anne Karpff, Lily Brett, Lorie Novak, David Levinthal, Nancy Spero and Susan Meiselas. Grappling with the ethics of empathy and identification, these artists attempt to forge a creative postmemorial aesthetic that reanimates the past without appropriating it. In her analyses of their fractured texts, Hirsch locates the roots of the familial and affiliative practices of postmemory in feminism and other movements for social change. Using feminist critical strategies to connect past and present, words and images, and memory and gender, she brings the entangled strands of disparate traumatic histories into more intimate contact. With more than fifty illustrations, her text enables a multifaceted encounter with foundational and cutting edge theories in memory, trauma, gender, and visual culture, eliciting a new understanding of history and our place in it.
The Sephardic population in the Americas is formed by a large number of small groups, divided according to the communities of origin in the Iberian Peninsula, the Middle East, and North Africa, and dispersed among English-, Spanish-, Portuguese-, and French-speaking societies. While the emigration from the Ottoman Empire that began one hundred years ago resulted in the fragmentation of Sephardic communities, their dynamism allowed them to adapt and survive, striving to retain the old yet gesturing continually to the new. On the threshold of the twenty-first century, these communities became subject to transnational migrations and globalization that called for a new definition of the boundaries between the different Sephardic groups and new interpretations of their culture. In this pioneering collection, Bejarano and Aizenberg provide a vital contribution to the long-neglected study of the Sephardic experience in the Americas. Spanning from the 1908 revolution of the young Turks that motivated migration from the Ottoman Empire to the establishment of new Sephardic centres in South Florida, the editors draw from the fields of history, literature, musicology, and linguistics. Focusing on recent developments such as the growing participation of Sephardim in Jewish politics and the emergence of orthodox trends that challenge separate Sephardic identities, contributors highlight the growing influence of Sephardim on the culture of their respective countries.
Has Jewish modernity exhausted itself? Flourishing between the age of Enlightenment and the Second World War, the intellectual, literary, scientific and artistic legacy of Jewish modernity continues to dazzle us, however, in this provocative new book, esteemed historian Enzo Traverso argues powerfully that this cultural epoch has come to an end. Previously a beacon for critical thinking in the Western world, the mainstream of Jewish thought has, since the end of the war, undergone a conservative turn. With great sensitivity and nuance, Traverso traces this development to the virtual destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis, and the establishment of the United States and Israel as the new poles of Jewish communal life. This is a compelling narrative, hinged upon a highly original discussion of Hannah Arendt's writings on Jewishness and politics. With provocative chapters on the relationship between antisemitism and Islamophobia, the ascendance of Zionism, and the new 'civil religion of the Holocaust', The End of Jewish Modernity is both an elegy to a lost tradition and an intellectual history of the present.
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.
In November 1760, the leaders of the Bevis Marks synagogue in London established a committee to consider how the synagogue should pay homage to King George III, who had just ascended the throne. This committee evolved into what we know today as the Board of Deputies, the representative body of Jews in Britain. This is the first comprehensive history of the Board of Deputies. The history of the Board is about disputes, controversies, factions, responding to crises, protecting Jewish religious observance, and providing the Jewish community with direction and leadership. Author Raphael Langham covers issues such as emancipation, Sunday trading, marriage and divorce laws, combating anti-semitism and fascism, pogroms in Russia, the rise of Zionism, the Holocaust, and Israel. The book concludes by looking back over the last 250 years, thus enabling the reader to answer the question 'Has the Board been good for the Jews?' The book will appeal to the general reader, as well as those interested in Jewish history.
This volume illuminates changes in Israeli society over the past generation. Goldscheider identifies three key social changes that have led to the transformation of Israeli society in the twenty-first century: the massive immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, the economic shift to a high-tech economy, and the growth of socioeconomic inequalities inside Israel. To deepen his analysis of these developments, Goldscheider focuses on ethnicity, religion, and gender, including the growth of ethnic pluralism in Israel, the strengthening of the Ultra-Orthodox community, the changing nature of religious Zionism and secularism, shifts in family patterns, and new issues and challenges between Palestinians and Arab Israelis given the stalemate in the peace process and the expansions of Jewish settlements. Combining demography and social structural analysis, the author draws on the most recent data available from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and other sources to offer scholars and students an innovative guide to thinking about the Israel of the future. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of contemporary Israel, the Middle East, sociology, demography and economic development, as well as policy specialists in these fields. It will serve as a textbook for courses in Israeli history and in the modern Middle East.
* "A provocative study." - Publishers Weekly * "A fascinating, nuanced social history." - Kirkus * "Lively, well-researched, and comprehensive." - Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism * "Imaginatively conceived, fiercely researched, beautifully written." - Stephen J. Whitfield, author In Search of American Jewish Culture * "Groundbreaking study... deftly blends social and cultural history." - Tony Michels, author of A Fire in Their Hearts * "Engrossing and well-written." - Jewish Book Council * "Thoughtful, instructive, and often insightful." - The New York Times Book Review * "A comprehensive look at a little-discussed historical subject." - Jenny Hendrix, Forward * "Fascinating, academically sophisticated, and superbly written." - Tablet Magazine * "Informative and entertaining." - Glen C. Altschuler, San Francisco Chronicle * "Touches on a most important topic... fascinating work." - David Geffen, International Jerusalem Post * "Interesting, anecdotes, facts and figures... charming history to make the reader thirsty for another round." - Evan Rail, Times Literary Supplement "An excellent book... A complex and sophisticated narrative." - Journal of American History
The history of the Jewish people has been a history of migration. Although Jews invariably brought with them their traditional ideas about food during these migrations, just as invariably they engaged with the foods they encountered in their new environments. Their culinary habits changed as a result of both these migrations and the new political and social realities they encountered. The stories in this volume examine the sometimes bewildering kaleidoscope of food experiences generated by new social contacts, trade, political revolutions, wars, and migrations, both voluntary and compelled. This panoramic history of Jewish food highlights its breadth and depth on a global scale from Renaissance Italy to the post-World War II era in Israel, Argentina, and the United States and critically examines the impact of food on Jewish lives and on the complex set of laws, practices, and procedures that constitutes the Jewish dietary system and regulates what can be eaten, when, how, and with whom. Global Jewish Foodways offers a fresh perspective on how historical changes through migration, settlement, and accommodation transformed Jewish food and customs.
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