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We think of the Hebrew Bible as the Book--and yet it was produced by a largely nonliterate culture in which writing, editing, copying, interpretation, and public reading were the work of a professional elite. The scribes of ancient Israel are indeed the main figures behind the Hebrew Bible, and in this book Karel van der Toorn tells their story for the first time. His book considers the Bible in very specific historical terms, as the output of the scribal workshop of the Second Temple active in the period 500-200 BCE. Drawing comparisons with the scribal practices of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, van der Toorn clearly details the methods, the assumptions, and the material means of production that gave rise to biblical texts; then he brings his observations to bear on two important texts, Deuteronomy and Jeremiah.
Traditionally seen as the copycats of antiquity, the scribes emerge here as the literate elite who held the key to the production as well as the transmission of texts. Van der Toorn's account of scribal culture opens a new perspective on the origins of the Hebrew Bible, revealing how the individual books of the Bible and the authors associated with them were products of the social and intellectual world of the scribes. By taking us inside that world, this book yields a new and arresting appreciation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
aCohen breaks new ground by drawing from relatively unstudied
sources: the sermons delivered in nineteenth-century synagogues.a
What the Rabbis Said examines a relatively unexplored facet of the rich social history of nineteenth-century American Jews. Based on sources that have heretofore been largely neglected, it traces the sermons and other public statements of rabbis, both Traditionalists and Reformers, on a host of matters that engaged the Jewish community before 1900.
Reminding the reader of the complexities and diversity that characterized the religious congregations in nineteenth-century America, Cohen offers insight into the primary concerns of both the religious leaders and the laity--full acculturation to American society, modernization of the Jewish religious tradition, and insistence on the recognized equality of a non-Christian minority. She also discusses the evolution of denominationalism with the split between Traditionalism and Reform, the threat of antisemitism, the origins of American Zionism, and interreligious dialogue. The book concludes with a chapter on the professionalization of the rabbinate and the legacy bequeathed to the next century. On all those key issues rabbis spoke out individually or in debates with other rabbis. From the evidence presented, the congregational rabbi emerges as a pioneer, the leader of a congregation, as well as spokesman for the Jews in the larger society, forging an independence from his European counterparts, and laboring for the preservation of the Jewish faith and heritage in an unfamiliar environment.
A groundbreaking history of the practice of Jewish name changing in the 20th century, showcasing just how much is in a name Our thinking about Jewish name changing tends to focus on cliches: ambitious movie stars who adopted glamorous new names or insensitive Ellis Island officials who changed immigrants' names for them. But as Kirsten Fermaglich elegantly reveals, the real story is much more profound. Scratching below the surface, Fermaglich examines previously unexplored name change petitions to upend the cliches, revealing that in twentieth-century New York City, Jewish name changing was actually a broad-based and voluntary behavior: thousands of ordinary Jewish men, women, and children legally changed their names in order to respond to an upsurge of antisemitism. Rather than trying to escape their heritage or "pass" as non-Jewish, most name-changers remained active members of the Jewish community. While name changing allowed Jewish families to avoid antisemitism and achieve white middle-class status, the practice also created pain within families and became a stigmatized, forgotten aspect of American Jewish culture. This first history of name changing in the United States offers a previously unexplored window into American Jewish life throughout the twentieth century. A Rosenberg by Any Other Name demonstrates how historical debates about immigration, antisemitism and race, class mobility, gender and family, the boundaries of the Jewish community, and the power of government are reshaped when name changing becomes part of the conversation. Mining court documents, oral histories, archival records, and contemporary literature, Fermaglich argues convincingly that name changing had a lasting impact on American Jewish culture. Ordinary Jews were forced to consider changing their names as they saw their friends, family, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors do so. Jewish communal leaders and civil rights activists needed to consider name changers as part of the Jewish community, making name changing a pivotal part of early civil rights legislation. And Jewish artists created critical portraits of name changers that lasted for decades in American Jewish culture. This book ends with the disturbing realization that the prosperity Jews found by changing their names is not as accessible for the Chinese, Latino, and Muslim immigrants who wish to exercise that right today.
One of the most respected religious thinkers of our time makes an
impassioned plea for the return of religion to its true purpose--as
a partnership with God in the work of ethical and moral living.
"From the Hardcover edition."
This companion volume to the Jewish New Testament enhances Bible study. Passages and expressions are explained in their original cultural context, the way 1st century Jewish writers meant for them to be understood! Over fifteen years of research and study went into the JNTC to make the New Testament more meaningful!
Anita Diamant's knowledge, sensitivity, and clarity have made her one of the most respected writers of guides to Jewish life. In Saying Kaddish, she shows how to make Judaism's time-honored rituals into personal, meaningful sources of comfort. Diamant guides the reader through Jewish practices that attend the end of life, from the sickroom to the funeral to the week, month, and year that follow. There are chapters describing the traditional Jewish funeral and the customs of Shiva, the first week after death when mourners are comforted and cared for by community, friends, and family. She also explains the protected status of Jewish mourners, who are exempt from responsibilities of social, business, and religious life during Shloshim, the first thirty days. And she provides detailed instructions for the rituals of Yizkor and Yahrzeit, as well as chapters about caring for grieving children, mourning the death of a child, neonatal loss, suicide, and the death of non-Jewish loved ones.
Ever since the first scrolls were found in the Judaean desert in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the subject of passionate speculation and controversy. The possibility that they might challenge assumptions about ancient Judaism and the origins of Christianity, coupled with the extremely limited access imposed for many years, only fueled debate on their meanings. With all the scrolls now available in translation, conclusions can be drawn as to the authorship and origins, their implications for Christianity and Judaism, and their link with the ancient site of Qumran. This book, written by three noted scholars in the field, draws together all the evidence to present a fully illustrated survey of every major manuscript. With numerous factfiles, reconstructions, scroll photographs, and a wealth of other illustrations, it is the most comprehensive and accessible account available on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Sadie and her four little brothers are very poor and always hungry. On the first night of Chanukah, Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a frying pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. Sadie tells her brothers never to use the magic pan, but when she goes out one afternoon, the mischievous boys can't resist. They remember the words to start the pan cooking . . . but what were the words to make it stop? This humorous tale of generosity and greed is accompanied by bright, cheerful illustrations depicting a traditional Russian village. An author's note and a recipe for Sadie's latkes are included.
This superb abridgement and annotated translation of Maimonides' monumental work includes discussions of divine language, the scope and limits of human knowledge, cosmological doctrines concerning the creation or eternity of the world, prophecy and providence, the nature and purpose of divine law, and moral and political philosophy.
Theologian, philosopher, and political radical, Martin Buber
(1878-1965) was actively committed to a fundamental economic and
political reconstruction of society as well as the pursuit of
international peace. In his voluminous writings on Arab-Jewish
relations in Palestine, Buber united his religious and
philosophical teachings with his politics, which he felt were
essential to a life of public dialogue and service to God.
For millennia, two biblical verses have been understood to condemn
sex between men as an act so abhorrent that it is punishable by
death. Traditionally Orthodox Jews, believing the scripture to be
the word of God, have rejected homosexuality in accordance with
this interpretation. In 1999, Rabbi Steven Greenberg challenged
this tradition when he became the first Orthodox rabbi ever to
openly declare his homosexuality.
What's the problem with Messianic Judaism? Stan Telchin, a Messianic Jew and former pastor, explores in depth the heart and soul of Messianic Judaism. He exposes the motive behind its creation, its controversial doctrines, and its ineffectiveness in Jewish evangelism. Messianic Judaism has grown significantly in fewer than four decades. While intended originally to appeal to Jewish people, unexpectedly it appeals also to Gentiles. Telchin, in following the teaching of the apostle Paul, sees Messianic Judaism as divisive. With a firm and loving approach, he addresses the dangers of this movement, reiterates God's intention for his church to serve as "one new man" and, most importantly, advocates unity among the body of believers. Perhaps you're a pastor concerned with the enticing pull of Messianic Judaism on your congregation. Perhaps you've merely wondered about the validity of this movement. Or maybe you're a Gentile who has been made to feel less than worthy. Whatever the reason, if you believe that God sees a difference between Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ, then this book will help you think again. "It took courage for Stan to write so pointedly from his broad and insightful experiences within the Messianic movement. Forthright and comprehensive, these chapters deal with a problem all followers of Jesus face-the desire to be accepted by those who have yet to experience God's transforming love."-Arthur F. Glasser, Ph.D., dean emeritus, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary "What Stan tells you in this book may come as a revelation. Certainly it will be controversial. Questions should arise, and much discussion should be the result."-Moishe Rosen, founder, Jews for Jesus "Whether you agree with everything he says or not, you will find the book interesting and enlightening."-D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., senior minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
View the Table of Contents. Read the Introduction.
aMasterfully weaving together stories of adolescent girls based
on an analysis of their diaries, personal letters, and memoirs,
Klapper illuminates the ways these young women grappled with
contradictory feelings about their friends, family, and
future...This compelling narrative deeply enriches our
understanding of the intertwined roles played by gender, ethnicity,
religion, and education in fostering American identity at the turn
of the century.a
aMelissa R. Klapper has succeeded handsomely in surmounting the
hurdles of her topic to create a coherent narrative of cultural
change. She brings to her subject sensitivity to the stress of
adolescence, mastery of her materials, and genuine affection for
the experience of growing up female, Jewish, and American.a
aDrawing on diaries and magazines, historian Klapper recreates the world of Jewish girls in late 19th- and early 20th-century America. . . . This book's charm lies in its innovative and engaging focus on girlhood. Klapper . . . offers grace notes to a familiar narrative about the tensions between assimilation and tradition.a--"Publishers Weekly"
"Provides a revealing glimpse into the lives of adolescent girls
at the turn of the century. Klapper's exhaustive search for the
diaries of young Jewish women has produced a harvest of insights
into their relationships to religion, to education, to domestic
lives, and to girl culture."
"Melissa Klapper's pioneering volume, based on an astonishing
wealth of primary sources, uncovers more than wehave ever known
about the upbringing and education of Jewish girls in America from
the Civil War to World War I. Covering everything from religious
education to sex education, it explores what it meant to be a
Jewish girl aged 12-20 during one of the most tumultuous eras in
"Brings to life the lives of the 'ordinary' young women whom we
encounter in these pages. By exploring the diaries of Jewish girls
who used these private and personal sources to think about their
conflicting ideas about identities, families, and futures, Melissa
Klapper has shown them to be historical actors, and as such
anything but ordinary. By combining intellectual matters of several
literatures-the history of education, women's history, American
Jewish history, the history of the United States over the course of
a crucial six decade period-Klapper has made a substantial
contribution to our understanding of the past and those who peopled
"Klapper offers a thoughtful book on subjects too often ignored
in both the literature of Jewish-Americans and of American
Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 draws on a wealth of archival material, much of which has never been published--or even read--to illuminate the ways in which Jewish girls' adolescent experiences reflected larger issues relating to gender, ethnicity, religion, and education.
Klapper explores the dual roles girls played as agents ofacculturation and guardians of tradition. Their search for an identity as American girls that would not require the abandonment of Jewish tradition and culture mirrored the struggle of their families and communities for integration into American society.
While focusing on their lives as girls, not the adults they would later become, Klapper draws on the papers of such figures as Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Edna Ferber, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Showboat; and Marie Syrkin, literary critic and Zionist. Klapper also analyzes the diaries, memoirs, and letters of hundreds of other girls whose later lives and experiences have been lost to history.
Told in an engaging style and filled with colorful quotes, the book brings to life a neglected group of fascinating historical figures during a pivotal moment in the development of gender roles, adolescence, and the modern American Jewish community.
In this classic work of Jewish mystical thought, world-renowned scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz explores the major questions asked by modern Jews about the nature of existence in Gods universe. The title The Thirteen Petalled Rose, taken from the opening lines of the seminal work of Jewish mysticism, the Zohar, refers to the collective souls of the Jewish people, which scholars have likened to the fullness of a rose and its petals. This expanded edition of The Thirteen Petalled Rose features a new preface and two new chapters that provide a moving explanation of the Kabbalistic view of devotion, and a profound interpretation of the prophet Elijahs Introduction to the Zohar.
How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. Many have attempted to explain this singular success as a result of divine intervention. In this engaging book, David N. Myers charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely-and decidedly this-worldly-factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation. Usually regarded as grave dangers, these two factors have continually interacted with one other to enable the persistence of the Jews. At every turn in their history, not just in the modern age, Jews have adapted to new environments, cultures, languages, and social norms. These bountiful encounters with host societies have exercised the cultural muscle of the Jews, preventing the atrophy that would have occurred if they had not interacted so extensively with the non-Jewish world. It is through these encounters-indeed, through a process of assimilation-that Jews came to develop distinct local customs, speak many different languages, and cultivate diverse musical, culinary, and intellectual traditions. Left unchecked, the Jews' well-honed ability to absorb from surrounding cultures might have led to their disappearance. And yet, the route toward full and unbridled assimilation was checked by the nearly constant presence of hatred toward the Jew. Anti-Jewish expression and actions have regularly accompanied Jews throughout history. Part of the ironic success of antisemitism is its malleability, its talent in assuming new forms and portraying the Jew in diverse and often contradictory images-for example, at once the arch-capitalist and revolutionary Communist. Antisemitism not only served to blunt further assimilation, but, in a paradoxical twist, affirmed the Jew's sense of difference from the host society. And thus together assimilation and antisemitism (at least up to a certain limit) contribute to the survival of the Jews as a highly adaptable and yet distinct group.
Israel Denial is the first book to offer detailed analyses of the work faculty members have published-individually and collectively--in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement; it contrasts their claims with options for promoting peace. The faculty discussed here have devoted a significant part of their professional lives to delegitimizing the Jewish state. While there are beliefs they hold in common-including the conviction that there is nothing good to say about Israel-they also develop distinctive arguments designed to recruit converts to their cause in novel ways. They do so both as writers and as teachers; Israel Denial is the first to give substantial attention to anti-Zionist pedagogy. No effort to understand the BDS movement's impact on the academy and public policy can be complete without the kind of understanding this book offers. A co-publication of the Academic Engagement Network
The story of Judaism, its religion, culture and civilization, is shown in more than 240 illustrations. It is a history of the Jewish faith from the time of Abraham and the 12 tribes through the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem to the Diaspora and the Golden Age of Spain. It presents all the major festivals of the year, such as Yom Kippur, Purim, Hanukkah and Passover, plus the observances and traditions of the Shabbat. This beautifully illustrated book is an excellent introduction to the rich and influential story of the Jewish people. It contains a timeline from the ancient Hebrews of 2000BC through to the medieval period. The opening section covers the biblical account of how Abraham and his descendants formed nomads into 12 Israelite tribes with a belief in one God and a distinct moral code. The book describes the Exile to Babylon, the Dispersal and the Diaspora, the rise of Christianity, and Judaism's relationship with Islam. This in-depth account will be of special interest to anyone wanting to discover the history, philosophy and traditions of Judaism.
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