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Turkey is famed for a history of tolerance toward minorities, and there is a growing nostalgia for the "Ottoman mosaic." In this richly detailed study, Marcy Brink-Danan examines what it means for Jews to live as a tolerated minority in contemporary Istanbul. Often portrayed as the "good minority," Jews in Turkey celebrate their long history in the region, yet they are subject to discrimination and their institutions are regularly threatened and periodically attacked. Brink-Danan explores the contradictions and gaps in the popular ideology of Turkey as a land of tolerance, describing how Turkish Jews manage the tensions between cosmopolitanism and patriotism, difference as Jews and sameness as Turkish citizens, tolerance and violence.
This remarkable memoir by Menachem Mendel Frieden illuminates Jewish experience in all three of the most significant centers of Jewish life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It chronicles Frieden's early years in Eastern Europe, his subsequent migration to the United States, and, finally, his settlement in Palestine in 1921. The memoir appears here translated from its original Hebrew, edited and annotated by Frieden's grandson, the historian Lee Shai Weissbach. Frieden's story provides a window onto Jewish life in an era that saw the encroachment of modern ideas into a traditional society, great streams of migration, and the project of Jewish nation building in Palestine. The memoir follows Frieden's student life in the yeshivas of Eastern Europe, the practices of peddlers in the American South, and the complexities of British policy in Palestine between the two World Wars. This first-hand account calls attention to some often ignored aspects of the modern Jewish experience and provides invaluable insight into the history of the time.
What does it mean to be a Jew? How does one begin to answer so extensive a question? In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need. Rabbi Telushkin's expert knowledge of Judaism makes the updated and revised edition of Jewish Literacy an invaluable reference. A comprehensive yet thoroughly accessible resource for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of Judaism, Jewish Literacy is a must for every Jewish home.
What does it mean to be a Jew? How does one begin to answer so extensive a question?In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need.Rabbi Telushkin's expert knowledge of Judaism makes the updated and revised edition of Jewish Literacy an invaluable reference. A comprehensive yet thoroughly accessible resource for anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of Judaism, Jewish Literacy is a must for every Jewish home.
Alongside the formal development of Judaism from the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries, a robust Jewish folk religion flourished--ideas and practices that never met with wholehearted approval by religious leaders yet enjoyed such wide popularity that they could not be altogether excluded from the religion. According to Joshua Trachtenberg, it is not possible truly to understand the experience and history of the Jewish people without attempting to recover their folklife and beliefs from centuries past.Jewish Magic and Superstition is a masterful and utterly fascinating exploration of religious forms that have all but disappeared yet persist in the imagination. The volume begins with legends of Jewish sorcery and proceeds to discuss beliefs about the evil eye, spirits of the dead, powers of good, the famous legend of the golem, procedures for casting spells, the use of gems and amulets, how to battle spirits, the ritual of circumcision, herbal folk remedies, fortune telling, astrology, and the interpretation of dreams.First published more than sixty years ago, Trachtenberg's study remains the foundational scholarship on magical practices in the Jewish world and offers an understanding of folk beliefs that expressed most eloquently the everyday religion of the Jewish people.
Stereotyped as delicate and feeble intellectuals, Jewish men in German-speaking lands in fact developed a rich and complex spectrum of male norms, models, and behaviors. Jewish Masculinities explores conceptions and experiences of masculinity among Jews in Germany from the 16th through the late 20th century as well as emigrants to North America, Palestine, and Israel. The volume examines the different worlds of students, businessmen, mohels, ritual slaughterers, rabbis, performers, and others, shedding new light on the challenge for Jewish men of balancing German citizenship and cultural affiliation with Jewish communal solidarity, religious practice, and identity.
Kaplan shows that meditation is consistent with traditional Jewish thought and practice. The book presents a variety of meditative techniques to help make the reader a better person, and develop a closer relationship to God.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The new novel by the internationally acclaimed author- "a farce of nuclear proportions"(Vanity Fair)Arnon Grunberg is one of the most subtly outrageous provocateurs in world literature. The Jewish Messiah, which chronicles the evolution of one Xavier Radek from malcontent grandson of a former SS officer, to Jewish convert, to co- translator of Hitler's Mein Kampf into Yiddish, to Israeli politician and Israel's most unlikely prime minister, is his most outrageous work yet. Taking on the most well-guarded pieties and taboos of our age, The Jewish Messiah is both a great love story and a grotesque farce that forces a profound reckoning with the limits of human guilt, cruelty, and suffering. It is without question Arnon Grunberg's masterpiece.
Belief in the coming of a Messiah poses a genuine dilemma. From a Jewish perspective, the historical record is overwhelmingly against it. If, despite all the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, no legitimate Messiah has come forward, has the belief not been shown to be groundless? Yet for all the problems associated with messianism, the historical record also shows it is an idea with enormous staying power. The prayer book mentions it on page after page. The great Jewish philosophers all wrote about it. Secular thinkers in the twentieth century returned to it and reformulated it. And victims of the Holocaust invoked it in the last few minutes of their life. This book examines the staying power of messianism and formulates it in a way that retains its redemptive force without succumbing to mythology.
Bernstein interviewed 25 mothers of Jewish people, including Clara Sussman, mother of Rosalyn Yalow, a Nobel Medalist in medicine. Like other mothers in the book, Clara, who died recently, exemplified a life of hard work and sacrifice, as well as worry about her child when a teacher told her Rosalyn was a genius. ("I never met the man Einstein but I heard he was a little peculiar.") The author says Leah Adler, mother of film director Steven Spielberg, was the funniest person he'd ever met, and readers will agree. With obvious love and pride, she kvetches about bringing up a peculiar son ("I didn't know what the hell he was"). There are reports on rock stars, a lawyer, playwright and other achievers and at least two people more notorious than famous: porn film star Harry Reems and yippie ex-convict Abbie Hoffman.
The mothers of some of the most illustrious Jewish men in recent history-Albert Einstein, Marcel Proust, Sigmund Freud, Woody Allen, the Marx Brothers-are chatting in heaven. The subject: their respective sons-and their undying love for their mothers.Each one, as before in life, engages in one-upmanship toward the others when speaking about her own renowned offspring, and no opportunity to boast can ever be missed."He loves me so much that for my last birthday he bought me a fabulous fur coat.""Oh! Mine topped that. He saved money for an entire year and treated me to a fantastic trip to the Caribbean.""As for me, imagine, three times a week he actually pays a psychiatrist to talk about me."Each woman insists on being the force, the savior, the raison d'être of her son's career and success. We follow the intricacies of each woman's marriage and details of her social environment, but more specifically, the relationship with her "unique" child.Written with a delicate touch, Jewish Mothers Never Die reveals in tender, funny, and searing portraits how some women continue to live through their children-even after death. Every reader will have a good chuckle, and all will enjoy this utterly charming and entertaining novel.
Over the past generation, scholars have devoted increasing attention to the diverse forms that Jewish mysticism has taken both in the past and today: what was once called "nonsense" by Jewish scholars has generated important research and attention both within the academy and beyond, as demonstrated by the popular fascination with figures such as Madonna and Demi Moore and the growing interest in spirituality. In Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, leading experts introduce the history of this scholarship as well as the most recent insights and debates that currently animate the field in a way that is accessible to a broad audience. From mystical outpourings in ancient Palestine to the Kabbalah Centre, and from attitudes towards gender to mystical contributions to Jewish messianic movements, this volume explores the various expressions of Jewish mysticism from antiquity to the present day in an engaging style appropriate for students and non-specialists alike.
It is one of the curiosities of history that the most remarkable novel about Jews and Judaism, predicting the establishment of the Jewish state, should have been written in 1876 by a non-Jew - a Victorian woman and a formidable intellectual, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest of English novelists. And it is still more curious that Daniel Deronda, George Eliot's last novel, should have been dismissed, by many of her admirers at the time and by some critics since, as something of an anomaly, an inexplicable and unfortunate turn in her life and work.Yet Eliot herself was passionately committed to that novel, having prepared herself for it by an extraordinary feat of scholarly research in five languages (including Hebrew), exploring the ancient, medieval, and modern sources of Jewish history. Three years later, to reenforce that commitment, she wrote an essay, the very last of her writing, reaffirming the heritage of the Jewish "nation" and the desirability of a Jewish state - this well before the founders of Zionism had conceived of that mission.Why did this Victorian novelist, born a Christian and an early convert to agnosticism, write a book so respectful of Judaism and so prescient about Zionism? And why at a time when there were no pogroms or persecutions to provoke her? What was the general conception of the "Jewish question," and how did Eliot reinterpret that "question," for her time as well as ours? Gertrude Himmelfarb, a leading Victorian scholar, has undertaken to unravel the mysteries of Daniel Deronda. And the mysteries of Eliot herself: a novelist who deliberately wrote a book she knew would bewilder many of her readers, a distinguished woman who opposed the enfranchisement of women, a moralist who flouted the most venerable of marital conventions - above all, the author of a novel that is still an inspiration or provocation to readers and critics alike.
The near-annihilation of Europe's Jews in the Second World War destroyed not only much of their history, but also knowledge of the contributions they made to the regions in which they lived. In The Jewish Oil Magnates of Galicia, Valerie Schatzker rescues the almost-forgotten story of the Jews who became the "wildcatters" and oil barons in one of the world's first petroleum industries. Combining a history of Galicia's petroleum industry with an annotated English translation of Julien Hirszhaut's Yiddish novel Di yiddishe naftmagnatn (The Jewish Oil Magnates), Schatzker traces the near-century-long boom and bust cycle that took place in the Austro-Hungarian province - from the perilous, back-breaking work of digging for oil by hand, to the introduction of the Canadian drill that increased production. Galician Jews worked in the industry from its beginning to its final days under German occupation. They were pioneers in exploration, refining, and marketing, and in the first part of the twentieth century were prominent among its technical, scientific, and managerial leaders. After the First World War, as borders shifted and minorities clashed, oil resources declined. During the Second World War, Nazi occupiers, using Jewish slave labourers, squeezed out the last barrels for their war effort. Schatzker's study and Hirszhaut's novel illuminate and inform each other: her monograph provides the historical context for the novel and his novel provides colour and detail, personalizing the history. Together, they offer a valuable glimpse into Jewish life in a vanished era.
This book is both comprehensive and accessible, making Jewish customs meaningful even to non-specialists. A scholarly achievement with tremendous value for anyone in Jewish Studies including rabbis and members of synagogue study groups.
Jewish Pasts, German Fictions is the first comprehensive study of how German-Jewish writers used images from the Spanish-Jewish past to define their place in German culture and society. Jonathan Skolnik argues that Jewish historical fiction was a form of cultural memory that functioned as a parallel to the modern, demythologizing project of secular Jewish history writing. What did it imply for a minority to imagine its history in the majority language? Skolnik makes the case that the answer lies in the creation of a German-Jewish minority culture in which historical fiction played a central role. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Jewish writers and artists, both in Nazi Germany and in exile, employed images from the Sephardic past to grapple with the nature of fascism, the predicament of exile, and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust. The book goes on to show that this past not only helped Jews to make sense of the nonsense, but served also as a window into the hopes for integration and fears about assimilation that preoccupied German-Jewish writers throughout most of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, Skolnik positions the Jewish embrace of German culture not as an act of assimilation but rather a reinvention of Jewish identity and historical memory.
Noah Prylucki (1882-1941), a leading Jewish cultural and political figure in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe, was a proponent of Yiddishism, a movement that promoted secular Yiddish culture as the basis for Jewish collective identity in the twentieth century. Prylucki's dramatic path - from russified Zionist raised in a Ukrainian shtetl, to Diaspora nationalist parliamentarian in metropolitan Warsaw, to professor of Yiddish in Soviet Lithuania - uniquely reflects the dilemmas and competing options facing the Jews of this era as life in Eastern Europe underwent radical transformation.Using hitherto unexplored archival sources, memoirs, interviews, and materials from the vibrant interwar Jewish and Polish presses, Kalman Weiser investigates the rise and fall of Yiddishism and of Prylucki's political party, the Folkists, in the post-World War One era. Jewish People, Yiddish Nation reveals the life of a remarkable individual and the fortunes of a major cultural movement that has long been obscured.
Although fewer American Jews today describe themselves as religious, they overwhelmingly report a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Indeed, Jewish peoplehood has eclipsed religion--as well as ethnicity and nationality--as the essence of what binds Jews around the globe to one another. In Jewish Peoplehood, Noam Pianko highlights the current significance and future relevance of "peoplehood" by tracing the rise, transformation, and return of this novel term. The book tells the surprising story of peoplehood. Though it evokes a sense of timelessness, the term actually emerged in the United States in the 1930s, where it was introduced by American Jewish leaders, most notably Rabbi Stephen Wise and Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, with close ties to the Zionist movement. It engendered a sense of unity that transcended religious differences, cultural practices, geographic distance, economic disparity, and political divides, fostering solidarity with other Jews facing common existential threats, including the Holocaust, and establishing a closer connection to the Jewish homeland. But today, Pianko points out, as globalization erodes the dominance of nationalism in shaping collective identity, Jewish peoplehood risks becoming an outdated paradigm. He explains why popular models of peoplehood fail to address emerging conceptions of ethnicity, nationalism, and race, and he concludes with a much-needed roadmap for a radical reconfiguration of Jewish collectivity in an increasingly global era. Innovative and provocative, Jewish Peoplehood provides fascinating insight into a term that assumes an increasingly important position at the heart of American Jewish and Israeli life.
This book proposes that the idea of the Jews in European cultures has little to do with actual Jews, but rather is derived from the conception of Jews as Christianity's paradigmatic Other, eternally reenacting their morally ambiguous New Testament role as the Christ-bearing and -killing chosen people of God. Through new readings of canonical Russian literary texts by Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov, Babel, and others, the author argues that these European writers-Christian, secular, and Jewish-based their representation of Jews on the Christian exegetical tradition of anti-Judaism. Indeed, Livak disputes the classification of some Jewish writers as belonging to "Jewish literature," arguing that such an approach obscures these writers' debt to European literary traditions and their ambivalence about their Jewishness. This work seeks to move the study of Russian literature, and Russian-Jewish literature in particular, down a new path. It will stir up controversy around Christian-Jewish cultural interaction; the representation of otherness in European arts and folklore; modern Jewish experience; and Russian literature and culture.
Few people are untouched by the issue of disability, whether personally or through a friend or relative. Jewish Perspectives on Theology and the Human Experience of Disability shares moving insights from around the world and across the broad spectrum of Judaism on how and why the Jewish community is incomplete without the presence and participation of the disabled. Authors representing each of the three main movements of Judaism--Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform--examine theology, scripture, ethics, practical theology, religious education, and personal experience to understand and apply the lessons and wisdom of the past to issues of the present.
Distinguished philosopher Hilary Putnam, who is also a practicing Jew, questions the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century--Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas--to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. An additional presence in the book is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who, although not a practicing Jew, thought about religion in ways that Putnam juxtaposes to the views of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas. Putnam explains the leading ideas of each of these great thinkers, bringing out what, in his opinion, constitutes the decisive intellectual and spiritual contributions of each of them. Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life.
Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom and Revengeby Edward Kritzler
At the end of the fifteenth century, the Spanish Inquisition forced many Jews to flee the country. The most adventurous among them took to the high seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham, they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean is the entertaining saga of a hidden chapter in Jewish history, and of the cruelty, terror and greed that flourished during the Age of Discovery. Among the many daring figures to feature in the book are: 'the Great Jewish Pirate' Sinan, Barbarossa's second-in-command; Rabbi Samuel Palache and his brother, Joseph, who went from commanding pirate ships to founding the first openly Jewish community in the New World; and Abraham Cohen Henriques, and arms dealer who used his cunning and economic muscle to find safe havens for other Jews. Filled with high-seas adventures including encounters with Captain Morgan and other legendary pirates - and detailed portraits of cities stacked high with plunder, such as Port Royal, Jamaica, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean captures a gritty and glorious era of history from an unusual and eye opening perspective.
Since the end of Communism, Jews from around the world have visited Poland to tour Holocaust-related sites. A few venture further, seeking to learn about their own Polish roots and connect with contemporary Poles. For their part, a growing number of Poles are fascinated by all things Jewish. Erica T. Lehrer explores the intersection of Polish and Jewish memory projects in the historically Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz in Krakow. Her own journey becomes part of the story as she demonstrates that Jews and Poles use spaces, institutions, interpersonal exchanges, and cultural representations to make sense of their historical inheritances.
This book launches a landmark four-volume collaborative work exploring the political thought of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present. The texts and commentaries in Volume I address the basic question of who ought to rule the community. The contributors--eminent philosophers, lawyers, political theorists, and other scholars working in different fields of Jewish studies--discuss the authority of God, the claims of kings, priests, prophets, rabbis, lay leaders, and gentile rulers during the years of the exile, and issues of authority in the modern state of Israel.
This book represents comprehensive research into the world's Jewish press during the Second World War and explores its stance in the face of annihilation of the Jewish people by the Nazi regime in Europe. The research is based on the major Jewish newspapers that were published in four countries - Palestine, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union - and in three languages - Hebrew, Yiddish and English. The Jewish press frequently described the situation of the Jewish people in occupied countries. It urged the Jewish leaders and institutions to act in rescue of their brethren. It protested vigorously against the refusal of the democratic leadership to recognize that the Jewish plight was unique because of the Nazi intention to annihilate Jews as a people. Yosef Gorny argues that the Jewish press was the persistent open national voice fighting on behalf of the Jewish people suffering and perishing under Nazi occupation.
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