Jewish Studies

Dining on Leviathan. Discoursing with Socrates. Debating the nature of existence in the afterlife. These are among the topics authors address in this wide-ranging account of how Jews have conceptualized the world to come and structured their lives in this world accordingly. Some authorities portrayed the afterlife as an endless round of feasting and drinking of chazerie that would put the fanciest Las Vegas buffets to shame. There were visionaries who mapped out otherworldly climes populated by monstrous creatures. Others, decidedly more staid, saw the world to come as a location where neither food nor wine would be consumed; instead, it would offer the opportunity to bring moral certitude to questionable practices that could not be eradicated in this world. More down to earth are comparisons between Rabbi Akiva and Socrates, and analyses of influential thinkers like Moses Mendelssohn and Emmanuel Levinas. And more practical are discussions of how concepts of the afterlife serve to determine mourning practices, or more broadly, how humans should fashion their lives in the here and now. The chronological range of these chapters also is impressive. The earliest documents discussed are from Apocryphal literature, including apocalypses, that were composed from 400 BCE to 200 CE. There are creative analyses of rabbinic material and documents from the medieval period through the twentieth century. Evolving ritual and liturgical practices bring readers up to the early twenty-first century. Each of the thirteen authors whose works are brought together in this volume shows historical, cultural, and religious sensitivity both to the unique features of these differing manifestations and to the elements that unite them. For the readers of this volume, which is equally rewarding for general audiences and for specialists, the result is a carefully nuanced, creatively balanced exploration of the breadth of Jewish thought and practice concerning some of the most profound and perplexing issues humans face.
Symbolized by a three-hundred-year-old Seder plate, the religious life of Fred Behrend’s family had centered largely around Passover and the tale of the Jewish people’s exodus from tyranny. When the Nazis came to power, the wide-eyed boy and his family found themselves living a twentieth-century version of that exodus, escaping oppression and persecution in Germany for Cuba and ultimately a life of freedom and happiness in the United States. Behrend’s childhood came to a crashing end with Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) and his father’s harrowing internment at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. But he would not be defined by these harrowing circumstances. Behrend would go on to experience brushes with history involving the defeated Germans. By the age of twenty, he had run a POW camp full of Nazis, been an instructor in a program aimed at denazifying specially selected prisoners, and been assigned by the U.S. Army to watch over Wernher von Braun, the designer of the V-2 rocket that terrorized Europe and later chief architect of the Saturn V rocket that sent Americans to the moon. Behrend went from a sheltered life of wealth in a long-gone, old-world Germany, dwelling in the gilded compound once belonging to the manufacturer of the zeppelin airships, to a poor Jewish immigrant in New York City learning English from Humphrey Bogart films. Upon returning from service in the U.S. Army, he rose out of poverty, built a successful business in Manhattan, and returned to visit Germany a dozen times, giving him unique perspective into Germany’s attempts to surmount its Nazi past.
Scholars tend to call them “rites of passage.” Most people prefer to speak of them as life-cycle events or milestones. Jews like to speak of simchas, when there is something (a birth, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or a wedding) to celebrate. These are key moments for individuals and for the families and communities of which they are a part.    This volume offers new insights into rituals as old as the Hebrew Bible and as recent as the twenty-first century, in contexts as familiar as the American Midwest and as exotic as Karaism. It examines and frequently affirms some of the rituals that have traditionally been associated with these events, while inviting readers to cast a critical eye on the ways in which these customs have developed in recent years.    The authors, who include congregational leaders as well as scholars, also affirm the need to expand or enhance existing ceremonies to include groups whose needs have not traditionally been addressed. They show how rites of passage may be viewed as both conservative and dynamic—connecting us with generations past as well as with our contemporaries.
In a 1941 Nazi roundup of educated Poles, Stefan Budziaszek—newly graduated from medical school in Krakow—was incarcerated in the Krakow Montelupich Prison and transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp in February 1942.  German big businesses brutally exploited the cheap labor of prisoners in the camp, and workers were dying.  In 1943, Stefan, now a functionary prisoner, was put in charge of the on-site prisoner hospital, which at the time was more like an infirmary staffed by well-connected but untrained prisoners. Stefan transformed this facility from just two barracks into a working hospital and outpatient facility that employed more than 40 prisoner doctors and served a population of 10,000 slave laborers.   Stefan and his staff developed the hospital by commandeering medication, surgical equipment, and even building materials, often from the so-called Canada warehouse filled with the effects of Holocaust victims.  But where does seeking the cooperation of the Nazi concentration camp staff become collusion with Nazi genocide? How did physicians deal with debilitated patients who faced “selection” for transfer to the gas chambers?  Auschwitz was a cauldron of competing agendas.  Unexpectedly, ideological rivalry among prisoners themselves manifested itself as well. Prominent Holocaust witnesses Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi both sought treatment at this prisoner hospital.  They, other patients, and hospital staff bear witness to the agency of prisoner doctors in an environment better known for death than survival.
Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in America includes academics, artists, writers, and civic and religious leaders who contributed chapters focusing on the Sephardi and Mizrahi experience in America. Topics will address language, literature, art, Diaspora identity, and civic and political engagement. When discussing identity in America, one contributor will review and explore the distinct philosophy and culture of classic Sephardic Judaism, and how that philosophy and culture represents a viable option for American Jews who seek a rich and meaningful medium through which to balance Jewish tradition and modernity. Another chapter will provide a historical perspective of Sephardi/Ashkenazi Diasporic tensions. Additionally, contributors will address the term “Sephardi” as a self-imposed, collective, “ethnic” designation that had to be learned and naturalized—and its parameters defined and negotiated—in the new context of the United States and in conversation with discussions about Sephardic identity across the globe.   This volume also will look at the theme of literature, focusing on Egyptian and Iranian writers in the United States. Continuing with the Iranian Jewish community, contributors will discuss the historical and social genesis of Iranian-American Jewish participation and leadership in American civic, political, and Jewish affairs. Another chapter reviews how art is used to express Iranian Diaspora identity and nostalgia.   The significance of language among Sephardi and Mizrahi communities is discussed. One chapter looks at the Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jewish population of Seattle, while another confronts the experience of Judeo-Spanish speakers in the United States and how they negotiate identity via the use of language. In addition, scholars will explore how Judeo-Spanish speakers engage in dialogue with one another from a century ago, and furthermore, how they use and modify their language when they find themselves in Spanish-speaking areas today.    
Studies in American Jewish Literature (SAJL), the official journal of the Society for the Study of American Jewish Literature, publishes peer reviewed scholarly articles, book reviews, occasional poetry, and short stories dealing with aspects of the Jewish experience in literature.  
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” wrote the eighteenth-century French politician and musician Jean Brillat-Savarin, giving expression to long held assumptions about the role of food, taste, and eating in the construction of cultural identities. Foodways—the cultural, religious, social, economic, and political practices related to food consumption and production—unpack and reveal the meaning of what we eat, our tastes. They explain not just our flavor profiles, but our senses of refinement and judgment. They also reveal quite a bit about the history and culture of how food operates and performs in society. Jewish food practices and products expose and explain how different groups within American society think about what it means to be Jewish and the values (as well as the prejudices) people have about what “Jewish” means. Food—what one eats, how one eats it, when one eats it—is a fascinating entryway into identity; for Jews, it is at once a source of great nostalgia and pride, and the central means by which acculturation and adaptation takes place. In chapters that trace the importance and influence of the triad of bagels, lox, and cream cheese, southern kosher hot barbecue, Jewish vegetarianism, American recipes in Jewish advice columns, the draw of eating treyf (nonkosher), and the geography of Jewish food identities, this volume explores American Jewish foodways, predilections, desires, and presumptions.   
This volume of the Casden Institute's The Jewish Role in American Life annual series introduces new scholarship on the long-standing relationship between Jewish-Americans and the worlds of American popular music.  Edited by scholar and critic Josh Kun, the essays in the volume blend single-artist investigations with looks at the industry of music making as a whole. They range  from Jewish sheet music to the risqué musical comedy of Belle Barth and Pearl Williams, from the role of music in the shaping of Henry Ford's anti-Semitism to Bob Dylan's Jewishness, from the hybridity of the contemporary "Radical Jewish Culture" scene to the Yiddish experiments of 1930s African-American artists. Contents: Foreword (Gayle Wald); Introduction (Josh Kun); "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars, and other Tales from the Jewish Sheet- Music Trade" (Jody Rosen); “'Dances Partake of the Racial Characteristics of the People Who  Dance Them' : Nordicism, Antisemitism, and Henry Ford’s Old Time Music and Dance Revival" (Peter La Chapelle); “Ovoutie Slanguage is Absolutely Kosher: Yiddish in Scat- Singing, Jazz Jargon, and Black Music” (Jonathan Z. S. Pollack); "'If I Embarrass You, Tell Your Friends' : Belle Barth, Pearl Williams, and the Space of the Risque" (Josh Kun); "'Here’s a foreign song I learned in Utah' : The Anxiety of Jewish Influence in the Music of Bob Dylan" (David Kaufman); "Jazz Liturgy, Yiddishe Blues, Cantorial Death Metal, and Free Klez: Musical Hybridity in Radical Jewish Culture" (Jeff Janeczco).
In May 1938, Hungary passed anti-Semitic laws causing hundreds of Jewish artists to lose their jobs. In response, Budapest’s Jewish community leaders organized an Artistic Enterprise under the aegis of OMIKE Országos Magyar Izraelita Közművelődési Egyesület (Hungarian Jewish Education Association) to provide employment and livelihood for actors, singers, musicians, conductors, composers, writers, playwrights, painters, graphic artists, and sculptors.   Between 1939 and 1944, activities were centered in Goldmark Hall beside the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. Hundreds of artists from all over Hungary took part in about one thousand performances, including plays, concerts, cabaret, ballet, operas, and operettas. These performances appealed to the highly cultured Budapest Jewish community, ever desirous of high-caliber events, particularly under oppressive conditions of the time. Art exhibitions also were held for painters, graphic artists, and sculptors to sell their creations.   Lévai’s 1943 book (with new, additional chapters by noted historians and musicians) is the core of this expanded edition and provides interviews with individual artists who recall their early lives and circumstances that led them to join the Artistic Enterprise. The book records the technical functioning, structure, and operation of this remarkable theater and concert venue. It provides fascinating details about those who worked behind the scenes: répétiteurs, hair stylists, and personnel involved with costumes, lighting, and scenery. Because the stage was small, clever choreographic and scenery improvisation had to be made, and the stagehands were clearly up to the task. Since these artists were not allowed to perform before the general public or advertise with posters on the streets, the book describes special means devised to overcome these difficulties and bring Jewish audiences into the theater in large numbers.   Lastly, the book carries the theater’s story up to Sunday morning, March 19, 1944, a day of infamy, when the German army marched into Hungary.  
Bernard Goldstein’s memoir describes a hard world of taverns, toughs, thieves, and prostitutes; of slaughterhouse workers, handcart porters, and wagon drivers; and of fist- and gunfights with everyone from anti-Semites and Communists to hostile police, which is to say that it depicts a totally different view of life in prewar Poland than the one usually portrayed. As such, the book offers a corrective view in the form of social history, one that commands attention and demands respect for the vitality and activism of the generation of Polish Jews so brutally annihilated by the barbarism of the Nazis.   In Warsaw, a city with over 300,000 Jews (one third of the population), Goldstein was the Jewish Labor Bund’s “enforcer,” organizer, and head of their militia—the one who carried out daily, on-the-street organization of unions; the fighting off of Communists, Polish anti-Semitic hooligans, and antagonistic police; marshaling and protecting demonstrations; and even settling family disputes, some of them arising from the new secular, socialist culture being fostered by the Bund.   Goldstein’s is a portrait of tough Jews willing to do battle—worldly, modern individuals dedicated to their folk culture and the survival of their people. It delivers an unparalleled street-level view of vibrant Jewish life in Poland between the wars: of Jewish masses entering modern life, of Jewish workers fighting for their rights, of optimism, of greater assertiveness and self-confidence, of armed combat, and even of scenes depicting the seamy, semi-criminal elements. It provides a representation of life in Poland before the great catastrophe of World War II, a life of flowering literary activity, secular political journalism, successful political struggle, immersion in modern politics, fights for worker rights and benefits, a strong social-democratic labor movement, creation of a secular school system in Yiddish, and a youth movement that later provided the heroic fighters for the courageous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.    
Despite the importance of historical and contemporary migration to the American Jewish community, popular awareness of the diversity and complexity of the American Jewish migration legacy is limited and largely focused upon Yiddish-speaking Jews who left the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1920 to settle in eastern and midwestern cities.   Wandering Jews provides readers with a broader understanding of the Jewish experience of migration in the United States and elsewhere. It describes the record of a wide variety of Jewish migrant groups, including those encountering different locations of settlement, historical periods, and facets of the migration experience. While migrants who left the Pale of Settlement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are discussed, the volume’s authors also explore less well-studied topics. These include the fate of contemporary Jewish academics who seek to build communities in midwestern and western college towns; the adaptation experience of recent Jewish migrants from Latin America, Israel, and the former Soviet Union; the adjustment of Iranian Jews; the experience of contemporary Jewish migrants in France and Belgium; the return of Israelis living abroad; and a number of other topics. Interdisciplinary, the volume draws upon history, sociology, geography, and other fields.   Written in a lively and accessible style,Wandering Jews will appeal to a wide range of readers, including students and scholars in Jewish studies, international migration, history, ethnic studies, and religious studies, as well as general-interest readers.
Economic inequity is an issue of worldwide concern in the twenty-first century. Although these issues have not troubled all people at all times, they are nonetheless not new. Thus, it is not surprising that Judaism has developed many perspectives, theoretical and practical, to explain and ameliorate the circumstances that produce serious economic disparity. This volume offers an accessible collection of articles that deal comprehensively with this phenomenon from a variety of approaches and perspectives.   Within this framework, the fourteen authors who contributed to Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition bring a formidable array of experience and insight to uncover interconnected threads of conversation and activities that characterize Jewish thought and action. Among the questions raised, for which there are frequently multiple responses: Is the giving of tzedakah (generally, although imprecisely, translated as “charity”) a command or an impulse? Does the Jewish tradition give priority to the donor or to the recipient? To what degree is charity a communal responsibility? Is there something inherently ennobling or, conversely, debasing about being poor? How have basic concepts about wealth and poverty evolved from biblical through rabbinic and medieval sources until the modern period? What are some specific historical events that demonstrate either marked success or bitter failure? And finally, are there some relevant concepts and practices that are distinctively, if not uniquely, Jewish?   It is a singular strength of this collection that appropriate attention is given, in a style that is both accessible and authoritative, to the vast and multiform conversations that are recorded in the Talmud and other foundational documents of rabbinic Judaism. Moreover, perceptive analysis is not limited to the past, but also helps us to comprehend circumstances among today’s Jews. It is equally valuable that these authors are attuned to the differences between aspirations and the realities in which actual people have lived.
Jewish identity is a perennial concern, as Jews seek to define the major features and categories of those who “belong,” while at the same time draw distinctions between individuals and groups on the “inside” and those on the “outside.” From a variety of perspectives, scholarly as well as confessional, there is intense interest among non-Jewish and Jewish commentators alike in the basic question, “Who is a Jew?”   This collection of articles draws diverse historical, cultural, and religious insights from scholars who represent a wide range of academic and theological disciplines. Some of the authors directly address the issue of Jewish identity as it is being played out today in Israel and Diaspora communities. Others look to earlier time periods or societies as invaluable resources for enhanced and deepened analysis of contemporary matters.   All authors in this collection make a concerted effort to present their evidence and their conclusions in a way that is accessible to the general public and valid for other scholars. The result is a richly textured approach to a topic that seems always relevant. If no single answer appeals to all of the authors, this is as it should be. We all gain from the application of a number of approaches and perspectives, which enrich our appreciation of the people whose lives are affected, for better or worse, by real-life discussions of this issue and the resultant actions toward exclusivity or inclusivity.    
Established as a Jewish settlement in 1909 and dedicated a year later, Tel Aviv has grown over the last century to become Israel’s financial center and the country’s second largest city. This book examines a major period in the city’s establishment when Jewish architects moved from Europe, including Alexander Levy of Berlin, and attempted to establish a new style of Zionist urbanism in the years after World War I.   The author explores the interplay of an ambitious architectural program and the pragmatic needs that drove its chaotic implementation during a period of dramatic population growth. He explores the intense debate among the Zionist leaders in Berlin in regard to future Jewish settlement in the land of Israel after World War I, and the difficulty in imposing a town plan and architectural style based on European concepts in an environment where they clashed with desires for Jewish revival and self-identity. While “modern” values advocated universality, Zionist ideas struggled with the conflict between the concept of “New Order” and traditional and historical motifs.   As well as being the first detailed study of the formative period in Tel Aviv’s development, this book presents a valuable case study in nation-building and the history of Zionism. Meticulously researched, it is also illustrated with hundreds of plans and photographs that show how much of the fabric of early twentieth century Tel Aviv persists in the modern city.  
There are two aspects of this volume that merit special notice. First, the aim of the collection of essays and studies in this volume is intended to stress the cultural aspects of the Jewish experience of coming up to and living in the Golden State. Second, while this volume looks at the Jewish experience in California in general - nonetheless, particular emphasis is placed on Southern California, where the Casden Institute is situated. Contents: Isaias Hellman and the Creation of California (Frances Dinkelspiel); A Twice-Told Journey: Sarah Newmark in the Russian Polish Shtetl: How a Jewish California Matron Confronted Her European Heritage (Karen S. Wilson ); Postscript: The Western States Jewish History Archives (Gladys Sturman and David Epstein); From Civic Defense to Civil Rights: The Growth of Jewish American Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Los Angeles (Shana Bernstein); The Third Temple: Iranian Jews and the Blessings of Exile - A personal Memoir (Gina Nahai); Jewish Homegrown History: In the Golden State and Beyond (Marsha Kinder).
A Knight at the Opera examines the remarkable and unknown role that the medieval legend (and Wagner opera) Tannhäuser played in Jewish cultural life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book analyzes how three of the greatest Jewish thinkers of that era, Heinrich Heine, Theodor Herzl, and I. L. Peretz, used this central myth of Germany to strengthen Jewish culture and to attack anti-Semitism. In the original medieval myth, a Christian knight lives in sin with the seductive pagan goddess Venus in the Venusberg. He escapes her clutches and makes his way to Rome to seek absolution from the Pope. The Pope does not pardon Tannhäuser and he returns to the Venusberg. During the course of A Knight at the Opera, readers will see how Tannhäuser evolves from a medieval knight, to Heine’s German scoundrel in early modern Europe, to Wagner’s idealized German male, and finally to Peretz’s pious Jewish scholar in the Land of Israel. Venus herself also undergoes major changes from a pagan goddess, to a lusty housewife, to an overbearing Jewish mother. The book also discusses how the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was so inspired by Wagner’s opera that he wrote The Jewish State while attending performances of it, and he even had the Second Zionist Congress open to the music of Tannhäuser’s overture. A Knight at the Opera uses Tannhäuser as a way to examine the changing relationship between Jews and the broader world during the advent of the modern era, and to question if any art, even that of a prominent anti-Semite, should be considered taboo.
This is the story of a remarkable life and a journey, from the privileged world of Prussian aristocracy, through the horrors of World War II, to high society in the television age of postwar America. It is also an account of a spiritual voyage, from a conventional Christian upbringing, through marriage to Pastor Martin Niemoeller, to conversion to Judaism.Born during the turbulent days of the Weimar Republic, the author was the goddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II (to whom her father was financial advisor). During her teenage years, she witnessed the rise of the Third Reich and her family’s resistance to it, culminating in their involvement in “Operation Valkyrie,” the ill-fated attempt to assassinate Hitler and form a new government. At war’s end, she worked with British Intelligence to uncover Nazis leaders. Keeping a promise to her father, she left Germany for a new life in the United States in the 1950s, working for NBC and raising her son in the exciting world of New York, only to return to Germany as the wife of Martin Niemoeller, the voice of religious resistance during the Third Reich and of German guilt and conscience in the postwar decades. Upon her husband's death in 1984 she returned to America, after having converted to Judaism in London, and turned yet another page by becoming an active public speaker and author. The title reflects a story of three parts: “Crowns,” the world of nobility in which the author was raised; “Crosses,” her life with Martin Niemoeller and his battles with the Third Reich; and “Stars,” the spiritual journey that brought her to Judaism.
There is no question that the Passion is the most controversial Jesus-if not religious-movieever made. The articles...are an attempt by academics to explain why. Five essays were presentedin an earlier version at the Jewish Studies Symposium on key issues raised by The Passion of the Christ held at Purdue University on March 30, 2004 (Garber, Mork, Pawlikowski, Robertson, Young); and 15 essays (Bartchy, Edelheit, Edelman, Feldman, Golan, Greenberg, Haas, Holdredge, Jacobs, Libowitz, Moore, Neusner, Wheeler, Zuckerman) complement the Purdue Symposium. The contributors reflect on a plethora of issues, and they show that concerned andinformed Jews and Christians together can assess dis/misinformation, monitor dissent, alleviate community fears, and reassure that the solid rock of Jewish-Catholic-Protestant dialogue, though assailed, has not become chipped. The passion over the "Passion" has proven to be a blessing, not a curse. Indeed, seize the teaching moment and develop the agenda. The respect of two ancient faith-communities demands and deserves this.
This fascinating autobiography is set against the backdrop of some of the most dramatic episodes of the twentieth century. It is the story of a stubborn struggle against unjust regimes, sustained by a deep belief in the strength of the human spirit and the transcendental power of music. It is also an account of a rich spiritual life, during which the author has built upon her Jewish roots through the study of Eastern philosophy and meditation. Born in Germany, Eva Mayer Schay's early childhood in Mallorca was an idyllic one. Her parents had emigrated to the island following the Nazi party's rise to power, but in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, the family was repatriated to Germany. Her father was arrested and given the choice of concentration camp or departing for Italy. They managed to leave Mussolini's Italy for South Africa before the race laws were implemented.During World War II, Mayer Schay's parents were classed as "enemy aliens" in South Africa, which led to considerable hardship. Her father died in 1945, after the end of the war. She went through all her schooling and university in Johannesburg, continued her musical studies in London, and after returning to Johannesburg, taught violin, played chamber music, and became a member of the SABC Symphony Orchestra. Defying apartheid, she was fired, later reinstated, but left Johannesburg to play with the Durban Civic Orchestra in 1959. Appalled at the increasing harshness of the nationalist government and by the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, she and her mother finally emigrated to England in 1961.In London, Mayer Schay worked as freelance violinist and was married in 1967. In September 1968, she joined the orchestra of Sadler's Wells Opera at the Coliseum Theatre, later renamed English National Opera, where she remained for almost thirty years.
A compilation of Irving Howe’s interviews during the last fifteen years of his life, this book represents what could be viewed as the sequel to Howe’s intellectual autobiography, A Margin of Hope, which took the story of his life only up to the late 1970s. Many of these interviews were never published and have existed only as personal tapes in the hands of such scholars and activists as Todd Gitlin and Maurice Isserman. Others were originally published in such venues as The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, and the PBS documentary Arguing the World. Howe never organized his thoughts about the last fifteen years of his life, during which he gained renown for World of Our Fathers, received a MacArthur Fellowship, and became widely regarded as the leading left-liberal intellectual in the U.S. and, arguably, the leading literary critic in America following the deaths of Lionel Trilling and Edmund Wilson. During this time, Howe also struggled to redefine the American Left in an environment that discounted and marginalized it. Indeed, these interviews may have particular significance today, a period of new opportunities for the liberal Left, yet one in which it struggles to construct some coherent identity and compelling program. The editors worked with the full cooperation of Howe’s family. His daughter, Nina, contributed an afterword and provided a number of illustrations and photos that have never before appeared in print.
Separate chapters deal with narrative techniques in gnostic literature, the reception of Luke's Gospel throughout the ages, and the author's own highly sensitive reading of Luke's Gospel. He shows how gnostic enlightenment functions in the development of Jesus as a character as well as in his own teaching technique toward his disciples. Wojcik demonstrates how the implied author of Luke's Gospel uses these same techniques to withhold information and foster insight in the reader. The final chapter isolates the essential differences between canonical and non-canonical biblical scholarship and contains an impassioned argument for the value of scholarly analysis of the Bible from a literary standpoint.
Scholar, teacher, playwright, and editor, Sarah Blacher Cohen was one of the earliest champions of the study of American Jewish literature, a field of academic study that has been in existence for barely thirty-five years. Over the years until her premature death in 2008, she contributed to the discipline in a profusion of genres, from scholarly to popular, from essay to drama, writing or editing seven books of her own. She also wrote and produced several plays with her longtime collaborator, Joanne B. Koch. This special volume (29) of the annual, Studies in American Jewish Literature (ISSN 0271-9274), the journal edited by Daniel Walden, contains a range of tributes from her many friends and colleagues.
There is a general understanding within religious and academic circles that the incarnate Christ of Christian belief lived and died a faithful Jew. This volume addresses Jesus in the context of Judaism. By emphasizing his Jewishness, the authors challenge today’s Jews to reclaim the Nazarene as a proto-rebel rabbi and invite Christians to discover or rediscover the Church’s Jewish heritage. The essays in this volume cover historical, literary, liturgical, philosophical, religious, theological, and contemporary issues related to the Jewish Jesus. Several of them were originally presented at a three-day symposium on “Jesus in the Context of Judaism and the Challenge to the Church,” hosted by the Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies at Case Western Reserve University in 2009. In the context of pluralism, in the temper of growing interreligious dialogue, and in the spirit of reconciliation, encountering Jesus as living history for Christians and Jews is both necessary and proper. This book will be of particular interest to scholars of the New Testament and Early Church who are seeking new ways of understanding Jesus in his religious and cultural milieu, as well Jewish and Christian theologians and thinkers who are concerned with contemporary Jewish and Christian relationships.
This book begins with a brief history about the Jews in Babylon (Iraq), their Hebrew creativity and the fact that this creativity was excluded from the history of Modern Hebrew literature because it was unknown to the scholars. The book focuses on the years 1735-1950 and presents the secular Hebrew poetry written in Babylon at that time, the folktales, journalistic articles, and epistles, research of Hebrew literature, a story and a play. The last part presents the Hebrew periodicals that were published in Babylon.
Germany’s acceptance of its direct responsibility for the Holocaust has strengthened its relationship with Israel and has led to a deep commitment to combat antisemitism and rebuild Jewish life in Germany. As we draw close to a time when there will be no more firsthand experience of the horrors of the Holocaust, there is great concern about what will happen when German responsibility turns into history. Will the present taboo against open antisemitism be lifted as collective memory fades? There are alarming signs of the rise of the far right, which includes blatantly antisemitic elements, already visible in public discourse. But it is mainly the radicalization of the otherwise moderate Muslim population of Germany and the entry of almost a million refugees since 2015 from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan that appears to make German society less tolerant and somewhat less inhibited about articulating xenophobic attitudes. The evidence is unmistakable—overt antisemitism is dramatically increasing once more.   The Future of the German-Jewish Past deals with the formidable challenges created by these developments. It is conceptualized to offer a variety of perspectives and views on the question of the future of the German-Jewish past. The volume addresses topics such as antisemitism, Holocaust memory, historiography, and political issues relating to the future relationship between Jews, Israel, and Germany. While the central focus of this volume is Germany, the implications go beyond the German-Jewish experience and relate to some of the broader challenges facing modern societies today.