From his first book, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto, to his well-known volume on Jewish memory, Zakhor, to his treatment of Sigmund Freud in Freud’s Moses, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (1932–2009) earned recognition as perhaps the greatest Jewish historian of his day, whose scholarship blended vast erudition, unfettered creativity, and lyrical beauty. This volume charts his intellectual trajectory by bringing together a mix of classic and lesser-known essays from the whole of his career. The essays in this collection, representative of the range of his writing, acquaint the reader with his research on early modern Spanish Jewry and the experience of crypto-Jews, varied reflections on Jewish history and memory, and Yerushalmi’s enduring interest in the political history of the Jews. Also included are a number of little-known autobiographical recollections, as well as his only published work of fiction.
Many of today's Dutch writers were children during World War II. Even today, the traumatic childhood experience of enemy occupation is still central to the work of many of them. This interest cuts across the traditional boundaries between fiction, autobiography and the literature of trauma and recovery. A Family Occupation is the first English-language introduction to Dutch-language texts written by and about the 'Children of the War' and their cultural context. Their themes and literary conventions throw an interesting light on the Dutch approach to issues such as guilt and innocence, memory and narrative, national identity, child abuse and victimhood.
This book offers a fresh perspective on classical Jewish literature by providing a gender-based, feminist reading of rabbinical anecdotes and legends. Viewing rabbinical legends as sources that generate perceptions about women and gender, Inbar Raveh provides answers to questions such as how the Sages viewed women; how they formed and molded their characterization of them; how they constructed the ancient discourse on femininity; and what the status of women was in their society. Raveh also re-creates the voices and stories of the women themselves within their sociohistorical context, moving them from the periphery to the center and exposing how men maintain power. Chapter topics include desire and control, pain, midwives, prostitutes, and myth. A major contribution to the fields of literary criticism and Jewish studies, Raveh’s book demonstrates the possibility of appreciating the aesthetic beauty and complexity of patriarchal texts, while at the same time recognizing their limitations.
This book presents, from the perspective of feminist jurisprudence and feminist and liberal bioethics, a complete study of Jewish law (halakhah) on contemporary reproductive issues such as birth control, abortion, and assisted fertility. Irshai examines these issues to probe gender-based values that underlie the interpretations and determinations reached by modern practitioners of halakhah. Her primary goal is to tell, through common halakhic tools, a different halakhic story, one that takes account of the female narrative and its missing perspective.
First Person Jewish
Alisa S. Lebow University of Minnesota Press, 2008 Library of Congress PN1995.9.J46L43 2008 | Dewey Decimal 791.436529924
Documentaries have increasingly used the first person, with a number of prominent filmmakers finding critical and commercial success with this intimate approach. Jewish filmmakers have particularly thrived in this genre, using it to explore disparate definitions of the self in relation to the larger groups of family and community.
In First Person Jewish, Alisa S. Lebow examines more than a dozen films from Jewish artists to reveal how the postmodern impulse to turn the lens inward intersects provocatively (and at times unwittingly) with historical tropes and stereotypes of the Jew. Focusing her efforts on Jewish filmmakers working on the margins, Lebow analyzes the work of Jonathan Caouette, Chantal Akerman, and Alan Berliner, among others, also including a discussion of her own first person film Treyf (1998), made with Cynthia Madansky. The filmmakers in this study, Lebow argues, are confronting a desire to both define and reimagine contemporary Jewishness.
Using a multidisciplinary approach to first person films, Lebow shows how this form of self-expression is challenging both autobiography and documentary and, in the process, changing the art of cinema and recording the cultural shifts of our time.
Alisa S. Lebow is a filmmaker and lecturer in film and TV studies at Brunel University.
Quoting King Solomon’s famous prayer to God at the Temple in Jerusalem, “Behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded,” Alicia Suskin Ostriker posits a God who cannot be contained by dogma and doctrine. Troubled by the way the Bible has become identified in our culture with a monolithic authoritarianism, Ostriker focuses instead on the extraordinary variability of Biblical writing.
For the Love of God is a provocative and inspiring re-interpretation of six essential Biblical texts: The Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, and Job. In prose that is personal and probing, analytically acute and compellingly readable, Ostriker sees these writings as “counter-texts,” deviating from convention yet deepening and enriching the Bible, our images of God, and our own potential spiritual lives. Attempting to understand “some of the wildest, strangest, most splendid writing in Western tradition,” she shows how the Bible embraces sexuality and skepticism, boundary crossing and challenges to authority, how it illuminates the human psyche and mirrors our own violent times, and how it asks us to make difficult choices in the quest for justice.
For better or worse, our society is wedded to the Bible. But according to Talmud, “There is always another interpretation.” Ostriker demonstrates that the Bible, unlike its reputation, offers a plenitude of surprises.
This book addresses a central question in the study of Jewish mysticism in the medieval and early modern periods: why are there no known female mystics in medieval Judaism, unlike contemporaneous movements in Christianity and Islam? Sharon Faye Koren demonstrates that the male rejection of female mystical aspirations is based in deeply rooted attitudes toward corporeality and ritual purity. In particular, medieval Jewish male mystics increasingly emphasized that the changing states of the female body between ritual purity and impurity disqualified women from the quest for mystical connection with God. Offering a provocative look at premodern rabbinical views of the female body and their ramifications for women’s spiritual development, Koren compares Jewish views with medieval Christian and Muslim views of both female menstruation and the possibility of female mystical experience.
Before film made them international comedy legends, the Marx Brothers developed their comic skills on stage for twenty-five years. In Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage, Robert S. Bader offers the first comprehensive history of the foursome’s hardscrabble early years honing their act in front of live audiences.
From Groucho’s debut in 1905 to their final live performances of scenes from A Night in Casablanca in 1945, the brothers’ stage career shows how their characters and routines evolved before their arrival in Hollywood. Four of the Three Musketeers draws on an unmatched array of sources, many not referenced elsewhere. Bader’s detailed portrait of the struggling young actors both brings to vivid life a typical night on the road for the Marx Brothers and also illuminates the inner workings of the vaudeville business, especially during its peak in the 1920s.
As Bader traces the origins of the characters that would later come to be beloved by filmgoers, he also skillfully scrapes away the accretion of rumors and mythology perpetuated not only by fans and writers but by the Marx Brothers themselves. Revealing, vital, and entertaining, Four of the Three Musketeers will take its place as an essential reference for this iconic American act.
What were the women of Germany doing during the Third Reich? What were they thinking? And what do they have to say a half century later?
In Frauen we hear their voices––most for the first time. Alison Owings interviewed and here records the words of twenty-nine German women who were there: Working for the Resistance. Joining the Nazi Party. Outsmarting the Gestapo. Disliking a Jewish neighbor. Hiding a Jewish friend. Witnessing "Kristallnacht." Witnessing the firebombing of Dresden. Shooting at Allied planes. Welcoming Allied troops. Being a prisoner. And being a guard. The women recall their own and others' enthusiasm, doubt, fear, fury, cowardice, guilt, and anguish.
Alison Owings, in her pursuit of such memories, was invited into the homes of these women. Because she is neither Jewish nor German, and because she speaks fluent colloquial German, many of the women she interviewed felt comfortable enough with her to unlock the past. What they have to say will surprise Americans, just as they surprised the women themselves.
Not since Marcel Ophuls's controversial film The Sorrow and the Pity have we been on such intimate terms with "the enemy." In this case, the story is that of the women, those who did not make policy but were forced to participate in its effects and to witness its results. What they did and did not do is not just a reflection on them and their country––it also leads us to question what actions we might have taken in their place. The interviews do not allow for easy, smug answers.
From that Place and Time is the memoir of Lucy S. Dawidowicz, an American-Jewish historian who set out to study Yiddish language and Jewish history at YIVO, the Jewish Scientific Institute in Vilna, Poland, in 1938. Escaping Poland only days before the Nazi onslaught, she worked in the New York YIVO during the war, and returned to Europe from 1946 to 1947 to aid Jewish displaced persons in Munich and Belsen with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Dawidowicz's memoir not only describes her pre-war year in Jewish Eastern Europe, but also treats the ghostly post-war period, and her role in salvaging what remained of Vilna's scorched Jewish archives and libraries.
Nancy Sinkoff's new introduction explores the historical forces, particularly the dynamic world of secular Yiddish culture, which shaped Dawidowicz's decision to journey to Poland and her reassessment of those forces in the last years of her life.
From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways reveals the distinctive flavor of Jewish foods in the Midwest and tracks regional culinary changes through time. Exploring Jewish culinary innovation in America's heartland from the 1800s to today, Ellen F. Steinberg and Jack H. Prost examine recipes from numerous midwestern sources, both kosher and nonkosher, including Jewish homemakers' handwritten manuscripts and notebooks, published journals and newspaper columns, and interviews with Jewish cooks, bakers, and delicatessen owners.
With the influx of hundreds of thousands of Jews during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came new recipes and foodways that transformed the culture of the region. Settling into the cities, towns, and farm communities of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota, Jewish immigrants incorporated local fruits, vegetables, and other comestibles into traditional recipes. Such incomparable gustatory delights include Tzizel bagels and rye breads coated in midwestern cornmeal, baklava studded with locally grown cranberries, dark pumpernickel bread sprinkled with almonds and crunchy Iowa sunflower seeds, tangy ketchup concocted from wild sour grapes, Sephardic borekas (turnovers) made with sweet cherries from Michigan, rich Chicago cheesecakes, native huckleberry pie from St. Paul, and savory gefilte fish from Minnesota northern pike.
Steinberg and Prost also consider the effect of improved preservation and transportation on rural and urban Jewish foodways, as reported in contemporary newspapers, magazines, and published accounts. They give special attention to the impact on these foodways of large-scale immigration, relocation, and Americanization processes during the nineteenth century and the efforts of social and culinary reformers to modify traditional Jewish food preparation and ingredients.
Including dozens of sample recipes, From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways takes readers on a memorable and unique tour of midwestern Jewish cooking and culture.