In this extraordinary study, Michael Dorland explores sixty years of medical attempts by French doctors (mainly in the fields of neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis) to describe the effects of concentration camp incarceration on Holocaust survivors. Dorland begins with a discussion of the liberation of concentration camp survivors, their stay in deportation camps, and eventual return to France, analyzing the circulation of mainly medical (neuropsychiatric) knowledge, its struggles to establish a symptomology of camp effects, and its broadening out into connected medical fields such as psychoanalysis. He then turns specifically to the French medical doctors who studied Holocaust survivors, and he investigates somatic, psychological, and holistic conceptions of survivors as patients and human beings. The final third of the book offers a comparative look at the “psy-science” approach to Holocaust survival beyond France, particularly in the United States and Israel. He illuminates the peculiar journey of a medical discourse that began in France but took on new forms elsewhere, eventually expanding into nonmedical fields to create the basis of the “traumato-culture” with which we are familiar today. Embedding his analysis of different medical discourses in the sociopolitical history of France in the twentieth century, he also looks at the French Jewish Question as it affected French medicine, the effects of five years of Nazi Occupation, France’s enthusiastic collaboration, and the problems this would pose for postwar collective memory.
Following the end of World War II, it was widely reported by the media that Jewish refugees found lives filled with opportunity and happiness in America. However, for most of the 140,000 Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) who immigrated to the United States from Europe in the years between 1946 and 1954, it was a much more complicated story.
Case Closed challenges the prevailing optimistic perception of the lives of Holocaust survivors in postwar America by scrutinizing their first years through the eyes of those who lived it. The facts brought forth in this book are supported by case files recorded by Jewish social service workers, letters and minutes from agency meetings, oral testimonies, and much more.
Cohen explores how the Truman Directive allowed the American Jewish community to handle the financial and legal responsibility for survivors, and shows what assistance the community offered the refugees and what help was not available. She investigates the particularly difficult issues that orphan children and Orthodox Jews faced, and examines the subtleties of the resettlement process in New York and other locales. Cohen uncovers the truth of survivors' early years in America and reveals the complexity of their lives as "New Americans."
A century ago, New Yorkers, hungry for mountain air, good food, and a Jewish environment combined with an American way of leisure, began to develop a resort area unique in the world. By the 1950s, this summer Eden of bungalow colonies, summer camps, and over 900 hotels had attracted over a million people a year. This was the Jewish Catskills of Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Born to a small hotel-owning family who worked for decades in hotels after losing their own, Phil Brown tells a story of the many elements of this magical environment. His own waiter's tales, his mother's culinary exploits as a chef, and his father's jobs as maitre'd and coffee shop operator offer a backdrop to the vital life of Catskills summers. Catskill Culture recounts the life of guests, staff, resort owners,entertainers, and local residents through the author's memories and archival research and the memories of 120 others. The Catskills resorts shaped American Jewish culture, enabling Jews to become more American while at the same time introducing the American public to immigrant Jewish culture. Catskills entertainment provided the nation with a rich supply of comedians, musicians, and singers. Legions of young men and women used the Catskills as a springboard to successful careers and marriages. A decline for the resort area beginning in the 1970s has led to many changes. Today most of the hotels and bungalow colonies are gone or in ruins, while other communities, notably those of the Hasidim, have appeared. The author includes an appendix listing over 900 hotels he has been able to document and invites readers to contact him with additional entries.
2017 Wiener Library Ernst Fraenkel Prize (WLEFP) Finalist
The majority of European Jewish children alive in 1939 were murdered during the Holocaust. Of 1.5 million children, only an estimated 150,000 survived. In the aftermath of the Shoah, efforts by American Jews brought several thousand of these child survivors to the United States. In Child Survivors of the Holocaust, historian Beth B. Cohen weaves together survivor testimonies and archival documents to bring their story to light. She reveals that even as child survivors were resettled and “saved,” they struggled to adapt to new lives as members of adoptive families, previously unknown American Jewish kin networks, or their own survivor relatives. Nonetheless, the youngsters moved ahead. As Cohen demonstrates, the experiences both during and after the war shadowed their lives and relationships through adulthood, yet an identity as “survivors” eluded them for decades. Now, as the last living link to the Holocaust, the voices of Child Survivors are finally being heard.
A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.
In The Choosing, Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of humor to describe what it means to survive and flourish on your own terms. Portioned around the cycle of the Jewish year, with stories connected to each of the holidays, Myers draws on her unique path to the rabbinate--leaving behind her Christian upbringing, coming out as a lesbian, discovering Judaism in college, moving to Israel, converting, and returning to New York to become a rabbi, partner, and parent.
Myers relates tales of new beginnings, of reinventing oneself, and finding oneself. Whether it's a Sicilian grandmother attempting to bake hamantaschen on Purim for her Jewish granddaughter, or an American in Jerusalem saving a chicken from slaughter during a Rosh Hashanah ritual, Myers keeps readers entertained as she reflects that spirituality, goodness, and morality can and do take many forms. Readers will enthusiastically embrace stories of doors closing and windows opening, of family and community, of integration and transformation. These captivating narratives will resonate and, in the author's words, "reach across coasts, continents, and generations."
At which moments and in which ways did Jews play a central role in the development of American capitalism? Many popular writers address the intersection of Jews and capitalism, but few scholars, perhaps fearing this question’s anti-Semitic overtones, have pondered it openly. Chosen Capital represents the first historical collection devoted to this question in its analysis of the ways in which Jews in North America shaped and were shaped by America’s particular system of capitalism. Jews fundamentally molded aspects of the economy during the century when American capital was being redefined by industrialization, war, migration, and the emergence of the United States as a superpower.
Surveying such diverse topics as Jews’ participation in the real estate industry, the liquor industry, and the scrap metal industry, as well as Jewish political groups and unions bent on reforming American capital, such as the American Labor Party and the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, contributors to this volume provide a new prism through which to view the Jewish encounter with America. The volume also lays bare how American capitalism reshaped Judaism itself by encouraging the mass manufacturing and distribution of foods like matzah and the transformation of synagogue cantors into recording stars. These essays force us to rethink not only the role Jews played in American economic development but also how capitalism has shaped Jewish life and Judaism over the course of the twentieth century.
Marni Davis, Georgia State University
Phyllis Dillon, independent documentary producer, textile conservator, museum curator
Andrew Dolkart, Columbia University
Andrew Godley, Henley Business School, University of Reading
Jonathan Karp, executive director, American Jewish Historical Society
Daniel Katz, Empire State College, State University of New York
Ira Katznelson, Columbia University
David S. Koffman, New York University
Eli Lederhendler, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Jonathan Z. S. Pollack, University of Wisconsin—Madison
Texas has one of the largest Jewish populations in the South and West, comprising an often-overlooked vestige of the Diaspora. The Chosen Folks brings this rich aspect of the past to light, going beyond single biographies and photographic histories to explore the full evolution of the Jewish experience in Texas.
Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials and synthesizing earlier research, Bryan Edward Stone begins with the crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in the late sixteenth century and then discusses the unique Texas-Jewish communities that flourished far from the acknowledged centers of Jewish history and culture. The effects of this peripheral identity are explored in depth, from the days when geographic distance created physical divides to the redefinitions of "frontier" that marked the twentieth century. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement are covered as well, raising provocative questions about the attributes that enabled Texas Jews to forge a distinctive identity on the national and world stage. Brimming with memorable narratives, The Chosen Folks brings to life a cast of vibrant pioneers.
This volume gathers an array of voices to tell the stories of Cleveland’s twentieth century Jewish community. Strong and stable after an often turbulent century, the Jews of Cleveland had both deep ties in the region and an evolving and dynamic commitment to Jewish life. The authors present the views and actions of community leaders and everyday Jews who embodied that commitment in their religious participation, educational efforts, philanthropic endeavors, and in their simple desire to live next to each other in the city’s eastern suburbs. The twentieth century saw the move of Cleveland’s Jews out of the center of the city, a move that only served to increase the density of Jewish life. The essays collected here draw heavily on local archival materials and present the area’s Jewish past within the context of American and American Jewish studies.
In a letter to his baby grandson, Bill Lazarre wrote that "unfortunately, despite the attempts by your grandpa and many others to present you with a better world, we were not very successful." Born in 1902 amid the pogroms in Eastern Europe, Lazarre dedicated his life to working for economic equality, racial justice, workers' rights, and a more just world. He was also dedicated to his family, especially his daughters, whom he raised as a single father following his wife’s death. In The Communist and the Communist's Daughter Jane Lazarre weaves memories of her father with documentary materials—such as his massive FBI file—to tell her father's fascinating history as a communist, a Jew, and a husband, father, and grandfather.
Soon after immigrating to the United States as a young man, Lazarre began a long career as a radical activist, being convicted of sedition, holding leadership positions in the American Communist Party, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, organizing labor unions, testifying in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and resisting the FBI’s efforts to recruit him as an informant. Through periods of heroism and deep despair Lazarre never abandoned his ideals or his sustained faith in the fundamental goodness of people.
This is also the story of Jane as she grew up, married an African American civil rights activist, and became a mother and a writer while coming to terms with her father’s legacy. She recounts her arguments with her father over ideology, but also his profound influence on her life. Throughout this poignant and beautifully written work, Jane examines memory, grief, love, and conscience while detailing the sacrifices, humanity, and unwavering convictions of a man who worked tirelessly to create a brighter future for us all.
This book introduces an approach to mental health that dates back 3,000 years to an ancient body of Jewish spiritual wisdom. Known as the Connections Paradigm, the millennia-old method has been empirically shown to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. After being passed down from generation to generation and tested in clinical settings with private clients, it is presented here for the first time to a wide audience.
The idea behind the paradigm is that human beings, at any given moment, are either "connected" or "disconnected" across three key relationships. To be "connected" means to be in a loving, harmonious, and fulfilling relationship; to be "disconnected" means, of course, the opposite. The three relationships are those between our souls and our bodies, ourselves and others, and ourselves and God.
These relationships are hierarchal; each depends on the one that precedes it. This means that we can only connect with God to the extent that we connect with others, and we cannot connect with others if we don’t connect with ourselves. The author, Dr. David H. Rosmarin, devotes a section to each relationship, and describes techniques and practices to become a more connected individual. He also brings in compelling stories from his clinical practice to show the process in action.
Whether you're a clinician working with clients, or a person seeking the healing balm of wisdom; whether you're a member of the Jewish faith, or a person open to new spiritual perspectives, you will find this book sensible, practical, and timely, because, for all of us, connection leads to mental health.
Few issues have divided Poles and Jews more deeply than the Nazi occupation of Poland during the Second World War and the subsequent slaughter of almost ninety percent of Polish Jewry. Many Jewish historians have argued that, during the occupation, Poles at best displayed indifference to the fate of the Jews and at worst were willing accomplices of the Nazis. Many Polish scholars, however, deny any connection between the prewar culture of antisemitism and the wartime situation. They emphasized that Poles were also victims of the Nazis and, for the most part, tried their best to protect the Jews.
This collection of essays, representing three generations of Polish and Jewish scholars, is the first attempt since the fall of Communism to reassess the existing historiography of Polish-Jewish relations just before, during, and after the Second World War. In the spirit of detached scholarly inquiry, these essays fearlessly challenge commonly held views on both sides of the debates. The authors are committed to analyzing issues fairly and to reaching a mutual understanding. Contributors cover six topics:
The prewar legacy
The deterioration of Polish-Jewish relations during the first years of the war
Institutional Polish responses to the Nazi Final Solution
Poles and the Polish nation through Jewish eyes
The destruction of European Jewry and Polish popular opinion
This volume brings together sixteen of Professor Israel M. Ta-Shma’s outstanding studies that were originally written in English, four of which are being published here for the first time. Set in Germany, northern France, Italy, Poland, and Spain, these essays focus on leading rabbinic scholars and their writings, as well as important issues of Jewish intellectual history, such as the nature of halakhah and aggadah; kabbalah and spirituality; childhood; and popular religion. The richness of these studies is seen not only in their meticulous and innovative textual scholarship but also in the fascinating insights and unanticipated connections that typify all of Ta-Shma’s published work.
A scholar of law and religion uncovers a surprising origin story behind the idea of the separation of powers.
The separation of powers is a bedrock of modern constitutionalism, but striking antecedents were developed centuries earlier, by Jewish scholars and rabbis of antiquity. Attending carefully to their seminal works and the historical milieu, David Flatto shows how a foundation of democratic rule was contemplated and justified long before liberal democracy was born.
During the formative Second Temple and early rabbinic eras (the fourth century BCE to the third century CE), Jewish thinkers had to confront the nature of legal authority from the standpoint of the disempowered. Jews struggled against the idea that a legal authority stemming from God could reside in the hands of an imperious ruler (even a hypothetical Judaic monarch). Instead scholars and rabbis argued that such authority lay with independent courts and the law itself. Over time, they proposed various permutations of this ideal. Many of these envisioned distinct juridical and political powers, with a supreme law demarcating the respective jurisdictions of each sphere. Flatto explores key Second Temple and rabbinic writings—the Qumran scrolls; the philosophy and history of Philo and Josephus; the Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash, and Talmud—to uncover these transformative notions of governance.
The Crown and the Courts argues that by proclaiming the supremacy of law in the absence of power, postbiblical thinkers emphasized the centrality of law in the people’s covenant with God, helping to revitalize Jewish life and establish allegiance to legal order. These scholars proved not only creative but also prescient. Their profound ideas about the autonomy of law reverberate to this day.