Fusing high scholarship with high drama, Anthony Grafton and Joanna Weinberg uncover a secret and extraordinary aspect of a legendary Renaissance scholar’s already celebrated achievement. The French Protestant Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614) is known to us through his pedantic namesake in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. But in this book, the real Casaubon emerges as a genuine literary hero, an intrepid explorer in the world of books. With a flair for storytelling reminiscent of Umberto Eco, Grafton and Weinberg follow Casaubon as he unearths the lost continent of Hebrew learning—and adds this ancient lore to the well-known Renaissance revival of Latin and Greek.
The mystery begins with Mark Pattison’s nineteenth-century biography of Casaubon. Here we encounter the Protestant Casaubon embroiled in intellectual quarrels with the Italian and Catholic orator Cesare Baronio. Setting out to understand the nature of this imbroglio, Grafton and Weinberg discover Casaubon’s knowledge of Hebrew. Close reading and sedulous inquiry were Casaubon’s tools in recapturing the lost learning of the ancients—and these are the tools that serve Grafton and Weinberg as they pore through pre-1600 books in Hebrew, and through Casaubon’s own manuscript notebooks. Their search takes them from Oxford to Cambridge, from Dublin to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as they reveal how the scholar discovered the learning of the Hebrews—and at what cost.
Impure Migration investigates the period from the 1890s until the 1930s, when prostitution was a legal institution in Argentina and the international community knew its capital city Buenos Aires as the center of the sex industry. At the same time, pogroms and anti-Semitic discrimination left thousands of Eastern European Jewish people displaced, without the resources required to immigrate. For many Jewish women, participation in prostitution was one of very few ways they could escape the limited options in their home countries, and Jewish men facilitate their transit and the organization of their work and social lives. Instead of marginalizing this story or reading it as a degrading chapter in Latin American Jewish history, Impure Migration interrogates a complicated social landscape to reveal that sex work is in fact a critical part of the histories of migration, labor, race, and sexuality.
Translated from the German for the first time, In Her Father's Eyes is the diary of Béla Weichherz, in which he documents the life of his only daughter, Kitty, in prewar Czechoslovakia. Started as a baby book before her birth in 1929, the journal contains frequent entries about the ups and downs of Kitty's childhood, often written in vivid detail. Weichherz included photographs, developmental charts, and Kitty's own drawings to enhance the text. The journal entries stop in early spring 1942, just days before the family's deportation to a Nazi death camp. In its final pages, a recognizable tale of one anonymous life becomes a heartbreaking story about how anti-Semitism and nationalism in Slovakia shattered this normalcy.
In Her Father's Eyes is a moving tale about Jewish life and a father's profound love for his only child. By bridging prewar and wartime periods, the diary also provides a rich context for understanding the history from which the Holocaust emerged.
In drama and in musical comedy, in popular song and in symphonic music, in movies and in literature, Jews have contributed to American culture in the 20th century to a degree out of all proportion to their numbers. But does this vast creative output coalesce into something identifiable as an American Jewish culture? Stephen J. Whitfield answers this question with a resounding "yes!" Whitfield focuses on areas where the specifically Jewish contribution has been little explored. He surveys such fields as popular music, musical theater, and drama, focusing on key figures from Jerome Kern and the Gershwins to Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins; Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland to Irving Berlin and Bob Dylan; Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman to David Mamet and Wendy Wasserstein. At the same time, Whitfield tackles the complex issue of race and American Jewish culture, tracing the extensive interpenetrations of Jewish and African American music. He also offers a stunning examination of Jewish American representations of the Holocaust, focusing on stage and film adaptations of Anne Frank's Diary and on Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List. In a poignant, final chapter, Whitfield ponders the future of American Jewish culture after a century of assimilationist pressure and mainstream success. The distinctive culture that he has traced through the 20th century, Whitfield concludes, may finally become submerged and lost. Only a renewed emphasis on Judaism itself, he believes, offers the hope for American Jews to maintain the dual cultural identities that they have so long succeeded in nurturing.
The Jazz Age of the 1920s is an era remembered for illegal liquor, innovative music and dance styles, and burgeoning ideas of social equality. It was also the period during which second-generation Jews began to emerge as a significant demographic in New York City. In TheirOwn Image examines thegrowing cultural visibility of Jewish life amid this vibrant scene.
From the vaudeville routines of Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, and Sophie Tucker, to the slew of Broadway comedies about Jewish life and the silent films that showed immigrant families struggling to leave the ghetto, images and representations of Jews became staples of interwar popular culture. Through the performing arts, Jews expressed highly ambivalent feelings about their identification with Jewish and American cultures. Ted Merwin shows how they became American by producing and consuming not images of another group, but images of themselves. As a result, they humanized Jewish stereotypes, softened anti-Semitic attitudes, and laid the groundwork for today’s Jewish comedians.
An entertaining look at the role popular culture plays in promoting the acculturation of an ethnic group, In Their Own Image enhances our understanding of American Jewish history and provides a model for the study of other groups and their integration into mainstream society.
Jehuda Reinharz, born in Haifa in 1944, spent his childhood in Israel and his adolescence in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States when he was seventeen. These three diverse geographies and the experiences they engendered shaped his formative years and the future of a prolific scholar who devoted his life to the study of the central role of leadership as Jews faced the challenges of emancipation and integration in Germany, the rise of modern antisemitism, the formation of Zionist youth culture and politics, and the transformation of Jewish politics in Palestine and the State of Israel. In this volume, eminent scholars in their respective fields extend the lines of Reinharz’s research interests and personal activism by focusing on the ideological, political, and scholarly contributions of a diverse range of individuals in Jewish history. Essays are clustered around five central themes: ideology and politics; statecraft; intellectual, social and cultural spheres; witnessing history; and in the academy. This volume offers a panoramic view of modern Jewish history through engaging essays that celebrate Reinharz’s rich contribution as a path-breaking and prolific scholar, teacher, and leader in the academy and beyond.
Antisemitism never disappeared in Europe. In fact, there is substantial evidence that it is again on the rise, manifest in violent acts against Jews in some quarters, but more commonly noticeable in everyday discourse in mainstream European society. This innovative empirical study examines written examples of antisemitism in contemporary Germany. It demonstrates that hostility against Jews is not just a right-wing phenomenon or a phenomenon among the uneducated, but is manifest among all social classes, including intellectuals. Drawing on 14,000 letters and e-mails sent between 2002 and 2012 to the Central Council of Jews in Germany and to the Israeli embassy in Berlin, as well as communications sent between 2010 and 2011 to Israeli embassies in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain, this volume shows how language plays a crucial role in activating and re-activating antisemitism. In addition, the authors investigate the role of emotions in antisemitic argumentation patterns and analyze “anti-Israelism” as the dominant form of contemporary hatred of Jews.
Inthis book, Laurence Roth argues that the popular genre of Jewish detective stories offers new insights into the construction of ethnic and religious identity. Roth frames his study with the concept of “kosher hybridity” to look at the complex process of mediation between Jewish and American culture in which Jewish writers voice the desire to be both different from and yet the same as other Americans. He argues that the detective story, located at the intersection of narrative and popular culture in modern America, examines the need for order in a disorderly society, and thus offers a window into the negotiation of Jewish identity differing from that of literary fiction. The writers of these popular cultural texts, which are informed by contradiction and which thrive on intended and unintended ironies, formulate idioms for American Jewish identities that intentionally and unintentionally create social, ethnic, and religious syntheses in American Jewish life. Roth examines stories about American Jewish detectives—including Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi Small, Faye Kellerman’s Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus, Stuart Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman, and Rochelle Krich’s Jessica Drake—not only as a genre of literature but also as a reflection of contemporary acculturation in the American Jewish popular arts.
The Jewish Labor Bund was one of the major political forces in early twentieth-century Eastern Europe. But the decades after the Second World War were years of enormous difficulty for Bundists. Like millions of other European Jews, they faced the challenge of resurrecting their lives, so gravely disrupted by the Holocaust. Not only had the organization lost many members, but its adherents were also scattered across many continents. In this book, David Slucki charts the efforts of the surviving remnants of the movement to salvage something from the wreckage.
Covering both the Bundists who remained in communist Eastern Europe and those who emigrated to the United States, France, Australia, and Israel, the book explores the common challenges they faced—building transnational networks of friends, family, and fellow Holocaust survivors, while rebuilding a once-local movement under a global umbrella. This is a story of resilience and passion—passion for an idea that only barely survived Auschwitz.
Great Neck, New York, is one of America’s most fascinating suburbs. Since the mid-nineteenth century, generations have been attracted to this once quiet enclave for its easy access to New York City and its tranquil setting by the Long Island Sound. It became an illustrious suburb, home to numerous film and theatrical luminaries, among them Groucho Marx, Eddie Cantor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Alan King. Famous writers who lived there include Ring Lardner and, of course, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who used Great Neck as the inspiration for his classic novel The Great Gatsby.
Although frequently recognized as home to well-known personalities, Great Neck is also notable for the conspicuous way it transformed itself from a Gentile community, to a mixed one, and, finally, in the 1960s, to one in which Jews were the majority. In Inventing Great Neck, Judith Goldstein recounts these histories in which Great Neck emerges as a leader in the reconfiguration of the American suburb.The book spans four decades of rapid change, beginning with the 1920s. First, the community served as a playground for New York’s socialites and celebrities. In the forties, it developed one of the country’s most outstanding school systems and served as the temporary home to the United Nations. In the sixties it provided strong support to the civil rights movement.
Inventing Great Neck is about the allure of suburbia, including the institutions that bind it together, and the social, economic, cultural, and religious tensions that may threaten its vibrancy. Anyone who has lived in a suburban town, particularly one in the greater metropolitan area, will be intrigued by this rich narrative, which illustrates not only Jewish identity in America but the struggle of the American dream itself through the heart of the twentieth century.
Yiddish-speaking Jews thought Cuba was supposed to be a mere layover on the journey to the United States when they arrived in the island country in the 1920s. They even called it “Hotel Cuba.” But then the years passed, and the many Jews who came there from Turkey, Poland, and war-torn Europe stayed in Cuba. The beloved island ceased to be a hotel, and Cuba eventually became “home.” But after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, the majority of the Jews opposed his communist regime and left in a mass exodus. Though they remade their lives in the United States, they mourned the loss of the Jewish community they had built on the island.
As a child of five, Ruth Behar was caught up in the Jewish exodus from Cuba. Growing up in the United States, she wondered about the Jews who stayed behind. Who were they and why had they stayed? What traces were left of the Jewish presence, of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who was taking care of this legacy? What Jewish memories had managed to survive the years of revolutionary atheism?
An Island Called Home is the story of Behar’s journey back to the island to find answers to these questions. Unlike the exotic image projected by the American media, Behar uncovers a side of Cuban Jews that is poignant and personal. Her moving vignettes of the individuals she meets are coupled with the sensitive photographs of Havana-based photographer Humberto Mayol, who traveled with her.
Together, Behar’s poetic and compassionate prose and Mayol’s shadowy and riveting photographs create an unforgettable portrait of a community that many have seen though few have understood. This book is the first to show both the vitality and the heartbreak that lie behind the project of keeping alive the flame of Jewish memory in Cuba.
Israeli women do not enjoy the equality, status, and power often attributed to them by the media and popular culture. Despite significant achievements and progress, as a whole they continue to earn less than their male counterparts, are less visible and influential in the political arena, do not share equal responsibilities or privileges in the military, have unequal rights and freedoms in family life and law, and are less influential in shaping the nation's self image and cultural orientation.
Bringing together classic essays by leading scholars of Israeli culture, this reader exposes the hidden causes of ongoing discrimination and links the restrictions that Israeli women experience to deeply entrenched structures, including colonial legacies, religious traditions, capitalism, nationalism, and ongoing political conflict. In contrast, the essays also explore how women act creatively to affect social change and shape public discourse in less ostensible ways.
Providing balanced perspectives from the social sciences and the humanities, this comprehensive reader reflects both an emerging consensus and exciting diversity in the field. It is the definitive text for courses in Israeli women's studies.
Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer once described Dr. Leon Thorne’s memoir as a work of “bitter truth” that he compared favorably to the works of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Proust. Out of print for over forty years, this lost classic of Holocaust literature now reappears in a revised, annotated edition, including both Thorne’s original 1961 memoir Out of the Ashes: The Story of a Survivor and his previously unpublished accounts of his arduous postwar experiences in Germany and Poland.
Rabbi Thorne composed his memoir under extraordinary conditions, confined to a small underground bunker below a Polish peasant’s pigsty. But, It Will Yet Be Heard is remarkable not only for the story of its composition, but also for its moral clarity and complexity. A deeply religious man, Rabbi Thorne bore witness to forced labor camps, human degradation, and the murders of entire communities. And once he emerged from hiding, he grappled not only with survivor’s guilt, but also with the lingering antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence in Poland even after the war ended. Harrowing, moving, and deeply insightful, Rabbi Thorne’s firsthand account offers a rediscovered perspective on the twentieth century’s greatest tragedy.