Kabbalah and Art
Léo Bronstein University Press of New England, 2002 Library of Congress N71.B77 | Dewey Decimal 701.15
Told as a series of reflections, this study traces links between cultures as diverse as pre-Vedic India and late 19th-century France. An array of unrelated artists are all in fact linked by the Kabbalah and the correlation between art and this mystic Jewish thought.
Key Texts in American Jewish Culture expands the frame of reference used by students of culture and history both by widening the "canon" of Jewish texts and by providing a way to extrapolate new meanings from well-known sources.
Contributors come from a variety of disciplines, including American studies, anthropology, comparative literature, history, music, religious studies, and women's studies. Each provides an analysis of a specific text in art, music, television, literature, homily, liturgy, or history. Some of the works discussed, such as Philip Roth's novel Counterlife, the musical Fiddler on the Roof, and Irving Howe's World of Our Fathers, are already widely acknowledged components of the American Jewish studies canon. Others-such as Bridget Loves Bernie, infamous for the hostile reception it received among American Jews+ may be considered "key texts" because of the controversy they provoked. Still others, such as Joshua Liebman's Piece of Mind and the radio and TV sitcom The Goldbergs, demonstrate the extent to which American Jewish culture and mainstream American culture intermingle with and borrow from each other.
Klezmer presents a lively and detailed overview of the folk musical tradition as practiced in Philadelphia's twentieth-century Jewish community. Through interviews, archival research, and recordings, Hankus Netsky constructs an ethnographic portrait of Philadelphia’s Jewish musicians, the environment they worked in, and the repertoire they performed at local Jewish lifestyle and communal celebrations.
Netsky defines what klezmer music is, how it helped define Jewish immigrant culture in Philadelphia, and how its current revival has changed klezmer’s meaning historically. Klezmer also addresses the place of musicians and celebratory music in Jewish society, the nature of klezmer culture, the tensions between sacred and secular in Jewish music, and the development of Philadelphia's distinctive “Russian Sher” medley, a unique and masterfully crafted composition.
Including a significant amount of musical transcriptions, Klezmer chronicles this special musical genre from its heyday in the immigrant era, through the mid-century period of its decline through its revitalization from the 1980s to today.
Christmas is not everybody’s favorite holiday. Historically, Jews in America, whether participating in or refraining from recognizing Christmas, have devised a multitude of unique strategies to respond to the holiday season. Their response is a mixed one: do we participate, try to ignore the holiday entirely, or create our own traditions and make the season an enjoyable time? This book, the first on the subject of Jews and Christmas in the United States, portrays how Jews are shaping the public and private character of Christmas by transforming December into a joyous holiday season belonging to all Americans.
Creative and innovative in approaching the holiday season, these responses range from composing America’s most beloved Christmas songs, transforming Hanukkah into the Jewish Christmas, creating a national Jewish tradition of patronizing Chinese restaurants and comedy shows on Christmas Eve, volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens on Christmas Day, dressing up as Santa Claus to spread good cheer, campaigning to institute Hanukkah postal stamps, and blending holiday traditions into an interfaith hybrid celebration called “Chrismukkah” or creating a secularized holiday such as Festivus.
Through these venerated traditions and alternative Christmastime rituals, Jews publicly assert and proudly proclaim their Jewish and American identities to fashion a universally shared message of joy and hope for the holiday season.