Fourteen provocative essays challenge traditional notions of Jewish female identity presented in mass media images, films, narrative, and stories by portraying the American Jewish woman not only as subject but as shaper of American popular culture. Sometimes internalizing negative presentations but more often "talking back" to them, Jewish women created alternative images that became tools of rebellion, subverting and dismantling such stereotypes as the "Yiddishe Mama," the Jewish Mother, and the Jewish American Princess. Over the course of the century -- and particularly as a consequence of feminism -- Jewish female novelists, screenwriters, dramatists, entertainers, and grass-roots feminists were able to create new possibilities for the expression of Jewish women's voices.
A new interpretation of the roots of Israeli culture
In Tangled Roots: The Emergence of Israeli Culture, Israel Bartal traces the history of modern Hebrew culture prior to the emergence of political Zionism. Bartal examines how traditional and modernist ideals and Western and non-European Jewish cultures merged in an unprecedented encounter between an ancient land (Israel) and a multigenerational people (the Jews). Premodern Jewish traditionalists, Palestinian locals, foreign imperial forces, and Jewish intellectuals, writers, journalists, and party functionaries each affected the Israeli culture that emerged. As this new Hebrew culture was taking shape, the memory of the recent European past played a highly influential role in shaping the image of the New Hebrew, that mythological hero who was meant to supplant the East European exilic Jew.
A critical revision of most contemporary politicized histories of Jewish nationalism
An examination of the history of modern Hebrew culture prior to political Zionism
The Temple of Jerusalem
Simon Goldhill Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress DS109.3.G65 2005 | Dewey Decimal 296.491
It was destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago, and yet the Temple of Jerusalem—cultural memory, symbol, and site—remains one of the most powerful, and most contested, buildings in the world. This glorious structure, imagined and re-imagined, reconsidered and reinterpreted again and again over two millennia, emerges in all its historical, cultural, and religious significance in Simon Goldhill’s account.
Built by Herod on a scale that is still staggering—on an earth and rock platform 144,000 square meters in area and 32 meters high—and destroyed by the Roman emperor Titus 90 years later, in 70 AD, the Temple has become the world’s most potent symbol of the human search for a lost ideal, an image of greatness. Goldhill travels across cultural and temporal boundaries to convey the full extent of the Temple’s impact on religious, artistic, and scholarly imaginations. Through biblical stories and ancient texts, rabbinical writings, archaeological records, and modern accounts, he traces the Temple’s shifting significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
A complex and engaging history of a singular locus of the imagination—a site of longing for the Jews; a central metaphor of Christian thought; an icon for Muslims: the Dome of the Rock—The Temple of Jerusalem also offers unique insight into where Judaism, Christianity, and Islam differ in interpreting their shared inheritance. It is a story that, from the Crusades onward, has helped form the modern political world.
An award-winning actor on screen and stage (The Defiant Ones, The African Queen, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof), an activist for civil rights and progressive causes worldwide, and a singer whose voice has won him great applause, Theodore Bikel here tells his own compelling life story. Born in Austria, raised in Palestine, educated in England, and with a stellar career in the United States and around the world, Bikel offers a personal history parallel to momentous events of the twentieth century. In an eloquent, fiercely committed voice, he writes of the Third Reich, the birth of the State of Israel, the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s, the tumultuous 1960s in America, and events in the Middle East.
In this edition celebrating Bikel’s ninetieth birthday, he looks back in a new chapter at his youth in prewar Vienna, his adolescent years, his continued joy in performing timeless songs, his return to Vienna in recent years, and the active life that keeps him feeling young even after nearly a century of adventure.
The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are often dismissed as a fringe cult for their beliefs that African Americans are descendants of the ancient Israelites and that veganism leads to immortality. But John L. Jackson questions what "fringe" means in a world where cultural practices of every stripe circulate freely on the Internet. In this poignant and sophisticated examination of the limits of ethnography, the reader is invited into the visionary, sometimes vexing world of the AHIJ. Jackson challenges what Clifford Geertz called the "thick description" of anthropological research through a multidisciplinary investigation of how the AHIJ use media and technology to define their public image in the twenty-first century.
Moving far beyond the "modest witness" of nineteenth-century scientific discourse or the "thick descriptions" of twentieth-century anthropology, Jackson insists that Geertzian thickness is an impossibility, especially in a world where the anthropologist's subject is a self-aware subject--one who crafts his own autoethnography while critically consuming the ethnographer's offerings. Thin Description takes as its topic a group situated along the fault lines of several diasporas--African, American, Jewish--and provides an anthropological account of how race, religion, and ethnographic representation must be understood anew in the twenty-first century lest we reenact old mistakes in the study of black humanity.
The essayist and cultural commentator Ilan Stavans and the analytic philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia share long-standing interests in the intersection of art and ideas. Here they take thirteen pieces of Latino art, each reproduced in color, as occasions for thematic discussions. Whether the work at the center of a particular conversation is a triptych created by the brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Andres Serrano's controversial Piss Christ, a mural by the graffiti artist BEAR_TCK, or Above All Things, a photograph by María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Stavans and Gracia's exchanges inevitably open out to literature, history, ethics, politics, religion, and visual culture more broadly. Autobiographical details pepper Stavans and Gracia's conversations, as one or the other tells what he finds meaningful in a given work. Sparkling with insight, their exchanges allow the reader to eavesdrop on two celebrated intellectuals—worldly, erudite, and unafraid to disagree—as they reflect on the pleasures of seeing.
Winner of the 2013 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Jews and the Arts
Finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category
Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust.
These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau. In this passionate work, David Shneer tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-he has amassed never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives.
Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.
In 1796, the Jews of St. Thomas founded the first Jewish congregation on this Caribbean island. By 1803, new arrivals from England, France, and the neighboring islands of St. Eustatius and Curaçao increased the original number from a handful of congregants to twenty-two families. Their small synagogue was destroyed by fires and rebuilt several times. The congregation numbered sixty-four families by the time the present synagogue was erected in 1833. It is by now the oldest synagogue in continuous use under the American flag. The congregation was also among the first to receive copies of the new West London Reform liturgy when it came out in 1841 and the first in this hemisphere to hold a Jewish confirmation ceremony, two years later. In addition, the St. Thomas Synagogue has produced its own unique religious literature relating to hurricanes! While the synagogue has served for over 200 years as a central religious and social gathering place, the Jews of St. Thomas have been highly mobile members of a progressive, cosmopolitan society that at times rivaled any in the world. As an accepted part of the larger community, members were accomplished, model citizens in a highly tolerant Danish colonial society. Jews took positions in government, served as auctioneers, participated in the local Masonic lodges, and represented other countries as consuls in St. Thomas. As traders in a mercantile culture, the Jews contributed to the activity of one of the world’s busiest harbors and played a crucial role in St. Thomas’s nineteenth-century rise to prominence in the northern Caribbean.
Originally published in 1978, Toward the Final Solution was one of the first in-depth studies of the evolution of racism in Europe, from the Age of Enlightenment through the Holocaust and Hitler’s Final Solution. George L. Mosse details how antisemitism and dangerous prejudices have long existed in the European cultural tradition, revealing an appalling and complex history. With the global renewal of extreme, right-wing nationalism, this instrumental work remains as important as ever for understanding how bigotry impacts political, cultural, and intellectual life. This edition of Mosse’s classic book includes a new critical introduction by Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.
The tragic mulatta was a stock figure in nineteenth-century American literature, an attractive mixed-race woman who became a casualty of the color line. The tragic muse was an equally familiar figure in Victorian British culture, an exotic and alluring Jewish actress whose profession placed her alongside the “fallen woman.”
In Transatlantic Spectacles of Race, Kimberly Manganelli argues that the tragic mulatta and tragic muse, who have heretofore been read separately, must be understood as two sides of the same phenomenon. In both cases, the eroticized and racialized female body is put on public display, as a highly enticing commodity in the nineteenth-century marketplace. Tracing these figures through American, British, and French literature and culture, Manganelli constructs a host of surprising literary genealogies, from Zelica to Daniel Deronda, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Lady Audley’s Secret. Bringing together an impressive array of cultural texts that includes novels, melodramas, travel narratives, diaries, and illustrations, Transatlantic Spectacles of Race reveals the value of transcending literary, national, and racial boundaries.
Traveling Heavy is a deeply moving, unconventional memoir by the master storyteller and cultural anthropologist Ruth Behar. Through evocative stories, she portrays her life as an immigrant child and later, as an adult woman who loves to travel but is terrified of boarding a plane. With an open heart, she writes about her Yiddish-Sephardic-Cuban-American family, as well as the strangers who show her kindness as she makes her way through the world. Compassionate, curious, and unafraid to reveal her failings, Behar embraces the unexpected insights and adventures of travel, whether those be learning that she longed to become a mother after being accused of giving the evil eye to a baby in rural Mexico, or going on a zany pilgrimage to the Behar World Summit in the Spanish town of Béjar.
Behar calls herself an anthropologist who specializes in homesickness. Repeatedly returning to her homeland of Cuba, unwilling to utter her last goodbye, she is obsessed by the question of why we leave home to find home. For those of us who travel heavy with our own baggage, Behar is an indispensable guide, full of grace and hope, in the perpetual search for connection that defines our humanity.