Was Jesus the founder of Christianity or a teacher of Judaism? When he argued the latter based on the New Testament, Abraham Geiger ignited an intense debate that began in nineteenth-century Germany but continues to this day.
Geiger, a pioneer of Reform Judaism and a founder of Jewish studies, developed a Jewish version of Christian origins. He contended that Jesus was a member of the Pharisees, a progressive and liberalizing group within first-century Judaism, and that he taught nothing new or original. This argument enraged German Protestant theologians, some of whom produced a tragic counterargument based on racial theory.
In this fascinating book, Susannah Heschel traces the genesis of Geiger's argument and examines the reaction to it within Christian theology. She concludes that Geiger initiated an intellectual revolt by the colonized against the colonizer, an attempt not to assimilate into Christianity by adopting Jesus as a Jew, but to overthrow Christian intellectual hegemony by claiming that Christianity—and all of Western civilization—was the product of Judaism.
A firsthand account of the American Jewish experience on the front lines of the Korean War
During the height of the Korean conflict, 1950–51, Orthodox Jewish chaplain Milton J. Rosen wrote 19 feature-length articles for Der Morgen Zhornal, a Yiddish daily in New York, documenting his wartime experiences as well as those of the servicemen under his care. Rosen was among those nearly caught in the Chinese entrapment of American and Allied forces in North Korea in late 1950, and some of his most poignant writing details the trying circumstances that faced both soldiers and civilians during that time.
As chaplain, Rosen was able to offer a unique account of the American Jewish experience on the frontlines and in the United States military while also describing the impact of the American presence on Korean citizens and their culture. His interest in Korean attitudes toward Jews is also a significant theme within these articles.
Stanley R. Rosen has translated his father’s articles into English and provides background on Milton Rosen’s military service before and after the Korean conflict. He presents an introductory overview of the war and includes helpful maps and photographs. The sum is a readable account of war and its turmoil from an astute and compassionate observer.
Rabbi Morris Newfield led Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham from 1895-1940 and was counted among the most influential religious and social leaders of that city
American Jewish history has been criticized for its parochial nature because it has consisted largely of chronicles of American Jewish life and has often failed to explore the relationship between Jews and other ethnic groups in America.
Rabbi Morris Newfield led Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham from 1895-1940 and was counted among the most influential religious and social leaders of that city. Cowett chronicles Newfield’s career and uses it as a vehicle to explore the nature of ethnic leadership in America. In doing so he explores the conflicts with which Newfield struggled to help Jews maintain a sense of religious identity in a predominately Southern Christian environment. Newfield’s career also portrays the struggle of social welfare efforts in Alabama during the Progressive Era. He recognized the need for Jews to develop bonds with other American ethnic groups. Cowett portrays him as a mediator between not only Jew and Christian but also black and white, labor and capital, liberal and conservative—in short, within the full spectrum of political and social exchange in an industrial-based New south city.
The first scholarly biography of Levi Yitshak of Berdychiv in English in over thirty-five years.
Defender of the Faithful explores the life and thought of Levi Yitshak of Berdychiv (1740–1809), one of the most fascinating and colorful Hasidic leaders of his time. This is an intellectual and religious biography, a reading of the development of his thought and career. Featuring examples of Levi Yitshak’s extraordinary texts alongside insightful analysis by scholar and theologian Arthur Green, Defender of the Faithful is a compelling study of both Levi Yitshak’s theology and broader philosophy.
Don Isaac Abravanel (1437–1508) was one of the great inventors of Jewish modernity. A merchant, banker, and court financier, a scholar versed in both Jewish and Christian writings, a preacher and exegete, a prominent political actor in royal entourages and Jewish communities, Abravanel was one of the greatest leaders and thinkers of Iberian Jewry in the aftermath of the expulsion of 1492. This book, the first new intellectual biography of Abravanel in twenty years, depicts his life in three cultural milieus—Portugal, Castile, and post-expulsion Italy—and analyzes his major literary accomplishments in each period. Abravanel was a traditionalist with innovative ideas, a man with one foot in the Middle Ages and the other in the Renaissance. An erudite scholar, author of a monumental exegetical opus that is still studied today, and an avid book collector, he was a transitional figure, defined by an age of contradictions. Yet, it is these very contradictions that make him such an important personality for understanding the dawn of Jewish modernity.
Winner of the 2019 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry
Zachary Asher’s second collection, gone bird in the glass hours, is a play in verse, featuring seven voices. It begins with a rabbi, bewildered and bent by personal grief, guided and beguiled by elusive Blue Postman into the world of “the glass hours” and its inhabitants.
Rooted in magical realism, gone bird in the glass hours experiments with multiple forms from epistles to centos, from fractals to prayers. These poems are brave in their excavations of grief and solace, wonder and rage, collective trauma and, ultimately, transcendence.
First published in French by the Presses du Centre National de la Recherche ScientiÞque in 1990, this book relates the history of Turkish Jewry during the last decades of the Ottoman empire, as told through the life and work of Haim Nahum, the Chief Rabbi of the Ottoman empire from 1909 to 1920.
Jewish Continuity in America presents an overview of a life's work by a preeminent scholar and brings new insight to the challenge of American Jewish continuity.
Jews have historically lived within a paradox of faith and fear: faith that they are an eternal people and fear that their generation may be the last. In the United States, the Jewish community has faced to a heightened degree the enduring question of identity and assimilation: How does the Jewish community in this free, open, pluralistic society discover or create factors-both ideological and existential-that make group survival beneficial to the larger society and rewarding to the individual Jew?
Abraham J. Karp's Jewish Continuity in America focuses on the three major sources of American Judaism's continuing vitality: the synagogue, the rabbinate, and Jewish religious pluralism. Particularly illuminating is Karp's examination of the coexistence and unity-in-diversity of American religious Jewry's three divisions-Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative-and of how this Jewish religious pluralism fits into the larger picture of American religious pluralism.
Informing the larger enterprise through sharp and full delineation of discrete endeavors, the essays collected in Jewish Continuity in America-some already acknowledged as classics, some appearing here for the first time-describe creative individual and communal responses to the challenge of Jewish survival. As the title suggests, this book argues that continuity in a free and open society demands a high order of creativity, a creativity that, to be viable, must be anchored in institutions wholly pledged to continuity.
In this close analysis of The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, a sixth-century commentary on the Mishnah-tractate The Fathers (Avot), Jacob Neusner considers the way in which the story, as a distinctive type of narrative, entered the canonical writings of Judaism. The final installment in Neusner's cycle of analyses of the major texts of the Judaic canon, Judaism and Story shows that stories about sages exist in far greater proportion in The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan than in any of the other principal writings in the canon of Judaism of late antiquity. Neusner's detailed comparison of The Fathers and The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan demonstrates the transmission and elaboration of these stories and shows how these processes incorporated the newer view of the sage as a supernatural figure and of the eschatological character of Judaic teleology. These distinctions, as Neusner describes them, mark a shift in Jewish orientation to world history.
Judaism and Story documents a chapter of rabbinic tradition that explored the possibility of historical orientation by means of stories. As Neusner demonstrates, this experiment with narrative went beyond the borders of rabbinic preoccupation with rhetorical argumentation focused on the explication of the Torah. The sage story moved in the direction of biography, but without allowing biography to emerge. This development, in Neusner's account, parallels the movement from epistle to Gospel in early Christianity and thus has broad implications for the history of religions.
Winner, 2019 Booker Worthen Prize from the Central Arkansas Library System.
A dedicated advocate for social justice long before the term entered everyday usage, Rabbi Ira Sanders began striving against the Jim Crow system soon after he arrived in Little Rock from New York in 1926. Sanders, who led Little Rock’s Temple B’nai Israel for nearly forty years, was a trained social worker as well as a rabbi and his career as a dynamic religious and community leader in Little Rock spanned the traumas of the Great Depression, World War II and the Holocaust, and the social and racial struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.
Just and Righteous Causes—a full biographical study of this bold social-activist rabbi—examines how Sanders expertly navigated the intersections of race, religion, and gender to advocate for a more just society. It joins a growing body of literature about the lives and histories of Southern rabbis, deftly balancing scholarly and narrative tones to provide a personal look into the complicated position of the Southern rabbi and the Jewish community throughout the political struggles of the twentieth-century South.
Rabbi Ben Kamin has written a definitive personal expression about race, coming of age in the 1960s, a forbidden friendship, and his personal love for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is a story that spans a four-decade search for a lost high school chum, a deep misunderstanding, and a coming to terms with an America painfully evolving from the blood of MLK to the promise of Barack Obama.
The book is a remembrance of Kamin's life at Cincinnati's notorious Woodward High School, a microcosm of the 1960s and of America itself, as well as detailing Kamin's search-for Clifton, for America, for the key to understanding what race relations really are in the United States. Simultaneously, it is the story of the emerging rabbi's search for the legacy of his spiritual mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., taking Kamin from Cincinnati to Cleveland to Memphis to New Orleans and other points, and constantly bringing him home to his friend Clifton and "the heaving hallways" of that high school.
These wide-ranging essays reveal the various roles played by southern rabbis in the struggle for black civil rights since Reconstruction
The study of black-Jewish relations has become a hotbed of controversy, especially with regard to the role played by Jewish leaders during the Civil Rights movement. Did these leaders play a pivotal role, or did many of them, especially in the South, succumb to societal pressure and strive to be accepted rather than risk being persecuted? If some of these leaders did choose a quieter path, were their reasons valid? And were their methods successful?
The contributors in this volume explore the motivations and subsequent behavior of rabbis in a variety of southern environments both before and during the civil rights struggle. Their research demonstrates that most southern rabbis indeed faced pressures not experienced in the North and felt the need to balance these countervailing forces to achieve their moral imperative.
Individually, each essay offers a glimpse into both the private and public difficulties these rabbis faced in their struggle to achieve good. Collectively, the essays provide an unparalleled picture of Jewish leadership during the civil rights era.
The story of modern Orthodox Judaism is usually told only from the perspective of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Ellenson’s work, a thorough examination of the life and work of one of Hirsch’s contemporaries, Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer, reveals another important contributor to the creation of a modern Jewish Orthodoxy during the late 1800s. like Hirsch, Hildesheirmer felt the need to continue certain traditions while at the same time introducing certain innovations to meet the demands of a modern society. This original study of an Orthodox rabbinic leader shows how Hildesheirmer’s flexible and pragmatic approach to these problems continues to be relevant to modern Judaism. The way in which this book draws upon response literature for its comprehension of Hildesheimer makes it a distinctive work in modern Jewish historiography and sociology.
This biography of a pioneering Zionist and leader of American Reform Judaism adds significantly to our understanding of American and southern Jewish history.
Max Heller was a man of both passionate conviction and inner contradiction. He sought to be at the center of current affairs, not as a spokesperson of centrist opinion, but as an agitator or mediator, constantly struggling to find an acceptable path as he confronted the major issues of the day--racism and Jewish emancipation in eastern Europe, nationalism and nativism, immigration and assimilation. Heller's life experience provides a distinct vantage point from which to view the complexity of race relations in New Orleans and the South and the confluence of cultures that molded his development as a leader. A Bohemian immigrant and one of the first U.S.-trained rabbis, Max Heller served for 40 years as spiritual leader of a Reform Jewish congregation in New Orleans--at that time the largest city in the South. Far more than a congregational rabbi, Heller assumed an activist role in local affairs, Reform Judaism, and the Zionist movement, maintaining positions often unpopular with his neighbors, congregants, and colleagues. His deep concern for social justice led him to question two basic assumptions that characterized his larger social milieu--segregation and Jewish assimilation.
Heller, a consummate Progressive with clear vision and ideas substantially ahead of their time, led his congregation, his community, Reform Jewish colleagues, and Zionist sympathizers in a difficult era.
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady (1745–1812), in imperial Russia, was the founder and first rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism that flourishes to the present day. The Chabad-Lubavitch movement he founded in the region now known as Belarus played, and continues to play, an important part in the modernization processes and postwar revitalization of Orthodox Jewry. Drawing on historical source materials that include Shneur Zalman’s own works and correspondence, as well as documents concerning his imprisonment and interrogation by the Russian authorities, Etkes focuses on Zalman’s performance as a Hasidic leader, his unique personal qualities and achievements, and the role he played in the conflict between Hasidim and its opponents. In addition, Etkes draws a vivid picture of the entire generation that came under Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s influence. This comprehensive biography will appeal to scholars and students of the history of Hasidism, East European Jewry, and Jewish spirituality.
David Polish Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1988 Library of Congress BM676.M34 1988 | Dewey Decimal 296.44
Written in contemporary, gender-inclusive language, the Rabbi's Manual contains traditional and innovative services and ceremonies for birth and infancy, adoption, public and private naming ceremonies, an 8th day covenant service for daughters, four wedding services and associated public prayers, a ritual release at divorce, services at death and memorials, prayers at a time of illness and Giyur (conversion) services and prayers.
To Come to the Land makes available in English a vast body of research,
previously available only in Hebrew, on the early history of the land now
known as Israel.
Abraham David here focuses on the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who fled
the Iberian Peninsula during the 16th century, tracing the beginnings of
Sephardic influence in the land of Israel.
After the Ottoman Turks conquered Syria, Palestine, and Egypt in 1516,
the Ottoman regime, unlike their Mamluk predecessors, encouraged economic
development and settlement throughout the region. This openness to immigration
offered a solution to the crisis Iberian Jews were undergoing as a result
of their expulsion from Spain and the forced conversions in Portugal. Within
a few years of the Ottoman conquest, Jews of Spanish extraction, many of
them clustered in urban areas, dominated the Jewish communities of Eretz-Israel.
In this carefully researched study, David examines the lasting impression
made by these enterprising Jewish settlers on the commercial, social, and
intellectual life of the area under early Ottoman rule. Of particular interest
is his examination of the cities of Jerusalem and Safed and David's succinct
biographies of leading Jewish personalities throughout the region.
This first English translation of a ground-breaking Hebrew work provides
a comprehensive overview of a significant chapter in the history of Israel
and explores some of the factors that brought to it the best minds of the
age. Essential for scholars of late Medieval Jewish history, To Come to
the Land will also be an important resource for scholars of intellectual
history, as it provides background crucial to an understanding of the intellectual
flourishing of the period.
A landmark collection of previously unpublished interviews with Reform rabbis concerning their roles in the civil rights movement.
In 1966, a young rabbinical student named P. Allen Krause conducted interviews with twelve Reform rabbis from southern congregations concerning their thoughts, principles, and activities as they related to the civil rights movement. Perhaps because he was a young seminary student or more likely because the interviewees were promised an embargo of twenty-five years before the interviews would be released to the public, the rabbis were extremely candid about their opinions on and their own involvement with what was still an incendiary subject. Now, in To Stand Aside or Stand Alone: Southern Reform Rabbis and the Civil Rights Movement, their stories help elucidate a pivotal moment in time.
After a distinguished rabbinical career, Krause wrote introductions to and annotated the interviews. When Krause succumbed to cancer in 2012, Mark K. Bauman edited the manuscripts further and wrote additional introductions with the assistance of Stephen Krause, the rabbi’s son. The result is a unique volume offering insights into these rabbis’ perceptions and roles in their own words and with more depth and nuance than hitherto available. This exploration into the lives of these teachers and civic leaders is supported by important contextual information on the local communities and other rabbis, with such background information forming the basis of a demographic profile of the Reform rabbis working in the South.
The twelve rabbis whom Krause interviewed served in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia, and the substance and scope of their discussions cover some of the most crucial periods in the civil rights movement. Although some have provided accounts that appeared elsewhere or have written about their experiences themselves, several new voices appear here, suggesting that more southern rabbis were active than previously thought. These men functioned within a harsh environment: rabbis’ homes, synagogues, and Jewish community centers were bombed; one rabbi, who had been beaten and threatened, carried a pistol to protect himself and his family. The views and actions of these men followed a spectrum from gradualism to activism; while several of the rabbis opposed the evils of the separate and unequal system, others made peace with it or found reasons to justify inaction. Additionally, their approaches differed from their activist colleagues in the North even more than from each other.
Within these pages, readers learn about the attitudes of the rabbis toward each other, toward their congregants, toward national Jewish organizations, and toward local leaders of black and white and Protestant and Catholic groups. Theirs are dramatic stories of frustration, cooperation, and conflict.
“If Hasidism begins in the life-enhancing spirituality of the Baal Shem Tov, it concludes in the tortuous, elitist and utterly fascinating career of Nahman of Bratslav (1722–1810) whose biography and teaching Arthur Green has set forth in his comprehensive, moving, and subtle study, Tormented Master.
“Arthur Green has managed to lead us through the thickets of the Bratslaver discourse with a grace and facility thus far unequaled in the English language literature on Hasidism. Tormented Master is a model of clarity and percipience, balancing awed respect and honor for its subject with a ruthless pursuit of documented truth. . . . Tormented Master is sufficiently open to the agonies of religion in general and the issues of modern religion in particular to make Nahman a thinker utterly relevant to our time.
“Nahman of Bratslav is unique in the history of Judaism, Green emphasizes, for having made the individual’s quest for intimacy with God the center of the religious way. He was a Kierkegaard before his time, believing in the utter abandon of the life of faith and the risk of paradoxicality. . . . He was, more than all others, the predecessor of Kafka, whose tales, like Nahman’s, have no explicit key and rankle, flush and irritate the spirit, compelling us—even in our failure to understand—to acknowledge their potency and challenge.”