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Vol. 84 (1996) through current issue
American Jewish History is the official publication of the American Jewish Historical Society, the oldest national ethnic historical organization in the United States. The most widely recognized journal in its field, AJH focuses on every aspect ofthe American Jewish experience. Founded in 1892 as Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, AJH has been the journal of record in American Jewish history for over a century, bringing readers all the richness and complexity of Jewish life in America through carefully researched, thoroughly accessible articles.
Garland, Norris, Dreiser, Wharton, and Cather
Otherwise known for their progressive social values, Hamlin Garland, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather all also expressed strong anti-Semitic prejudices throughout their fiction, essays, letters, and other writings, producing a contradiction in American literary history that has stymied scholars and, until now, gone largely unexamined. In this breakthrough study, Donald Pizer confronts this disconcerting strain of anti-Semitism pervading American letters and culture, showing how these writers' racist impulses represented more than just personal biases, but resonated with larger social and ideological movements within American culture, including such various movements as the western farmers' populist revolt and the East Coast patricians' revulsion against immigration.
The only comprehensive and up-to-date look at Reform Judaism, this book analyzes the forces currently challenging the Reform movement, now the largest Jewish denomination in the United States.
To distinguish itself from Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, the Reform movement tries to be an egalitarian, open, and innovative version of the faith true to the spirit of the tradition but nonetheless fully compatible with modern secular life. Promoting itself in this way, Reform Judaism has been tremendously successful in recruiting a variety of people—intermarried families, feminists, gays and lesbians, and interracial families among others—who resist more traditional forms of worship.
As an unintended result of this success, the movement now struggles with an identity crisis brought on by its liberal theology, which teaches that each Jew is free to practice Judaism more or less as he or she pleases. In the absence of the authority that comes from a theology based on a commanding, all-powerful God, can Reform Judaism continue to thrive? Can it be broadly inclusive and still be uniquely and authentically Jewish?
Taking this question as his point of departure, Dana Evan Kaplan provides a broad overview of the American Reform movement and its history, theology, and politics. He then takes a hard look at the challenges the movement faces as it attempts to reinvent itself in the new millennium. In so doing, Kaplan gives the reader a sense of where Reform Judaism has come from, where it stands on the major issues, and where it may be going.
Addressing the issues that have confronted the movement—including the ordination of women, acceptance of homosexuality, the problem of assimilation, the question of rabbinic officiation at intermarriages, the struggle for acceptance in Israel, and Jewish education and others—Kaplan sheds light on the connection between Reform ideology and cultural realities. He unflinchingly, yet optimistically, assesses the movement’s future and cautions that stormy weather may be ahead.
“It is Easter Sunday, April 1945, early in the morning, maybe just dawn. We stand still, like frozen grey statues. Us. Seven hundred and thirty women, wrapped in wet, grey, threadbare blankets, standing in the rain. Our blankets hang over our heads, drape down to the soil. We hold them closed with our hands from the inside, leaving only a small opening to peer out, so that we save the precious warmth of our breath.” (from Chapter 5)
So begins the author’s sojourn, her search for freedom that begins with the chaotic barrenness in which she found herself after her liberation on Easter Sunday, April 1945, and takes her across several continents and half a lifetime.
Raab paints a brief yet moving picture of her idyllic life before her internment and the shock and the horrors of Auschwitz, but it is in the images of life after her liberation, that Raab imparts her most poignant story — a story told in a clear, almost sparse, always honest style, a story of the brutal, and, at times, the beautiful facts of human nature.
This book will appeal to a number of audiences — to readers interested in human nature under the most trying circumstances, to historians of World War II or Jewish history, to veterans and their families who lived through World War II, and to those interested in politics and the evils of political extremism.
Shortlisted for the 1998 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction.
Winner of the 1999 Jewish Book Committee award for best Holocaust memoir.
Media, Imagination, Memory
As millions of people around the world who have read her diary attest, Anne Frank, the most familiar victim of the Holocaust, has a remarkable place in contemporary memory. Anne Frank Unbound looks beyond this young girl's words at the numerous ways people have engaged her life and writing. Apart from officially sanctioned works and organizations, there exists a prodigious amount of cultural production, which encompasses literature, art, music, film, television, blogs, pedagogy, scholarship, religious ritual, and comedy. Created by both artists and amateurs, these responses to Anne Frank range from veneration to irreverence. Although at times they challenge conventional perceptions of her significance, these works testify to the power of Anne Frank, the writer, and Anne Frank, the cultural phenomenon, as people worldwide forge their own connections with the diary and its author.
Jewish Life and Conversion in Sixteenth-Century Germany
Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History
Although overshadowed in historical memory by the Holocaust, the anti-Jewish pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were at the time unrivaled episodes of ethnic violence. Incorporating newly available primary sources, this collection of groundbreaking essays by researchers from Europe, the United States, and Israel investigates the phenomenon of anti-Jewish violence, the local and transnational responses to pogroms, and instances where violence was averted. Focusing on the period from World War I through Russia's early revolutionary years, the studies include Poland, Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Crimea, and Siberia.
Focusing on the rich context of esoteric Jerish literature, this collection presents indepth analyses of JewishAmerican poetry. Gitenstein defines Jewish messianism and the literary genre of the apocalyptic, describes historical movements and kabbalistic theories, and analyzes their influence as part of the postHolocaust consciousness. Represented are works by such poets as Irving Feldman, Jack Hirschman, John Hollander, David Meltzer, and Jerome Rothenberg.
A Child’s Memoir
Born in Amsterdam in 1935, Suzanne Mehler Whiteley saw the ravages of war through a child's eyes. Her memoir, written in the voice of a young girl, describes the years before the invasion of Holland, her experiences during the German occupation, her time spent in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and her childhood afterward in Europe and then the United States. Appel Is Forever describes in a child's words atrocities that should never be seen by anyone. Through young Suzanne's introspection, readers are invited to see beyond the history of events to their deeper meaning. We come to see how the miracle of having survived opens a child up to the potential for playfulness and even happiness, while a young girl's observations of coming to her new country remind us of both the promises and hardships of the American dream.
Stories of Accommodation and Audacity
Outwardly it would appear that Arab and Jewish immigrants comprise two distinct groups with differing cultural backgrounds and an adversarial relationship. Yet, as immigrants who have settled in communities at a distance from metropolitan areas, both must negotiate complex identities. Growing up in Kentucky as the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Nora Rose Moosnick observed this traditionally mismatched pairing firsthand, finding that, Arab and Jewish immigrants have been brought together by their shared otherness and shared fears. Even more intriguing to Moosnick was the key role played by immigrant women of both cultures in family businesses -- a similarity which brings the two groups close together as they try to balance the demands of integration into American society.
In Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Audacity and Accomodation, Moosnick reveals how Jewish and Arab women have navigated the intersection of tradition, assimilation, and Kentucky's cultural landscape. The stories of ten women's experiences as immigrants or the children of immigrants join around common themes of public service to their communities, intergenerational relationships, running small businesses, and the difficulties of juggling family and work. Together, their compelling narratives challenge misconceptions and overcome the invisibility of Arabs and Jews in out of the way places in America.