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Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics
This book explores the fundamental issues in Jewish mysticism and provides a taxonomy of the deep structures of thought that emerge from the texts. This book demonstrates the complexity of Jewish mysticism in the history of religions. The author provides a morphology of the deep structures of thought that emerge from the basic texts of Jewish mysticism. Combining the most sophisticated philological and phenomenological methods, he explores fundamental issues.
This dialogue between the Jewish normative tradition and Western moral philosophy addresses central contemporary issues in medical ethics. Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics consists of a dialogue between contemporary, Western moral philosophy and the Jewish tradition of legal/moral discourse (Halakha). Recognizing that no single tradition has a monopoly on valid moral teachings, it seeks to enrich our ethical perspectives through mutual exchange. This is facilitated by a non-authoritarian approach to Judaism—a clear alternative to the implicitly insular, “take-it-or-leave-it” approach often encountered in this field. Following in the footsteps of classical rabbinic discussions, normative pronouncements are grounded in reasons, open to critical examination. The “alternatives” are within the book as well—the presentation throughout avoids one-sided conclusions, citing and analyzing two or more positions to make sense of the debate. These particular arguments are also linked to a larger picture, contrasting two basic themes: religious naturalism versus religious humanism. Concretely, the book addresses some of the central contemporary issues in the ethics of medicine. These include assisted suicide and euthanasia, donor insemination and “surrogate” motherhood, the use of human cadavers for learning and research, and allocation of scarce resources at both the individual and social levels.
The Life Story of an Immigrant
M.E. Ravage, one of almost two million Jews, was lured by tales of success to America at the turn of the twentieth century. After learning a new language and finding success in college he penned a vivid account of his own assimilation. Steven G. Kellman brings Ravage's story to life again in this new edition, providing a brief biography and historical and literary contexts. An American in the Making contributes to an understanding of the notion of "America" and remains timely, especially when massive immigration from Latin America and Asia, challenges ideas of national identity.
A JPS Guide
This new volume in the JPS Guides series is a fiction reader’s dream: a guide to 125 remarkable works of fiction. The selection includes a wide range of classic American Jewish novels and story collections, from 1867 to the present, selected by the author in consultation with a panel of literary scholars and book industry professionals. Roth, Mailer, Kellerman, Chabon, Ozick, Heller, and dozens of other celebrated writers are here, with their most notable works. Each entry includes a book summary, with historical context and background on the author. Suggestions for further reading point to other books that match readers’ interests and favorite writers. And the introduction is a fascinating exploration of the history of and important themes in American Jewish Fiction, illustrating how Jewish writing in the U.S. has been in constant dialogue with popular entertainment and intellectual life. Included in this guide are lists of book award winners; recommended anthologies; title, author, and subject indexes; and more.
Vol. 84 (1996) through current issue
Bringing readers all the richness and complexity of Jewish life in America through carefully researched, thoroughly accessible articles, American Jewish History (AJH) is the most widely recognized journal in its field. Founded in 1892 as Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, AJH is the official publication of the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), the oldest national ethnic historical organization in the United States.
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.