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Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal

Vol. 11 (2006) - vol.16, no. 1 (2011)

Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal is a showcase for the creative work of Jewish feminists. It brings together the traditional Jewish values of justice and tikkun olam (�healing the world�) with insights honed by the feminist, lesbian, and gay movements. It provides a place in which Jews, feminists, and activists can exchange ideas and deepen the understanding of the relationship between Jewish identities and activism.

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Bringing the Dark Past to Light

The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe

John-Paul Himka

Despite the Holocaust’s profound impact on the history of Eastern Europe, the communist regimes successfully repressed public discourse about and memory of this tragedy. Since the collapse of communism in 1989, however, this has changed. Not only has a wealth of archival sources become available, but there have also been oral history projects and interviews recording the testimonies of eyewitnesses who experienced the Holocaust as children and young adults. Recent political, social, and cultural developments have facilitated a more nuanced and complex understanding of the continuities and discontinuities in representations of the Holocaust. People are beginning to realize the significant role that memory of Holocaust plays in contemporary discussions of national identity in Eastern Europe.

This volume of original essays explores the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish past in postcommunist Eastern Europe. Devoting space to every postcommunist country, the essays in Bringing the Dark Past to Light explore how the memory of the “dark pasts” of Eastern European nations is being recollected and reworked. In addition, it examines how this memory shapes the collective identities and the social identity of ethnic and national minorities. Memory of the Holocaust has practical implications regarding the current development of national cultures and international relationships.

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Brothers and Strangers

The East European Jew in German and German Jewish Consciousness, 1800–1923

Steven E. Aschheim

Brothers and Strangers traces the history of German Jewish attitudes, policies, and stereotypical images toward Eastern European Jews, demonstrating the ways in which the historic rupture between Eastern and Western Jewry developed as a function of modernism and its imperatives. By the 1880s, most German Jews had inherited and used such negative images to symbolize rejection of their own ghetto past and to emphasize the contrast between modern “enlightened” Jewry and its “half-Asian” counterpart. Moreover, stereotypes of the ghetto and the Eastern Jew figured prominently in the growth and disposition of German anti-Semitism. Not everyone shared these negative preconceptions, however, and over the years a competing post-liberal image emerged of the Ostjude as cultural hero. Brothers and Strangers examines the genesis, development, and consequences of these changing forces in their often complex cultural, political, and intellectual contexts.

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Bukharan Jews and the Dynamics of Global Judaism

Alanna E. Cooper

Part ethnography, part history, and part memoir, this volume chronicles the complex past and dynamic present of an ancient Mizrahi community. While intimately tied to the Central Asian landscape, the Jews of Bukhara have also maintained deep connections to the wider Jewish world. As the community began to disperse after the fall of the Soviet Union, Alanna E. Cooper traveled to Uzbekistan to document Jewish life there before it disappeared. Drawing on ethnographic research there, as well as among immigrants to the US and Israel, Cooper tells an intimate and personal story about what it means to be Bukharan Jewish. Together with her historical research about a series of dramatic encounters between Bukharan Jews and Jews from other parts of the world, this lively narrative illuminates the tensions inherent in maintaining Judaism as a single global religion over the course of its long and varied diaspora history.

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Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland

Jack Jacobs

In the years between the two world wars, the Jewish community of Poland—the largest in Europe—was the cultural heart of the Jewish diaspora. The Jewish Workers’ Bund, which had a socialist, secularist, Yiddishist, and anti-Zionist orientation, won a series of important electoral battles in Poland on the eve of the Second World War and became a major political party. While many earlier works on the politics of Polish Jewry have suggested that Bundist victories were not of lasting significance or attributable to outside forces, Jack Jacobs argues convincingly that the electoral success of the Bund was linked to the work of the constellation of cultural and other organizations revolving around the party. The Bund offered its constituents innovative, highly attractive, programs and a more enlightened perspective: from new sexual mores to sporting organizations and educational institutions. Drawing on meticulously researched archival materials, Jacobs shows how the growth of these successful programs translated into a stronger, more robust party. At the same time, he suggests the Bund’s limitations, highlighting its failed women’s movement. Jacobs provides a fascinating account of this countercultural movement and a thoughtful revision to the accepted view.

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Byron and the Jews

Sheila A. Spector

A full-length critical inquiry into the complex interrelationship between the British poet and the Jews.

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Cadaverland

Inventing a Pathology of Catastrophe for Holocaust Survival [The Limits of Medical Knowledge and Historical Memory in France]

Michael Dorland

In this extraordinary study, Michael Dorland explores sixty years of medical attempts by French doctors (mainly in the fields of neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis) to describe the effects of concentration camp incarceration on Holocaust survivors.
Dorland begins with a discussion of the liberation of concentration camp survivors, their stay in deportation camps, and eventual return to France, analyzing the circulation of mainly medical (neuropsychiatric) knowledge, its struggles to establish a symptomology of camp effects, and its broadening out into connected medical fields such as psychoanalysis. He then turns specifically to the French medical doctors who studied Holocaust survivors, and he investigates somatic, psychological, and holistic conceptions of survivors as patients and human beings.
The final third of the book offers a comparative look at the "psy-science" approach to Holocaust survival beyond France, particularly in the United States and Israel. He illuminates the peculiar journey of a medical discourse that began in France but took on new forms elsewhere, eventually expanding into nonmedical fields to create the basis of the "traumato-culture" with which we are familiar today.
Embedding his analysis of different medical discourses in the sociopolitical history of France in the twentieth century, he also looks at the French Jewish Question as it affected French medicine, the effects of five years of Nazi Occupation, France's enthusiastic collaboration, and the problems this would pose for postwar collective memory.

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Case Closed

Holocaust Survivors in Postwar America

Beth B. Cohen

Following the end of World War II, it was widely reported by the media that Jewish refugees found lives filled with opportunity and happiness in America. However, for most of the 140,000 Jewish Displaced Persons (DPs) who immigrated to the United States from Europe in the years between 1946 and 1954, it was a much more complicated story.

Case Closed challenges the prevailing optimistic perception of the lives of Holocaust survivors in postwar America by scrutinizing their first years through the eyes of those who lived it. The facts brought forth in this book are supported by case files recorded by Jewish social service workers, letters and minutes from agency meetings, oral testimonies, and much more.

Cohen explores how the Truman Directive allowed the American Jewish community to handle the financial and legal responsibility for survivors, and shows what assistance the community offered the refugees and what help was not available. She investigates the particularly difficult issues that orphan children and Orthodox Jews faced, and examines the subtleties of the resettlement process in New York and other locales. Cohen uncovers the truth of survivors' early years in America and reveals the complexity of their lives as "New Americans."

 

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The Catholic Church and the Jewish People

Recent Reflections from Rome

Norbert Hofmann

This book makes available in English important essays that mark the fortieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate). Surveying Vatican dialogues and documents, the essays explore challenging theological questions posed by the Shoah and the Catholic recognition of the Jewish people's covenantal life with God.



Featuring essays by Vatican officials, leading rabbis, diplomats, and Catholic and Jewish scholars, the book discusses the nature of Christian-Jewish relations and the need to remember their conflicted and often tragic

history, aspects of a Christian theology of Judaism, the Catholic-Jewish dialogue since the Shoah, and the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. The book includes an essay

by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and documents on the rapprochement between the Church and the Jewish people.; "The Catholic Church and the Jewish People is an extraordinarily useful commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Vatican Council Declaration on the Jews. Outstanding authorities provide historical perspective, an account of the evolution of the document itself, and analyses of its impact on Jewish-Catholic relations both in the immediate aftermath of the Council and in the long term. An invaluable collection for academics, interfaith activists, and all Jews and Christians interested in the historic transformation in their mutual relations inaugurated by Vatican II."

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The Catholic Church and the Jews

Argentina, 1933-1945

Graciela Ben-Dror

The impact of events in Nazi Germany and Europe during World War II was keenly felt in neutral Argentina among its predominantly Catholic population and its significant Jewish minority.

The Catholic Church and the Jews, Argentina, 1933-1945 considers the images of Jews presented in standard Catholic teaching of that era, the attitudes of the lower clergy and faithful toward the country’s Jewish citizens, and the response of the politically influential Church hierarchy to the national debate on accepting Jewish refugees from Europe. The issue was complicated by such factors as the position taken by the Vatican, Argentina’s unstable political situation, and the sizeable number of citizens of German origin who were Nazi sympathizers eager to promote German interests.
 
Argentina’s self-perception was as a “Catholic” country. Though there were few overtly anti-Jewish acts, traditional stereotypes and prejudice were widespread and only a few voices in the Catholic community confronted the established attitudes.
 

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