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In early February 1949 American Jewry’s most popular and powerful leader, Abba Hillel Silver (1893–1963), had summarily resigned from all his official positions within the Zionist movement and had left New York for Cleveland, returning to his post as a Reform rabbi. In the immediate years prior to his resignation, during the second half of the 1940s, Silver was the most outspoken proponent of the founding of a sovereign Jewish state. He was the most instrumental American Jewish leader in the political struggle that led to the foundation of the State of Israel. Paradoxically, this historic victory also heralded Silver’s personal defeat. Soon after Israel’s declaration of independence, he and many of his American Zionist colleagues were relegated to the sidelines of the Zionist movement. Almost overnight the most influential leader—one who was admired and feared by both supporters and opponents—was stripped of his power within both the Zionist and the American Jewish arenas. Shiff’s book discerns the various aspects of the striking turnabout in Silver's political fate, describing both the personal tragic story of a leader who was defeated by his own victory, and the much broader intra-Zionist battle which erupted in full force immediately after the founding of Israel. Drawing extensively on Silver’s personal archival material, Shiff presents an enlightening portrait of a critical episode in Jewish history. This book is most relevant for anyone who attempts to understand the complex homeland- diaspora relations between Israel and American Jewry.
Unlike most other ancient European, Near Eastern, and Mediterranean civilizations, Jewish culture surprisingly developed no early epic tradition: while the Bible comprises a broad range of literary genres, epic is not among them. Not until the late medieval period, Beginning in the fourtheeth century, did an extensive and thriving epic tradition emerge in Yiddish. Among the few dozen extant early epics, there are several masterpieces, of which ten are translated into English in this volume. Divided between the religious and the secular, the book includes eight epics presented in their entirety, an illustrative excerpt from another epic, and a brief heroic prose tale.These texts have been chosen as the best and the most interesting representatives of the genre in terms of cultural history and literary quality: the pious “epicizing” of biblical narrative, the swashbuckling medieval courtly epic, Arthurian romance, heroic vignettes, intellectual high art, and popular camp.
Explores the relationship among the German confessional divide, collective memories of religion, and the construction of German national identity and difference. It argues that nineteenth-century proponents of church unity used and abused memories of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation to espouse German religious unity, which would then serve as a catalyst for German national unification.
Two Qajar Tracts
At the close of the nineteenth century, modern ideas of democracy and equality were slowly beginning to take hold in Iran. Exposed to European ideas about law, equality, and education, upper- and middle-class men and women increasingly questioned traditional ideas about the role of women and their place in society. In apparent response to this emerging independence of women, an anonymous author penned The Education of Women, a small booklet published in 1889. This guide, aimed at husbands as much as at wives, instructed women on how to behave toward their husbands, counseling them on proper dress, intimacy, and subservience. One woman, Bibi Khanom Astarabadi, took up the author’s challenge and wrote a refutation of the guide’s arguments. An outspoken mother of seven, Astarabadi established the first school for girls in Tehran and often advocated for the rights of women. In The Vices of Men, she details the flaws of men, offering a scathing diatribe on the nature of men’s behavior toward women. Astarabadi mixes the traditional florid style of the time with street Persian, slang words, and bawdy language. This new edition, the first to be translated into English, faithfully preserves the style and irreverent tone of the essays. The two texts, together with an introduction and afterword situating both within the customs, language, and social life of Iran, offer a rare candid dialogue.
Gender, Passion, and Politics in the Christian Middle East, 1720-1798
Embracing the Divine narrates the transformation of Christianity in the Middle East during the 18th century. It traces the tumultuous events surrounding the life of Hindiyya al-Ujaimi, a visionary nun determined to establish her own religious order in the Levant against the will of the Vatican. This Christ-centered and driven desire led to two inquisitions by the Holy See, a concerted campaign on the part of Latin missionaries to discredit her, turmoil within her Maronite church between supporter and detractor, and tragic exorcisms and deaths. Thus, beyond its compelling cinematic scope, Embracing the Divine presents a critical chapter in the history of Christianity in the Middle East, a history that has been largely absent from both Middle Eastern studies and from histories of Christianity. Moreover, this story relates the radical nature and perceived magnitude of Hindiyya's transgressions across gender lines constructed locally and by a universalizing Roman Catholic Church.
“The Emperor Tea Garden” is a vividly engaging fantasy romance told on several different levels that transcend time, place, gender, and even species. In this enchanted space, the boundaries between life and death, dream and reality, and here and there are all blurred. The eponymous tea garden is one whose customers are mostly deceased, mostly in love, and mostly fade away with the dawn. Eray captivatingly investigates the concepts of love, passion, and loyalty. For example, the narrator exchanges places with Night for a night, and a young man who has committed suicide in the name of love gets to leave his grave and be reunited with his paramour. Eray presents an underlying theme in which love can conquer even death itself.
The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair
From April 1964 to October 1965, some 52 million people from around the world flocked to the New York World’s Fair, an experience that lives on in the memory of many individuals and in America’s collective consciousness. Taking a perceptive look back at "the last of the great world’s fairs," Samuel offers a vivid portrait of this seminal event and of the cultural climate that surrounded it. He also counters critics’ assessments of the fair as the "ugly duckling" of global expositions. Opening five months after President Kennedy’s assassination, the fair allowed millions to celebrate international fellowship while the conflict in Vietnam came to a boil. This event was perhaps the last time so many from so far could gather to praise harmony while ignoring cruel realities on such a gargantuan scale. This world’s fair glorified the postwar American dream of limitless optimism even as a counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll came into being. It could rightly be called the last gasp of that dream: The End of the Innocence. Samuel’s work charts the fair from inception in 1959 to demolition in 1966 and provides a broad overview of the social and cultural dynamics that led to the birth of the event. It also traces thematic aspects of the fair, with its focus on science, technology, and the world of the future. Accessible, entertaining, and informative, the book is richly illustrated with contemporary photographs.
Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran investigates the ways in which Armenian minorities in Iran encountered Iranian nationalism and participated in its development over the course of the twentieth century. Based primarily on oral interviews, archival documents, personal memoirs, memorabilia, and photographs, the book examines the lives of a group of Armenian-Iranians—a truck driver, an army officer, a parliamentary representative, a civil servant, and a scout leader—and explores the personal conflicts and paradoxes attendant upon their layered allegiances and compound identities. In documenting individual experiences in Iranian industry, military, government, education, and community organization, the five social biographies detail the various roles of elites and non-elites in the development of Iranian nationalism and reveal the multiple forces that shape the processes of identity formation. Yaghoubian combines these portraits with theories of nationalism and national identity to answer recurring pivotal questions about how nationalism evolves, why it is appealing, what broad forces and daily activities shape and sustain it, and the role of ethnicity in its development.
The essays in this collection examine issues of gender, family, and law in the Middle East and South Asia. In particular, the authors address the impact of colonialism on law, family, and gender relations; the role of religious politics in writing family law and the implications for gender relations; and the tension between international standards emerging from UN conferences and conventions and various nationalist projects. Employing the frame of globalization, the authors highlight how local and global forces interact and influence the experience and actions of people who engage with the law. By virtue of a "south-south" comparison of two quite similar and culturally linked regions, contributors avoid positing "the West" as a modern telos. Drawing upon the fields of anthropology, history, sociology, and law, this volume offers a wide-ranging exploration of the complicated history of jurisprudence with regard to family and gender.