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Beyond Sectarianism

The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism

Ferziger, Adam S.

In 1965 social scientist Charles S. Liebman published a study that boldly declared the vitality of American Jewish Orthodoxy and went on to guide scholarly investigations of the group for the next four decades. As American Orthodoxy continues to grow in geographical, institutional, and political strength, author Adam S. Ferziger argues in Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism that one of Liebman’s principal definitions needs to be updated. While Liebman proposed that the “committed Orthodox” —observant rather than nominally affiliated—could be divided into two main streams: “church,” or Modern Orthodoxy, and “sectarian,” or Haredi Orthodoxy, Ferziger traces a narrowing of the gap between them and ultimately a realignment of American Orthodox Judaism. Ferziger shows that significant elements within Haredi Orthodoxy have abandoned certain strict and seemingly uncontested norms. He begins by offering fresh insight into the division between the American sectarian Orthodox and Modern Orthodox streams that developed in the early twentieth century and highlights New York’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun as a pioneering Modern Orthodox synagogue. Ferziger also considers the nuances of American Orthodoxy as reflected in Soviet Jewish activism during the 1960s and early 1970s and educational trips to Poland taken by American Orthodox young adults studying in Israel, and explores the responses of prominent rabbinical authorities to Orthodox feminism and its call for expanded public religious roles for women. Considerable discussion is dedicated to the emergence of outreach to nonobservant Jews as a central priority for Haredi Orthodoxy and how this focus outside its core population reflects fundamental changes. In this context, Ferziger presents evidence for the growing influence of Chabad Hasidism – what he terms the “Chabadization of American Orthodoxy.” Recent studies, including the 2013 Pew Survey of U.S. Jewry, demonstrate that an active and strongly connected American Orthodox Jewish population is poised to grow in the coming decades. Jewish studies scholars and readers interested in history, sociology, and religion will appreciate Ferziger’s reappraisal of this important group.

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Beyond the Windswept Dunes

The Story of Maritime Michigan

Elizabeth B. Sherman

Beyond the Windswept Dunes takes the reader into a world of maritime adventure as it was experienced by the sailors, passengers, rescue workers, shipping magnates, industrialists, and many other people whose livelihoods revolved around Michigan’s port city of Muskegon. At one time the leading edge of westward expansion, Muskegon was a place where lumbering and lakers merged and where rails met decks, a place situated midway along the coast of a great and sometimes stormy inland sea. Here Elizabeth Sherman offers both a shipping history and a portrait of the city. The events covered range from the visit by the British sloop H.M.S. Felicity in 1779 through Muskegon’s boom years as "Lumber Queen of the World," from the city’s revitalization with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway to its recent establishment of a floating museum complex for historic naval vessels. The book’s focus is on the ships themselves—such as the Lyman M. Davis, Salvor, Highway 16, and Milwaukee Clipper—vessels that were noteworthy for being the first of their kind or for their popularity, unusual and distinctive careers, or tragic losses. A number of ships were lost in Lake Michigan near Muskegon Harbor, and the stories of some of the most notable wrecks and rescue missions appear in this book, including the psychic intervention that led the William Nelson to the exciting rescue of the crew aboard the sinking Our Son. The book offers many first-hand statements of shipwreck survivors and other witnesses, lending an authentic voice to the accounts.

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The Bird-while

Poems by Keith Taylor With illustrations by Tom Pohrt

"A Bird-while. In a natural chronometer, a Bird-while may be admitted as one of the metres, since the space most of the wild birds will allow you to make your observations on them when they alight near you in the woods, is a pretty equal and familiar measure" (Ralph Waldo Emerson's Journal, 1838). Without becoming didactic or pedantic about the spiritual metaphor hidden in the concept of the "bird-while," Keith Taylor's collection evokes certain Eastern meditative poets who often wrote in an aphoristic style of the spirit or the mind mirroring specific aspects of the natural world. The Bird-while is a collection of forty-nine poems that meditate on the nature-both human and non-human-that surrounds us daily. Taylor is in the company of naturalist poets such as Gary Snyder and Mary Oliver-poets who often drew from an Emersonian sensibility to create art that awakens the mind to its corresponding truths in the natural world. The book ranges from the longer poem to the eight line, unrhymed stanza similar to that of the T'ang poet Han-Shan. And without section breaks to reinforce the passing of time, the collection creates greater fluidity of movement from one poem to the next, as if there is no beginning or end, only an eternal moment that is suspended on the page. Tom Pohrt's original illustrations are scattered throughout the text, adding a stunning visual element to the already vivid language. The book moves from the author's travel accounts to the destruction of the natural world, even species extinction, to more hopeful poems of survival and the return of wildness. The natural rhythm is at times marred by the disturbances of the twenty-first century that come blaring into these meditations, as when a National Guard jet rumbles over the treeline upsetting a hummingbird, and yet, even the hummingbird is able to regain its balance and continue as before. At its core, Taylor's collection is a reminder of Emerson's idea that natural facts are symbols of spiritual facts. These well-crafted poems will be easily accessible to any literary audience, with a more particular attraction to readers of contemporary poetry sensitive to the marriage of an Eastern sensibility with contemporary American settings and scenes.

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Birth of a Notion; Or, The Half Ain't Never Been Told

A Narrative Account with Entertaining Passages of the State of Minstrelsy & of America & the True Relation Thereof

as Written by Bill Harris

A critical look at black identity in American history and popular culture as told from a performative African American perspective.

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Blackness Is Burning

Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition

TreaAndrea M. Russworm

Blackness Is Burning is one of the first books to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier's popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby's comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post-civil rights black/American culture, TreaAndrea M. Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of constantly trying to "recognize" the racial other as human. The main argument of Blackness Is Burning is that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has always been barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. But Blackness Is Burning makes two additional interdisciplinary interventions: the book makes a historical and temporal intervention because Russworm is committed to showing the relationship between civil rights discourses on theories of recognition and how we continue to represent and talk about race today. The book also makes a formal intervention since the chapter-length case studies take seemingly banal popular forms seriously. She argues that the popular forms and disreputable works are integral parts of our shared cultural knowledge. Blackness Is Burning's interdisciplinary reach is what makes it a vital component to nearly any scholar's library, particularly those with an interest in African American popular culture, film and media studies, or psychoanalytic theory.

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The Blessed Abyss

Inmate #6582 in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for Women

Nanda Herbermann Translated by Hester Baer Edited by Hester Baer and Elizabeth R. Baer

On February 4, 1941, Nanda Herbermann, a German Catholic writer and editor, was arrested by the Gestapo in Münster, Germany. Accused of collaboration with the Catholic movement, Herbermann was deported to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for Women in July 1941 and later released upon direct orders from Heinrich Himmler on March 19, 1943. Although she was instructed by the Gestapo not to reveal information about the camp, Herbermann soon began to record her memories of her experiences. The Blessed Abyss was originally published in German under the imprint of the Allied occupation forces in 1946, and it now appears in English for the first time. Hester Baer and Elizabeth Baer include an extensive introduction that situates Herbermann's work within current debates about gender and the Holocaust and provides historical and biographical information about Herbermann, Ravensbrück, and the Third Reich.

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Blue-Tail Fly

Vievee Francis

The title of Blue-Tail Fly comes from an antebellum song commonly known as “Jimmy Crack Corn.” The blue-tail fly is a supposedly insignificant creature that bites the horse that bucks and kills the master. In this collection, poet Vievee Francis gives voice to “outsiders”-from soldiers and common folk to leading political figures-who play the role of the blue-tail fly in the period of American history between the Mexican American War and the Civil War. Through a diverse range of styles, characters, and emotions, Francis's poems consider the demands of war, protest and resistance to it, and the cross-cultural exchanges of wartime. More than a narrowly themed text, Blue-Tail Fly is a book of balances, weighing the give-and-take of people and cultures in the arena of war. For lovers of poetry and those interested in American history, Blue-Tail Fly will illustrate the complexities of the American past and future.

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Bob Seger's House and Other Stories

Edited by Michael Delp and M. L. Liebler with a Foreword by Charles Baxter

Bob Seger's House and Other Stories is a collection of short stories written by some of Michigan's most well-known fiction writers. This collection of twenty-two short stories serves as a celebration not only of the tenth anniversary of the Made in Michigan Writers Series in 2016 but also of the rich history of writing and storytelling in the region. As series editors Michael Delp and M. L. Leibler state in their preface, "The stories contained in this anthology are a way to stay connected to each other. Think of them as messages sent from all over the map, stitching readers and writers together through stories that continue to honor the ancient art of the fire tale, the hunting epic, and all of the ways language feeds the blood of imagination."The scope of this project reflects the dynamic and diverse writing that is currently taking place by people who consider their home to be the Great Lakes state. Stories are far-ranging, from the streets of Detroit and the iconic presence of the auto industry to the wild tracts of the Upper Peninsula, to a couple on the west coast trying to figure out parenting. The book vibrates with that tension, of metal versus rock and human frailty taking on the pitfalls and hardships of living in this world.In his foreword, Charles Baxter asks, "Does a region give rise to a particular kind of literature? Michigan is so fiercely diverse in its landscapes, its economy, and its population demographics that it presents anybody who wants to write about it with a kind of blank slate. You can't summarize the state easily." These storytellers exude a "Michigan aesthetic" in their writing, something that cannot be learned in a textbook or taught in a classroom but can be felt through the tales of these storytellers.The experience of picking up this collection is akin to taking a drive from the mechanized world and arriving several hours later in one of the wildest places on earth. Readers of short fiction will enjoy the multitude of voices in this anthology.

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Bold Boys in Michigan History

Patricia Majher

Bold Boys in Michigan History-a companion to Great Girls in Michigan History-explores the stories of twenty boys who did some amazing things before they turned twenty years old. Author Patricia Majher presents easy-to-read mini-biographies about both highly acclaimed and lesser-known Michiganders, all of whom have led remarkable lives that will intrigue and inspire. This collection offers a diverse group that represents different cultures, time periods, and parts of the state. Woven into each chapter are life lessons that will encourage young readers to nurture their own passions and stand up for their beliefs. Some boys came from humble beginnings, including boxing champion Joe Louis, who used his athletic ability to raise his family out of poverty. Furtrapper Charles Langlade and Potawatomi chief Simon Pokagon fought hard to preserve their culture in a predominantly white world. Scientist Thomas Edison, Major League baseball player Jim Abbott, and singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder excelled despite having physical disabilities. Some of the boys went on to become men who achieved great things in their chosen area of expertise. Success can come at any age, though, and can serve as motivation to those looking to be inspired. There are many books that celebrate great Michigan men, but very little has been written about accomplished young men. Bold Boys in Michigan History includes photographs, additional reading lists, and suggested places to visit around Michigan. Words that may be unfamiliar to some readers are highlighted in the text and defined in a glossary. Readers between the ages of 8 and 12 will love getting wrapped up in the stories of boys their own age who have lived extraordinary lives.

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Booker T & Them

A Blues

Booker T & Them A Blues As Presented by Bill Harris

The early 1900s was a dangerous time for African American men, whether famous or nameless. Punishment from any perceived transgression against the Jim Crow power structure came swiftly in legislative, emotional, or physical form, and it could well take one’s life. Despite this reality, however, a number of African Americans still lifted their heads, straightened their spines, and spoke and acted against the mainstream. In Booker T. & Them: A Blues, poet and playwright Bill Harris examines what he calls “the age of Booker T.” (1900–1915), when America began flexing its imperialistic muscles, D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation was released, and Thomas Edison’s many technological innovations set the tone for the United States to be viewed as the nation of the century. In the historical and imaginative narrative of this “bio-poem,” Harris considers several African Americans who sought to be men that mattered in a racist America, including Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, William Monroe Trotter, George Washington Carver, and Jack Johnson, as he traces their effects on history and each other. In tandem, he visits white historical figures like Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and D. W. Griffiths as well as some invented characters like students and professors at the Tuskegee Institute. Throughout, Harris shows that the rapid pace of early twentieth-century American change, progress, and science coincided with persistent and reinvented forms of white supremacy. Harris’s exciting structure offers varied rhythms and a blues sensibility that showcases his witty lines and vivid imagery. As a follow-up to his 2009 work Birth of a Notion; Or, the Half Ain’t Never Been Told, this book extends Harris’s critical and experimental examination of American history by presenting evidence for a greater understanding of these men and the cultural forces that shaped them. Readers interested in African American studies, American culture, and contemporary poetry will appreciate the unique perspective of Booker T. & Them: A Blues.

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