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The Call of Abraham

Essays on the Election of Israel in Honor of Jon D. Levenson

Gary A. Anderson

The topic of the election of Israel is one of the most controversial and difficult subjects in the entire Bible. Modern readers wonder why God would favor one specific people and why Israel in particular was chosen. One of the most important and theologically incisive voices on this topic has been that of Jon D. Levenson. His careful, wide-ranging scholarship on the Hebrew Bible and its theological reuse in later Judaic and Christian sources has influenced a generation of Jewish and Christian thinkers. This focused volume seeks to bring to a wide audience the ongoing rich theological dialogue on the election of Israel. Writing from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, the authors—Jews, Catholics, and Protestants—contribute thought-provoking essays spanning fields including the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal and pseudepigraphic literature, New Testament, rabbinics, the history of Christian exegesis, and modern theology. The resulting book not only engages the lifelong work of Jon D. Levenson but also sheds new light on a topic of great import to Judaism and Christianity and to the ongoing dialogue between these faith traditions.

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The Case for Auschwitz

Evidence from the Irving Trial

Robert Jan van Pelt

From January to April 2000 historian David Irving brought a high-profile libel case against Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt in the British High Court, charging that Lipstadt’s book, Denying the Holocaust (1993), falsely labeled him a Holocaust denier. The question about the evidence for Auschwitz as a death camp played a central role in these proceedings. Irving had based his alleged denial of the Holocaust in part on a 1988 report by an American execution specialist, Fred Leuchter, which claimed that there was no evidence for homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz. In connection with their defense, Penguin and Lipstadt engaged architectural historian Robert Jan van Pelt to present evidence for our knowledge that Auschwitz had been an extermination camp where up to one million Jews were killed, mainly in gas chambers. Employing painstaking historical scholarship, van Pelt prepared and submitted an exhaustive forensic report that he successfully defended in cross-examination in court.

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A Century of Ambivalence

The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present

Zvi Gitelman

Now back in print in a new edition!
A Century of Ambivalence
The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present
Second, Expanded Edition
Zvi Gitelman

A richly illustrated survey of the Jewish historical experience in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet era.

"Anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Russian Jewry will want to own this splendid... book." —Janet Hadda, Los Angeles Times

"... a badly needed historical perspective on Soviet Jewry.... [Gitelman] is evenhanded in his treatment of various periods and themes, as well as in his overall evaluation of the Soviet Jewish experience.... A Century of Ambivalence is illuminated by an extraordinary collection of photographs that vividly reflect the hopes, triumphs and agonies of Russian Jewish life." —David E. Fishman, Hadassah Magazine

"Wonderful pictures of famous personalities, unknown villagers, small hamlets, markets and communal structures combine with the text to create an uplifting [book] for a broad and general audience." —Alexander Orbach, Slavic Review

"Gitelman’s text provides an important commentary and careful historic explanation.... His portrayal of the promise and disillusionment, hope and despair, intellectual restlessness succeeded by swift repression enlarges the reader’s understanding of the dynamic forces behind some of the most important movements in contemporary Jewish life." —Jane S. Gerber, Bergen Jewish News

"... a lucid and reasonably objective popular history that expertly threads its way through the dizzying reversals of the Russian Jewish experience." —Village Voice

A century ago the Russian Empire contained the largest Jewish community in the world, numbering about five million people. Today, the Jewish population of the former Soviet Union has dwindled to half a million, but remains probably the world’s third largest Jewish community. In the intervening century the Jews of that area have been at the center of some of the most dramatic events of modern history—two world wars, revolutions, pogroms, political liberation, repression, and the collapse of the USSR. They have gone through tumultuous upward and downward economic and social mobility and experienced great enthusiasms and profound disappointments. In startling photographs from the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and with a lively and lucid narrative, A Century of Ambivalence traces the historical experience of Jews in Russia from a period of creativity and repression in the second half of the 19th century through the paradoxes posed by the post-Soviet era. This redesigned edition, which includes more than 200 photographs and two substantial new chapters on the fate of Jews and Judaism in the former Soviet Union, is ideal for general readers and classroom use.

Zvi Gitelman is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is author of Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics: The Jewish Sections of the CPSU, 1917–1930 and editor of Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR (Indiana University Press).

Published in association with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Creativity versus Repression: The Jews in Russia, 1881–1917
Revolution and the Ambiguities of Liberation
Reaching for Utopia: Building Socialism and a New Jewish Culture
The Holocaust
The Black Years and the Gray, 1948–1967
Soviet Jews, 1967–1987: To Reform, Conform, or Leave?
The "Other" Jews of the Former USSR: Georgian, Central Asian, and Mountain Jews
The Post-Soviet Era: Winding Down or Starting Up Again?
The Paradoxes of Post-Soviet Jewry

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Chanting the Hebrew Bible, Second, Expanded Edition

The Art of Cantillation

Joshua R. Jacobson

In this encyclopedic text, completely revised and updated in this second edition, Joshua R. Jacobson presents the history of the ancient Jewish tradition of chanting the Bible and a comprehensive explanation of cantillation practice with its grammatical rules and regional variations. His unique step-by-step system of analysis shows how chanting dramatizes and interprets the meaning of the biblical text. Jacobson also provides complete notation for performing all six musical systems, an extensive guide to pronouncing biblical Hebrew, and pedagogical tips for cantillation teachers. 

Chanting the Hebrew Bible, Second Edition, will be invaluable to anyone interested in chanting, from beginners to advanced readers—from haftarah readers who want to chant from the Torah, to Bible students seeking greater insight into Masoretic texts, to Torah chanters who wish to fine-tune their skills, fill gaps in their knowledge, and understand the system they have known only intuitively until now. 

This second edition features a week-by-week guide to Torah, haftarah, and megillot readings for Shabbat and holidays; useful new examples and exercises; a new comprehensive general subject index; a new, easy-to-read, clear Hebrew font; and a link to a new website with audio recordings and video lessons.

Chanting the Hebrew Bible will continue to be the definitive work on Torah chanting—the most authoritative guide and reference on the subject.

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The Choosing

A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days

Andrea Myers

A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.

In The Choosing, Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of humor to describe what it means to survive and flourish on your own terms. Portioned around the cycle of the Jewish year, with stories connected to each of the holidays, Myers draws on her unique path to the rabbinate--leaving behind her Christian upbringing, coming out as a lesbian, discovering Judaism in college, moving to Israel, converting, and returning to New York to become a rabbi, partner, and parent.

Myers relates tales of new beginnings, of reinventing oneself, and finding oneself. Whether it's a Sicilian grandmother attempting to bake hamantaschen on Purim for her Jewish granddaughter, or an American in Jerusalem saving a chicken from slaughter during a Rosh Hashanah ritual, Myers keeps readers entertained as she reflects that spirituality, goodness, and morality can and do take many forms. Readers will enthusiastically embrace stories of doors closing and windows opening, of family and community, of integration and transformation. These captivating narratives will resonate and, in the author's words, "reach across coasts, continents, and generations."

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Chosen Capital

The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism

Edited and with an introduction by Rebecca Kobrin

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The Chosen Few

How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492

Maristella Botticini

In 70 CE, the Jews were an agrarian and illiterate people living mostly in the Land of Israel and Mesopotamia. By 1492 the Jewish people had become a small group of literate urbanites specializing in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine in hundreds of places across the Old World, from Seville to Mangalore. What caused this radical change? The Chosen Few presents a new answer to this question by applying the lens of economic analysis to the key facts of fifteen formative centuries of Jewish history. Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein offer a powerful new explanation of one of the most significant transformations in Jewish history while also providing fresh insights into the growing debate about the social and economic impact of religion.

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The Chosen People in America

A Study in Jewish Religious Ideology

Arnold M. Eisen

"This is a book of extraordinary quality and importance. In tracing the encounter of Jews (the chosen people) and America (the chosen nation).. Eisen has given the American Jewish community a new understanding of itself." -- American Jewish Archives

"... one of the most significant books on American Jewish thought written in recent years." -- Choice

What does it mean to be a Jew in America? What opportunities and what threats does the great melting pot represent for a group that has traditionally defined itself as "a people that must dwell alone"? Although for centuries the notion of "The Chosen People" sustained Jewish identity, America, by offering Jewish immigrants an unprecedented degree of participation in the larger society, threatened to erode their Jewish identity and sense of separateness.
Arnold M. Eisen charts the attempts of American Jewish thinkers to adapt the notion of chosenness to an American context. Through an examination of sermons, essays, debates, prayer-book revisions, and theological literature, Eisen traces the ways in which American rabbis and theologians -- Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox thinkers -- effected a compromise between exclusivity and participation that allowed Jews to adapt to American life while simultaneously enhancing Jewish tradition and identity.

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Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry

Moshe Y. Herczl

The complicity of the Hungarian Christian church in the mass extermination of Hungarian Jews by the Nazis is a largely forgotten episode in the history of the Holocaust. Using previously unknown correspondence and other primary source materials, Moshe Y. Herczl recreates the church's actions and its disposition toward Hungarian Jewry. Herczl provides a scathing indictment of the church's lack of compassion toward—and even active persecution of—Hungary's Jews during World War II.

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The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Volume 2

By Victoria J. Barnett

In his preaching, Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s strong, personal faith--the foundation for everything he did--shines in the darkness of Hitler‘s Third Reich and in the church struggle against it. Though not overtly political, Bonhoeffer‘s deep concern for the developments in his world is revealed in his sermons as he seeks to draw the listener into conversation with the promises and claims of the gospel-a conversation readers today are invited to join.

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