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The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Creativity in Babylon, 1735- 1950

by Lev Hakak

This book begins with a brief history about the Jews in Babylon (Iraq), their Hebrew creativity and the fact that this creativity was excluded from the history of Modern Hebrew literature because it was unknown to the scholars. The book focuses on the years 1735-1950 and presents the secular Hebrew poetry written in Babylon at that time, the folktales, journalistic articles, and epistles, research of Hebrew literature, a story and a play.

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The En Yaaqov

Jacob ibn Habib’s Search for Faith in the Talmudic Corpus

Marjorie Lehman

Examines the origins of the En Yaaqov in the tumultuous medieval period and the motivations of its creator, exiled Spanish rabbi Jacob ibn Habib.

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Encountering the Jewish Future

with Wiesel, Buber, Heschel, Arendt, Levinas

By Marc H. Ellis

Marc Ellis maintains that the most vital questions about Judaism are prefigured in the work of Elie Wiesel, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. Ellis's work is framed by encounters with each thinker's work, focusing on topics of God, the Holocaust, the prophetic legacy, philosophical and ethical standpoints, and Jewish empowerment and dissent.

Two generations after the Holocaust and Israel's founding, Ellis argues that the uncertain future of Judaism requires a deeply personal and intellectual exploration of Jewish tradition and identity, in conversation with the best philosophical and theological minds of recent years.

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Enforced Marginality

Jewish Narratives on Abandoned Wives

Bluma Goldstein

This illuminating study explores a central but neglected aspect of modern Jewish history: the problem of abandoned Jewish wives, or agunes ("chained wives")—women who under Jewish law could not obtain a divorce—and of the men who deserted them. Looking at seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Germany and then late nineteenth-century eastern Europe and twentieth-century United States, Enforced Marginality explores representations of abandoned wives while tracing the demographic movements of Jews in the West. Bluma Goldstein analyzes a range of texts (in Old Yiddish, German, Yiddish, and English) at the intersection of disciplines (history, literature, sociology, and gender studies) to describe the dynamics of power between men and women within traditional communities and to elucidate the full spectrum of experiences abandoned women faced.

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Essays in Jewish Thought

A fascinating and eclectic collection of twenty-two essays, Essays in Jewish Thought examines and explores divers topics of Jewish thought and history. From Judaism’s view of ancient Rome at its imperial apogee and the Dead Sea Scrolls to Jewish thought in Europe’s revolutions of 1848 and Franz Kafka, the collection offers a rich compendium of essays of interest to scholars, historians, philosophers, and students. 


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The Essential Hayim Greenberg

Essays and Addresses on Jewish Culture, Socialism, and Zionism

Hayim Greenberg, Edited and introduced by Mark Raider, Foreword by Paul Mendes-Flohr

Though well known to many scholars and critics in the field of Judaic studies, Hayim Greenberg remains relatively unknown. Since his death in 1953, Greenberg’s contributions to modern Jewish thought have largely fallen from view. In The Essential Hayim Greenberg: Essays and Addresses on Jewish Culture, Socialism, and Zionism, the first collection of Greenberg’s writings since 1968, Mark A. Raider reestablishes Greenberg as a prominent Jewish thinker and Zionist activist who challenged the prevailing orthodoxies of American Jewry and the Zionist movement.

This collection of thoroughly annotated essays, spanning the 1920s to the early 1950s, includes Greenberg’s meditations on socialism and ethics, profiles of polarizing twentieth-century figures (among them Trotsky, Lenin, and Gandhi), and several essays investigating the compatibility of socialism and communism. Greenberg always circles back, however, to the recurring question of how Jews might situate themselves in modernity, both before and after the Holocaust, and how Labor Zionist ideology might reshape the imbalances of Jewish economic life.

Alongside his role as an American Zionist leader, Greenberg maintained a lifelong commitment to the vitality of the Jewish diaspora. Rather than promoting Jewish autonomy and statehood, he argued for fidelity to the Jewish spirit. This volume not only seeks to restore Greenberg to his previous stature in the field of Judaic studies but also to return a vital and authentic voice, long quieted, to the continuing debate over what it means to be Jewish.

The Essential Hayim Greenberg provides an accessible text for scholars, historians, and students of Jewish studies, religion, and theology.

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Ethics of Maimonides

Hermann Cohen, Translated by Almut Sh. Bruckstein

    Hermann Cohen’s essay on Maimonides’ ethics is one of the most fundamental texts of twentieth-century Jewish philosophy, correlating Platonic, prophetic, Maimonidean, and Kantian traditions. Almut Sh. Bruckstein provides the first English translation and her own extensive commentary on this landmark 1908 work, which inspired readings of medieval and rabbinic sources by Leo Strauss, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas.
    Cohen rejects the notion that we should try to understand texts of the past solely in the context of their own historical era. Subverting the historical order, he interprets the ethical meanings of texts in the light of a future yet to be realized. He commits the entire Jewish tradition to a universal socialism prophetically inspired by ideals of humanity, peace, and universal justice.
    Through her own probing commentary on Cohen’s text, like the margin notes of a medieval treatise, Bruckstein performs the hermeneutical act that lies at the core of Cohen’s argument: she reads Jewish sources from a perspective that recognizes the interpretive act of commentary itself.

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Eve's Journey

Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition

By Nehama Aschkenasy

In Eve's Journey, Nehama Aschkenasy traces the migration of several female images and feminine situations from their early appearances in Biblical writings to their incarnations in modern Hebraic literature. Focusing on the evolution of early female archetypes and prototypes, Aschkenasy uncovers the ancient roots of modern female characters and traces the changing cultural perceptions of women in Hebraic letters.

The author draws on the vast body of Hebraic literary documents to illustrate how the female character is a mirror of her times as well as being a product of her creator''s imagination and conception of the woman's role in society and in fiction. The historical spectrum, provided by a discussion of Biblical narratives, Midrashic sources, documents of the Jewish mystics, Hasidic tales, and modern Hebrew works, allows an understanding of the metamorphosis that the female figure has experienced in her literary odyssey.

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Fallen Angels

Soldiers of Satan's Realm

Authored by Bernard J. Bamberger

The problem of evil has challenged mankind ever since the dawn of intelligence. Why is there evil in the world and why do pain and suffering come upon those who do not seem to deserve it? Written in a simple, popular style, Bamberger's book, first published in 1952, will appeal to anyone who, no matter what his own answer to the question may be, is curious to learn how it has been answered in the past or is being answered by others in our own age. The author traces the history of the belief in fallen angels in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and assembles a variety of tales and superstitions -- some grotesque, others quaint and humorous. His presentation also reveals a basic divergence between Judaism and Christianity in their respective attitudes toward the devil. The concluding chapter of the work deals with the return of the devil to prominence in contemporary religious thought and shows how Judaism seeks its own solution to the problem of evil. The book contains an extensive bibliography, notes, and index.

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The Fighting Rabbis

Jewish Military Chaplains and American History

Albert I. Slomovitz

Rabbi Elkan Voorsanger received the Purple Heart for his actions during the Battle of Argonne. Chaplain Edgar Siskin, serving with the Marines on Pelilu Island, conducted Yom Kippur services in the midst of a barrage of artillery fire. Rabbi Alexander Goode and three fellow chaplains gave their own lifejackets to panicked soldiers aboard a sinking transport torpedoed by a German submarine, and then went down with the ship.

American Jews are not usually associated with warfare. Nor, for that matter, are their rabbis. And yet, Jewish chaplains have played a significant and sometimes heroic role in our nation's defense.

The Fighting Rabbis presents the compelling history of Jewish military chaplains from their first service during the Civil War to the first female Jewish chaplain and the rabbinic role in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. Rabbi Slomovitz, himself a Navy chaplain, opens a window onto the fieldwork, religious services, counseling, and dramatic battlefield experiences of Jewish military chaplains throughout our nation's history.

From George Washington's early support for a religiously tolerant military to a Seder held in the desert sands of Kuwait, these rabbis have had a profound impact on Jewish life in America. Also striking are original documents which chronicle the ongoing care and concern by the Jewish community over the last 140 years for their follow Jews, including many new immigrants who entered the armed forces. Slomovitz refutes the common belief that the U.S. military itself has been a hostile place for Jews, in the process providing a unique perspective on American religious history.

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