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Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy
Upheavals in a Moscow Synagogue
The prevalence of anti-Semitism in Russia is well known, but the issue of race within the Jewish community has rarely been discussed explicitly. Combining ethnography with archival research, Jewish Russians: Upheavals in a Moscow Synagogue documents the changing face of the historically dominant Russian Jewish community in the mid-1990s. Sascha Goluboff focuses on a Moscow synagogue, now comprising individuals from radically different cultures and backgrounds, as a nexus from which to explore issues of identity creation and negotiation. Following the rapid rise of this transnational congregation—headed by a Western rabbi and consisting of Jews from Georgia and the mountains of Azerbaijan and Dagestan, along with Bukharan Jews from Central Asia—she evaluates the process that created this diverse gathering and offers an intimate sense of individual interactions in the context of the synagogue's congregation.
Challenging earlier research claims that Russian and Jewish identities are mutually exclusive, Goluboff illustrates how post-Soviet Jews use Russian and Jewish ethnic labels and racial categories to describe themselves. Jews at the synagogue were constantly engaged in often contradictory but always culturally meaningful processes of identity formation. Ambivalent about emerging class distinctions, Georgian, Russian, Mountain, and Bukharan Jews evaluated one another based on each group's supposed success or failure in the new market economy. Goluboff argues that post-Soviet Jewry is based on perceived racial, class, and ethnic differences as they emerge within discourses of belonging to the Jewish people and the new Russian nation.
A Theoretical Introduction
Jewish Studies, the first volume in a groundbreaking new series, Key Words in Jewish Studies, introduces the basic approach of the series by organizing discussion around key concepts in the field that have emerged over the last two centuries: history and science, race and religion, self and community, identity and memory. The book is oriented by contemporary critical theory, especially feminist and postcolonial studies, and the multidisciplinary approaches of cultural studies.
Authority, Diaspora, Tradition
Over the past several decades, the field of Jewish studies has expanded to encompass an unprecedented range of research topics, historical periods, geographic regions, and analytical approaches. Yet there have been few systematic efforts to trace these developments, to consider their implications, and to generate new concepts appropriate to a more inclusive view of Jewish culture and society. Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History brings together scholars in anthropology, history, religious studies, comparative literature, and other fields to chart new directions in Jewish studies across the disciplines.
This groundbreaking volume explores forms of Jewish experience that span the period from antiquity to the present and encompass a wide range of textual, ritual, spatial, and visual materials. The essays give full consideration to non-written expressions of ritual performance, artistic production, spoken narrative, and social experience through which Jewish life emerges. More than simply contributing to an appreciation of Jewish diversity, the contributors devote their attention to three key concepts—authority, diaspora, and tradition—that have long been central to the study of Jews and Judaism. Moving beyond inherited approaches and conventional academic boundaries, the volume reconsiders these core concepts, reorienting our understanding of the dynamic relationships between text and practice, and continuity and change in Jewish contexts. More broadly, this volume furthers conversation across the disciplines by using Judaic studies to provoke inquiry into theoretical problems in a range of other areas.
Explores Jewish aspects of Spinoza's philosophy from a wide variety of perspectives. Breaking new ground in the study of Spinoza's philosophy, the essays in this volume explore the extent to which Spinoza may be considered a Jewish thinker. The rich diversity of Spinoza scholarship today is represented here by a wide range of intellectual methods and scholarly perspectives—from Jewish philosophy and history, to Cartesian-analytic and Continental-Marxist streams of interpretation, to the disciplines of political science and intellectual history. Two questions underlie all the essays: How and in what measure is Spinoza's a Jewish philosophy, and what is its impact on the project of Jewish philosophy as a living enterprise now and for the future? The contributors' varied perspectives afford a highly nuanced vision of the multifaceted Judaic tradition itself, as refracted through the Spinozist lens. What draws them together is the quest for enduring insights that emerge from the philosophy of Spinoza.
A JPS Guide
This is a comprehensive and authoritative resource with ready answers to questions about almost all aspects of Jewish life and practice: life-cycle events, holidays, ritual and prayer, Jewish traditions and customs, and more. Ronald Eisenberg has distilled an immense amount of material from classic and contemporary sources into a single volume, which provides thousands of insights into the origins, history, and current interpretations of a wealth of Jewish traditions and customs. Divided into four sections--Synagogue and Prayers, Sabbaths and Festivals, Life-Cycle Events, and Miscellaneous (a large section that includes such diverse topics as Jewish literature, food, and plants and animals)- this is an encyclopedic reference for anyone who wants easily accessible, accurate information about all things Jewish. Eisenberg writes for a wide, diversified audience, and is respectful of the range of practices and beliefs within today's American Jewish community--from Orthodox to liberal.
A History in the American West
The image of the West looms large in the American imagination. Yet the history of American Jewry and particularly of American Jewish women—has been heavily weighted toward the East. Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail rectifies this omission as the first full book to trace the history and contributions of Jewish women in the American West.
In many ways, the Jewish experience in the West was distinct. Given the still-forming social landscape, beginning with the 1848 Gold Rush, Jews were able to integrate more fully into local communities than they had in the East. Jewish women in the West took advantage of the unsettled nature of the region to “open new doors” for themselves in the public sphere in ways often not yet possible elsewhere in the country. Women were crucial to the survival of early communities, and made distinct contributions not only in shaping Jewish communal life but outside the Jewish community as well. Western Jewish women's level of involvement at the vanguard of social welfare and progressive reform, commerce, politics, and higher education and the professions is striking given their relatively small numbers.
This engaging work—full of stories from the memoirs and records of Jewish pioneer women—illuminates the pivotal role these women played in settling America's Western frontier.
Religion and Media in America
Engaging media has been an ongoing issue for American Jews, as it has been for other religious communities in the United States, for several generations. Jews, God, and Videotape is a pioneering examination of the impact of new communications technologies and media practices on the religious life of American Jewry over the past century. Shandler's examples range from early recordings of cantorial music to Hasidic outreach on the Internet. In between he explores mid-twentieth-century ecumenical radio and television broadcasting, video documentation of life cycle rituals, museum displays and tourist practices as means for engaging the Holocaust as a moral touchstone, and the role of mass-produced material culture in Jews' responses to the American celebration of Christmas.
Shandler argues that the impact of these and other media on American Judaism is varied and extensive: they have challenged the role of clergy and transformed the nature of ritual; facilitated innovations in religious practice and scholarship, as well as efforts to maintain traditional observance and teachings; created venues for outreach, both to enhance relationships with non-Jewish neighbors and to promote greater religiosity among Jews; even redefined the notion of what might constitute a Jewish religious community or spiritual experience. As Jews, God, and Videotape demonstrates, American Jews' experiences are emblematic of how religious communities' engagements with new media have become central to defining religiosity in the modern age.
An Introduction to the Book of Radiance
An introduction to the Zohar, the crowning work of medieval Kabbalah. Includes original translations and analysis. The crowning work of medieval Kabbalah, the Zohar is unlike any other work in the Jewish canon. Written in Aramaic, the Zohar contains complex mystical exegesis as well as the story of the Companions—a group of sages who wander through second-century Israel discussing the Torah while meeting up with children, donkey drivers, and various types who have spiritual lessons for them. Nathan Wolski offers original translations of episodes involving this mystical fellowship and goes on to provide a sustained reading of each. With particular emphasis on the literary and performative dimensions of the composition, Wolski takes the reader on a journey through the central themes and motifs of the zoharic world: kabbalistic hermeneutics, the structure of divinity, the nature of the soul and above all, the experiential core of the Zohar—the desire to be saturated and intoxicated with the flowing fluids of divinity. A Journey into the Zohar opens the mysterious, wondrous and at times bewildering universe of one of the masterpieces of world mystical literature to a wider community of scholars, students, and general readers alike.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the "wisdom literature" of the Bible. It concerns itself with universal philosophical questions, rather than events in the history of Israel and in the Hebrews' covenant with God. Koheleth, the speaker in this book, ruminates on what -- if anything -- has lasting value, and how -- if at all -- God interacts with humankind. Koheleth expresses bewilderment and frustration at life's absurdities and injustices. He grapples with the inequities that pervade the world and the frailty and limitations of human wisdom and righteousness. His awareness of these discomfiting facts coexists with a firm believe in God's rule and God's fundamental justice, and he looks for ways to define a meaningful life in a world where so much is senseless. Ecclesiastes is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday Sukkot, the harvest festival.