University of Texas Press

Jewish Life, History, and Culture

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Jewish Life, History, and Culture

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The American Jewish Story through Cinema

By Eric A. Goldman

By analyzing select mainstream films from the beginning of the sound era until today, this groundbreaking study uses the medium of cinema to provide an understanding of the American Jewish experience over the last century.

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The Chosen Folks

Jews on the Frontiers of Texas

By Bryan Edward Stone

Texas has one of the largest Jewish populations in the South and West, comprising an often-overlooked vestige of the Diaspora. The Chosen Folks brings this rich aspect of the past to light, going beyond single biographies and photographic histories to explore the full evolution of the Jewish experience in Texas. Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials and synthesizing earlier research, Bryan Edward Stone begins with the crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition in the late sixteenth century and then discusses the unique Texas-Jewish communities that flourished far from the acknowledged centers of Jewish history and culture. The effects of this peripheral identity are explored in depth, from the days when geographic distance created physical divides to the redefinitions of “frontier” that marked the twentieth century. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the creation of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust, and the civil rights movement are covered as well, raising provocative questions about the attributes that enabled Texas Jews to forge a distinctive identity on the national and world stage. Brimming with memorable narratives, The Chosen Folks brings to life a cast of vibrant pioneers. Jewish History, Life, and Culture Michael Neiditch, Series Editor

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Exiled in the Homeland

Zionism and the Return to Mandate Palestine

By Donna Robinson Divine

Offering a new perspective on Zionism, Exiled in the Homeland draws on memoirs, newspaper accounts, and archival material to examine closely the lives of the men and women who immigrated to Palestine in the early twentieth century. Rather than reducing these historic settlements to a single, unified theme, Donna Robinson Divine’s research reveals an extraordinary spectrum of motivations and experiences among these populations. Though British rule and the yearning for a Jewish national home contributed to a foundation of solidarity, Exiled in the Homeland presents the many ways in which the message of emigration settled into the consciousness of the settlers. Considering the benefits and costs of their Zionist commitments, Divine explores a variety of motivations and outcomes, ranging from those newly arrived immigrants who harnessed their ambition for the goal of radical transformation to those who simply dreamed of living a better life. Also capturing the day-to-day experiences in families that faced scarce resources, as well as the British policies that shaped a variety of personal decisions on the part of the newcomers, Exiled in the Homeland provides new keys to understanding this pivotal chapter in Jewish history.

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The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho

Villa Clara and the Construction of Argentine Identity

By Judith Noemí Freidenberg

By the mid-twentieth century, Eastern European Jews had become one of Argentina’s largest minorities. Some represented a wave of immigration begun two generations before; many settled in the province of Entre Ríos and founded an agricultural colony. Taking its title from the resulting hybrid of acculturation, The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho examines the lives of these settlers, who represented a merger between native cowboy identities and homeland memories. The arrival of these immigrants in what would be the village of Villa Clara coincided with the nation’s new sense of liberated nationhood. In a meticulous rendition of Villa Clara’s social history, Judith Freidenberg interweaves ethnographic and historical information to understand the saga of European immigrants drawn by Argentine open-door policies in the nineteenth century and its impact on the current transformation of immigration into multicultural discourses in the twenty-first century. Using Villa Clara as a case study, Freidenberg demonstrates the broad power of political processes in the construction of ethnic, class, and national identities. The Invention of the Jewish Gaucho draws on life histories, archives, material culture, and performances of heritage to enhance our understanding of a singular population—and to transform our approach to social memory itself.

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Israeli Cinema

Identities in Motion

Edited by Miri Talmon and Yaron Peleg

In the first anthology of its kind in English, leading Israeli film scholars explore how one of the world’s most exciting emerging cinemas has become a vibrant site for the representation of Israeli realities.

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Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna

By Alison Rose

Despite much study of Viennese culture and Judaism between 1890 and 1914, little research has been done to examine the role of Jewish women in this milieu. Rescuing a lost legacy, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna explores the myriad ways in which Jewish women contributed to the development of Viennese culture and participated widely in politics and cultural spheres. Areas of exploration include the education and family lives of Viennese Jewish girls and varying degrees of involvement of Jewish women in philanthropy and prayer, university life, Zionism, psychoanalysis and medicine, literature, and culture. Incorporating general studies of Austrian women during this period, Alison Rose also presents significant findings regarding stereotypes of Jewish gender and sexuality and the politics of anti-Semitism, as well as the impact of German culture, feminist dialogues, and bourgeois self-images. As members of two minority groups, Viennese Jewish women nonetheless used their involvement in various movements to come to terms with their dual identity during this period of profound social turmoil. Breaking new ground in the study of perceptions and realities within a pivotal segment of the Viennese population, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna applies the lens of gender in important new ways.

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Red, Black, and Jew

New Frontiers in Hebrew Literature

By Stephen Katz

Between 1890 and 1924, more than two million Jewish immigrants landed on America’s shores. The story of their integration into American society, as they traversed the difficult path between assimilation and retention of a unique cultural identity, is recorded in many works by American Hebrew writers. Red, Black, and Jew illuminates a unique and often overlooked aspect of these literary achievements, charting the ways in which the Native American and African American creative cultures served as a model for works produced within the minority Jewish community. Exploring the paradox of Hebrew literature in the United States, in which separateness, and engagement and acculturation, are equally strong impulses, Stephen Katz presents voluminous examples of a process that could ultimately be considered Americanization. Key components of this process, Katz argues, were poems and works of prose fiction written in a way that evoked Native American forms or African American folk songs and hymns. Such Hebrew writings presented America as a unified society that could assimilate all foreign cultures. At no other time in the history of Jews in diaspora have Hebrew writers considered the fate of other minorities to such a degree. Katz also explores the impact of the creation of the state of Israel on this process, a transformation that led to ambivalence in American Hebrew literature as writers were given a choice between two worlds. Reexamining long-neglected writers across a wide spectrum, Red, Black, and Jew celebrates an important chapter in the history of Hebrew belles lettres.

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Violent Acts and Urban Space in Contemporary Tel Aviv

Revisioning Moments

By Tali Hatuka

Violent acts over the past fifteen years have profoundly altered civil rituals, cultural identity, and the meaning of place in Tel Aviv. Three events in particular have shed light on the global rule of urban space in the struggle for territory, resources, and power: the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in 1995 in the city council square; the suicidal bombing at the Dolphinarium Discothèque along the shoreline in 2001; and bombings in the Neve Shaanan neighborhood in 2003. Tali Hatuka uses an interdisciplinary framework of urban theory and sociopolitical theory to shed light on the discourse regarding violent events to include an analysis of the physical space where these events take place. She exposes the complex relationships among local groups, the state, and the city, challenging the national discourse by offering a fresh interpretation of contesting forces and their effect on the urban environment. Perhaps the most valuable contribution of this book is its critical assessment of the current Israeli reality, which is affected by violent events that continually alter the everyday life of its citizens. Although these events have been widely publicized by the media, there is scant literature focusing on their impact on the urban spaces where people live and meet. In addition, Hatuka shows how sociopolitical events become crucial defining moments in contemporary lived experience, allowing us to examine universal questions about the way democracy, ideology, and memory are manifested in the city.

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