Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 20.3, Spring 2002

Contents

Special Section: New Trends in Yiddish Literary Studies
Jan Schwarz, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Special Editor

    Krutikov, Mikhail.
  • Reading Yiddish in a Post-Modern Age: Some Trends in Literary Scholarship of the 1990s
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    Subject Headings:
    • Yiddish language -- Study and teaching.
    • Yiddish literature -- Study and teaching.
    • Jewish learning and scholarship.
    Abstract:
      From the Age of Enlightenment on, attitudes to Yiddish language and culture have been ideologically motivated. Yiddish was variously perceived as a corrupt jargon or the quintessence of the Jewish soul, a propaganda tool or the idiom of the Jewish collective unconscious. But with the worldwide decline of secular education in Yiddish after the Holocaust, knowledge of Yiddish culture becomes increasingly fragmented. Although Yiddish forms a legitimate part of various academic Jewish Studies programs, it often has the secondary status of an auxiliary subject. As a result, academic research in Yiddish culture rarely tackles central topics such as literary history or monographic studies of individual writers. With Yiddish studies in the U.S. increasingly focused on border cases between Yiddish and other cultural phenomena, Germany is gradually emerging as a major center of Yiddish philology.
    Estraikh, G. (Gennadii)
  • Itsik Fefer: A Yiddish Wunderkind of the Bolshevik Revolution
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fefer, Itzik, 1900-1952.
    • Authors, Yiddish -- Soviet Union.
    Abstract:
      Itsik Fefer (1900-1952) was one of the most prominent Soviet Yiddish writers, who perfectly combined the two talents of a poet and an apparatchik. His 1922 poetry collection, Splinters, established him as a rising literary star. The same year he formulated his literary credo of "simple speech," which would become the trademark of his work. By 1924, Fefer already occupied one of the highest places in the hierarchy of Soviet Yiddish literature. In 1927 he was one of the founding members of the Ukrainian Association of Yiddish Revolutionary Writers. He combined editorial positions at both Yiddish literary journals, Prolit (Proletarian Literature) and Di royte velt (Red World), published in Ukraine in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The creation of the Writers' Union increased Fefer's importance. He represented Yiddish literature on the board of the Soviet and Ukrainian's Writers' Unions. During WWII, Fefer became a leading figure in the Jewish Antifascist Committee. In 1943 he, together with Solomon Mikhoels, visited the United States, Canada, Mexico, and England. Fefer finished his life in prison, accused of Jewish nationalism and of spying for the Americans.
    Hellerstein, Kathryn.
  • The Name in the Poem: Women Yiddish Poets
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    Subject Headings:
    • Yiddish poetry -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
    • Jewish women -- Identity.
    Abstract:
      A poet's name appearing in a poem signals the question: To what degree does the individual writer speak for her/himself and to what degree for the community? In Old Yiddish poems, no modern idea of the individual writer is present. When the poet signs her name—Rivke Tiktiner in an acrostic, Royzl Fishls and Toybe Pan in a rhymed stanza—she carves her name into her prayer or proem according to the convention of signature established by medieval Hebrew liturgical poems. She names herself as a woman linked to Jewish learning through male ancestors and as a voice for the Jewish people awaiting messianic redemption. Such a poet signs her name to claim the distinction of an authorship predicated on the author's place within the Jewish community and its conventions, both literary and religious. But when modern women poets—Anna Margolin, Kadya Molodowsky, Rokhl Korn—place their names in a Yiddish poem, they inscribe a vexed individuality. The pull away from traditional Jewish life produces a literary tension between the poet's responsibilities to voice the will of the Jewish people and her own desires. The lyric poem becomes an analogue for the individual person, yet vestiges of communal responsibility and traditional writings linger in its Yiddish language, culture, and historical context.
    Wolitz, Seth L.
  • Forging a Hero for a Jewish Stage: Goldfadn's Bar Kokhba
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    Subject Headings:
    • Goldfaden, Abraham, 1840-1908. Bar Kokhba.
    • Theater, Yiddish -- Russia -- History -- 19th century.
    • Bar Kokhba, d. 135 -- In literature.
    Abstract:
      The emergence of Jewish theater under Abraham Goldfadn permitted an esthetic recuperation of the Past not outside of history as in Biblical Purimshpils but inside history. Goldfadn wanted his audience to retrieve from the stage their lost memory of Jewish sovereignty and in the case of his play, Bar Kokhba, recover an image of Jewish dignity and nobility and a model of Jewish heroics for the present: a Jewish military hero. The old/new Jewish hero reflects the aristocratic ideals drawn from Western theatrical traditions but made "Jewish" by its placement in an Israelite setting: the Romantic hero leading his people to defeat Rome and to establish independence. The play, constructed on the nineteenth-century melodramatic form of the five-act "well-made" play, touches all the bases that would evoke pride and revive memories of Jewish wholeness, authenticity, and greatness as opposed to the present fragmented and weak Jewish audience. The play introduced the classic love triangle, the mutual passions of Bar Kokhba and Dina but tragically destroyed by Romans and traitors. Thus Goldfadn tied the personal trauma to the national one, revealing his goal of employing Western form to celebrate Jewish life and history through the esthetics of stage production. This play marks the beginning of Yiddish theater celebrating Jewish history and heroics and providing through art a new Jewish secular identity by which to encounter the present with a vision of the restored nation in the future.

General Articles

    Kray, Susan.
  • "New Mode of Feminist Historical Analysis"-- Or Just Another Collusion with "Patriarchal" Bias?
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lerner, Gerda, 1920- Creation of patriarchy.
    • Women in the Bible.
    • Bible. O.T. -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
    Abstract:
      According to the "Lost Eden Scenario," a Goddess-destroying, woman-oppressing culture, that of the ancient Hebrews, generated many of the sexist ills of Western civilization. This scenario finds adherents even among some reputable scholars, including the renowned feminist historian Gerda Lerner in her wide-ranging feminist history, Creation of Patriarchy. It is important to challenge the ways in which such scholars violate the norms of scholarship; in Lerner's case, in defiance of principles of feminist historical scholarship, which she herself had insightfully enunciated years before the publication of Creation of Patriarchy.
    Boyd, Mark.
    Shermis, S. Samuel.
  • Spinoza, Liberalism, Science, and Contemporary Judaism
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    Subject Headings:
    • Spinoza, Benedictus de, 1632-1677.
    Abstract:
      For centuries Benedict Spinoza has been regarded as everything from an antisemite to anti- Biblical. These and similar charges are not supported by recent analyses. Spinoza was an intellectual figure who believed deeply in a Deity while opening up the Torah to the same kind of criticism that would be seen in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Not a "liberal" in the modern political sense, he expressed a passionate faith in freedom of conscience. Not a modern epistemologist, he built his knowledge theory on intuitive reasoning which is similar to that of contemporary physicists. Spinoza is a unique figure in Jewish intellectual history and deserves to be seen as a Jewish philosopher who anticipated biblical criticism by two centuries.

Book Reviews

    Garber, Zev, 1941-
  • Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carroll, James, 1943- Constantine's sword: the church and the Jews.
    • Christianity and antisemitism -- History.
    Wetzel, Juliane.
  • Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kaplan, Marion A. Between dignity and despair: Jewish life in Nazi Germany.
    • Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1939-1945.
    Haas, Peter J. (Peter Jerome)
  • False Papers: Deception and Survival in the Holocaust (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Melson, Robert, 1937- False papers: deception and survival in the Holocaust.
    • Melson, Nina Ponczek, 1912-1985.
    Edelman, Samuel M.
  • Bitter Prerequisites: A Faculty for Survival from Nazi Terror (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kleine-Ahlbrandt, W. Laird (William Laird) Bitter prerequisites: a faculty for survival from Nazi terror.
    • Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1933-1945 -- Interviews.
    Axelrod, Toby.
  • Stated Memory: East Germany and the Holocaust (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fox, Thomas C. Stated memory: East Germany and the Holocaust.
    • Jews -- Germany (East)
    Kotzin, Chana Revell.
  • Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy and the Holocaust (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • London, Louise. Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British immigration policy and the Holocaust.
    • Refugees, Jewish -- Great Britain.
    Feinstein, Steve.
  • At Memory's Edge: After Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Young, James Edward. At memory's edge: after images of the Holocaust in contemporary art and architecture.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), and architecture -- Germany.
    Gamer, Carlton.
  • Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kater, Michael H., 1937- Composers of the Nazi era: eight portraits.
    • Composers -- Germany -- Biography.
    McGlathery, James M., 1936-
  • Richard Wagner im Dritten Reich: Ein Schloss Elmau-Symposion (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Friedländer, Saul, 1932-, ed. Richard Wagner im Dritten Reich: ein Schloss Elmau-Symposion.
    • Rüsen, Jörn, ed.
    • Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883 -- Influence -- Congresses.
    Cocks, Geoffrey, 1948-
  • Death of a 'Jewish Science': Psychoanalysis in the Third Reich (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Goggin, James E., 1940- Death of a 'Jewish science': psychoanalysis in the Third Reich.
    • Goggin, Eileen Brockman, 1941-
    • Psychoanalysis -- Germany -- History.
    Pickus, Keith H., 1959-
  • Social Science and the Politics of Modern Jewish Identity (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hart, Mitchell Bryan, 1959- Social science and the politics of modern Jewish identity.
    • Jews -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
    Sokoloff, Naomi B.
  • Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Alter, Robert. Canon and creativity: modern writing and the authority of scripture.
    • Literature, Modern -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
    Glazer, Miriyam, 1945-
  • Booking Passage: Exile and Homecoming in the Modern Jewish Imagination (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ezrahi, Sidra DeKoven. Booking passage: exile and homecoming in the modern Jewish imagination.
    • Jewish literature -- History and criticism.
    Sokoloff, Naomi B.
  • The Terrible Power of a Minor Guilt: Literary Essays (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Yehoshua, Abraham B. Terrible power of a minor guilt: literary essays.
    • Cummings, Ora, tr.
    • Ethics in literature.
    Baskin, Judith Reesa, 1950-
  • No Room of Their Own: Gender and Nation in Israeli Women's Fiction (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feldman, Yael S., 1941- No room of their own: gender and nation in Israeli women's fiction.
    • Israeli fiction -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
    Beckwith, Stacy N.
  • Apples from the Desert (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Liebrecht, Savyon, 1948- Apples from the desert.
    • Weinberger-Rotman, Marganit, tr.
    • Liebrecht, Savyon, 1948- -- Translations into English.
    Lawson, Fred Haley, 1952-
  • The Israeli-Syrian Peace Talks: 1991-96 and Beyond (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cobban, Helena. Israeli-Syrian peace talks: 1991-96 and beyond.
    • Israel -- Foreign relations -- Syria.
    Sharkansky, Ira.
  • The New Israel: Peacemaking and Liberalization (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Shafir, Gershon, ed. New Israel: peacemaking and liberalization.
    • Peled, Yoav, ed.
    • Israel -- Economic conditions.
    Johnston, Scott D., 1954-
  • Israel: The First Hundred Years. Vol I: Transition from Community to State (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Karsh, Efraim, ed. Israel: the first hundred years.
    • Jews -- Israel -- History -- 20th century.
    Kaplan, Eran.
  • The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Almog, Oz. Sabra: the creation of the new Jew.
    • Watzman, Haim, tr.
    • National characteristics, Israeli.
    Bell, Dean Phillip, 1967-
  • Das Europäische Zeitalter der Juden (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Battenberg, Friedrich. Europäische Zeitalter der Juden.
    • Jews -- Europe -- History.
    Strenski, Ivan.
  • Jewish Destinies: Citizenship, State and Community in Modern France (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Birnbaum, Pierre. Jewish destinies: citizenship, state and community in modern France.
    • Goldhammer, Arthur, tr.
    • Jews -- France -- Politics and government.
    Climo, Jacob, 1945-
  • The Hyena People: Ethiopian Jews in Christian Ethiopia (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Salamon, Hagar. Hyena people: Ethiopian Jews in Christian Ethiopia.
    • Jews -- Ethiopia -- Public opinion.
    Lesser, Jeff.
  • Jews of the Amazon: Self-Exile in Earthly Paradise (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Segal Freilich, Ariel, 1965- Jews of the Amazon: self-exile in earthly paradise.
    • Mestizos -- Peru -- Iquitos -- Religion.
    May, Robert E.
  • The Jewish Confederates (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rosen, Robert N., 1947- Jewish Confederates.
    • Jews -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century.
    Perlmutter, Philip.
  • From Ellis Island to JFK (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Foner, Nancy, 1945- From Ellis Island to JFK.
    • Immigrants -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
    Gurock, Jeffrey S., 1949-
  • Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Diner, Hasia R. Lower East Side memories: a Jewish place in America.
    • Jews -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
    Dinnerstein, Leonard.
  • Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Freedman, Samuel G. Jew vs. Jew: the struggle for the soul of American Jewry.
    • Judaism -- United States.
    Davids, Leo.
  • And I Will Dwell in Their Midst (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Diamond, Etan. And I will dwell in their midst.
    • Orthodox Judaism -- Ontario -- Toronto Suburban Area.
    Porton, Gary G.
  • Talmud Stories: Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rubenstein, Jeffrey L. Talmud stories: narrative art, composition, and culture.
    • Aggada -- History and criticism.
    Niditch, Susan.
  • The Meanings of Death in Rabbinic Judaism (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kraemer, David Charles. Meanings of death in Rabbinic Judaism.
    • Death -- Religious aspects -- Judaism.
    Verman, Mark, 1949-
  • The Unique Cherub Circle: A School of Mystics and Esoterics in Medieval Germany (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Dan, Joseph, 1935- Unique Cherub circle: a school of mystics and esoterics in medieval Germany.
    • Hasidism, Medieval.
    Propp, William Henry.
  • The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Zornberg, Avivah Gottlieb. Particulars of Rapture: reflections on exodus.
    • Bible. O.T. Exodus -- Commentaries.
    Knohl, Israel.
  • The Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls--Technological Innovations, New Texts, and Reformulated Issues (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Parry, Donald W., ed. Provo International Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls--technological innovations, new texts, and reformulated issues.
    • Ulrich, Eugene Charles, 1938-, ed.
    • Dead Sea scrolls -- Congresses.
    Williams, David S. (David Salter)
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls after Fifty Years: A Comprehensive Assessment (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • VanderKam, James C., ed. Dead Sea scrolls after fifty years: a comprehensive assessment.
    • Flint, Peter W., ed.
    • Dead Sea scrolls -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.



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