Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
Volume 22, Number 3, Spring 2004
Special Issue: Unfinalized Moments in Jewish American Narrative
Special Issue Editor: Derek Parker Royal

CONTENTS

Articles

    Royal, Derek Parker.
  • Unfinalized Moments in Jewish American Narrative
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • American fiction -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism.
    Aarons, Victoria.
  • The Covenant Unraveling: The Pathos of Cultural Loss in Allegra Goodman's Fiction
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Goodman, Allegra -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Pathos in literature.
    • Identity (Psychology) in literature.
    • Jews in literature.
    Abstract:
      Allegra Goodman's fiction revolves around the inevitable collisions between American and Jewish identities. For Goodman's characters, the seductions of American life and the language of contemporary cultural icons eclipse an ever-eroding sense of Jewish history and identity. Goodman's characters, not unlike other characters in contemporary American Jewish fiction, are torn between a desire to return to orthodoxy, to Jewish law and ritual, and to break from what they believe to be the marginalizing superstitions of a mythic Jewish past. Goodman, with characteristic satiric and parodic commentary, creates a seemingly irreconcilable conflict for her characters, who fear the loss of Jewish identity and yet fear also its embrace. For Goodman, much of this ambivalence toward Jewish history and identity is generational, and she contrasts the generational responses—immigrant, first-generation American-born, and the children of those post-war, upwardly mobile, urbane American Jews—to the possibilities for a reinvention of Judaism in contemporary American culture.
    Socolovsky, Maya.
  • Land, Legacy, and Return: Negotiating a Post-Assimilationist Stance in Allegra Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Goodman, Allegra. Kaaterskill Falls.
    • Tradition (Judaism) in literature.
    • Assimilation (Sociology) in literature.
    Abstract:
      In this paper I situate Goodman's novel against the Jewish American literary tradition of the earlier part of this century in order to argue that Goodman uses the inheritances of that tradition to formulate a new post-assimilationist stance. Taking into account both the sacred traditions of Judaism and the secular influences through which American Jewry has, in large part, defined itself, I examine how the ideas of legacy, exchange, and return function in the text for both its secular and Orthodox Jewish characters. The paper is divided into three main sections: the first, "Land," looks at how divisions between the sacred and the secular tend to be centered around anxious sites of real estate and development. The second, "Space and place," reads the construction of interiority and exteriority in the text as a way to articulate the difficult process of retaining the spiritual and practical boundaries that have been inherited into the Jewish tradition, while at the same time understanding what it means to traverse those boundaries and enter into a more secular space where traditional legacy becomes exchangeable. The final section, "Return," traces Goodman's ultimate renewal of Jewish American literature as she points her characters back towards religion, community, and/or family and figures their return as evidence of an inheritance that remembers and practices American freedom within the paradigm of Jewish orthodoxy.
    Martin, Michael J. (Michael John)
  • The Ethics of After: Melvin Jules Bukiet, Holocaust Fiction, and the Reemergence of an Ethical Sense in the Post-Holocaust World
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Bukiet, Melvin Jules -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature.
    • Ethics, Jewish, in literature.
    Abstract:
      The greater purpose in "The Ethics of After: Melvin Jules Bukiet, Holocaust Fiction, and the Reemergence of an Ethical Sense in the Post-Holocaust World" is to interconnect Melvin Jules Bukiet's current fictional and theoretical discussions with those of late postmodern theory. In doing so, this piece forges a connection between theory and Holocaust literature in an effort to highlight an emerging discussion within Holocaust literature that asks the reader to move beyond the ineffability of the event and work towards a new understanding of what can be gained from Holocaust study in a 21st-century culture. Particularly, the new understanding to be gained is that of an ethical sense that is developing within the fictional and theoretical writings of current crackpot realists.
    Behlman, Lee.
  • The Escapist: Fantasy, Folklore, and the Pleasures of the Comic Book in Recent Jewish American Holocaust Fiction
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Englander, Nathan. For the relief of unbearable urges.
    • Foer, Jonathan Safran, 1977- Everything is illuminated.
    • Chabon, Michael. Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
    • Fantasy fiction, American -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945), in literature.
    Abstract:
      In three recent books by young Jewish American writers, Nathan Englander's For the Release of Unbearable Urges (1999), Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated (2002), and Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), each author uses fantasy to represent the Holocaust or to thematize the problem of its representation. In these writers' hands, fantasy can point to the difficulty of directly accessing historical experience, it can be a medium for representing Jewish folk culture before the Holocaust, and it can even provide pleasure and escape through its diversions. In Englander's story "The Tumblers," the famous Fools of Chelm are transplanted into a Nazi environment and miraculously survive. In Everything Is Illuminated, Foer uses magical realist devices to give shape to his imaginary shtetl, Trachimbrod. Chabon's Kavalier & Clay is exceptional in presenting fantasy as a means of therapeutic escape from history. Chabon most directly confronts the problem of representation through non-realist techniques, and strikingly, he sets up a defense of popular escapism as a quintessentially American artistic response to the Holocaust.
    Jacobowitz, Susan.
  • "Hardly There Even When She Wasn't Lost": Orthodox Daughters and the "Mind-Body Problem" in Contemporary Jewish American Fiction
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Goldstein, Rebecca, 1950- Mind-body problem.
    • Jewish women in literature.
    • Mind and body in literature.
    Abstract:
      This paper analyzes contemporary Jewish fiction to suggest that both writers and their Orthodox daughter protagonists can be viewed as the inheritors and continuation of a literary tradition questioning roles, perceptions of and opportunities for Jewish women. It also proposes that the real "mind-body" problem or dilemma that Orthodox Jewish women confront comes not from the secular world—as Rebecca Goldstein's protagonist Renee presents in The Mind-Body Problem—but from the conservative and traditional religious Jewish world they experienced as children and, in several cases, leave as adults. It is within the confining and constricting world of traditional Judaism and Orthodox Jewish religious observance—traditionally male-dominated—that they experience a kind of disconnect or come to an impasse, finding that they must be perceived as either mind or body but cannot be perceived simultaneously as both.
    Sol, Adam, 1969-
  • "Were It Not for the Yetzer Hara": Eating, Knowledge, and the Physical in Jonathan Rosen's Eve's Apple
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Rosen, Jonathan, 1963- Eve's apple.
    • Yetzer hara (Judaism) in literature.
    • Desire in literature.
    • Body, Human, in literature.
    Abstract:
      Compared to other contemporary Jewish American novels, Jonathan Rosen's Eve's Apple is less blatant in its references to Judaism and thus has taken a back seat to writers whose works are clearly derived from an encounter with traditional Jewish texts, folktales, and traditions. But beneath the secular surface of the novel—with contemporary subjects of consumerism, psychology, and eating disorders—lies a work deeply concerned with Jewish ways of looking at the world. Looking at Eve's Apple through the lens of the Rabbinic figure of the yetzer hara reveals a complex portrait of characters struggling to balance the needs of the physical body with the desire to pursue spiritual and intellectual ideals. In the novel, as in Rabbinic literature, an outright rejection of the natural impulses of the yetzer hara has the potential to be just as dangerous to one's spiritual health as a complete submission to its desires.
    Meyer, Adam.
  • Putting the "Jewish" Back in "Jewish American Fiction": A Look at Jewish American Fiction from 1977 to 2002 and an Allegorical Reading of Nathan Englander's "The Gilgul of Park Avenue"
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Englander, Nathan. Gilgul of Park Avenue.
    • American fiction -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism.
    • Judaism and literature -- United States.
    • Group identity in literature.
    Abstract:
      The Jewish American literary renaissance of the last two decades has been sparked largely by an overt concern with Jewishness on the part of a younger group of writers. These writers confirm sociologist Marcus Lee Hansen's theory of third generation return, the idea that grandsons will want to remember parts of their grandparents' lives that the fathers have wanted to forget, in this case their Jewishness. Such third generation return can be seen in the works of Michael Chabon, Allegra Goodman, Rebecca Goldstein, and Tova Reich, among others, and the phenomenon is depicted allegorically in Nathan Englander's short story "The Gilgul of Park Avenue." The transformation undergone by the main character of Englander's text, Charles Luger, who suddenly realizes that he has been masquerading as a WASP but is really a Jew, can be seen as a representation of the historical trajectory of Jewish American literature itself.
    Royal, Derek Parker.
  • Contemporary Jewish American Narrative: A Selected Bibliography
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • American fiction -- Jewish authors -- Bibliography.

Book Reviews

    Ward, Seth, 1952-
  • Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims, and: Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Islam for Jews (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Firestone, Reuven, 1952- Children of Abraham: an introduction to Judaism for Muslims.
    • Duran, Khalid. Children of Abraham: an introduction to Islam for Jews.
    • Hechiche, Abdelwahab.
    • Judaism.
    • Islam.
    Dolgopolskii, S. B. (Sergei Borisovich)
  • Judaism in Practice from the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Fine, Lawrence, ed. Judaism in practice from the Middle Ages through the early modern period.
    • Judaism -- History -- Medieval and early modern period, 425-1789 -- Sources.
    Gartenhaus, Solomon, 1929-
  • Judaism, Mathematics, and the Hebrew Calendar (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Gabai, Hyman. Judaism, mathematics, and the Hebrew calendar.
    • Gematria.
    Efron, John M.
  • Jews and Medicine: An Epic Saga (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Heynick, Frank, 1946- Jews and medicine: an epic saga.
    • Jews -- Medicine -- History.
    Valentin, Joachim, 1965-
  • Die Maske des Moses: Studien zur jüdischen Hermeneutik (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Bruckstein, Almut Sh. Maske des Moses: Studien zur jüdischen Hermeneutik.
    • Midrash -- History and criticism.
    Matthews, Victor Harold.
  • The Construction of Shame in the Hebrew Bible: The Prophetic Contribution (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Stiebert, Johanna. Construction of shame in the Hebrew Bible: the prophetic contribution.
    • Bible. O.T. Isaiah -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
    Christensen, Duane L., 1938-
  • The Book of Psalms Through the Lens of Intertextuality (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Tanner, Beth LaNeel, 1959- Book of Psalms through the lens of intertextuality.
    • Bible. O.T. Psalms -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
    Chilton, Bruce.
  • Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Bieringer, R. (Reimund), ed. Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel.
    • Pollefeyt, Didier, ed.
    • Vandecasteele-Vanneuville, F. (Frederique), ed.
    • Bible. N.T. John -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
    Chilton, Bruce.
  • A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Volume Three--Companions and Competitors (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Meier, John P. Marginal Jew: rethinking the historical Jesus.
    • Jesus Christ -- Historicity.
    Grabbe, Lester L.
  • The Studia Philonica Annual, Volume 13: In the Spirit of Faith: Studies in Philo and Early Christianity in Honor of David Hay (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Runia, David T., ed. In the spirit of faith: studies in Philo and early Christianity in honor of David Hay.
    • Sterling, Gregory E., ed.
    • Philo, of Alexandria.
    Feldman, Louis H.
  • Sacrificing Truth: Archaeology and the Myth of Masada (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. Sacrificing truth: archaeology and the myth of Masada.
    • Masada Site (Israel) -- Siege, 72-73 -- Historiography.
    Buckser, Andrew, 1964-
  • A Conspiracy of Decency: The Rescue of the Danish Jews During World War II (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Werner, Emmy E. Conspiracy of decency: the rescue of the Danish Jews during World War II.
    • World War, 1939-1945 -- Jews -- Rescue -- Denmark.
    Bower, Kathrin M., 1963-
  • Beschweigen und Bekennen: Die deutsche Nachkriegsgesellschaft und der Holocaust (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Frei, Norbert, ed. Beschweigen und Bekennen: die deutsche Nachkriegsgesellschaft und der Holocaust.
    • Steinbacher, Sybille, 1966-, ed.
    • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Germany -- Influence.
    Astro, Alan.
  • La Renaissance culturelle juive: Europe centrale et orientale 1897-1930 (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Bechtel, Delphine, 1958- Renaissance culturelle juive: Europe centrale et orientale 1897-1930.
    • Jews -- Europe, Central -- Intellectual life.
    Brenner, Michael.
  • Juden, Bürger, Deutsche: Zur Geschichte von Vielfalt und Differenz, 1800-1933 (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Gotzmann, Andreas, ed. Juden, Bürger, Deutsche: zur Geschichte von Vielfalt und Differenz, 1800-1933.
    • Liedtke, Rainer, ed.
    • Rahden, Till van, ed.
    • Jews -- Germany -- History -- 1800-1933.
    Kapphan, Andreas, 1963-
  • Ankommen in Deutschland: Einwanderungspolitik als biografische Erfahrungen im Migrationsprozeß russischer Juden (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Becker, Franziska, 1962- Ankommen in Deutschland: Einwanderungspolitik als biografische Erfahrungen im Migrationsprozeß russischer Juden.
    • Germany -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy.
    Kessler, Edward, Dr.
  • Claude Montefiore: His Life and Thought (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Langton, Daniel R. Claude Montefiore: his life and thought.
    • Montefiore, C. G. (Claude Goldsmid), 1858-1938.
    Feldman, Ted.
  • Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Sarshar, Houman, 1968-, ed. Esther's children: a portrait of Iranian Jews.
    • Jews -- Iran -- History.
    Segev, Zohar.
  • "A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey": Visions of Israel from Biblical to Modern Times (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Greenspoon, Leonard J. (Leonard Jay), ed. "Land flowing with milk and honey": visions of Israel from biblical to modern times.
    • Simkins, Ronald, ed.
    • Israel -- History -- Congresses.
    Melson, Robert, 1937-
  • The Postzionism Debates: Knowledge and Power in Israeli Culture (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Silberstein, Laurence J. (Laurence Jay), 1936- Postzionism debates: knowledge and power in Israeli culture.
    • Zionism -- Philosophy.
    Sharkansky, Ira.
  • Executive Governance in Israel (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Arian, Alan. Executive governance in Israel.
    • Nachmias, David.
    • Amir, Ruth.
    • Executive power -- Israel.
    Remennick, Larissa I.
  • Reproducing Jews: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Kahn, Susan Martha, 1963- Reproducing Jews: a cultural account of assisted conception in Israel.
    • Human reproductive technology -- Law and legislation -- Israel.
    Mazor, Yair, 1950-
  • The Book of Tahkemoni: Jewish Tales from Medieval Spain (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Harizi, Judah ben Solomon, 12th/13th cent. Book of Tahkemoni: Jewish tales from medieval Spain.
    • Segal, David Simha, 1937-, tr.
    • Harizi, Judah ben Solomon, 12th/13th cent. Tahkemoni.
    Fischthal, Hannah Berliner.
  • The Magic Worlds of Bernard Malamud (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Avery, Evelyn Gross, 1940-, ed. Magic worlds of Bernard Malamud.
    • Malamud, Bernard.
    Lyons, Bonnie.
  • Contemporary Jewish American Writers and the Multicultural Dilemma: Return of the Exiled (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Furman, Andrew, 1968- Contemporary Jewish American writers and the multicultural dilemma: return of the exiled.
    • American fiction -- Jewish authors -- History and criticism.
    Berger, Alan L., 1939-
  • And the Sea Is Never Full: Memoirs, 1969 (review)
    [Access article in HTML]
    Subject Headings:
    • Wiesel, Elie, 1928- And the sea is never full: memoirs, 1969.
    • Wiesel, Elie, 1928-

Book Notes

Articles Noted

Books Received




[Project MUSE] [Search Page] [Journals] [Journal Directory] [Top]