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Showing papers in "Jewish Social Studies in 2012"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines the multifaceted ways in which Jews reacted to the trial against Nazi Germany's major war criminals, which the governments of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France held at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in the years 1945-46.
Abstract: A bstr Act This article examines the multifaceted ways in which Jews reacted to the trial against Nazi Germany’s “major war criminals,” which the governments of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France held at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in the years 1945–46. Though the history of war-crime trials in postwar Germany and the representation of the Holocaust in Allied proceedings currently find widespread interest among historians, the roles that Jews played in and around the Nuremberg tribunal have largely been neglected. This article explores the problem of Jewish representation at Nuremberg and analyzes the attempts by Jewish individuals and organizations to intervene on behalf of the victims of the Holocaust. Moreover, it explores contemporaneous Jewish debates over German guilt, the agency and involvement of survivors in the fight for legal redress, and the possibilities for post-Holocaust justice in the framework of an international military trial.

14 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper explored the Holocaust as part of American history and its implications for contemporary American Jewish identity from three vantage points: the institutionalization of the Holocaust and as a Jewish "event" in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Abstract: The often-unspoken idea that the Holocaust was a unique event has become a key feature of American Jewish identity. As a result, universalizing the Holocaust is a complicated matter for those who feel Jewish "ownership" of the event must remain paramount. This essay explores the Holocaust as part of American history and its implications for contemporary American Jewish identity from three vantage points: the institutionalization of the Holocaust as part of American history and as a Jewish "event" in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Holocaust as seen through the lens of various recent readings of The Diary of Anne Frank , and the image of the Holocaust in American popular culture. Through these three lenses I suggest that the Holocaust will remain an important source of identity, but in order for it to do so, it must become a broader and more complex model for Jewish survival and for Jewish flourishing in an increasingly globalized world.

12 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explores the "poetics of haunting" that runs through the pages of modern Israeli Hebrew literature and traces this haunting legacy from its moment of birth in S. B. Yizhar's renowned novella "Hirbet Hiz'ah" to its later manifestations in two other prominent Hebrew Israeli works: A. Yehoshua's "Mul ha-ye-ye'arot" and Yeshayahu Koren's Levayah ba-tsohorayim.
Abstract: This essay explores the “poetics of haunting” that runs through the pages of modern Israeli Hebrew literature. Specifically, the essay looks at the manner in which the historical violence associated with the forced Palestinian exile of 1948, though seemingly finding little direct expression in the Israeli literary canon, nevertheless finds its way into these texts under the sign of a growing visible invisibility. The essay traces this haunting legacy from its moment of birth in S. Yizhar’s renowned novella “Hirbet Hiz‘ah” to its later manifestations in two other prominent Hebrew Israeli works: A. B. Yehoshua’s “Mul ha-ye‘arot” and Yeshayahu Koren’s Levayah ba-tsohorayim . At the centers of these three texts, the “ruins” of destroyed Arab villages mark the unresolved and haunting history of violence.

9 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper introduced a missing Russian-Jewish perspective into the discussion of Jewish involvement in modern racialized and medicalized discourses and brought together the domains of intellectual and social history that have tended to be marginalized in these discourses.
Abstract: This article introduces a missing Russian-Jewish perspective into the discussion of Jewish involvement in modern racialized and medicalized discourses and brings together the domains of intellectual and social history that have tended to be marginalized in these discourses. I argue that different forms of modern collective Jewish identities in the Russian Empire were substantially influenced by biological categories, and this influence was reflected not only in the sphere of ideology and science but also in the patterns of Jewish national and professional self-mobilization that culminated in the creation of the all-Russian Obshchestvo Okhraneniia Zdorov’ia Evreiskogo Naseleniia (OZE). The Jewish public health movement is the story of social mobilization based on a shared ethos of “medical materialism” and a specific understanding of the Jewish nation in the Russian imperial and early Soviet contexts.

9 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors considers analogies between the Holocaust and the Nakba in Israeli narratives, analogies that became increasingly dominant in political discourse in Israel through journalism, historiography, art, and literature.
Abstract: This article considers analogies between the Holocaust and the Nakba in Israeli narratives, analogies that became increasingly dominant in political discourse in Israel through journalism, historiography, art, and literature. I focus on two recent works: the memoir My Holocaust Thief by Noam Chayut (2009) and the film Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman (2008). Both juxtapose Palestinian refugees and Holocaust victims (and less explicitly, Israeli soldiers and Nazi officers) as a way of rehabilitating a moral self. I ask what kind of political meaning is constructed by this mirroring, by placing the narrative of the other—the Palestinian catastrophe—within a Holocaust-based representation of the Nakba. In a certain sense, thinking through the conceptual framework of the Holocaust focuses attention on the catastrophe of the Jews and relegates the Palestinian catastrophe, once again, to secondary importance, driving it out first as a physical reality and then as a narrative.

8 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In the late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Zionist efforts to promote Hebrew as a modern vernacular not only emphasized Hebrew's standing as a Jewish tongue but also affirmed the language's universalist bona fides as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: A bstr Act Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Zionist efforts to promote Hebrew as a modern vernacular not only emphasized Hebrew’s standing as a Jewish tongue but also affirmed the language’s universalist bona fides. These claims were buoyed by long-standing Jewish and Christian traditions that claimed Hebrew was a transcendent language tied to universal human values. During a period distinguished by modern universal language programs, however, Hebrew’s limited reach and apparent artificiality provoked a sense of unease about its universalist claims. This unease was expressed in programs to westernize Hebrew orthography and enhance its global spread and in a series of often anxious comparisons, offered in the Hebrew periodical press, between Hebrew and Esperanto, the most popular universal language program of the day.

8 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a view from an Israeli point of view of dual responsibility resulting from belonging to the state that both caused the Palestinian Nakba and took in and rehabilitated survivors and refugees of the Shoah.
Abstract: The paper is written from an Israeli point of view, a point of view of dual responsibility resulting from belonging to the state that both caused the Palestinian Nakba and took in and rehabilitated survivors and refugees of the Shoah. This position is marked by Jacques Derrida as the state of the aporia of taking responsibility. Avot Yeshurun’s poetry about the Nakba and the Shoah struggles with assuming responsibility as an Israeli for the consequences of both. In his poem “Passover on Caves” especially, Yeshurun develops a discourse of heterogeneous identities enabling the Jewish Israeli to assume both responsibilities by developing “multidirectional memory” of both traumas without constituting one identity at the expense of the supposedly opposed other.

5 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper read Zach's stance as one of mourning and melancholia over the fate of literature itself in the wake of statehood, and expressed this melancholic stance by questioning the very necessity of poetry.
Abstract: A bstr Act The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 has had a major effect on Hebrew literature’s self-image. From the Haskalah onward, the Hebrew writer perceived himself as “watchman unto the house of Israel,” a prophet seeking to voice the national aspirations and concerns of the Jewish people. After sovereignty was established, the writer’s national role became superfluous and the literary world was gripped by a sense of melancholia over its diminished role in the newly established state. Nathan Zach, the leader of the younger generation of poets who began writing after 1948, expressed this melancholic stance by questioning the very necessity of poetry. Zach’s focus on the individual’s personal experiences is usually read in celebratory terms, as signaling the rejection of the collectivist ideology of the 1940s. In contrast, I read Zach’s stance as one of mourning and melancholia over the fate of literature itself in the wake of statehood.

4 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the limits of a thematic approach to the recovery of political modes of signification in statehood-generation poetry and demonstrate how biblical allusions and carefully crafted intertextual play work together with metaphor and other stylistic formations of verbal art to create a strong, if oblique or "negative", critique of bellicose nationalism and to register an unequivocal protest against the valorization of militarism and triumphalist statism.
Abstract: A bstr Act This article explores the limits of a thematic approach to the recovery of political modes of signification in statehood-generation poetry. I challenge, through a neo-Adornian perspective, the common view that statehood-generation poetry is either fundamentally apolitical or always aligned with normative statist/universalist positions. In the process I explore those aspects of Yehuda Amichai’s early work, collected in Shirim, 1948–1962, that were perceived as revolutionary and even dangerous. Through close readings of two lyric poems, “To the Full Severity of Compassion” and “I Want to Die in My Bed,” I demonstrate how biblical allusions and carefully crafted intertextual play work together with metaphor and other stylistic formations of verbal art to create a strong, if oblique or “negative,” critique of bellicose nationalism and to register an unequivocal protest against the valorization of militarism and triumphalist statism.

4 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The Pessoptimist, Anton Shammas's Arabesques, and Elias Khoury's Gate of the Sun are interrelated novels in a broader literary dialogue about 1948 and its aftermath for Palestinians.
Abstract: Though written decades apart and in two different languages (Arabic and Hebrew), Emile Habiby’s The Pessoptimist , Anton Shammas’s Arabesques , and Elias Khoury’s Gate of the Sun are interrelated novels in a broader literary dialogue about 1948 and its aftermath for Palestinians. The novels’ respective narratives map the Palestinian experience onto spaces both larger and smaller than that of the nation, crossing borders between Lebanon, the Galilee, and the West Bank yet ultimately locating the heart of each story in a highly symbolic space: the cave. In the three novels, the cave becomes an alternative Palestinian space or “underground homeland” that may represent the lost Palestine of the past, the hope for a better future, or knowledge of the self. It is also used to portray intergenerational tensions in the Palestinian story. Collapsing time and space, reality and fantasy, the cave functions as a spatial expression of post-1948 Palestinian subjectivity.

Journal Article
TL;DR: In 1948, five books about World War II dominated the New York Times bestsellers list; all of them were written by Jews and made Jewish soldiers their central protagonists as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: In 1948 five books about World War II dominated the New York Times best-seller list; all were written by Jews and made Jewish soldiers their central protagonists. This essay focuses on the Jewish war novels of 1948 and their critical reception. Jewish writers argued in their novels that the Holocaust was a central, rather than an ancillary, aspect of the war experience. Other themes that Jewish war novelists took up included a focus on endemic antisemitism and racism in the military and the infusion of intellectualism into the figure of the ideal soldier-hero. Jewish authors wrote about the war in unique ways, and since their novels were best-sellers, they had a direct impact upon how postwar Americans understood the war effort.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a new interpretation of the work of Primo Levi and its significance as testimony to Auschwitz and thinking about the survivor is presented, tracing the place and role of Ulysses as a literary figure narrating war and survival in Levi's work.
Abstract: This essay offers a new interpretation of the work of Primo Levi and its significance as testimony to Auschwitz and thinking about the survivor. Tracing the place and role of Ulysses as a literary figure narrating war and survival in Levi's work, the essay uncovers an additional, figurative layer of meaning that contrasts with that of the comprehending humanist. The readings in the essay range from Primo Levi's earliest work, If This Is a Man , to his last book, The Drowned and the Saved , engaging many of his lesser-known publications. Theoretical works and closely read intertextualities uncover an angry writer who is less conciliatory than we might have hoped. The classic figure of Ulysses is shown to play an important part in Levi's literary construction of his return from Auschwitz, inevitably read in light of his suicide.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that the underlying aesthetic, emotional, and political sensibility of the play is "tragic" in the classical sense, and demonstrate how this tragic sensibility served to both portray and mask the fundamental contradictions of citizenship in the immediate post-statehood era.
Abstract: This article interrogates how citizenship and sacrifice are portrayed in Moshe Shamir’s novel-turned-play He Walked through the Fields (1947). Arguing that the underlying aesthetic, emotional, and political sensibility of the play is “tragic” in the classical sense, the article demonstrates how this tragic sensibility served to both portray and mask the fundamental contradictions of citizenship in the immediate post-statehood era. As a tragedy, He Walked through the Fields derives its dramatic effect precisely from the tension between the hero’s seemingly self-willed actions and his casting as a scapegoat for the community. In denying his male protagonist autonomous thought and subjectivity and portraying his “destiny” within the framework of the tragic, Shamir is able to resolve the conflict between national sovereignty and political heteronomy.

Journal Article
TL;DR: The authors examines Yoram Kaniuk's acclaimed 2010 fictionalized memoir Tasha (1948) in the context of Hebrew literature's reaction to the War of Independence and to the Nakba, placing an emphasis on the narrative's multiple connections between historical memory and the narrator's contemporary position.
Abstract: This essay examines Yoram Kaniuk’s acclaimed 2010 fictionalized memoir, Tasha”h (1948) in the context of Hebrew literature’s reaction to the War of Independence and to the Nakba. Placing an emphasis on the narrative’s multiple connections between historical memory and the narrator’s contemporary position, the essay points to crucial moments of literary ethical and political reflection. Building on my recent work on futural aspects in Hebrew literature’s reaction to 1948, the essay places Kaniuk in the tradition established by such authors as S. Yizhar, Amos Oz, and A. B. Yehoshua, among others. At the same time, the essay highlights Kaniuk’s implicit understanding of 1948 as a modernist event: as one of the man-made catastrophes that came to define the modern era.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that Kovner persisted in writing his missives in the face of this opposition because in his eyes they served a necessary and important function, and that through his gory battle missives, Kovner sought to cleanse the fighters of the guilt and shame of bloodshed and to give words to an unspoken trauma.
Abstract: A bstr Act During the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, Abba Kovner—Holocaust survivor, Jewish partisan and poet—served as an educational officer in the Givati Brigade, writing more than 30 battle missives between June 1948 and May 1949. These missives, which were distributed among the soldiers, were a novelty that Kovner introduced to the IDF, and their poetic register, expressionist style, high pathos, and blunt and extremely violent rhetoric put them in stark contrast to all other IDF propaganda of the time. The missives were immensely popular among Givati Brigade soldiers but were met with harsh criticism from other quarters in the IDF and from prominent political leaders. Kovner, I argue, persisted in writing his missives in the face of this opposition because in his eyes they served a necessary and important function. Through his gory battle missives, Kovner sought to cleanse the fighters of the guilt and shame of bloodshed and to give words to an unspoken trauma.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argued that Yizhar's incomplete framing device should be viewed as integral to his story and argued that the rending of a harmonious ethical and Zionist identity in 1948 is a secondary concern.
Abstract: S. Yizhar’s 1949 “Hirbet Hiz‘ah” contains a puzzling narrative frame, which is not closed at the novella’s ending. This article analyzes Yizhar’s interest in this device in light of a recently discovered, previously unpublished introduction to the novella written by Yizhar himself. I argue that Yizhar’s incomplete framing device should be viewed as integral to his story. Read against his introduction, I claim that “Hirbet Hiz‘ah” is first and foremost about the rending of a harmonious ethical and Zionist identity in 1948, whereas the actual expulsion is a secondary concern. A translation of this introduction is included at the article’s end.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article explored how Israeli narratives of different genres engage with conflict-related atrocities and argued that the encounter with conflictrelated atrocities leads to a break in the generic form of both the literary and the legal texts and a resort to extrageneric rhetoric.
Abstract: Focusing on two key events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the Deir Yassin affair (1948) and the Kefar Kassem massacre (1956)—the article explores how Israeli narratives of different genres engage with conflict-related atrocities. Juxtaposing the literary reimagination of the Deir Yassin affair in Nurith Gertz’s ‘ Al da‘at ‘atsmo (Unrepentant, 2008) and the seminal court ruling in the Kefar Kassem massacre trial (1958), this article examines the ethical considerations and effects of the different formal strategies employed in each of the texts. I argue that the encounter with conflict-related atrocities leads to a break in the generic form of both the literary and the legal texts and a resort to extrageneric rhetoric. This formal disruption engages the reader and, possibly, her community in an ethical inquiry that emphasizes the process of investigation rather than final judgments.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that the two constitutive events of the 1940s, the Shoah and the war of 1948 that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, do not figure in Agnon's representation of Jerusalem, which remains largely an anachronistic site of pre-1948 pilgrimage and millennial visions.
Abstract: ��� A bstr Act This essay explores S. Y. Agnon’s Jerusalem in a number of texts, spanning nearly his entire life—and beyond, into posthumous publications. I argue that the two constitutive events of the 1940s—the Shoah and the war of 1948 that led to the establishment of the State of Israel—hardly figure in Agnon’s representation of Jerusalem, which remains largely an anachronistic site of pre-1948 pilgrimage and millennial visions. Rather than interpret this as part of a seamlessly religious worldview consistent with “holistic” poetic and political positions (especially post-1967), I suggest that there is a nonhistorical version of Jerusalem as the site of ultimate reconciliation and deliverance that is often “hidden in plain view” in some of the most audacious of Agnon’s fictions. I conclude with a reading of the enigmatic short story, “Ma‘gelei tsedek.”

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The World Columbian Exposition of 1893 as mentioned in this paper was a formative moment in Chicago's history for Jews living half a world away in Paris, Tetouan, Jaffa, and Smyrna.
Abstract: The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893—with exhibits and participants streaming in from across the globe and 25 million visitors marveling at its palaces, pavilions, and foreign villages—is understood as a formative moment in Chicago’s history Less well documented, however, is the fair’s significance for Jews, notably those living half a world away in Paris, Tetouan, Jaffa, and Smyrna Yet they too were present Their exhibits of crafts, art, and student accomplishments were on display in the largest of the fair’s structures, the Manufactures and Liberal Arts building, thanks to an unprecedented global constellation of philanthropists, luminaries, teachers, and students

Journal Article
TL;DR: This article argued that Szajkowski was a morally ambiguous figure who began to remove Judaica from Europe when Jewish life there was most threatened but continued even after the situation returned to normal.
Abstract: From 1940 to 1961, the Jewish historian Zosa Szajkowski (1911-78) illicitly moved tens of thousands of documents from France to the United States. There, he used them as the basis for scores of scholarly articles, eventually selling them to American research libraries. Should Szajkowski be remembered as a rescuer or a thief? This article argues that neither of these terms fully fits what he did. Rather, Szajkowski was a morally ambiguous figure who began to remove Judaica from Europe when Jewish life there was most threatened but continued even after the situation returned to normal.A rescuer who certainly became a thief, Szajkowski's story makes greater sense when placed in the context of the shifting balance of power within the Jewish world that took place following the Holocaust.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors take the example of a Jewish magician from a late seventeenth-century novella by Anne de La Roche-Guilhen entitled "Marie de Padille, sous Pierre le Cruel, roi de Castille" to explore Jewish sorcery as it relates to questions of authority and power in early modern France.
Abstract: The seventeenth century in France was a time of centralized power and deep suspicion on the part of those who held power toward those who did not. There were valid sources of knowledge (the church and the state) and invalid ones (Judaism and the supernatural, among others). It is therefore inherently ironic that many Christians sought to harness the powers of sorcerers—even Jewish ones—for their own purposes. This article takes the example of a Jewish magician from a late seventeenth-century novella by Anne de La Roche-Guilhen entitled “Marie de Padille, sous Pierre le Cruel, roi de Castille” to explore Jewish sorcery as it relates to questions of authority and power in early modern France.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a literary investigation of the 1948 war and the cultures of Zionist military formation is presented, where the authors employ a conceptual distinction between the militia and the regular army and trace the tension between the concurring cultures of war, allowing a conceptualization of the war of 1948 as three separate wars.
Abstract: A bstr Act This article is a literary investigation of the 1948 war and the cultures of Zionist military formation. In this study, literature is understood as the record of war from the human perspective. Employing a conceptual distinction between the militia and the regular army, I trace the tension between the concurring cultures of war, allowing a conceptualization of the war of 1948 as three separate wars. The war begins with the cultural domination of the militia in 1947, which defines the culture and literature of 1948. As military power becomes more organized, the militias become a regular army, executing territorial expansion and the dispossession of the Palestinians. The figural character of revenge dominates the literature and is examined as underlying the dynamic of violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper explore Yizhar's persistent return to the year of 1948 in Israel/Palestine and suggest that this return entails the textual formation of a nonnovelistic narration of continuous expectation and deferral that rejects the present time of action and develops nonfactual, speculative temporality.
Abstract: A bstr Act Although he spent almost all of his artistic career in the post-1948 state of Israel, S. Yizhar hardly wrote about this era. This article explores Yizhar’s persistent return to the year of 1948 in Israel/Palestine. I suggest that this return entails the textual formation of a nonnovelistic narration of continuous expectation and deferral that rejects the present time of action and develops nonfactual, speculative temporality. This temporality is at the core of Yizhar’s “1948-time,” engaging a potential rupture in historical time and positing an active refusal of the post-1948 Israeli time of sovereignty. Examining the literary working of this speculative temporality in one passage of Yizhar’s 1949 novella “Hirbet Hiz‘ah,” I show how reading Yizhar’s work from this “1948-time” might alter the way we conceptualize the novella’s subject matter and political meaning. Ultimately, I ask what might happen if we start thinking about Hebrew literature from the vantage point of this 1948-time.