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Showing papers in "Shofar in 2001"


Journal Article
31 Oct 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The Human Stain this paper is based on the life of the New York Times literary critic, Anatole Broyard, and is about Coleman Silk, a Newark-born African American whose fair complexion allows him in his adult life to pass as a white man.
Abstract: The Human StainIf Saul Bellow's early novel, The Adventures of Augie March, inspired Roth at the beginning of his career to write about a generation of Jews younger than the immigrant Jews of Malamud's fiction, a generation characterized less by victimization than by one "steeped in America, its freedom and talk, its energies and superabundance," as David Remnick reports in his recent New Yorker profile (May 8, 2000), then Bellow's later novels -- his novels of contemplation -- may have encouraged Roth to emulate him again, at least to some extent. In Ravelstein, for example, Bellow is concerned not so much, if at all, with relating the strong narrative line his critics desiderate as with a meditation on contemporary civilization, or what passes for civilization. Similarly, in Roth's last three novels, what he has called his "thematic trilogy" on America in the 1950s, 60s, and later, Roth has given us both a retrospective view of where post-World War II America was and where we have emerged in the Clinton era. Unlike Bellow, his narrative line is clear enough but, like Bellow, it is subordinated, if not as obviously, to Roth's more important concerns with American attitudes and behavior which, astute observer that he is, have preoccupied the writer -- as it should preoccupy us -- for some time.The Human Stain, supposedly based upon the life of the New York Times literary critic, Anatole Broyard, is about Coleman Silk, a Newark-born African American whose fair complexion allows him in his adult life to pass as a white man. In ways that for some critics recall Alexander Pormoy's struggle to free himself from the shackles of his middle-class Jewish upbringing, Silk tries to escape his heritage and his family ties -- and for most of his life, he succeeds. After one or two failed relationships with white women in New York, where he is studying classics after serving in the navy in World War II, he determines to renounce his race and everything and everyone connected with it. His father having died, he severs all other family ties, proclaims himself a secular white Jew, and marries Iris Gittelman, a woman born of atheist Russian immigrant Jews. Neither she nor their four children ever learn of his true origins; in fact, no one does until after his death, except perhaps for Faunia Farley, the lover half his age whom he has taken near the end of his life.Coleman Silk's well-kept secret stays safe, although by the second chapter Roth casually reveals it to the reader as a means of developing some of the many ironies in the novel. The most pronounced one involves the incident resulting in Coleman Silk's resignation from the faculty of Athena College, the small liberal arts college in New England where he has taught and for many years served as its dean. Wondering where and who two students are who have failed to attend any of his class meetings since the beginning of the term, Silk asks his other students whether they exist or if they are "spooks." Although his meaning is clear, the absent students, who are black, seize upon the term's ambiguity: its secondary meaning as a derogatory term for Negroes. They therefore file a complaint against him with his department chair and dean. Enraged, not only because it is so transparently a misrepresentation by students whom he has never laid eyes on, but even more because none of his colleagues springs to his defense (these include an African American sociology professor whom as dean he had hired as the first black faculty member at Athena College), Silk resigns. …

53 citations


Journal Article
31 Jul 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Shandler as discussed by the authors presents a detailed history of how the Holocaust was played on TV from the end of World War II to its present role as the nation's major moral mediator.
Abstract: While America Watches: Televising the HolocaustThe earliest research about the Holocaust was concerned primarily with retrieval of the facts of the genocidal process, its step-by-step implementation. That kind of painstaking research is usually the provenance of historians who work on the assumption that the data is simply there in original sources like government records, personal memoirs, newspapers, etc. It has merely to be collected and made into a coherent historical narrative. That "telling the story" approach is today joined by researchers interested not so much in discovering what happened but rather in what is remembered. These researchers are usually students of the newer social sciences, especially cultural anthropology and social psychology, who want to learn about the shaping of the "culture of memory." The book here reviewed belongs in that category. Shandler focuses on American television, which he sees as a primary shaper of that culture. He presents us with a detailed history of how the Holocaust was played on TV from the end of World War II to its present role as the nation's major moral mediator. We are shown how TV ultimately made the Holocaust, an event with which the American people were only indirectly involved, an ethical touchstone of its moral consciousness. It is an important book, since what a community chooses to remember and why it does so can tell us much about its time in history.Shandler seems to have missed little in his cataloguing of five decades of TV fare relating directly and indirectly to the Holocaust. What amazed this reader is the sheer number of character roles, survivors, perpetrators, and witnesses portrayed in half-remembered TV dramas and family shows like "This Is Your Life." The Holocaust first appears on the TV screen through the "liberation" films of the camps taken by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and used as evidence at the Nuremberg trials. From there the characters appear in the TV "heavy" drama, the Philco Television Playhouse, Studio One, Playhouse 90, Matinee Theater that became the fare of serious television during the fifties and sixties. But the idea that there were lessons of the Holocaust, like the societal benefits derived from group tolerance and conversely the dangers of intolerance, did not develop all at once. Though barely shown on American TV, the Eichmann trial (1961) became a watershed marking the end of the period of silence and spawned dozens of post-trial dramas. It was the first rendering of the Holocaust as a discreet event distinguished from the blood-letting of World War II.Seventeen years later there appeared Gerald Green's miniseries "Holocaust" (1978), which Shandler views as the breakthrough event that placed the Holocaust on the road to becoming the touchstone of America's moral sensibility and American Jewry's civil religion. It has remained so ever since. Despite its formulaic presentation, Green's rendering of the Holocaust had such a deep popular impact that it accelerated the process through which the Holocaust earned its place in the American communal memory. Its impact was even greater in post-war Germany, which in the immediate post-war years had shown itself to be reluctant to remember its brutal past. …

49 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The cartoonist at his/her drawing board brings to mind the image of the scribe, an old and revered profession in Judaism as discussed by the authors, and Jewish cartoonists in their depiction of modern life have in some ways become contemporary scribes in a distinctly American form of communication that combines both written and visual expression.
Abstract: The list of artists who defined and shaped American cartoon art includes many Jewish names. America has offered many immigrant groups the possibilities of achievement, and Jews, coming from a strong literary tradition which nurtured both a comic and an ironic view of the world, have been drawn to this fast-developing and uniquely American art form since the beginning of the twentieth century. At every point in the history of cartoon arts in America some Jewish cartoonists were able to contribute their talents and ability to innovate. They brought the sharpened perspective and the moral anxiety of the outsider to this artistic expression, and, from Rube Goldberg to Al Capp, Will Eisner, and Art Spiegelman, to mention only several of the giants, they have strongly influenced the cartoon arts. The cartoonist at his/her drawing board brings to mind the image of the scribe, an old and revered profession in Judaism. Jewish cartoonists in their depiction of modern life have in some ways become contemporary scribes in a distinctly American form of communication that combines both written and visual expression.

39 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In this paper, it is suggested that the disappearance of the Qal internal passive and its replacement by Puccal is related to the movement of verbs from Qal to Piccel, where they no longer exhibit intensive/plural meaning.
Abstract: The assumed original intensification/plurality of the D stem (with "doubled" middle radical = Piccel in Hebrew) vis-?-vis the G stem ("ground" form = Qal) is not maintained in all stages of Semitic languages. While the intensification/plurality of the Piccel is attested in classical biblical Hebrew, there is evidence in extra-biblical sources from the Second Temple period on of a shift of Qal verbs to Piccel, where they no longer exhibit intensive/plural meaning. Many scholars, however, are unaware of this phenomenon since it has been discussed almost exclusively in works written in modern Hebrew. The shift from Qal to Piccel can be seen in Qumran Hebrew, the Hebrew of Ben Sira, Samaritan Hebrew, Tannaitic Hebrew, and Amoraic Hebrew. It is suggested that the disappearance of the Qal internal passive and its replacement by Puccal is related to the movement of verbs from Qal to Piccel.

37 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jul 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Selling the Holocaust: From Auschwitz to Schindler, How History is Bought, Packaged, and Sold as mentioned in this paper is a book about the history of the Holocaust and its representation.
Abstract: Selling the Holocaust: From Auschwitz to Schindler, How History is Bought, Packaged and SoldSometimes it seems as though works of Holocaust remembrance can't appear unless accompanied by debate over their appropriateness -- consider, for example, the extended controversies surrounding Roberto Begnini's recent film Life is Beautiful and Berlin's new Holocaust monument. Indeed, these as well as other movies and memorials, not to mention the museums, plays, novels, telecasts, memoirs, and the like that engage this subject, raise a host of issues that provoke discomfort for many observers. For some, the very number of Holocaust representations raises questions about priorities and proportion of interest. For others, the grand scale of many of these efforts provokes concern about the appropriateness of the investments made in them -- not only of money, but also of time and energy. Lurking behind these are anxieties about Jewish influence (too much?) and Jewish cultural security (too little?), and there are disquieting concerns about proprietary rights to the Holocaust as "cultural capital." Still others are troubled by the inability of these representations to live up to lofty expectations -- often amounting to a morally transformative experience that will do nothing short of altering human consciousness and behavior for the better -- or by the failure of Holocaust remembrance to be immune to the whims of politics, aesthetics, or public opinion.For several decades Holocaust representation has been a subject of ongoing public debate the likes of which has, perhaps, no rival. Scholars of literature, art, and film have made Holocaust remembrance a leading subject in the larger study of memory culture. At the same time, a growing number of historians, political scientists, and others have turned attention from their primary work as scholars of the Holocaust period to reflect on its public representation. Tim Cole joins their ranks with his book Selling the Holocaust, and, like most of those preceding him, he's upset by much of what he sees: history is being "bought, packaged, and sold," and this, it seems to go without saying, is no good thing. So disturbing is the phenomenon that has come to be known as "Shoah business" that Cole feels compelled to distinguish at the outset between the Holocaust of history and the "Holocaust" of myth.This is, of course, not a new approach. (Indeed, the insistence on writing "Holocaust" in quotation marks, as a sign of its phenomenologically suspect nature, has its precedent in Jacob Neusner's 1981 book Stranger at Home: "The Holocaust," Zionism, and American Judaism.) Indeed, for the most part Selling the Holocaust repeats arguments made by other perturbed scholars over the past two decades. Like many of his predecessors, Cole conceptualizes history and memory as adversarial forces. This is a problematic approach on more than one count: To begin with, it assumes a hierarchical distinction between the history and memory, with the latter being measured against the standards of the former. Cole argues that the "Holocaust" of myth did not appear until the 1960s (in fact, the sort of phenomenon that he terms "myth" was already well underway during World War II), and that this is an inherent distortion ("abuse," "trivialization," "universalization," "sanctification," and so on) of an essentialized actuality. Such an approach not only makes problematic assumptions about history but also fails to appreciate the enduring appeal of making myths (whether about the Holocaust or other historical events) or to acknowledge the legitimacy and value of such efforts as cultural enterprises in their own right.Cole approaches the "selling" of the Holocaust through six case studies, centered around three people (Anne Frank, Adolf Eichmann, Oskar Schindler) and three sites (Auschwitz, Yad Vashem, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.). These are in themselves familiar subjects for this discussion, and much of what Cole offers iterates earlier work. …

33 citations


Journal Article
31 Oct 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Nadler's Spinoza: A Life as discussed by the authors presents a richly textured account of the philosopher's character, personality, and life with a wealth of background information.
Abstract: Spinoza: A LifeIf a new biography of Spinoza has been overdue for some time now, Steven Nadler's Spinoza: A Life presents not only a refreshingly new standard account but a captivating study of the philosopher and his age Nadler's thorough integration of the most recent historical research in seventeenth-century Dutch and Jewish studies enriches his portrayal of Spinoza's life with a wealth of background information that allows Spinoza to be situated with more precision and aplomb than before Carefully and extensively researched, this contextualization synthesizes recent research into a richly textured picture But while documentation of details of Spinoza's character, personality, and life is relatively scarce, and little new important material has surfaced, the critical significance of Nadler's thoughtfully argued study consists in breaking new grounds for a sharper, historically more sophisticated approach to SpinozaBut Nadler's biographical study points beyond the task of simply disposing of the weave of legends surrounding a mythical icon that has inspired generations of philosophers, critics, poets, and afficionados More than just sorting the chaff from the wheat, Nadler's careful examination of historical sources offers a Spinoza who -- stripped from the aura of imprecision -- might have become less of an easily comprehensible but also less of a mysterious and enigmatic figure Given the sparsity of confirmed data about Spinoza's family, his upbringing, education, and his, as it were, quasi-retired life, the attempt to reconstruct his biography presents a daunting project And indeed, Spinoza's semi-reclusive life style did not exactly increase the chances for much of reliable reporting, and much of the anecdotal material might, in fact, be more indicative of the aloofness which many contemporaries might have felt towards the social anomaly which Spinoza's existence presented for them Turning to the external factors, Nadler draws from a wealth of sources fleshing out the historical, social, political, and cultural backgrounds of the various milieus that made the world, or rather, worlds of SpinozaBy unfolding the history of the early Sephardi settlement in the Netherlands, the economic, social, and cultural life of the Jewish community in which Spinoza grows up, and by tracing the family history of the Spinozas and reconstructing their social role in the Amsterdam Jewish community, Nadler follows Spinoza's development from a young merchant's early defaulting and career change to a life as independent thinker whose small but enthusiastic circle of friends served as crucial conduit to prominent figures in the world of politics, academe, letters, and religion From the thoughtful reconstruction of the various social and intellectual spheres in which Spinoza moved, it becomes clear that his personal and theoretical options can only be fully understood if the specific particular social, political, and religious contexts in which they were formulated are given proper recognition …

30 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the difference in semantic and pragmatic functions between commands expressed by imperative and second person indicative forms (waw -consecutive perfect or the imperfect).
Abstract: This study describes the difference in semantic and pragmatic functions between commands expressed by imperatives and commands expressed by the second person indicative forms ( waw -consecutive perfect or the imperfect). The description is based on the examination and analysis of the contexts in which these forms occur, while applying and relying on modern linguistics theories in pragmatics and discourse analysis. The corpus for this study is the prose portions in the Pentateuch and Former Prophets. The study shows that although the two verb forms may be used to issue commands, they carry different implications. Imperative forms are used to present urgent, personal and more subjective commands. Therefore, they typically occur in interpersonal discourse. Indicative forms are used to present commands that the speaker perceives as not urgent, neither personal nor emotional. They convey the speaker's certain or confident knowledge that his command will be carried out. Therefore, they typically occur in contexts where a superior speaker presents instructions, laws and commandments.

17 citations


Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The most significant wave of newcomers came from the former Soviet Union, with almost 700,000 arriving between 1989 and 1995, making an almost immediate impact on the receiving society as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Immigration to Israel: Sociological PerspectivesThis is the eighth volume in the Studies of Israeli Society publication series of the Israeli Sociological Society As in previous volumes, the edition under review gathers together recent articles from a variety of professional journals The focus of this collection is on recent trends in Israeli immigration covering the period from 1980 to 1995 During this period the most significant wave of newcomers came from the former Soviet Union, with almost 700,000 arriving between 1989 and 1995 Needless to say, this aliya has made a marked impact on Israeli society Today almost 40 percent of the total Israeli Jewish population are immigrants Russians have overtaken Moroccans as the largest "ethnic" group The new immigrants, especially those from the former Soviet Union, have followed a different pattern of integration into the existing social and political framework of Israeli society than previous immigrants have They brought with them professional skills and political savvy, making an almost immediate impact on the receiving society Given the magnitude of immigration from the former Soviet Union it is understandable that they would receive the broadest coverage in this volume Still, other groups, whose immigration and absorption diverge from past trends, such as the Ethiopians and Iranians, receive some coverage The demographic, cultural, and political impact of recent immigration makes this is a timely contribution and a valuable addition to the libraries of everyone interested in understanding Israeli societyThe essays are grouped in sections by category: two introductory chapters, followed by sections on Migrants in the Occupational Structure, Migration and Health, Formal and Informal Mechanisms of Integration, Ethnic Identities and Processes of Integration, and Processes of Emigration and Their Implications The two introductory chapters, the only two original pieces, are especially valuable In the first chapter the editors, Shuval and Leshem, provide a wide-ranging critical assessment of the last twenty years of the sociology of Israeli immigration They contextualize current scholarship in the history of the development of Israeli sociology and within the theoretical framework of international scholarship on migration I was pleased that, while not ignoring the uniqueness of some aspects of Israeli immigration patterns and immigrant integration, they acknowledge the comparability of Israel to other immigrant receiving societies In the second introductory essay, DellaPergola provides a comprehensive view of the context Jewish migration patterns that is both globally comparative and particular to Israel as an immigrant receiving society These two essays taken together provide a useful framework for the bookAs in most volumes of this nature, the twenty-two essays that follow are uneven in quality and usefulness Some of the articles, because of their specialized subject matter or complex statistical methodology, will be of little interest to anyone but the few who share the authors' particular expertise …

16 citations




Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust as discussed by the authorsocusing on the Third Reich, the authors in this volume document the intrusion of racial antisemitism into key Protestant and Catholic institutions during the Third Third Reich and make it clear that this dogma was built upon traditional anti-Jewish sentiments that long predated Hitler.
Abstract: Betrayal: German Churches and the HolocaustThe German churches, once hailed for their "straggle" against control by the Nazi state, today are more commonly vilified for their capitulation to Nazi policies, including the persecution of racial minorities and political dissenters The eight essays in this anthology document the intrusion of racial antisemitism into key Protestant and Catholic institutions during the Third Reich, and they make it clear that this dogma was built upon traditional anti-Jewish sentiments that long predated Hitler For the most part the authors summarize arguments that they have advanced previously at greater length Hence this volume will prove valuable chiefly to readers approaching the subject for the first time, including undergraduates in religious history coursesThe synthesis of National Socialism and Christianity advanced by the predominantly Protestant "German Christian Movement" epitomizes church susceptibility to notions of blood racism Doris L Bergen shows that the Movement adopted an explicitly volkisch ideology in its efforts to establish a new, racially pure Volkskirche Its members, styling themselves "the Storm Troopers of Christ" and asserting that Jesus was an Aryan, could neither dominate the entire structure of the Evangelical Church nor even maintain internal unity And yet, Bergen argues, they were anything but marginal, since the state assured their control of most regional churches and theological faculties Robert P Ericksen explores the careers of three influential Protestant theologians who legitimized Nazism to the faithful Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch, and Gerhard Kittel may have differed among themselves about the place of the Old Testament in Christian thought, but all worked tirelessly to reconcile the churches with the Nazi state on the basis of an anti-Jewish theology That was also the goal of the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life, founded at Eisenach in 1939 by the Thuringian Church and directed by Jena theologian Walter Grundmann Susannah Heschel's analysis of the Institute's propaganda demonstrates a sustained attack on Jews and Judaism that far exceeded the demands of self defense and political opportunism In fact, it may have been influenced by the need to establish the uniqueness of Jesus on a racial basis at a time when some theologians were beginning to acknowledge that his teachings were anything but unique As for the Confessing Church, that segment of German Protestantism that opposed extreme racism, Shelly Baranowski maintains that it was, at best, ambivalent about the Jews Traditional antisemitism combined with cultural pessimism to soften its responses to state policies and mute any open condemnation of racial persecution Baranowski implies that Hitler's desire for a harmonious Germany might have caused him to back off in the face of opposition from the churches, but there are reasons to doubt that this would have been true in the case of the deportations of the German Jews In what many readers will find the most controversial essay in the anthology, Kenneth C …

Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Eisenberg and Caplan as discussed by the authors analyzed the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and concluded that successfully negotiated settlements since 1977 demonstrated changes in virtually all of the seven elements; only deviations from the complex negative historical patterns made the peace efforts promising.
Abstract: Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: Patterns, Problems, PossibilitiesAfter the election of Labor's Ehud Barak as Israeli Prime Minister in May 1999, hope was raised that the peace process frozen under the "Hawk" Benyamin Netanyahu would be revived and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians could be reached within a few months. Barak implemented the Wye II Agreement, started peace talks with Syria, and promised to get Israeli soldiers out of South Lebanon within one year. The prospects for peace in the Middle East at the end of the twentieth century are indeed better than a decade before, but the Final Status Talks have not been completed yet, and at least another decade will be necessary to put their results into practice. In order to understand the current problems and to assess prospects for the future in a realistic way, it is appropriate to analyze previous attempts to settle the Israeli-Arab conflict.Both Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, Visiting Associate Professor in the History Department at Carnegie Mellon University, and Neil Caplan, teaching in the Humanities Department at Vanier College in Montreal, are familiar with several aspects of the Middle East conflict, having authored a number of books on the subject. Eisenberg is the author of My Enemy's Enemy: Lebanon in the Early Zionist Imagination, 1900-1948 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994); Caplan's publications include Palestine Jewry and the Arab Question, 1917-1925 (London: Frank Cass, 1978); The Lausanne Conference, 1949: A Case Study in Middle East Peacemaking (Tel Aviv University, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 1993); and Futile Diplomacy, a Multi-Volume Documentary History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London: Frank Cass, Vols. 1-2, 1983, 1986; Vols. 3-4, 1997).The authors base their new book on former research results but focus on six contemporary examples of peace negotiations -- the Camp David peace process (1977-1979), the Israel-Lebanon agreement (1983), the Hussein-Peres London Document (1987), the Madrid Conference and subsequent Washington talks (1991-1993), the Jordanian-Israeli peace process (1993-1994) and, finally, the Oslo peace process between Israel and the PLO (1993-1996). Looking for similarities and differences, Eisenberg and Caplan analyze each case study under the following seven headings: a) previous experience negotiating together; b) variety of purposes and motives for entering into negotiations; c) questions of timing that affected decisions to enter into or refrain from negotiations; d) status of negotiating partners; e) effect of third-party involvement; f) proposed terms of agreement; and, finally, g) psychological factors affecting both leaders and followers. As mentioned in the subtitle of the book, the examination refers to patterns, problems, and possibilities of the negotiations and, thus, provides the reader with a tool for understanding success and failure of previous attempts to settle the conflict. At the same time, the difficulty of the current peace process becomes obvious.The authors follow for more than two decades all of the above-mentioned tracks and show their interconnection. They conclude that successfully negotiated settlements since 1977 demonstrated changes in virtually all of the seven elements; only deviations from the complex negative historical patterns made the peace efforts promising. Unfortunately, there was only limited room for elaboration on the link between domestic and foreign policy, the Cold War, and party politics. The United Nations as a major player in the 1970s and 1980s is rarely mentioned, and the Middle East politics of the European Union -- in the 1990s obviously more a payer than a player -- are not reflected at all. …


Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Anselm Kiefer and art after Auschwitz as discussed by the authors is an example of a post-modern ethics based on the Mosaic injunction against the worship of images, which has been studied in the field of post-structuralism.
Abstract: Anselm Kiefer and Art after AuschwitzCompared to literary studies, the discipline of art history has been slow to theorize the complex relationship between historical reality and its representations. In part through the incorporation of film theory, however, art historians have begun to incorporate post-structuralism into their work. Developing an eclectic model indebted to psychoanalysis, feminist film theory, and narratology, Lisa Saltzman places a leading German artist, Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945 to non-Jewish parents), in the sociohistorical matrix of the haunted environment of contemporary Germany. His art is a symptom of the difficulty contemporary Germans have had in moving from a stagnant state of melancholia to a psychologically productive mourning of Hitlerism. Her work resituates Kiefer as a postwar artist who may have more in common with filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Werner Fassbinder, and with novelists such as Gunter Grass, than with the "neo-expressionist" artists to whom he is usually compared.For Saltzman, Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" is the most influential essay in film theory. Although Mulvey describes how the male gaze dominates the female body in film, Saltzman interprets the essay as an example of a post-modern ethics based on the Mosaic injunction against the worship of images. She argues that Mulvey writes in the tradition of a prior classic of post-modern ethical criticism, Theodor Adorno's "Cultural Criticism and Society" (1949), in which he wrote that "After Auschwitz, to write a poem is barbaric." Saltzman's point is that Kiefer represents a visual trace of his own theorization of the hebraically inflected ethical issues of representation that reformed Adorno and Mulvey. Unlike the strict injunction against iconography in the paradigmatic essays by Adorno and Mulvey, however, Kiefer registers ambivalence about the prohibition against image making. He plays out the desire to witness the Holocaust while framing silence in a way that represents the world of the past and the struggle to remake the German self after Auschwitz. Kiefer pivots between a wish to mourn the past and, therefore, to work through his belated relationship to Hitlerism, and a melancholic realization that forgetting the past is impossible for him.Saltzman succeeds in making her case for Kiefer's ethical imagination, especially when she pays close attention to the aesthetic (formal) elements of his art. Her attention to his technique of burning, charring, or cauterizing his surfaces in works after 1975, for example, enables her to theorize his painting as "the concrete trace of historical wounding. …

Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The first direct election of Israel's prime minister was determined by less than 1% of the popular vote (504% went to Benjamin Netanyahu, 495% to Shimon Peres) However, among Jewish voters there was an 11% differential in Netanyahu's favor.
Abstract: The Elections in Israel 1996Elections in Israel, as in other democratic countries, are normally determined by a complex blend of factors This point is illustrated in elaborate detail in The Elections in Israel 1996 The editors are doyens of political analysis in Israel, having individually or collaboratively studied the results of the country's elections since the late 1960sThe current publication is divided into two parts Part One, entitled "Politics of Identity," examines the impact on the 1996 Israeli elections of such issues as collective identity, religion, and "old" versus "new" politics, as well as the voting behavior of the Israeli Arab and Russian immigrant communities Part Two, entitled "Political Reform, Parties, Candidates," focuses on the reform of Israel's electoral system, the use by major political parties of US-style primaries for selecting their electoral lists, the Likud party's campaign strategy, the electoral performance of Shimon Peres, and media coverage of the 1996 electionThe common thread linking many of these topics is the reform in Israel's electoral system On March 18, 1992, the Knesset adopted an amended version of the Basic Law: the Government (1968), providing for the direct election of the prime minister, to occur simultaneously with the election of the Knesset (Heretofore the Prime Minister normally was the leader of the largest Knesset faction, who was invited by the President to form a government) Although the amended law was passed prior to the election of the 13(th) Knesset (in June 1992), it did not take effect until the election of the 14th Knesset on May 29, 1996The first direct election of Israel's Prime Minister was determined by less than 1% of the popular vote (504% went to Benjamin Netanyahu, 495% to Shimon Peres) However, among Jewish voters there was an 11% differential in Netanyahu's favor This differential was explained by two factors First, the Hamas terror campaign of late February -- early March 1996 caused elements of the "fluid center" of the Jewish electorate to shift away from the "peace candidate" Peres and toward the conservative Netanyahu Of course, no one could have predicted the Hamas terror spree, the goal of which was to inflict maximum death and destruction among Israelis rather than affect the outcome of the country's election Nevertheless, Netanyahu's political handlers, headed by the American political consultant Arthur Finkelstein, are to be credited with seizing the political moment by launching an advertising campaign that tweaked longstanding popular uncertainty about Peres's credibility on security matters Moreover, credit Netanyahu's team with the strategic decision to temper their candidate's well-publicized opposition to the Oslo peace accords in favor of his pledge to deliver "peace with security," thereby tapping into the Jewish electorate's overwhelming desire for a continuation of the peace process but with greater attention to matters of personal security than had seemingly been the case under PeresThe breakdown of the Jewish vote was also explained by the attitude toward the prime ministerial candidates adopted by Israel's major Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox political parties The leaders of these parties were uniformly opposed to the candidacy of Shimon Peres because of his perceived association with the "anti-Jewish" agenda promoted by the secularist Meretz party (Labor's 1992-1996 coalition partner) as well as Peres's declared readiness to cede additional parts of Eretz Israel However, taking nothing for granted, Netanyahu struck generous pre-election deals with the religious parties in order to ensure their support for him in the balloting for Prime Minister; the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Jewry party reciprocated by plastering the country with posters declaring "Netanyahu is good for the Jews"The religious community's solid turnout for Netanyahu was made all the more significant by the voting behavior of two additional voting blocs: the Russian immigrant community and Israeli Arabs …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The authors argue that the field of Jewish Studies will benefit more from cross-group comparison. But they also argue that feelings of insecurity among Brazilian Jews stem more from a sense that in Brazil ethnicity should be practiced at home than from actual public attacks on Jewish ethnic life.
Abstract: Jewish Brazilians or Brazilian Jews? A Reflection on Brazilian EthnicityHow is ethnic and national identity negotiated in Brazil? By asking how Jews fit into a broadly constructed ethnic Brazil, this article argues that the field of Jewish Studies will benefit more from cross-group comparison. It further argues that feelings of insecurity among Brazilian Jews stem more from a sense that in Brazil ethnicity should be practiced at home than from actual public attacks on Jewish ethnic life.In 1996 I participated in a conference hosted by the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In the opening lecture, Sander Gilman challenged participants to consider how the field of Jewish Studies might change now that we have entered, in his words, the era of post-Zionism. While I might quibble with his terminology, and even argue with the assumptions behind it, the gauntlet that Gilman threw down was the right one. After spending ten hours a day for three days locked in a small conference room in Cape Town, I came to realize that virtually all of the papers could be boiled down into two groups. First were those which were non-comparative and treated their Jewish subject as divorced from the world around them. A second, comparative, group asked the same question over and over again -- how were Jews in one town, city, state, region or country like or unlike Jews in other places?Latin American Jewish Studies falls well into the methodological paradigms outlined above. An internal orientation has led to a tendency to analyze Latin American Jewry in comparison with Jewish communities in other areas of the world, or to compare various Jewish communities within Latin America.(2) We ask how Jewish schools in Montevideo are like Jewish schools in Mexico City and how Jewish prostitution in Rio de Janeiro compares with that in Buenos Aires. If, however, the methodology is modified, and scholars begin to see Jewish ethnicity as a negotiated construct between "nation" and "ethnic group," our understanding of Jewish life in Latin America begins to change. Such a paradigm shift suggests that Jewish ethnicity simultaneously stems from, and influences, national identity. It also leads us to ask the difficult question about whether Jewish life in any particular (Latin American) country is more like that of other minority groups in the same country than it is like Jewish groups in other countries.In this short essay I propose to examine the negotiations over ethnic and national identity in Brazil, focusing on Jewish immigrants and their descendants. In order to do this, I will recount two stories and then briefly try to explain what they mean. One of the stories is personal and the other might be called a "defining myth" of the Brazilian Jewish community.Story I: I have been married for ten years and for much of that time I have lived in S...o Paulo. For the first four years of my marriage I had the following weekly conversation with my father-in-law, one of the machers in the Congregac...o Israelita Paulista, Latin America's largest synagogue, with about 8,000 members. It happened every Friday night, always at about the same time, 7:45 p.m. and in the same space, on the street in front of the synagogue. And every Friday night at 7:45 the following discussion took place as we left the synagogue. My father-in-law would say, "Take off your kippah." I would say, "Why?" He would say, "It's not good to walk around like that." I would say, "Have there ever been any beatings of Jews after Shabbat services?" He would say, "Well, it's better not to take any chances."Story II: There is a myth that is frequently heard among members of Brazil's Jewish community of about 120,000 people or less than 1/10 of one percent of the Brazilian population. The overwhelming majority of this community either immigrated or descends from immigrants who arrived between 1920 and 1940. According to this myth, during the Inquisition, Jews in colonial Portugal chose new names often based on biblical animals and trees. …

Book ChapterDOI
31 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: A survey conducted in 1890 by the Census Office of the vital statistics of over 10,000 Jewish families who as of December 31, 1889 had been in the United States for five or more years (Billings Report) as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: This chapter is based on a survey conducted in 1890 by the Census Office of the vital statistics of over 10,000 Jewish families who as of December 31, 1889 had been in the United States for five or more years (Billings Report). It begins by discussing the origin and nature of the survey and two individuals involved in the project, Billings and Solomons. It then discusses the demographic characteristics of the survey respondents and compares their occupational distribution by gender with that of the white population in general from the 1890 Census.

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The Notorious Purple Gang as mentioned in this paper was one of the most notorious all-Jewish Prohibition era mob in America, operating in the city of Detroit during the 1920s and 1930s, with a reputation for being more ruthless than Al Capone's mob in Chicago.
Abstract: The Notorious Purple Gang: Detroit's All-Jewish Prohibition Era MobDuring Prohibition (1920-1933), Jewish gangsters became major operatives in the American underworld and played prominent roles in the creation and extension of organized crime in the United States. At the time, Jewish gangs dominated illicit activities in a number of America's largest cities, including Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, and Philadelphia. One of the more notorious of these all-Jewish mobs was Detroit's Purple Gang. The gang dealt in bootlegging, gambling, extortion, drugs, and murder, and developed a reputation for being more ruthless than Al Capone's mob in Chicago. The Purple's decade-long reign of terror ended when most of the gang's members either went to prison or were murdered by rivals.After World War I, Jewish gangsters became major operatives in the American underworld and played prominent roles in the creation and extension of organized crime in the United States. During the Prohibition era (1919-1933) 50 percent of the country's leading bootleggers were Jews, and Jewish criminals financed and directed much of the nation's narcotics traffic. Jewish gangs also dominated illicit activities in a number of America's largest cities, including Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, New York and Philadelphia.(1) Perhaps the most notorious of these all-Jewish mobs was Detroit's Purple Gang.The gang had its origins in the Jewish section of Detroit's east side. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, this district contained a turbulent and colorful mix of ethnic groups, including Italians, Poles, Germans, Russians, Hungarians, African-Americans and others. In 1920, Detroit's Jewish community numbered 34,727 persons, about 3.5 percent of the city's total population of 993,678. While Jews predominated in their quarter, other immigrants and ethnic groups lived there as well.(2) One former resident of the old neighborhood joked that it was easy to distinguish the Jewish dwellings from those occupied by non-Jews. "The non-Jews grew flowers in front of their houses," he said. "The Jews grew dirt."(3) Variously dubbed "New Jerusalem," "Little Jerusalem," and "the Ghetto" by the city's press, the Jewish district abounded with small synagogues and "Hebrew stores of every description: butchers, bakers, clothiers, shoemakers, printing shops and restaurants," as one observer wrote. "A Hebrew might live his lifetime in the quarter and never leave its confines."(4)Detroit's east side differed significantly from the classic tenement districts of New York's Lower East Side in that it consisted of single and two-family dwellings. Although congestion existed, it never came anywhere near the pushcart-laden streets of New York.(5) Nevertheless, the east side was one of the least desirable areas of Detroit in which to live. It continually lagged behind the other districts in the number of water pipes laid, sewers installed, streets paved and streetcar lines extended. The district was also more crowded and had higher rents and higher disease and death rates than other parts of the city.(6)The editor of the Jewish American, Detroit's English-Jewish weekly, ruefully admitted that the Jewish quarter contained "tenement houses that are actually unfit to live in: old, decrepit, polluted and infected hovels, where human beings endeavor to exist and where a young generation is reared."(7) Most Purple Gang members grew up in this environment.The gang's members were the children of immigrants from eastern Europe, primarily Russia and Poland, who had come to the United States in the great immigration wave from 1881 to 1914.(8) Most of the boys had been born in the United States or came to the country as small children. For all intents and purposes, they were second-generation Americans.(9)Their parents were working class and, strictly speaking, not Orthodox Jews in the exact sense of the term. That is, they did not obey all the religious dictates mandated by Orthodox Judaism. …

Journal ArticleDOI
31 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Rohde as mentioned in this paper argues that a full understanding of the rescue must also incorporate the particular cultural and historical circumstances under which rescue actions occurred, and argues that rescue activities, in Denmark and elsewhere, can be most clearly understood by considering not only universal values of tolerance and equality, but also the cultural meanings of Jews and rescue in specific national contexts.
Abstract: Rescue and Cultural Context During the Holocaust: Grundtvigian Nationalism and the Rescue of the Danish JewsThe dramatic rescue of the Danish Jews from Nazi roundups in 1943 contrasts strikingly with the nation's cautious and cooperative response to most features of the German occupation. This paper argues that a full explanation of the rescue must therefore focus not only on Danish humanitarianism or resistance, but also on the specific symbolic significance of Jews in the country during the Second World War. Much of Danish nationalism during the occupation was heavily influenced by Grundtvigianism, a Danish theological movement which stressed the importance of folk culture and spirit. This system implied strong parallels between Jews and the Danes under occupation, which made the Jews an appropriate symbolic proxy for Danish independence. The paper argues that rescue activities, in Denmark and elsewhere, can be most clearly understood by considering not only universal values of tolerance and equality, but also the cultural meanings of Jews and rescue in specific national contexts.I rode my bicycle through Skindergade and drove right into a big commotion. There was a German truck visible, and almost directly behind it a Danish police truck. I walked over to a young officer: "What's going on?" I asked, and he answered, white with anger: "It's the Schalburgfolk [Danish Nazis], who are after a Jewish shoemaker, who's been betrayed by some pig or another -- and so the neighbor called the police -- but what can we do? The devils! You know, I've never liked Jews, but we damned well can't be part of this!"-Ina Rohde, Da Jeg Blev Jfde i DanmarkThe rescue of the Danish Jews in October of 1943 presents a paradox for social scientists. The rescue, in which all but a handful of Denmark's Jews were hidden from a Nazi roundup and smuggled to safety, in Sweden, constitutes a dramatic and exhilarating exception to the grim history of the Holocaust. Scholars and philosophers have hailed it as a triumph for the spirit of humanity, and they have celebrated the Danes as archetypes of tolerance and humanity. Only a few years earlier, however, their tolerance had been far less evident. Before the German invasion in 1940, Denmark's policies toward Jewish immigrants differed little from those elsewhere in Europe; entrance visas were strictly limited, and some German Jewish refugees were stopped at the border and sent home to their deaths. Antisemitism was milder in Denmark than in most places, but it certainly existed, both in popular stereotypes and in occasional conspiracy theories. And for all the real valor the Danes showed in defense of the Jews, they had shown little opposition to other aspects of the Nazi occupation before the rescue. They had allowed the Germans to invade while firing barely a shot, and they had submitted to repeated German abuses of Danish human rights and political processes. In most respects, Danish behavior before 1943 was not a model of moral courage but of political prudence, balancing a concern for the protection of its citizens with an awareness of its military and political weakness. In the years of the occupation, however, and on the subject of the Jews, Denmark drew a clear line and defended it steadfastly. Why did the nation which Churchill had derided as "Hitler's canary" show such fortitude in the defense of a tiny and even somewhat disliked minority?Studies of the rescue of Danish Jewry have tended to depict it in epic terms, as a battle of tolerance and democratic values against prejudice and inhumanity. This accords with a general tendency in the social sciences to cast Holocaust rescue in universal terms, and to depict its heroes as exemplars of universal values. Rescue is cited as proof of the human capacity to resist intolerance, to behave altruistically, to think independently, and more. This paper argues that a full understanding of rescue must also incorporate the particular cultural and historical circumstances under which rescue actions occurred. …

Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: German-Jewish History in Modern Times as discussed by the authors is a collection of four volumes focusing on the history of German Jewry from the Middle Ages to the present day, with a focus on German Jewish history in modern times.
Abstract: German-Jewish History in Modern TimesThis monumental effort by several leading scholars of German Judaica to capture the intricacies of an endlessly fascinating community succeeds brilliantly on all fronts. Any teacher of modern Jewish history, any teacher of modern German history interested in the role of German Jewry, and, in addition, any serious student of German Jewry, undergraduate, graduate, or adult, simply cannot afford to pass this work over. The range of subjects is unsurpassed; the bibliographical essays are extraordinarily up-to-date yet judiciously include the best older scholarship; the accuracy is impeccable; the writing is always graceful. Overall, these volumes relate the story of German Jewry at a highly sophisticated, but still generally accessible level. All of the contributors display admirable command of the scholarship in English, German and, where relevant, Hebrew.While the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, each of the four volumes stands on its own. Nevertheless, whichever time period interests the reader most, he/she would be well-advised to read Michael Meyer's series preface in Volume One to discern the interpretive gist of the work. While the series offers no new thesis, it certainly encapsulates the last couple of decades of research to present a convincing synthesis: German Jews were not living on the edge of destruction, though antisemitism was a constant challenge. The overwhelming majority retained their fundamental Jewish identity even into the modern period and showed themselves capable of inventing new venues of Jewish identity. The Jews of Germany immersed themselves fully in the gentile environment, but nevertheless created an identifiable and authentic German Jewish subculture.German-Jewish History in Modern Times adopts a consistently sympathetic tone. Implicitly, this takes aim at both antisemitic critics of German Jewry and also Jewish ones such as Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem, two German Jews, who, though they disagreed on many issues, both considered the modern experience in Germany a protracted tragedy. In the cursory treatments accorded the psychodynamics of the escape from Judaism/Jewishness and in the near-apologetic discussions of the Reichsvertretung (organized Jewry's official voice in the Nazi years) this neo-Whig tendency is most pronounced. On the other hand, given the merciless treatment of German Jews by the Nazis, their precursors, and, in print and casual conversation ("more German than Jewish"), by the rest of the Jewish world, I am glad that the authors erred on the side of empathy rather than disdain.Although Meyer cites geography and periodization as problems, most readers will be gratified that the editors employed a Grossdeutsch understanding of the Deutsches Kulturbereich, leaving Prague and Vienna part of the picture. Nor will any but the most persnickety quarrel with 1780, 1871, and 1918 as natural and logical, if, of course, artificial, termini for the various periods under consideration. For those wanting to know what happened before 1600, Mordechai Breuer's "Prologue" in volume one handles the Jewish Middle Ages adroitly. Any teacher looking for a concise, intelligently written summary of medieval Ashkenaz need look no further than these pages.The balancing of internal and external developments, again acknowledged by Meyer as a difficulty, should also please most readers. There are times when this reviewer would have liked a little more background on the internal German developments, as for instance, in Michael Meyer's discussion of Judaism and Christianity in II:5 or in Michael Graetz's picture of developments in Christian thought that inform the Haskalah I:9. But this is so obviously a slippery slope that one feels churlish even broaching it -- to give full play to the gentile environment would necessarily obfuscate internal Jewish developments, witness the later volumes of Salo Baron's synthetic Social and Religious History of the Jews. …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: A Prayer for the Government: Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times, 1917-1920 as mentioned in this paper is a well-known epigraph for the first century Rabbi Hanin's "Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, people would swallow each other alive".
Abstract: A Prayer for the Government: Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times, 1917-1920The first century Rabbi Hanin's saying "Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, people would swallow each other alive" is a well chosen epigraph for Henry Abramson's A Prayer for the Government. Although the prayer, as so often in the history of the Jewish people, did not avert the catastrophe of the pogromridden civil war years in Ukraine, it aptly expresses the motifs and circumstances which shaped Ukrainian-Jewish relations in the period between 1917 and 1920. To Abramson, light and darkness characterize this period. On the one hand, it was a bright chapter of rapprochement between two insular and mutually distrustful nationalities, but, on the other, it was also one of the darkest chapters in Jewish history, when war and large-scale civil disorder ruptured this new Ukrainian-Jewish rapprochement.In telling this tragic story, Abramson follows in the footsteps of revisionist historians who have critically reevaluated the Jewish experience in Imperial Russia (Rogger, Stanislawski, Klier, Aronson, Haberer) and the short-lived Ukrainian state of 1917-1920 (Hunczak, Mintz, Zaitman). The result is a work that eschews black and white story-telling, which has been the hallmark of traditional Jewish and post-1926 Ukrainian historiography. In the best tradition of historical scholarship, Abramson transcends the parochial, stereotypical, and apologetic tone which divided Jewish and Ukrainian writings into highly subjective trends of interpretation that "generally focussed on either the anti-Jewish pogroms or the participation of Jews in the Ukrainian revolutionary movement" (p. xvi). What we get instead is a balanced and well researched interpretative analysis of the circumstances that brought about the sudden blooming -- and withering -- of a "newborn friendship" between Jews and Ukrainians. Viewing this relationship from both perspectives, Abramson's Prayer is as much a chapter of Ukrainian as it is of Jewish history.An excellent introduction highlights the cultural, social, and economic features which shaped the interaction, but also solitary nature of two distinct nationalities in the course of several centuries. Highly contextual in approach, Abramson's analysis is evenhanded and detached. Though cognizant of the suffering this interaction caused Jews at various points in history, his portrayal of "Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times" does not represent another installment of Leidensgeschichte and unmitigated Judeophobia. He firmly takes issue with simplistic explanations and the notion that the nature of Ukrainian-Jewish relations can be reduced to "Ukrainian antisemitism." Attributing the latter to "Jewish Ukrainophobia" rooted in large part in the experience of the Holocaust, Abramson unequivocally rejects this mind-set in view of the historical record which shows that the "essence of Ukrainian grievances against Jews" down to 1917 was basically economic in motivation and that over long periods of time Ukrainians and Jews interacted peacefully and profitably (p. 31). War and revolution telescoped these age-old grievances and mutually beneficial relations into two years of hope and disillusionment. A good background and interpretative framework thus provided, the stage is set for the central themes of the book: the establishment of Jewish autonomy and how it operated in practice (Chapters 2 and 3); the impact of the pogroms on the Jewish population and its detrimental effect on Ukrainian-Jewish relations which spelled the end of autonomy (Chapters 4 and 5).The establishment of Jewish autonomy in the wake of the February Revolution testifies the willingness, even eagerness, of Jews and Ukrainians to work together in the building of a multinational and democratic Ukraine. The rapprochement of their respective political elites was facilitated by different but compatible reasons. …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In this paper, a small number of bilingual Palestinian authors and poets writing and publishing in Hebrew, in addition to their Arabic writing, have been identified as the first to protest against the ethno-cultural norm that identifies each Hebrew author as a Jew.
Abstract: The article deals with a small number of bilingual Palestinian authors and poets writing and publishing in Hebrew, in addition to their Arabic writing. The phenomenon—generally limited to writers belonging to the Druze and Christian minorities—took on some significance only in the 1980s, when Anton Shammās, who is a Christian (b. 1950), and Naʿīm ʿArāyidī, a Druze (b. 1948), began to make a name for themselves in Hebrew. Both of them went through the formal Israeli educational system purposely set up to produce an "Arab Israeli" intelligentsia which would be willing and able to identify with the Jewish-Zionist state. Nevertheless, Palestinian, bilingual writers have protested against the ethno-cultural norm that identifies each Hebrew author as a Jew. They focus on "un-Jewing" Hebrew, that is, "deterritorialization," and the simultaneous "reterritorialization" of the language. However, that there are Palestinians who write in Hebrew and have found a limited Jewish-Israeli audience does in no way mean that the Jewish-national borders that demarcate the literary canon of modern Hebrew have somehow slackened. That would require a change in cultural norms of Hebrew literature, which is to say, the creation of a new culture, common to both Jews and Arabs.

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jul 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Morenika as mentioned in this paper is a traditional song from the Izmirli family in the U.S. and it is one of the most well-known Sephardic folk songs.
Abstract: Sephardic Songs, Proverbs, and Expressions: A Continuing TraditionThe Sephardic folk tradition embodied in these songs, proverbs, and expressions in Spanyol is a living, evolving tradition. The proverbs and expressions, the legacy of my Izmirli family, reveal surprising relationships to the broader Sephardic experience and literary and philosophical tradition. Beyond the traditional songs, new compositions, including my own, have enriched the tradition. These new songs reflect enduring Sephardic concerns and values -- the ambivalent attitude toward Spain and the appreciation of the value of life. The creative resilience of the Sephardim, supported and encouraged by new efforts, should insure a healthy future for the Sephardic language and folk tradition.Azelo liviano! "Do it lightly!" You should focus not on the inevitable problems involved, but on the essentials, striving for mastery and perspective! The polish and smoothness you desire will then come naturally!This would be my mother's advice. This is the answer of my own Sephardic tradition to the challenge presented by this paper, the challenge of transmitting in written form and in a necessarily more formal and scholarly style the essence of my informal, oral, musical, visual, and intensely personal presentation of over a year ago.(1) And so I will try, kon el nombre del Dio -- "with the name of God," with an awareness, again, of proper perspective, of the higher, essential context of all our human endeavors, however formidable.My mother, Esther (born Ganon) Ascher, and my father, Emanuel Ascher, both of blessed memory -- en ganedre esten! ("May they be in the Garden of Eden!") -- were descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. Born in Smyrna (now Izmir), Turkey, they came to the U.S. as children early in this century, met and married here, and eventually settled in the Bronx, New York, where I was born and raised. The proverbs (reflanes), expressions (dichas), and some of the songs (kantigas) I have from them. All are in the language we call Spanyol, Spanyol de mozotros, "our Spanish," the 15th-century Castilian with Hebrew elements that my ancestors brought with them from Spain and nurtured and treasured, enriching it throughout succeeding generations, for over 500 years, with linguistic and cultural influences encountered in their lands of resettlement.(2) In spite of all the changes, in Spanish as well, even now our Spanyol is surprisingly understandable, a most effective means of communication in today's Spain, as I was delighted to discover on my first trip back to Sefarad, our Spain, during Thanksgiving 1996.As bearer of this essentially oral, folk tradition I have continued to form and transform these classic manifestations and have even contributed some of my own: the songs I have composed.(3) The traditional and original songs, the proverbs, and the expressions, though distinct,(4) are all related, and so they are presented here, not arranged according to their separate categories, but interwoven with each other as they are in life, as part of a continuing, evolving folk tradition.(5)It is appropriate to begin with a traditional song sung at weddings and other celebrations, "Morenika." For this song, with its joyful rhythm, playfulness, and humor, epitomizes the vibrancy, the zest for life, the fun-loving nature of our Sephardic tradition and invites you to join in by singing along, dancing, or just clapping your hands! You need no formal training to be a "singer" in this folk tradition; a singer is simply someone who sings! Of course, we hope the sounds are sweet and melodious! "Morenika" also combines Jewish and Spanish associations -- characteristically Sephardic!Morenika a mi me yaman -- They call me Morenika --Yo blanka nasi! Dark Beauty -- I was born white!El sol del enverano The summer sun made me like this --Me izo a mi ansi --With these opening words Morenika evokes her Jewish association, her kinship with the beautiful woman in Shir haShirim, the Biblical Song of Songs, who utters similar words (1. …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jul 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Schneider as discussed by the authors discusses the relationship between African Americans and Jews in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, focusing on how Jews and African Americans worked together in the movement and how African Americans became more radical in pursuit of their goals.
Abstract: Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Jewish CommunityThis book is much more than a discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Jews. It is an attempt to show how Jews and African Americans worked together in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Where they differed in perspectives, which Jews were most active, how southern and northern Jews differed from one another, and how, after King's death, African Americans became more radical in pursuit of their goals are the major focal points. Schneier is remarkably straightforward and honest in his assessments as he retells well-known events. Unfortunately, he is less subtle and nuanced in his description of the relationships between King and many northern Jews, where an extraordinarily complex relationship existed. King depended on the financial support of Jews and Jewish organizations, and this meant that both his public utterances and private conversations had to be tailored to the needs of backers (Jews) and followers (African Americans and many other Americans).Most Jews favored civil rights, but Reform and unaffiliated Jews predominated as activists in the public sphere. Northern Jewish community relations organizations had agendas that differed significantly from their counterparts in the South. Southern Jews, especially in small communities, were frightened that they, too, would be victimized if they came out publicly with positions on civil rights that differed from those of their white Christian neighbors. Northern Jews had no such concerns; they did not fear adverse publicity for standing with others in the forefront of the civil rights movement. Thus sharp conflicts arose between southern Jews who feared for their lives in small towns and northern Jewish organizations that had a different agenda. Schneier is quite clear in explaining this.Despite the author's intent to show how much cooperation existed between African Americans and Jews, there is little record in the movement that shows how members of the two groups worked together. To be sure, their goals may have been similar, but when Jews and blacks got together Jews often took the lead; they felt that they had the savvy and know-how about how things should be done properly. Nothing seems to be said in this book, however, about Jews' patronization and arrogance. Nor is there much exploration of why blacks had no patience for Jews who claimed that they too had suffered and therefore could understand the plight of African Americans. …

Journal Article
30 Apr 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a survey of the history of Israeli drama and argue that it has been indelibly connected with Israeli political, cultural, and historical reality, and it has often created, shaped, and affected this reality.
Abstract: Drama and Ideology in Modern Israel,Drama and Ideology is an important book to English readers interested in Israeli culture and its historical transmutations. I say "Israeli culture" and not just "Israeli theatre" advisedly. The book presents much more than a survey of Israeli drama; it places Israeli theatre in the context of ideological and political developments since the establishment of the state. This context is necessary because, as this book makes very clear, Israeli theatre has been indelibly connected with Israeli political, cultural, and historical reality. Even further, it has often created, shaped, and affected this reality. This theater is, as Abramson claims, "frequently on the brink of becoming a social process" (p. 232). In this sense the theatre both initiates and evaluates the moods and modulations of Israeli society; as a rule almost, the plays touch upon sensitive issues and raise provocative questions which frequently evoke polemical heated discussion and disputations. Israeli theater often focuses on current political events; it translates and even transplants controversial issues from the pages of daily papers onto the stage.This tendency for unmediated representations of the vicissitudes of everyday life in theater has of course its drawbacks. Indeed, Israeli plays often fail in terms of aesthetic values and artistic sophistication. For instance, Hillel Mittelpunkt's wellknown play Gorodish has missed its the audience as a satire on Israeli militarism and its glorification of war heroes. As Abramson tells us, this failure illustrates "one of the central problems of Israeli drama": it very often does "little more than dramatise facts which are already known to the public" (p. 115). This problem is exacerbated, and to some extent even produced, by the nature of critical attention that Israeli theatre has received. Almost consistently the critics have disregarded the artistic qualities of the play and focused on the controversial issues raised by its content. Quite often the critics participate in and sometimes even initiate ideological debates in the wake of the performance. In connection with Motti Lerner's play The Pangs of the Messiah, which raises the problem of the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, the critics expressed their concern about Lerner's political attitude towards the settlers. Such reviews of the play, Abramson claims quite correctly, represent the problems of Israeli criticism, namely, "its employment of unrelated criteria and its lack of political objectivity" (p. 71).Political bias in the theatre is, to a great extent, due to the fact that the politics of Israeli culture is marked by both extensive and intensive partisanship. Such partisanship has not been confined to the sphere of the theater. The extreme divisiveness between the orthodox and the secular circles in Israel has precluded an objective evaluation of Israeli arts at large, and for the most part, critical appreciations have been colored by the left-wing secular point of view. …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The Women of the Open Door: Jews in the Belle Epoque Amazonian Demimonde, 1890-1920 as discussed by the authors is an excellent account of the women who lived with an open door in Amazonian parlance.
Abstract: The Women of the Open Door: Jews in the Belle Epoque Amazonian Demimonde, 1890-1920(1)The forays of white-linen-clad urban gentlemen, visiting seringueiros and other devotees of bohemian life in the bars, brothels, and gambling dens of Belem and Manaus during the rubber boom, are part of the folklore of the era. The legendary bacchanalian soirees and sparkling night life of clubs like the High Life and Moulin Rouge in Belem and Pens...o da Mulata and Chalet Jardim of Manaus still echo from today's silent sidewalks.Women that lived with an open door in Amazonian parlance meant women that accepted callers for paid sexual liaisons. None were more favored companions in the demimonde than the polacas, Jewesses from the European Pale. Both Belem and Manaus had contingents of European prostitutes attracted by Amazonian prosperity that capitalized on their racial precedents and the overwhelming fascination among the Brazilian middle and upper classes for European culture. The Polish and Russian Jewesses eventually supplanted the traditional French cocotte in the Amazonian demimonde. These courtesans were an anomaly in the large primarily Moroccan Sephardic community of the region. Many were simply exotic birds of passage, alighting only temporarily, while others found permanent relationships on the rubber frontier.The expansion of the world demand and increased price for wild rubber from 1890 to 1910 brought to Belem, Para, and Manaus, Amazonas, the gateway cities of the Amazonian hinterland, not only population growth but the financial wherewithal for transformation into modern urban centers. By 1900 Belem had approximately 100,000 inhabitants, double its size of 1890. The 70,000 residents in Manaus comprised an estimated one-half the state population. The two cities were physically transformed from small tropical ports to urban areas with impressive public buildings, sumptuous private residences, electric lighting, tree-lined boulevards, telephones, and links to the world at large by means of frequent steamship service to Europe, North America, and southern Brazil. They were the financial, administrative, intellectual, cultural, and social centers of the region.(2)There has long been a mythology surrounding the extent of opulence generated during the rubber boom. Nostalgic memories always selectively emphasize the more positive aspects of the past. However, even today walking the the streets of either town, examining the old homes and attending auctions of their household furnishings, gives one the sense of a level of conspicuous consumption and comfort that business balance sheets cannot transmit. The prosperity fueled by the export of rubber is evident in the abundance of imported luxury items of taste and value. Contemporary photographs document the use of stylish European clothing by the upper and middle classes in daily wear.(3)In these brash, bold cities the flow of money influenced a self perception that extended across class lines and created an aura of unfathomable wealth. The extractive economy produced a dramatic increase in regional income. In an area where only a generation before there had been little specie in circulation, individuals carried large sums of cash for payments. At the turn of the twentieth century Para and Amazonas had the highest per capita incomes not just in Brazil, but in the Western Hemisphere.(4)Since this largess was poorly distributed, a small group controlled a significant concentration of wealth and disposable income. This advantage permitted a privileged class to travel and sample a range of personal experiences in Europe, where they were exposed to the social, cultural, and intellectual trends flowering on the Continent. French was the preferred foreign language and Paris the intellectual and fashion guide of the elite. Paraenses and Amazonenses with resources probably visited Europe more than once, since it was, if not geographically, certainly spiritually closer than Rio de Janeiro. …

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Dec 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: Ferber as discussed by the authors focused on two of her best-selling novels, Show Boat (1926) and Cimarron (1930), which create visions of racial harmony and female strength in a fictional world that purported to be America but was more illusion than reality.
Abstract: As a child in Ottumwa, Iowa, Edna Ferber was taunted for being Jewish; as a young woman eager to launch her career as a journalist, she was told that the Chicago Tribune did not hire women reporters Despite her experience of antisemitism and sexism, she idealized America, creating in her novels an American myth where strong women and downtrodden men of any race prevail This article focuses on two of her best-selling novels, Show Boat (1926) and Cimarron (1930), which create visions of racial harmony and female strength in a fictional world that purported to be America but was more illusion than reality Characters in Ferber's novels achieve assimilation and acceptance that was periodically denied Ferber herself throughout her life

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jul 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In the academic world, it is generally known as Judeo-Spanish; there are those who refer to it as "Ladino," "Judezmo," "Spanyolit," "El Kasteyano Muestro," and even simply "Espaniol" as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Throughout their travels, the Sefardim have taken with them their lingua franca, a language which originated in Spain and was changed by the fact that it was written in the Hebrew alphabet, by its separation from mainstream Spanish, by its intimate association with the dominant languages in the areas of settlement, and, especially in the Ottoman territories, by the Alliance Israelite Universelle schools, which provided elementary and secondary education for Sefardic youngsters, all in French. The latter circumstance explains why a majority of material written by Sefardim appears in that language. Not even native speakers agree on what to call what, in the academic world, is generally known as Judeo-Spanish; there are those who refer to it as "Ladino," "Judezmo," "Spanyolit," "El Kasteyano Muestro," and even simply "Espaniol." How to write the language using the Roman alphabet has also been problematic. Some circumstances indicate that Jewish Castilian was recognizably different from non-Jewish Castilian before the expulsion of 1492, but its subsequent relative exile from mainstream Spanish has widened that difference. Given over five centuries of separation, its similarities to mainstream Spanish are more surprising than the differences between the two.

Journal ArticleDOI
31 Jan 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: In this article, it is argued that the rejection of a commandment to believe in God can be accommodated by traditional Jewish thinking much more easily than might be supposed, and it is shown that there is an influential strand of traditional Jewish thought that eschews the commandment of belief in God.
Abstract: In this paper it is argued that there are both moral and practical problems with obligating people to believe in God. This conclusion having been established, its implications for Judaism are then examined. More specifically, it is argued that the rejection of a commandment to believe in God (unlike a rejection of theism) can be accommodated by traditional Jewish thinking much more easily than might be supposed. For instance, it is shown that there is an influential strand of traditional Jewish thought that eschews a commandment to believe in God. And it is argued that there is a defensible interpretation of kavana such that the principle of mitzvot tzrichot kavana can be satisfied in cases of mitzvot performed by non-believers.

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Dec 2001-Shofar
TL;DR: The Merchant of Venice as discussed by the authors shows that although Antonio remains a model of friendship, love, and care in his relationships with all his Christian acquaintances, his stature as a Christian, as well as his attempt to disassociate himself from usury, is undermined by his obsessive hatred of Shylock.
Abstract: In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare tests the viability in the contemporary world of a marriage of venture capital and Christian ideals. The question that the play implicitly asks is whether Antonio can be simultaneously a merchant and a Christian: that is, a merchant and not in some way also a Jew, a Shylock. This article shows that although Antonio remains a model of friendship, love, and care in his relationships with all his Christian acquaintances, his stature as a Christian, as well as his attempt to disassociate himself from usury, is undermined by his obsessive hatred of Shylock. Furthermore, the aura of aristocratic Belmont and Portia's complete victory over Antonio in the final two acts deal a serious blow not only to Antonio's image, but to the notion of merchantry as a noble and knightly venture. The self-serving dichotomy between evil Jewish usurer and good Christian merchant turns out to be an inviable one--a construct that, unlike Belmont, cannot be sustained through artifice and rhetoric alone.