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Book Gender and Jewish History Description/Summary:
"A Major Collection of Scholarship that Contains the most up-to-Date, Indeed Cutting-Edge Work on Gender and Jewish History by Several Generations of Top Scholars."---Atina Grossmann, the Cooper Union By Revealing the Importance of gender in interpreting the Jewish past, this collection of original essays highlights the profound influence that feminist scholarship has had on the study of Jewish history since the 1970s. Gender and Jewish History considers the impact of gender on Jewish religious practices and political behavior, educational accomplishments and communal structures, acculturation and choice of occupations. The book stimulates conversations on such topics as Jewish women's creativity and spirituality, violence against women, Jews' reactions to persecution in the Holocaust, and Judaism as lived religion and culture. Honoring Paula E. Hyman, one of the founders of Jewish gender studies, this volume shows gender to be an eye-opening entry into realms of Jewish history previously untouched by it.
Book Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History Description/Summary:
Paula Hyman broadens and revises earlier analyses of Jewish assimilation, which depicted �the Jews� as though they were all men, by focusing on women and the domestic as well as the public realms. Surveying Jewish accommodations to new conditions in Europe and the United States in the years between 1850 and 1950, she retrieves the experience of women as reflected in their writings--memoirs, newspaper and journal articles, and texts of speeches--and finds that Jewish women�s patterns of assimilation differed from men�s and that an examination of those differences exposes the tensions inherent in the project of Jewish assimilation. Patterns of assimilation varied not only between men and women but also according to geographical locale and social class. Germany, France, England, and the United States offered some degree of civic equality to their Jewish populations, and by the last third of the nineteenth century, their relatively small Jewish communities were generally defined by their middle-class characteristics. In contrast, the eastern European nations contained relatively large and overwhelmingly non-middle-class Jewish population. Hyman considers how these differences between East and West influenced gender norms, which in turn shaped Jewish women�s responses to the changing conditions of the modern world, and how they merged in the large communities of eastern European Jewish immigrants in the United States. The book concludes with an exploration of the sexual politics of Jewish identity. Hyman argues that the frustration of Jewish men at their �feminization� in societies in which they had achieved political equality and economic success was manifested in their criticism of, and distancing from, Jewish women. The book integrates a wide range of primary and secondary sources to incorporate Jewish women�s history into one of the salient themes in modern Jewish history, that of assimilation. The book is addressed to a wide audience: those with an interest in modern Jewish history, in women�s history, and in ethnic studies and all who are concerned with the experience and identity of Jews in the modern world.
Stereotyped as delicate and feeble intellectuals, Jewish men in German-speaking lands in fact developed a rich and complex spectrum of male norms, models, and behaviors. Jewish Masculinities explores conceptions and experiences of masculinity among Jews in Germany from the 16th through the late 20th century as well as emigrants to North America, Palestine, and Israel. The volume examines the different worlds of students, businessmen, mohels, ritual slaughterers, rabbis, performers, and others, shedding new light on the challenge for Jewish men of balancing German citizenship and cultural affiliation with Jewish communal solidarity, religious practice, and identity.
Book America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today Description/Summary:
A groundbreaking history of how Jewish women maintained their identity and influenced social activism as they wrote themselves into American history. What does it mean to be a Jewish woman in America? In a gripping historical narrative, Pamela S. Nadell weaves together the stories of a diverse group of extraordinary people—from the colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to labor organizer Bessie Hillman and the great justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to scores of other activists, workers, wives, and mothers who helped carve out a Jewish American identity. The twin threads binding these women together, she argues, are a strong sense of self and a resolute commitment to making the world a better place. Nadell recounts how Jewish women have been at the forefront of causes for centuries, fighting for suffrage, trade unions, civil rights, and feminism, and hoisting banners for Jewish rights around the world. Informed by shared values of America’s founding and Jewish identity, these women’s lives have left deep footprints in the history of the nation they call home.
Finalist, 2019 PROSE Award in Biography, given by the Association of American Publishers Fifty years after the start of the women’s liberation movement, a book that at last illuminates the profound impact Jewishness and second-wave feminism had on each other Jewish women were undeniably instrumental in shaping the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Yet historians and participants themselves have overlooked their contributions as Jews. This has left many vital questions unasked and unanswered—until now. Delving into archival sources and conducting extensive interviews with these fierce pioneers, Joyce Antler has at last broken the silence about the confluence of feminism and Jewish identity. Antler’s exhilarating new book features dozens of compelling biographical narratives that reveal the struggles and achievements of Jewish radical feminists in Chicago, New York and Boston, as well as those who participated in the later, self-consciously identified Jewish feminist movement that fought gender inequities in Jewish religious and secular life. Disproportionately represented in the movement, Jewish women’s liberationists helped to provide theories and models for radical action that were used throughout the United States and abroad. Their articles and books became classics of the movement and led to new initiatives in academia, politics, and grassroots organizing. Other Jewish-identified feminists brought the women’s movement to the Jewish mainstream and Jewish feminism to the Left. For many of these women, feminism in fact served as a “portal” into Judaism. Recovering this deeply hidden history, Jewish Radical Feminism places Jewish women’s activism at the center of feminist and Jewish narratives. The stories of over forty women’s liberationists and identified Jewish feminists—from Shulamith Firestone and Susan Brownmiller to Rabbis Laura Geller and Rebecca Alpert—illustrate how women’s liberation and Jewish feminism unfolded over the course of the lives of an extraordinary cohort of women, profoundly influencing the social, political, and religious revolutions of our era.
Book Jewish Women in Europe in the Middle Ages Description/Summary:
Goldin’s study explores the relationships between men and women within Jewish society living in Germany, northern France and England among the Christian population over a period of some 350 years. Looking at original Hebrew sources to conduct a social analysis, he takes us from the middle of the tenth century until the middle of the second half of the fourteenth century, when the Christian population had expelled the Jews from almost all of the places they were living. Particularly fascinating are the attitudes towards women, as well as their changes in social status. By examining the factors involved in these issues, including views of the leadership, economic influences, internal power politics and gender struggles, Goldin's book provides a greater understanding of the functioning of these communities. This volume will be of great interest to historians of medieval Europe, gender and religion.
Book Why Aren’t Jewish Women Circumcised? Description/Summary:
"This book represents engaged scholarship at its very best. Cohen presents the vast range of texts at his command with brevity and wit. Elegantly written, this is a very stimulating book that is sure to provoke admiration, discussion, and controversy."—David Biale, author of Cultures of the Jews "A distinguished and wide-ranging work of scholarship. Cohen’s definitive discussion of the covenant of circumcision enhances our understanding of Jewish identity formation, women’s status in Judaism, Jewish-Christian polemic, and the impact of diverse cultural environments on the evolution of Jewish tradition."—Judith R. Baskin, author of Midrashic Women
Book Gender, Judaism, and Bourgeois Culture in Germany, 1800-1870 Description/Summary:
Baader examines changes in practices of prayer and synagogue worship, rabbinic writings that encouraged men to cultivate a Judaism shaped by feminine values, the transformation of exclusively male philanthropic organizations into modern voluntary organizations in which men and women participated, and the new roles assumed by women as educators, activists, and religious writers. By documenting the expansion of women's spaces and women's roles in bourgeoisie Judaism and tracing the feminization of Jewish men's religious practices, Baader provides fresh insights into the gender organization of traditional Jewish culture and modern German middle-class society."--BOOK JACKET.
Despite much study of Viennese culture and Judaism between 1890 and 1914, little research has been done to examine the role of Jewish women in this milieu. Rescuing a lost legacy, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna explores the myriad ways in which Jewish women contributed to the development of Viennese culture and participated widely in politics and cultural spheres. Areas of exploration include the education and family lives of Viennese Jewish girls and varying degrees of involvement of Jewish women in philanthropy and prayer, university life, Zionism, psychoanalysis and medicine, literature, and culture. Incorporating general studies of Austrian women during this period, Alison Rose also presents significant findings regarding stereotypes of Jewish gender and sexuality and the politics of anti-Semitism, as well as the impact of German culture, feminist dialogues, and bourgeois self-images. As members of two minority groups, Viennese Jewish women nonetheless used their involvement in various movements to come to terms with their dual identity during this period of profound social turmoil. Breaking new ground in the study of perceptions and realities within a pivotal segment of the Viennese population, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna applies the lens of gender in important new ways.
Central to both biblical narrative and rabbinic commentary, circumcision has remained a defining rite of Jewish identity, a symbol so powerful that challenges to it have always been considered taboo. Lawrence Hoffman seeks to find out why circumcision holds such an important place in the Jewish psyche. He traces the symbolism of circumcision through Jewish history, examining its evolution as a symbol of the covenant in the post-exilic period of the Bible and its subsequent meaning in the formative era of Mishnah and Talmud. In the rabbinic system, Hoffman argues, circumcision was neither a birth ritual nor the beginning of the human life cycle, but a rite of covenantal initiation into a male "life line." Although the evolution of the rite was shaped by rabbinic debates with early Christianity, the Rabbis shared with the church a view of blood as providing salvation. Hoffman examines the particular significance of circumcision blood, which, in addition to its salvific role, contrasted with menstrual blood to symbolize the gender dichotomy within the rabbinic system. His analysis of the Rabbis' views of circumcision and menstrual blood sheds light on the marginalization of women in rabbinic law. Differentiating official mores about gender from actual practice, Hoffman surveys women's spirituality within rabbinic society and examines the roles mothers played in their sons' circumcisions until the medieval period, when they were finally excluded.
Book Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean Description/Summary:
This engaging and accessible textbook provides an introduction to the study of ancient Jewish and Christian women in their Hellenistic and Roman contexts. This is the first textbook dedicated to introducing women’s religious roles in Judaism and Christianity in a way that is accessible to undergraduates from all disciplines. The textbook provides brief, contextualising overviews that then allow for deeper explorations of specific topics in women’s religion, including leadership, domestic ritual, women as readers and writers of scripture, and as innovators in their traditions. Using select examples from ancient sources, the textbook provides teachers and students with the raw tools to begin their own exploration of ancient religion. An introductory chapter provides an outline of common hermeneutics or "lenses" through which scholars approach the texts and artefacts of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. The textbook also features a glossary of key terms, a list of further readings and discussion questions for each topic, and activities for classroom use. In short, the book is designed to be a complete, classroom-ready toolbox for teachers who may have never taught this subject as well as for those already familiar with it. Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean is intended for use in undergraduate classrooms, its target audience undergraduate students and their instructors, although Masters students may also find the book useful. In addition, the book is accessible and lively enough that religious communities’ study groups and interested laypersons could employ the book for their own education.
Despite some pioneering work by scholars, historians still find it hard to listen to the voices of women in the Holocaust. Learning more about the women who both survived and did not survive the Nazi genocide — through the testimony of the women themselves — not only increases our understanding of this terrible period in history, but makes us rethink our relationship to the gendered nature of knowledge itself. Women in the Holocaust is about the ways in which socially- and culturally-constructed gender roles were placed under extreme pressure; yet also about the fact that gender continued to operate as an important arbiter of experience. Indeed, paradoxically enough, the extreme conditions of the Holocaust — even of the death camps — may have reinforced the importance of gender. Whilst Jewish men and women were both sentenced to death, gender nevertheless operated as a crucial signifier for survival. Pregnant women as well as women accompanied by young children or those deemed incapable of hard labour were sent straight to the gas chambers. The very qualities which made them women were manipulated and exploited by the Nazis as a source of dehumanization. Moreover, women were less likely to survive the camps even if they were not selected for death. Gender in the Holocaust therefore became a matter of life and death.
Book Gender, Orientalism and the Jewish Nation Description/Summary:
Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925) was one of the most important Jewish artists of modern times. As a successful illustrator, photographer, painter and printer, he became the first major Zionist artist. Surprisingly there has been little in-depth scholarly research and analysis of Lilien's work available in English, making this book an important contribution to historical and art-historical scholarship. Concentrating mainly on his illustrations for journals and books, Lynne Swarts acknowledges the importance of Lilien's groundbreaking male iconography in Zionist art, but is the first to examine Lilien's complex and nuanced depiction of women, which comprised a major dimension of his work. Lilien's female images offer a compelling glimpse of an alternate, independent and often sexually liberated modern Jewish woman, a portrayal that often eluded the Zionist imagination. Using an interdisciplinary approach to integrate intellectual and cultural history with issues of gender, Jewish history and visual culture, Swarts also explores the important fin de siècle tensions between European and Oriental expressions of Jewish femininity. The work demonstrates that Lilien was not a minor figure in the European art scene, but a major figure whose work needs re-reading in light of his cosmopolitan and national artistic genius.
Book Orientalism, Gender, and the Jews Description/Summary:
This collection of essays originates in the collaboration of the international Research Network “Gender in Antisemitism, Orientalism and Occidentalism.” The interdisciplinary volume proposes to intervene in current debates about historical constructions of Jewish identity in relation to colonialism and Orientalism.
How has a legal tradition determined by men affected the lives of women? What are the traditional Jewish views of marriage, divorce, sexuality, contraception, abortion? Women and Jewish Law gives contemporary readers access to the central texts of the Jewish religious tradition on issues of special concern to women. Combining a historical overview with a thoughtful feminist critique, this pathbreaking study points the way for “informed change” in the status of women in Jewish life.
Yiddish literature is commonly perceived as a gendered cultural space, as neatly summarised by the line 'Story books for women, holy books for men' in the opening scene of the popular movie Yentl. This volume seeks to give a more multi-faceted picture of the topic.
Book Women and Gender in Early Jewish and Palestinian Nationalism Description/Summary:
"In this landmark book, Katz skillfully demonstrates the complex ways that gender ideology was inextricably linked to and reinforced the formation of both Palestinian Arab and Jewish Zionist national identities in the first half of the 20th century."--Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University "This is the only historical study in which the discourse of both Arabs and Jews is the centerpiece and that discourse is analyzed as undergirding the construction of nascent ideologies. . . . The text is a marvelous synthesis of the many conflicting narratives about Palestine in the years leading up to Israeli statehood."--Lisa Pollard, University of North Carolina, Wilmington "This book makes a significant contribution to Middle Eastern and women's history scholarship. It is unique to find the cases of these two nationalist movements treated simultaneously in this way, in this period. It is an intriguing interweaving of the gendered narratives."--Palmira Brummett, University of Tennessee Drawing on a variety of source materials, ranging from popular print media to poetry, film, political treatises, and biographies and autobiographies, Sheila Katz examines the ways in which gender operated in forming the political identities of Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Zionists. By exploring both gender definitions and their expressions in the everyday lives of two contesting peoples, she provides a highly nuanced understanding of how gender affects the discourse of conflict between two competing national movements. Through this balanced discussion of the histories of Jewish and Palestinian women during Palestine's formative years, Katz makes a significant contribution to scholarship in Middle Eastern and women's history. Working at the intersection of several disciplines, Katz provides a wide-ranging examination of the formation and expression of national identity and the changing gender roles that help shape it. She uses gender as a tool to examine the creation of boundaries and power relations among nations. Through a discussion employing the materials and methods of history, sociology, literary criticism, and anthropology, this study offers a unique examination of identity formation in Palestine during the first half of the 20th century and an analysis of both Palestinian and Jewish women in their respective national movements, illuminating gender as a linchpin of international conflict. Sheila Katz is associate professor at the Berkelee College of Music.