In this important study of Soviet Jewry, Yaacov Ro'i examines the cultural, social, political and international context of the movement for emigration, from the establishment of the state of Israel to the outbreak of the Six Day War. A discussion of the lives of Soviet Jews, based upon oral testimony, shows how Jewish self-awareness arose as a product of the Holocaust, of the founding of the State of Israel, and of popular antisemitism and Soviet policy, and how local groups developed in clandestine conditions to sustain Jewish cultural interests. The author also analyses the campaign conducted in the West on behalf of Soviet Jewish rights as a whole and emigration in particular. By 1967 Soviet Jewish efforts to maintain even a minimal Jewish existence seemed doomed to constant frustration, and most nationalistically minded Jews accepted that the only way of fulfilling their aspirations was to emigrate to Israel.
Books on Jewish Studies in EU SPb Library see the electronic catalog.
Project was supported by the AVI CHAI foundation
The Struggle for Soviet Jewish Emigration, 1948-1967 By Yaacov Ro'i
Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction
Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazic Jewry, arose some 900-1200 years ago as a result of contact with indigenous varieties of medieval German. Over the next few centuries, it grew to cover the second-largest language area in Europe, with Yiddish-speaking colonies being created in North and South America, Palestine/Israel, Australia and South Africa. It is estimated that just before the Nazi genocide in World War II, there were between 11 and 13 million Yiddish speakers worldwide. This broad yet comprehensive introduction provides an authoritative overview of all aspects of Yiddish language and linguistics. As well as looking at key features of its syntax, phonology and morphology, Neil Jacobs discusses its history, its dialectology, and the sociolinguistic issues surrounding it. Presenting linguistic data in a way that is compatible with general theoretical issues, it will be welcomed by scholars of general linguistics, Germanic linguistics, and Jewish Studies alike.
Reading Jewish women: marginality and modernization in nineteenth-century Eastern European Jewish society by Iris Parush
In this extraordinary volume, Iris Parush opens up the hitherto unexamined world of literate Jewish women, their reading habits, and their role in the cultural modernization of Eastern European Jewish society in the nineteenth century. Parush makes a paradoxical claim: she argues that because Jewish women were marginalized and neglected by rabbinical authorities who regarded men as the bearers of religious learning, they were free to read secular literature in German, Yiddish, Polish, and Russian. As a result of their exposure to a wealth of literature, these reading women became significant conduits for Haskalah (Enlightenment) ideas and ideals within the Jewish community. This deceptively simple thesis dramatically challenges and revamps both scholarly and popular notions of Jewish life and learning in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe. While scholars of European women's history have been transforming and complicating ideas about the historical roles of middle-class women for some time, Parush is among the first scholars to work exclusively in Jewish territory. The book will be a very welcome introduction to many facets of modern Jewish cultural history--particularly the role of women--which have too long been ignored.
The Shtetl: New Evaluations
This important and comprehensive collection provides a fascinating re-evaluation of one of the main locations of Jewish life in Eastern Europe down to the Holocaust and beyond.--Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Brandeis UniversityThe contributors help lift the veil of nostalgia that has long obscured the history of small town East European Jewish life. They contest the literary conception of the hermetically sealed, monolithic shtetl, and describe a more integrated and varied Jewish-Christian (and Jewish-Jewish) dynamic that seems much more true to life. This collection constitutes an important step beyond the older, diachronic understanding of Jewish history. --Glenn Dynner, author of Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish SocietyDating from the sixteenth century, there were hundreds of shtetls--Jewish settlements--in Eastern Europe that were home to a large and compact population that differed from their gentile, mostly peasant neighbors in religion, occupation, language, and culture. The shtetls were different in important respects from previous types of Jewish settlements in the Diaspora in that Jews had rarely formed a majority in the towns in which they lived. This was not true of the shtetl, where Jews sometimes comprised 80% or more of the population. While the shtetl began to decline during the course of the nineteenth century, it was the Holocaust which finally destroyed it.During the last thirty years the shtetl has attracted a growing amount of scholarly attention, though gross generalizations and romanticized nostalgia continue to affect how the topic is treated. This volume takes a new look at this most important facet of East European Jewish life. It helps to correct the notion that the shtetl was an entirely Jewish world and shows the ways in which the Jews of the shtetl interacted both with their co-religionists and with their gentile neighbors. The volume includes chapters on the history of the shtetl, its myths and realities, politics, gender dynamics, how the shtetl has been (mis)represented in literature, and the changes brought about by World War I and the Holocaust, among others. The contributors are senior scholars, including Israel Bartal, Yehuda Bauer, Gershon Hundert, and Elie Wiesel.This is the first book published in the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies Series.
Sparks of the Logos: Essays in Rabbinic Hermeneutics By Daniel Boyarin
There are two major themes running through the essays reprinted in this book: the first is the typological relation of rabbinic Judaism to Christianity, while the second is the re-animation, by going back to the roots, of a rabbinic Judaism that would not manifest some of the deleterious social ideologies and practices that modern orthodox Judaism generally does, a project that was thought of as "radical orthodoxy," long before that term achieved its current -- and almost diametrically opposing -- sense among Christian theologians. The book is divided into two parts. The first part consists of several essays on midrash, exploring various aspects of rabbinic culture and their relation to hermeneutic practices. These papers are essentially more detailed studies of particular issues that were raised in two of Boyarin's books, "Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash and "Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (California, 1993). The second part of the book consists of reprints of four essays published in the journal "Diacritics during that same decade. The material treated in the book should be of interest to historians of Judaism and Christianity, Talmudists, and scholars and readers interested in the cultural study of religion.