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1. cover
Title: Birthing the nation: strategies of Palestinian women in Israel
Author: Kanaaneh, Rhoda Ann
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: Anthropology | Women's Studies | Medical Anthropology | Sociology | Postcolonial Studies | Middle Eastern History | Sociology | Postcolonial Studies | Middle Eastern History | Middle Eastern History
Publisher's Description: In this rich, evocative study, Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh examines the changing notions of sexuality, family, and reproduction among Palestinians living in Israel. Distinguishing itself amid the media maelstrom that has homogenized Palestinians as "terrorists," this important new work offers a complex, nuanced, and humanized depiction of a group rendered invisible despite its substantial size, now accounting for nearly twenty percent of Israel's population. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking, Birthing the Nation contextualizes the politics of reproduction within contemporary issues affecting Palestinians, and places these issues against the backdrop of a dominant Israeli society.   [brief]
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2. cover
Title: Sacred landscape: the buried history of the Holy Land since 1948
Author: Benvenisti, Meron 1934-
Published: University of California Press,  2000
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Religion | Middle Eastern Studies | Politics
Publisher's Description: As a young man Meron Benvenisti often accompanied his father, a distinguished geographer, when the elder Benvenisti traveled through the Holy Land charting a Hebrew map that would rename Palestinian sites and villages with names linked to Israel's ancestral homeland. These experiences in Benvenisti's youth are central to this book, and the story that he tells helps explain how during this century an Arab landscape, physical and human, was transformed into an Israeli, Jewish state.Benvenisti first discusses the process by which new Hebrew nomenclature replaced the Arabic names of more than 9,000 natural features, villages, and ruins in Eretz Israel/Palestine (his name for the Holy Land, thereby defining it as a land of Jews and Arabs). He then explains how the Arab landscape has been transformed through war, destruction, and expulsion into a flourishing Jewish homeland accommodating millions of immigrants. The resulting encounters between two peoples who claim the same land have raised great moral and political dilemmas, which Benvenisti presents with candor and impartiality.Benvenisti points out that five hundred years after the Moors left Spain there are sufficient landmarks remaining to preserve the outlines of Muslim Spain. Even with sustained modern development, the ancient scale is still visible. Yet a Palestinian returning to his ancestral landscape after only fifty years would have difficulty identifying his home. Furthermore, Benvenisti says, the transformation of Arab cultural assets into Jewish holy sites has engendered a struggle over the "signposts of memory" essential to both peoples. Sacred Landscape raises troublesome questions that most writers on the Middle East avoid. The now-buried Palestinian landscape remains a symbol and a battle standard for Palestinians and Israelis. But it is Benvenisti's continuing belief that Eretz Israel/Palestine has enough historical and physical space for the people of both nations and that it can one day be a shared homeland.   [brief]
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3. cover
Title: Popular music and national culture in Israel
Author: Regev, Motti
Published: University of California Press,  2004
Subjects: Music | Ethnomusicology | Middle Eastern Studies | Popular Culture | Jewish Studies
Publisher's Description: A unique Israeli national culture - indeed, the very nature of "Israeliness" - remains a matter of debate, a struggle to blend vying memories and backgrounds, ideologies and wills. Identifying popular music as an important site in this wider cultural endeavor, this book focuses on the three major popular music cultures that are proving instrumental in attempts to invent Israeliness: the invented folk song repertoire known as Shirei Eretz Israel; the contemporary, global-cosmopolitan Israeli rock; and the ethnic-oriental musica mizrahit. The result is the first ever comprehensive study of popular music in Israel. Motti Regev, a sociologist, and Edwin Seroussi, an ethnomusicologist, approach their subject from alternative perspectives, producing a truly interdisciplinary, sociocultural account of music as a feature and a force in the shaping of Israeliness. A major ethnographic undertaking, describing and analyzing the particular history, characteristics, and practices of each music culture, Popular Music and National Culture in Israel maps not only the complex field of Israeli popular music but also Israeli culture in general.   [brief]
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4. cover
Title: Jewish passages: cycles of Jewish life
Author: Goldberg, Harvey E
Published: University of California Press,  2003
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Middle Eastern Studies | Anthropology
Publisher's Description: American or Middle Eastern, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, insular or immersed in modern life - however diverse their situations or circumstances, Jews draw on common traditions and texts when they mark life's momentous events and rites of passage. The interplay of past and present, of individual practice and collective identity, emerges as a central fact of contemporary Jewish experience in Harvey E. Goldberg's multifaceted account of how Jews celebrate and observe the cycles of life. A leading anthropologist of Jewish culture, Goldberg draws on his own experience as well as classic sources and the latest research to create a nuanced portrait of Jewish rituals and customs that balances the reality of "ordinary Jews" with the authority of tradition. Looking at classic rites of passage such as circumcision and marriage, along with emerging life-milestone practices like pilgrimage and identity-seeking tourism, Jewish Passages aptly reflects the remarkable cultural and religious diversity within Judaism. This work offers a new view of Jewish culture and history with the individual firmly situated at their center by blending anecdote and historical vignettes with rabbinic, midrashic, and anthropological insights; by exploring Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions as well as modern ideologies; and by bringing into sharp relief the activities of women and relations with Gentile neighbors. As such, this book provides a unique window on the particulars - and the significance - of personal and communal acts of identification among Jews past, present, and future.   [brief]
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5. cover
Title: Pollution in a promised land: an environmental history of Israel online access is available to everyone
Author: Tal, Alon 1960-
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: EcologyEvolutionEnvironment | Jewish Studies | Ecology | Geography | Conservation
Publisher's Description: Virtually undeveloped one hundred years ago, Israel, the promised "land of milk and honey," is in ecological disarray. In this gripping book, Alon Tal provides--for the first time ever--a history of environmentalism in Israel, interviewing hundreds of experts and activists who have made it their mission to keep the country's remarkable development sustainable amid a century of political and cultural turmoil. The modern Zionist vision began as a quest to redeem a land that bore the cumulative effects of two thousand years of foreign domination and neglect. Since then, Israel has suffered from its success. A tenfold increase in population and standard of living has polluted the air. The deserts have bloomed but groundwater has become contaminated. Urban sprawl threatens to pave over much of the country's breathtaking landscape. Yet there is hope. Tal's account considers the ecological and tactical lessons that emerge from dozens of cases of environmental mishaps, from habitat loss to river reclamation. Pollution in a Promised Land argues that the priorities and strategies of Israeli environmental advocates must address issues beyond traditional green agendas.   [brief]
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6. cover
Title: The life of Judaism
Author: Goldberg, Harvey E
Published: University of California Press,  2001
Subjects: Religion | Jewish Studies | Judaism
Publisher's Description: Approximately thirteen million people around the world define themselves as Jews, with the majority residing in the United States and Israel. This collection portrays the diversity of Jewish experience as it is practiced and lived in contemporary societies. The book's attention to material culture offers a much-needed addition to more traditional views advanced in the study of Judaism. Through ethnographic and autobiographical perspectives, the essays provide an appreciation of Judaism in daily activities, from domestic food preparation to worshipping; Jewish attachment to the cultures of specific communities, be they in Russia or Morocco; the impact of the Holocaust; the place of the State of Israel in Jewish life; and the role of women. Harvey E. Goldberg, a leading scholar in the anthropology of Judaism, provides an introduction to each chapter that demonstrates the links among the various themes. Ease of communication and travel has resulted in frequent contact--and at times, conflict--between Jews of similar and diverging backgrounds around the world. Visiting distinctive Jewish spaces has become a way of cultivating specific identities and senses of a Jewish past. As ritual, prayers, and attitudes toward authority undergo new constructions and interpretation, Judaism of "the book" also takes on new forms. These essays go a long way in helping us understand a contemporary and multifaceted Judaism, along with its history and texts.   [brief]
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7. cover
Title: Unheroic conduct: the rise of heterosexuality and the invention of the Jewish man
Author: Boyarin, Daniel
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Gender Studies | Jewish Studies | Social Theory
Publisher's Description: In a book that will both enlighten and provoke, Daniel Boyarin offers an alternative to the prevailing Euroamerican warrior/patriarch model of masculinity and recovers the Jewish ideal of the gentle, receptive male. The Western notion of the aggressive, sexually dominant male and the passive female reaches back through Freud to Roman times, but as Boyarin makes clear, such gender roles are not universal. Analyzing ancient and modern texts, he reveals early rabbis - studious, family-oriented - as exemplars of manhood and the prime objects of female desire in traditional Jewish society.Challenging those who view the "feminized Jew" as a pathological product of the Diaspora or a figment of anti-Semitic imagination, Boyarin argues that the Diaspora produced valuable alternatives to the dominant cultures' overriding gender norms. He finds the origins of the rabbinic model of masculinity in the Talmud, and though unrelentingly critical of rabbinic society's oppressive aspects, he shows how it could provide greater happiness for women than the passive gentility required by bourgeois European standards.Boyarin also analyzes the self-transformation of three iconic Viennese modern Jews: Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis; Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism; and Bertha Pappenheim (Anna O.), the first psychoanalytic patient and founder of Jewish feminism in Germany. Pappenheim is Boyarin's hero: it is she who provides him with a model for a militant feminist, anti-homophobic transformation of Orthodox Jewish society today.Like his groundbreaking Carnal Israel , this book is talmudic scholarship in a whole new light, with a vitality that will command attention from readers in feminist studies, history of sexuality, Jewish culture, and the history of psychoanalysis.   [brief]
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8. cover
Title: Three mothers, three daughters: Palestinian women's stories online access is available to everyone
Author: Gorkin, Michael
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies | Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies | Sociology
Publisher's Description: This remarkable collection of oral histories from six Palestinian women, three mothers and three of their daughters, affords an unparalleled view into the daily lives of women who have lived, and continue to live, through a turbulent and rapidly changing era. In recording these stories, Michael Gorkin and Rafiqa Othman have preserved each woman's distinctive voice, capturing in vivid and moving detail a broad range of experience - everything from recollections of native villages to an account of incarceration as a political prisoner. Highly personal events such as courting, marriage, and childbirth are interwoven with memories of upheavals such as the wars of 1948 and 1967. The women speak with surprising candor about conflicts between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, men and women, Arabs and Jews. These beautifully written narratives bear witness to the power of Palestinian culture in sustaining the often difficult lives of women. The book also provides brilliant testimony to the experience of living in the midst of the Arab-Israeli conflict.Michael Gorkin, a Jewish-American psychologist who lives in Israel, and Rafiqa Othman, a Palestinian special education teacher, have collected the narratives from different cultural and geographic locations within the boundaries of historical Palestine - including East Jerusalem, a refugee camp on the West Bank, and an Arab village within Israel. With surprising intimacy, the mothers and daughters discuss their views about sex, marriage, and child-rearing; ideas about themselves and their relationship to God, their families, and their homeland; and questions of shame, devotion, freedom, and honor.In the preface, introduction and epilogue, Gorkin and Othman frame the stories and describe the project. The linked stories of mothers and daughters attest to the profound changes that have occurred in the lives of Palestinian women during this century - in the areas of education, work, political involvement and personal freedom. In addition to delineating this astonishing historical and cultural transformation, the stories create lasting images of the people these women have loved and hated, the pleasures they have enjoyed, the dangers they have survived, and the hopes they continue to cherish.   [brief]
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9. cover
Title: Frontiers and ghettos: state violence in Serbia and Israel online access is available to everyone
Author: Ron, James
Published: University of California Press,  2003
Subjects: Sociology | European Studies | Cultural Anthropology | Ethnic Studies | Christianity | Judaism | Islam | Christianity
Publisher's Description: James Ron uses controversial comparisons between Serbia and Israel to present a novel theory of state violence. Formerly a research consultant to Human Rights Watch and the International Red Cross, Ron witnessed remarkably different patterns of state coercion. Frontiers and Ghettos presents an institutional approach to state violence, drawing on Ron's field research in the Middle East, Balkans, Chechnya, Turkey, and Africa, as well as dozens of rare interviews with military veterans, officials, and political activists on all sides. Studying violence from the ground up, the book develops an exciting new framework for analyzing today's nationalist wars.   [brief]
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10. cover
Title: Diasporas and exiles: varieties of Jewish identity
Author: Wettstein, Howard
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: Jewish Studies | European History | Social and Political Thought | Sociology | Immigration
Publisher's Description: Diaspora, considered as a context for insights into Jewish identity, brings together a lively, interdisciplinary group of scholars in this innovative volume. Readers needn't expect, however, to find easy agreement on what those insights are. The concept "diaspora" itself has proved controversial; galut, the traditional Hebrew expression for the Jews' perennial condition, is better translated as "exile." The very distinction between diaspora and exile, although difficult to analyze, is important enough to form the basis of several essays in this fine collection. "Identity" is an even more elusive concept. The contributors to Diasporas and Exiles explore Jewish identity - or, more accurately, Jewish identities - from the mutually illuminating perspectives of anthropology, art history, comparative literature, cultural studies, German history, philosophy, political theory, and sociology. These contributors bring exciting new emphases to Jewish and cultural studies, as well as the emerging field of diaspora studies. Diasporas and Exiles mirrors the richness of experience and the attendant virtual impossibility of definition that constitute the challenge of understanding Jewish identity.   [brief]
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11. cover
Title: Eros and the Jews: from biblical Israel to contemporary America
Author: Biale, David 1949-
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Religion | Sociology | Gender Studies
Publisher's Description: Contradictory stereotypes about Jewish sexuality pervade modern culture, from Lenny Bruce's hip eroticism to Woody Allen's little man with the big libido (and even bigger sexual neurosis). Does Judaism in fact liberate or repress sexual desire? David Biale does much more than answer that question as he traces Judaism's evolving position on sexuality, from the Bible and Talmud to Zionism up through American attitudes today. What he finds is a persistent conflict between asceticism and gratification, between procreation and pleasure.From the period of the Talmud onward, Biale says, Jewish culture continually struggled with sexual abstinence, attempting to incorporate the virtues of celibacy, as it absorbed them from Greco-Roman and Christian cultures, within a theology of procreation. He explores both the canonical writings of male authorities and the alternative voices of women, drawing from a fascinating range of sources that includes the Book of Ruth, Yiddish literature, the memoirs of the founders of Zionism, and the films of Woody Allen.Biale's historical reconstruction of Jewish sexuality sees the present through the past and the past through the present. He discovers an erotic tradition that is not dogmatic, but a record of real people struggling with questions that have challenged every human culture, and that have relevance for the dilemmas of both Jews and non-Jews today.   [brief]
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12. cover
Title: Land, labor and the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 1882-1914
Author: Shafir, Gershon
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies | Middle Eastern History | Labor Studies
Publisher's Description: Gershon Shafir challenges the heroic myths about the foundation of the State of Israel by investigating the struggle to control land and labor during the early Zionist enterprise. He argues that it was not the imported Zionist ideas that were responsible for the character of the Israeli state, but t . . . [more]
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13. cover
Title: Heritage and hellenism: the reinvention of Jewish tradition
Author: Gruen, Erich S
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Classics | Classical History | Classical Religions | Judaism | Ancient History | Jewish Studies
Publisher's Description: The interaction of Jew and Greek in antiquity intrigues the imagination. Both civilizations boasted great traditions, their roots stretching back to legendary ancestors and divine sanction. In the wake of Alexander the Great's triumphant successes, Greeks and Macedonians came as conquerors and settled as ruling classes in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Hellenic culture, the culture of the ascendant classes in many of the cities of the Near East, held widespread attraction and appeal. Jews were certainly not immune. In this thoroughly researched, lucidly written work, Erich Gruen draws on a wide variety of literary and historical texts of the period to explore a central question: How did the Jews accommodate themselves to the larger cultural world of the Mediterranean while at the same time reasserting the character of their own heritage within it? Erich Gruen's work highlights Jewish creativity, ingenuity, and inventiveness, as the Jews engaged actively with the traditions of Hellas, adapting genres and transforming legends to articulate their own legacy in modes congenial to a Hellenistic setting. Drawing on a diverse array of texts composed in Greek by Jews over a broad period of time, Gruen explores works by Jewish historians, epic poets, tragic dramatists, writers of romance and novels, exegetes, philosophers, apocalyptic visionaries, and composers of fanciful fables - not to mention pseudonymous forgers and fabricators. In these works, Jewish writers reinvented their own past, offering us the best insights into Jewish self-perception in that era.   [brief]
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14. cover
Title: From catastrophe to power: Holocaust survivors and the emergence of Israel
Author: Zertal, Idith
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies | Judaism | History
Publisher's Description: In a book certain to generate controversy and debate, Idith Zertal boldly interprets a much revered chapter in contemporary Jewish and Zionist history: the clandestine immigration to Palestine of Jewish refugees, most of them Holocaust survivors, that was organized by Palestinian Zionists just after World War II. Events that captured the attention of the world, such as the Exodus affair in the summer 1947, are seen here in a strikingly new light.At the center of Zertal's book is the Mossad, a small, unorthodox Zionist organization whose mission beginning in 1938 was to bring Jews to Palestine in order to subvert the British quotas on Jewish immigration. From Catastrophe to Power scrutinizes the Mossad's mode of operation, its ideology and politics, its structure and history, and its collective human profile as never before.Zertal's moving story sweeps across four continents and encompasses a range of political cultures and international forces. But underneath this story another darker and more complex plot unfolds: the special encounter between the Zionist revolutionary collective and the mass of Jewish remnant after the Holocaust. According to Zertal, this psychologically painful yet politically powerful encounter was the Zionists' most effective weapon in their struggle for a sovereign Jewish state. Drawing on primary archival documents and new readings of canonical texts of the period, she analyzes this encounter from all angles - political, social, cultural, and psychological. The outcome is a gripping and troubling human story of a crucial period in Jewish and Israeli history, one that also provides a key to understanding the fundamental tensions between Israel and the Jewish communities and Israel and the world today.   [brief]
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15. cover
Title: Jewish memories online access is available to everyone
Author: Valensi, Lucette
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Postcolonial Studies
Publisher's Description: Collective memory: a living, breathing gift from the past, less fragmentary than the recollections of any one individual, more personal by far than "history." The authors of Jewish Memories saw in the large numbers of Jews who migrated to France during the twentieth century the chance to retrieve a past that might otherwise be lost forever. Through dozens of interviews, they listened to men and women talking of their lives and the places they came from, and found an almost uncanny resonance of individual voices with one another. Individual memories became part of a shared memory, projecting major themes of the Jewish tradition - exile and the sense of loss, the duty to remember, and the transmission of Jewish experience to the next generations.Hélène H. tells of dropping the all-important family teakettle during a terrified race to escape skirmishing soldiers. Charles H. talks about the innocent love he shared with a non-Jewish girl who studied with him. Anna D. describes her wordless reunion with her wounded husband after World War II. From communities now disappeared, scenes of home and family life, occupations, happy times and holidays reinforce one another, and we can feel the painful nostalgia for a kind of existence no longer possible.Two distinct but parallel sets of memories run through the narrative, that of Sephardi and that of Ashkenazi Jews, all of whom found their way to France. They arrived from Tunisia, Turkey, Poland, and Russia, from poor and well-to-do families, almost always driven from their homes by difficult circumstances, often with their most recent memories filled with horror and tragedy. The desire to remember it all and to pass it on to others who will also remember shines from every page, and makes this book as memorable for general readers as it is valuable for anthropologists, sociologists, and historians.   [brief]
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16. cover
Title: Pseudo-Hecataeus, On the Jews: legitimizing the Jewish diaspora online access is available to everyone
Author: Bar-Kochva, Bezalel
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Jewish Studies | History | Ancient History | Jewish Studies
Publisher's Description: Debate over the authenticity of "On the Jews" has persisted for nearly 1,900 years. Bezalel Bar-Kochva attempts to overcome this stalemate in his finely detailed and convincingly argued study that proves the forgery of the book and suggests not only a source for the text, but also a social, political, and cultural setting that explains its conception.Bar-Kochva argues that the author of this treatise belonged to the moderate conservative Jews of Alexandria, whose practices were contrary to the contemporary trends of Hellenistic Judaism. They rejected the application of Greek philosophy and allegorical interpretations of the Holy scriptures and advocated the use of Pentateuch Hebrew as the language for educating and for religious services. They showed a keen interest in Judea and identified themselves with the Jews of the Holy Land. "On the Jews," then, was the manifesto of this group and was written at the peak period of the Hasmonean kingdom. Its main purpose was to legitimize Jewish residence in Egypt, despite being explicitly prohibited in the Pentateuch, and to justify the continued residence of Jews there in a time of prosperity and expansion of the Jewish independent state.   [brief]
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17. cover
Title: Intimate enemies: Jews and Arabs in a shared land
Author: Benvenisti, Meron 1934-
Published: University of California Press,  1995
Subjects: Politics | Middle Eastern Studies | Jewish Studies | Middle Eastern History
Publisher's Description: As Israelis and Palestinians negotiate separation and division of their land, Meron Benvenisti, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, maintains that any expectations for "peaceful partition" are doomed. In his brave and controversial new book, he raises the possibility of a confederation of Israel/Palestine, the only solution that he feels will bring lasting peace.The seven million people in the territory between Jordan and the Mediterranean are mutually dependent regarding employment, water, land use, ecology, transportation, and all other spheres of human activity. Each side, Benvenisti says, must accept the reality that two national entities are living within one geopolitical entity - their conflict is intercommunal and will not be resolved by population transfers or land partition.A geographer and historian by training, a man passionately rooted in his homeland, Benvenisti skillfully conveys the perspective of both Israeli and Palestinian communities. He recognizes the great political and ideological resistance to a confederation, but argues that there are Israeli Jews and Palestinians who can envision an undivided land, where attachment to a common homeland is stronger than militant tribalism and segregation in national ghettos. Acknowledging that equal coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian may yet be an impossible dream, he insists that such a dream deserves a place in the current negotiations."Meron Benvenisti is the Middle East expert to whom Middle East experts go for advice . . . the most oft-quoted and oft-damned analyst in Israel." - from the Foreword by Thomas L. Friedman   [brief]
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18. cover
Title: Judgement in Jerusalem: Chief Justice Simon Agranat and the Zionist century online access is available to everyone
Author: Lahav, Pnina 1945-
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Law | History
Publisher's Description: Simon Agranat (1906-1992) was the third chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court and a founding father of Israeli law. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and educated at the University of Chicago, Agranat brought U.S. progressivism and constitutionalism to Israeli legal soil. Agranat laid the foundation for Israel's bill of rights and took part in nearly every important Israeli legal and political issue of this century. Pnina Lahav's rewarding study of Simon Agranat portrays Israeli history through the lens of judicial opinions. It is based on her extensive interviews with the justice before his death and a close examination of his papers. A major theme in her book is the relationship between Agranat's world view and landmark Israeli Supreme Court opinions, and she tells the compelling story of a visionary jurist and an American pursuing his Zionist dream in Palestine. Here, too, is an illuminating view of Israeli history and legal culture that includes the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, the symbiosis between religion and the Jewish state, and the tensions within Zionism itself. Lahav also details the thinking behind Agranat's 1962 decision to convict Adolph Eichmann and the justice's dissent in the "Who Is a Jew?" case in 1970.This is the first biography of the man who made both a geographical and a psychological journey from the United States to Jerusalem. In demonstrating the influences of one culture on another, Judgment in Jerusalem provides important insights into Israeli law and politics and into the complex processes that form a national identity.   [brief]
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19. cover
Title: Jewish life in renaissance Italy
Author: Bonfil, Roberto
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Renaissance History | European History
Publisher's Description: With this heady exploration of time and space, rumors and silence, colors, tastes, and ideas, Robert Bonfil recreates the richness of Jewish life in Renaissance Italy. He also forces us to rethink conventional interpretations of the period, which feature terms like "assimilation" and "acculturation." Questioning the Italians' presumed capacity for tolerance and civility, he points out that Jews were frequently uprooted and persecuted, and where stable communities did grow up, it was because the hostility of the Christian population had somehow been overcome.After the ghetto was imposed in Venice, Rome, and other Italian cities, Jewish settlement became more concentrated. Bonfil claims that the ghetto experience did more to intensify Jewish self-perception in early modern Europe than the supposed acculturation of the Renaissance. He shows how, paradoxically, ghetto living opened and transformed Jewish culture, hastening secularization and modernization.Bonfil's detailed picture reveals in the Italian Jews a sensitivity and self-awareness that took into account every aspect of the larger society. His inside view of a culture flourishing under stress enables us to understand how identity is perceived through constant interplay - on whatever terms - with the Other.   [brief]
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20. cover
Title: The biography of ancient Israel: national narratives in the Bible
Author: Pardes, Ilana
Published: University of California Press,  2000
Subjects: Jewish Studies | Religion
Publisher's Description: The nation--particularly in Exodus and Numbers--is not an abstract concept but rather a grand character whose history is fleshed out with remarkable literary power. In her innovative exploration of national imagination in the Bible, Pardes highlights the textual manifestations of the metaphor, the many anthropomorphisms by which a collective character named "Israel" springs to life. She explores the representation of communal motives, hidden desires, collective anxieties, the drama and suspense embedded in each phase of the nation's life: from birth in exile, to suckling in the wilderness, to a long process of maturation that has no definite end. In the Bible, Pardes suggests, history and literature go hand in hand more explicitly than in modern historiography, which is why the Bible serves as a paradigmatic case for examining the narrative base of national constructions. Pardes calls for a consideration of the Bible's penetrating renditions of national ambivalence. She reads the rebellious conduct of the nation against the grain, probing the murmurings of the people, foregrounding their critique of the official line. The Bible does not provide a homogeneous account of nation formation, according to Pardes, but rather reveals points of tension between different perceptions of the nation's history and destiny. This fresh and beautifully rendered portrayal of the history of ancient Israel will be of vital interest to anyone interested in the Bible, in the interrelations of literature and history, in nationhood, in feminist thought, and in psychoanalysis.   [brief]
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