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“One of the greatest religious biographies ever written.” – Dennis Prager

In this enlightening biography, Joseph Telushkin offers a captivating portrait of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a towering figure who saw beyond conventional boundaries to turn his movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, into one of the most dynamic and widespread organizations ever seen in the Jewish world. At once an incisive work of history and a compendium of Rabbi Schneerson's teachings, Rebbe is the definitive guide to understanding one of the most vital, intriguing figures of the last centuries.

From his modest headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Rebbe advised some of the world's greatest leaders and shaped matters of state and society. Statesmen and artists as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel, and Bob Dylan span the spectrum of those who sought his counsel.  Rebbe explores Schneerson's overarching philosophies against the backdrop of treacherous history, revealing his clandestine operations to rescue and sustain Jews in the Soviet Union, and his critical role in the expansion of the food stamp program throughout the United States. More broadly, it examines how he became in effect an ambassador for Jews globally, and how he came to be viewed by many as not only a spiritual archetype but a savior. Telushkin also delves deep into the more controversial aspects of the Rebbe's leadership, analyzing his views on modern science and territorial compromise in Israel, and how in the last years of his life, many of his followers believed that he would soon be revealed as the Messiah, a source of contention until this day.

Named Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE Winnter of the Wesley-Logan Prize of the American Historical Association Winner of the Byron Caldwell Smith Book Prize Winner of the 2014 Albert J. Raboteau Book Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions Jacob S. Dorman offers new insights into the rise of Black Israelite religions in America, faiths ranging from Judaism to Islam to Rastafarianism all of which believe that the ancient Hebrew Israelites were Black and that contemporary African Americans are their descendants. Dorman traces the influence of Israelite practices and philosophies in the Holiness Christianity movement of the 1890s and the emergence of the Pentecostal movement in 1906. An examination of Black interactions with white Jews under slavery shows that the original impetus for Christian Israelite movements was not a desire to practice Judaism but rather a studied attempt to recreate the early Christian church, following the strictures of the Hebrew Scriptures. A second wave of Black Israelite synagogues arose during the Great Migration of African Americans and West Indians to cities in the North. One of the most fascinating of the Black Israelite pioneers was Arnold Josiah Ford, a Barbadian musician who moved to Harlem, joined Marcus Garvey's Black Nationalist movement, started his own synagogue, and led African Americans to resettle in Ethiopia in 1930. The effort failed, but the Black Israelite theology had captured the imagination of settlers who returned to Jamaica and transmitted it to Leonard Howell, one of the founders of Rastafarianism and himself a member of Harlem's religious subculture. After Ford's resettlement effort, the Black Israelite movement was carried forward in the U.S. by several Harlem rabbis, including Wentworth Arthur Matthew, another West Indian, who creatively combined elements of Judaism, Pentecostalism, Freemasonry, the British Anglo-Israelite movement, Afro-Caribbean faiths, and occult kabbalah. Drawing on interviews, newspapers, and a wealth of hitherto untapped archival sources, Dorman provides a vivid portrait of Black Israelites, showing them to be a transnational movement that fought racism and its erasure of people of color from European-derived religions. Chosen People argues for a new way of understanding cultural formation, not in terms of genealogical metaphors of "survivals," or syncretism, but rather as a "polycultural" cutting and pasting from a transnational array of ideas, books, rituals, and social networks.
Although major New Testament figures--Jesus and Paul, Peter and James, Jesus' mother Mary and Mary Magdalene--were Jews, living in a culture steeped in Jewish history, beliefs, and practices, there has never been an edition of the New Testament that addresses its Jewish background and the culture from which it grew--until now. In The Jewish Annotated New Testament, eminent experts under the general editorship of Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences. And they explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years. An international team of scholars introduces and annotates the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation from Jewish perspectives, in the New Revised Standard Version translation. They show how Jewish practices and writings, particularly the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, influenced the New Testament writers. From this perspective, readers gain new insight into the New Testament's meaning and significance. In addition, thirty essays on historical and religious topics--Divine Beings, Jesus in Jewish thought, Parables and Midrash, Mysticism, Jewish Family Life, Messianic Movements, Dead Sea Scrolls, questions of the New Testament and anti-Judaism, and others--bring the Jewish context of the New Testament to the fore, enabling all readers to see these writings both in their original contexts and in the history of interpretation. For readers unfamiliar with Christian language and customs, there are explanations of such matters as the Eucharist, the significance of baptism, and "original sin." For non-Jewish readers interested in the Jewish roots of Christianity and for Jewish readers who want a New Testament that neither proselytizes for Christianity nor denigrates Judaism, The Jewish Annotated New Testament is an essential volume that places these writings in a context that will enlighten students, professionals, and general readers.
“[A] fascinating recasting of the story of Jesus.” —Elliot Wolfson, New York University
 
In July 2008, a front-page story in the New York Times reported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that “some Christians will find it shocking—a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology.”
 
Guiding us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures, The Jewish Gospels makes the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. In Boyarin’s scrupulously illustrated account, the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus’s life.
 
In the vein of Elaine Pagels’s The Gnostic Gospels, here is a brilliant new work that will break open some of our culture’s most cherished assumptions.
 
“A brilliant and momentous book.” —Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School
 
“Raises profound questions . . . This provocative book will change the way we think of the Gospels in their Jewish context.” —John J. Collins, Yale Divinity School
 
“It’s certainly noteworthy when one of the world’s leading Jewish scholars publishes a book about Jesus . . . Extremely stimulating.” —Daniel C. Peterson, The Deseret News
 
The Catskills (“Cat Creek” in Dutch), America’s original frontier, northwest of New York City, with its seven hundred thousand acres of forest land preserve and its five counties—Delaware, Greene, Sullivan, Ulster, Schoharie; America’s first great vacationland; the subject of the nineteenth-century Hudson River School paintings that captured the almost godlike majesty of the mountains and landscapes, the skies, waterfalls, pastures, cliffs . . . refuge and home to poets and gangsters, tycoons and politicians, preachers and outlaws, musicians and spiritualists, outcasts and rebels . . .

Stephen Silverman and Raphael Silver tell of the turning points that made the Catskills so vital to the development of America: Henry Hudson’s first spotting the distant blue mountains in 1609; the New York State constitutional convention, resulting in New York’s own Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its own constitution, causing the ire of the invading British army . . . the Catskills as a popular attraction in the 1800s, with the construction of the Catskill Mountain House and its rugged imitators that offered WASP guests “one-hundred percent restricted” accommodations (“Hebrews will knock vainly for admission”), a policy that remained until the Catskills became the curative for tubercular patients, sending real-estate prices plummeting and the WASP enclave on to richer pastures . . .

Here are the gangsters (Jack “Legs” Diamond and Dutch Schultz, among them) who sought refuge in the Catskill Mountains, and the resorts that after World War II catered to upwardly mobile Jewish families, giving rise to hundreds of hotels inspired by Grossinger’s, the original “Disneyland with knishes”—the Concord, Brown’s Hotel, Kutsher’s Hotel, and others—in what became known as the Borscht Belt and Sour Cream Alps, with their headliners from movies and radio (Phil Silvers, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, et al.), and others who learned their trade there, among them Moss Hart (who got his start organizing summer theatricals), Sid Caesar, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers.

Here is a nineteenth-century America turning away from England for its literary and artistic inspiration, finding it instead in Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and his childhood recollections (set in the Catskills) . . . in James Fenimore Cooper’s adventure-romances, which provided a pastoral history, describing the shift from a colonial to a nationalist mentality . . . and in the canvases of Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederick Church, and others that caught the grandeur of the wilderness and that gave texture, color, and form to Irving’s and Cooper’s imaginings.

Here are the entrepreneurs and financiers who saw the Catskills as a way to strike it rich, plundering the resources that had been likened to “creation,” the Catskills’ tanneries that supplied the boots and saddles for Union troops in the Civil War . . . and the bluestone quarries whose excavated rock became the curbs and streets of the fast-growing Eastern Seaboard. 

Here are the Catskills brought fully to life in all of their intensity, beauty, vastness, and lunacy.
In a unique, intensely moving memoir, Erin Einhorn finds the family in Poland who saved her mother from the holocaust. But instead of a joyful reunion, Erin unearths a dispute that forces her to navigate the increasingly bitter crossroads between memory and truth.

To a young newspaper reporter, it was the story of a lifetime: a Jewish infant born in the ghetto, saved from the Nazis by a Polish family, uprooted to Sweden after the war, repeatedly torn away from the people she knew as family -- all to take a transatlantic journey with a father she'd barely known toward a new life in the United States.

Who wouldn't want to tell that tale? Growing up in suburban Detroit, Erin Einhorn pestered her mother to share details about the tumultuous, wartime childhood she'd experienced. "I was always loved," was all her mother would say, over and over again. But, for Erin, that answer simply wasn't satisfactory. She boarded a plane to Poland with a singular mission: to uncover the truth of what happened to her mother and reunite the two families who once worked together to save a child. But when Erin finds Wieslaw Skowronski, the elderly son of the woman who sheltered her mother, she discovers that her search will involve much more than just her mother's childhood.

Sixty years prior, at the end of World War II, Wieslaw Skowronski claimed that Erin's grandfather had offered the Skowronskis his family home in exchange for hiding his daughter. But for both families, the details were murky. If the promise was real, fulfilling it would be arduous and expensive. To unravel the truth and resolve the decades-old land dispute, Erin must search through centuries of dusty records and maneuver an outdated, convoluted legal system.

As she tries to help the Skowronski family, Erin must also confront the heart-wrenching circumstances of her family's tragic past while coping with unexpected events in her own life that will alter her mission completely.

Six decades after two families were brought together by history, Erin is forced to separate the facts from the glimmers of fiction handed down in the stories of her ancestors. In this extraordinariy intimate memoir, journalist Erin Einhorn overcomes seemingly insurmountable barriers -- legal, financial, and emotional -- only to question her own motives and wonder how far she should go to right the wrongs of the past.
Sex. Violence. Scandal. These are words we rarely associate with the sacred text of the Bible. Yet in this brilliant new book, Jonathan Kirsch shows that the Old Testament is filled with some of the most startling and explicit stories in all of Western literature. These tales of seduction and rape, voyeurism and exhibitionism, intermarriage and illegitimacy, assassination and murder have been suppressed by religious authorities throughout history precisely because they are so shocking. "You mean that's in the Bible?" is the common reaction of the contemporary reader to the stories that Kirsch retells and explores.

In The Harlot by the Side of the Road, Kirsch recounts these suppressed and mistranslated tales in the grand storytelling tradition. Here is the tale of Dinah, the young Israelite daughter raped by a princely suitor. The price for her hand in marriage? The circumcision of every man in his kingdom. Here, too, is the story of Lot's daughters, who, when faced with the possibility that they are the last survivors on earth, must copulate with their drunken father to continue their race. And the story of Tamar, the harlot by the side of the road, who must disguise herself as a prostitute and seduce her father-in-law in order to bear the child who has been promised her.

Kirsch places each story within the political and social context of its time, and delves into the latest biblical scholarship to explain why each story was originally censored. He also brings to light when and where each story was first written down, and how it found its way into the Bible. And he shows how these stories have something important to say to contemporary readers who might never pick up a Bible.

Kirsch reveals that the Bible's real power lies in its unflinching lessons in human nature. And he illuminates the surprising modernity of the Bible's characters: these were, like us, people delicately balanced between their destructive and generous natures. Certain to excite controversy and ignite intellectual debate, The Harlot by the Side of the Road will undoubtedly be one of the year's most talked-about books.
Three New York Times bestsellers chronicle the rise of America’s most influential Jewish families as they transition from poor immigrants to household names.

In his acclaimed trilogy, author Stephen Birmingham paints an engrossing portrait of Jewish American life from the colonial era through the twentieth century with fascinating narrative and meticulous research.
 
The collection’s best-known book, “Our Crowd” follows nineteenth-century German immigrants with recognizable names like Loeb, Sachs, Lehman, Guggenheim, and Goldman. Turning small family businesses into institutions of finance, banking, and philanthropy, they elevated themselves from Lower East Side tenements to Park Avenue mansions. Barred from New York’s gentile elite because of their religion and humble backgrounds, they created their own exclusive group, as affluent and selective as the one that had refused them entry.
 
The Grandees travels farther back in history to 1654, when twenty-three Sephardic Jews arrived in New York. Members of this small and insulated group—considered the first Jewish community in America—soon established themselves as wealthy businessmen and financiers. With descendants including poet Emma Lazarus, Barnard College founder Annie Nathan Meyer, and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo, these families were—and still are—hugely influential in the nation’s culture, politics, and economics.
 
In “The Rest of Us,” Birmingham documents the third major wave of Jewish immigration: Eastern Europeans who swept through Ellis Island between 1880 and 1924. These refugees from czarist Russia and Polish shtetls were considered barbaric, uneducated, and too steeped in the traditions of the “old country” to be accepted by the well-established German American Jews. But the new arrivals were tough, passionate, and determined. Their incredible rags to riches stories include those of the lives of Hollywood tycoon Samuel Goldwyn, Broadway composer Irving Berlin, makeup mogul Helena Rubenstein, and mobster Meyer Lansky.
 
This unforgettable collection comprises a comprehensive account of the Jewish American upper class, their opulent world, and their lasting mark on American society.

 
“Enthralling, searching, profound, an extraordinarily powerful work on Jewish identity in the twenty-first century.”—Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A bold proposal for discovering relevance in Judaism and ensuring its survival, from a pioneering social activist, business leader, and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force

God Is in the Crowd is an original and provocative blueprint for Judaism in the twenty-first century. Presented through the lens of Tal Keinan’s unusual personal story, it a sobering analysis of the threat to Jewish continuity. As the Jewish people has become concentrated in just two hubs—America and Israel—it has lost the subtle code of governance that endowed Judaism with dynamism and relevance in the age of Diaspora. This code, as Keinan explains, is derived from Francis Galton’s “wisdom of crowds,” in which a group’s collective intelligence, memory, and even spirituality can be dramatically different from, and often stronger than, that of any individual member’s. He argues that without this code, this ancient people—and the civilization that it spawned—will soon be extinct. Finally, Keinan puts forward a bold and original plan to rewrite the Jewish code, proposing a new model for Judaism and for community in general.

Keinan was born to a secular Jewish family in Florida. His interest in Judaism was ignited by a Christian minister at his New England prep school and led him down the unlikely path to enlistment in the Israel Air Force. Using his own dramatic experiences as a backdrop, and applying lessons from his life as a business leader and social activist, Keinan takes the reader on a riveting adventure, weaving between past, present, and future, and fusing narrative with theory to demonstrate Judaism’s value to humanity and chart its path into the future.

Advance praise for God Is in the Crowd

“Beautifully written, brilliantly argued, this is a unique contribution to the conversation and a must read for anyone concerned with Jewish continuity.”—Yossi Klein Halevi, author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

“God Is in the Crowd blends social science, economics, religion, and national identity to help us see more clearly who we are as individuals, people, and a society.”—Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality

“American, Israeli, entrepreneur, fighter pilot, and investor: Keinan’s diagnosis of Israel and the Jewish Diaspora is provided through the lens of a rich and gripping life story. Keinan’s contribution is indispensable to the debate about the future of the Jewish people.”—Dan Senor, co-author of Start-up Nation
In May of 1939 the Cuban government turned away the Hamburg-America Line’s MS St. Louis, which carried more than 900 hopeful Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Germany. The passengers subsequently sought safe haven in the United States, but were rejected once again, and the St. Louis had to embark on an uncertain return voyage to Europe. Finally, the St. Louis passengers found refuge in four western European countries, but only the 288 passengers sent to England evaded the Nazi grip that closed upon continental Europe a year later. Over the years, the fateful voyage of the St. Louis has come to symbolize U.S. indifference to the plight of European Jewry on the eve of World War II.

Although the episode of the St. Louis is well known, the actual fates of the passengers, once they disembarked, slipped into historical obscurity. Prompted by a former passenger’s curiosity, Sarah Ogilvie and Scott Miller of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum set out in 1996 to discover what happened to each of the 937 passengers. Their investigation, spanning nine years and half the globe, took them to unexpected places and produced surprising results. Refuge Denied chronicles the unraveling of the mystery, from Los Angeles to Havana and from New York to Jerusalem.

Some of the most memorable stories include the fate of a young toolmaker who survived initial selection at Auschwitz because his glasses had gone flying moments before and a Jewish child whose apprenticeship with a baker in wartime France later translated into the establishment of a successful business in the United States. Unfolding like a compelling detective thriller, Refuge Denied is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust and its impact on the lives of ordinary people.
In this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the pbs and bbc series The Story of the Jews—simon schama details the story of the jewish people, tracing their experience across three millennia, from their beginnings as an ancient tribal people to the opening of the new world in 1492

It is a story like no other: an epic of endurance in the face of destruction, of creativity in the face of oppression, joy amidst grief, the affirmation of life despite the steepest of odds.

It spans the millennia and the continents—from India to Andalusia and from the bazaars of Cairo to the streets of Oxford. It takes you to unimagined places: to a Jewish kingdom in the mountains of southern Arabia; a Syrian synagogue glowing with radiant wall paintings; the palm groves of the Jewish dead in the Roman catacombs. And its voices ring loud and clear, from the severities and ecstasies of the Bible writers to the love poems of wine bibbers in a garden in Muslim Spain.

In The Story of the Jews, the Talmud burns in the streets of Paris, massed gibbets hang over the streets of medieval London, a Majorcan illuminator redraws the world; candles are lit, chants are sung, mules are packed, ships loaded with gems and spices founder at sea.

And a great story unfolds. Not—as often imagined—of a culture apart, but of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they have dwelled, from the Egyptians to the Greeks, from the Arabs to the Christians.

Which makes the story of the Jews everyone's story, too.

In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the relationship between Kaballah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinating historical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the most potent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading. Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for the Kabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality? In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
Here is a virtually complete list of persons identifiable as Jews in America by 1800, the result of a thorough search of manuscript materials and published literature for the names of Jews who lived in America (including Canada up to 1783) during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. No other study provides comparable information for such an ethnic group in this country.

Each entry in this dictionary is accompanied by birth and death dates and places and other biographical data so far as they are available. The biographies vary from two lines recording the birth of an unnamed stillborn child or the presence of a transient in New York City to half-column summaries of the careers of well-known persons. Included are converts to Christianity and, in some instances, their children. Persons whose names or associations have resulted in their being incorporated into earlier lists of "Jews" are noted also, with an attempt to ascertain their identity.

Especially noteworthy is the small number of Jews in America during the two centuries before 1800. Only about 4,000 Jews, of whom 1,500 were native-born, have been identified in this dictionary -- and not all of these positively. Perhaps another 800 have been omitted, Rosenbloom points out, because their names are not included in extant records. Even so, it would appear that the percentage of Jews in the total colonial population (less than three million in 1783) was infinitesimal.

Students of the American colonial period will find this book a useful tool for ascertaining the national origins of American Jews, their occupations, their part in the Revolution, their places of settlement, and other historical and sociological data.

Though many of the details of Jewish life under Hitler are familiar, historical accounts rarely afford us a real sense of what it was like for Jews and their families to live in the shadow of Nazi Germany’s oppressive racial laws and growing violence. With Jews in Nazi Berlin, those individual lives—and the constant struggle they required—come fully into focus, and the result is an unprecedented and deeply moving portrait of a people.

Drawing on a remarkably rich archive that includes photographs, objects, official documents, and personal papers, the editors of Jews in Nazi Berlin have assembled a multifaceted picture of Jewish daily life in the Nazi capital during the height of the regime’s power. The book’s essays and images are divided into thematic sections, each representing a different aspect of the experience of Jews in Berlin, covering such topics as emigration, the yellow star, Zionism, deportation, betrayal, survival, and more. To supplement—and, importantly, to humanize—the comprehensive documentary evidence, the editors draw on an extensive series of interviews with survivors of the Nazi persecution, who present gripping first-person accounts of the innovation, subterfuge, resilience, and luck required to negotiate the increasing brutality of the regime.

A stunning reconstruction of a storied community as it faced destruction, Jews in Nazi Berlin renders that loss with a startling immediacy that will make it an essential part of our continuing attempts to understand World War II and the Holocaust.

Standing at the very foundation of monotheism, and so of Western culture, Moses is a figure not of history, but of memory. As such, he is the quintessential subject for the innovative historiography Jan Assmann both defines and practices in this work, the study of historical memory--a study, in this case, of the ways in which factual and fictional events and characters are stored in religious beliefs and transformed in their philosophical justification, literary reinterpretation, philological restitution (or falsification), and psychoanalytic demystification.

To account for the complexities of the foundational event through which monotheism was established, "Moses the Egyptian" goes back to the short-lived monotheistic revolution of the Egyptian king Akhenaten (1360-1340 B.C.E.). Assmann traces the monotheism of Moses to this source, then shows how his followers denied the Egyptians any part in the origin of their beliefs and condemned them as polytheistic idolaters. Thus began the cycle in which every "counter-religion," by establishing itself as truth, denounced all others as false. Assmann reconstructs this cycle as a pattern of historical abuse, and tracks its permutations from ancient sources, including the Bible, through Renaissance debates over the basis of religion to Sigmund Freud's "Moses and Monotheism." One of the great Egyptologists of our time, and an exceptional scholar of history and literature, Assmann is uniquely equipped for this undertaking--an exemplary case study of the vicissitudes of historical memory that is also a compelling lesson in the fluidity of cultural identity and beliefs.

Is Judaism a religion, a culture, a nationality--or a mixture of all of these? In How Judaism Became a Religion, Leora Batnitzky boldly argues that this question more than any other has driven modern Jewish thought since the eighteenth century. This wide-ranging and lucid introduction tells the story of how Judaism came to be defined as a religion in the modern period--and why Jewish thinkers have fought as well as championed this idea.

Ever since the Enlightenment, Jewish thinkers have debated whether and how Judaism--largely a religion of practice and public adherence to law--can fit into a modern, Protestant conception of religion as an individual and private matter of belief or faith. Batnitzky makes the novel argument that it is this clash between the modern category of religion and Judaism that is responsible for much of the creative tension in modern Jewish thought. Tracing how the idea of Jewish religion has been defended and resisted from the eighteenth century to today, the book discusses many of the major Jewish thinkers of the past three centuries, including Moses Mendelssohn, Abraham Geiger, Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Zvi Yehuda Kook, Theodor Herzl, and Mordecai Kaplan. At the same time, it tells the story of modern orthodoxy, the German-Jewish renaissance, Jewish religion after the Holocaust, the emergence of the Jewish individual, the birth of Jewish nationalism, and Jewish religion in America.


More than an introduction, How Judaism Became a Religion presents a compelling new perspective on the history of modern Jewish thought.

The Holocaust was not only the greatest murder in history; it was also the greatest theft. Historians estimate that the Nazis stole roughly $230 billion to $320 billion in assets (figured in today’s dollars), from the Jews of Europe. Since the revelations concerning the wartime activities of the Swiss banks first broke in the late 1990s, an ever-widening circle of complicity and wrongdoing against Jews and other victims has emerged in the course of lawsuits waged by American lawyers. These suits involved German corporations, French and Austrian banks, European insurance companies, and double thefts of art—first by the Nazis, and then by museums and private collectors refusing to give them up. All of these injustices have come to light thanks to the American legal system.
Holocaust Justice is the first book to tell the complete story of the legal campaign, conducted mainly on American soil, to address these injustices. Michael Bazyler, a legal scholar specializing in human rights and international law, takes an in-depth look at the series of lawsuits that gave rise to a coherent campaign to right historical wrongs. Diplomacy, individual pleas for justice by Holocaust survivors and various Jewish organizations for the last fifty years, and even suits in foreign courts, had not worked. It was only with the intervention of the American courts that elderly Holocaust survivors and millions of other wartime victims throughout the world were awarded compensation, and equally important, acknowledgment of the crimes committed against them.
The unique features of the American system of justice—which allowed it to handle claims that originated over fifty years ago and in another part of the world—made it the only forum in the world where Holocaust claims could be heard. Without the lawsuits brought by American lawyers, Bazyler asserts, the claims of the elderly survivors and their heirs would continue to be ignored.
For the first time in history, European and even American corporations are now being forced to pay restitution for war crimes totaling billions of dollars to Holocaust survivors and other victims. Bazyler deftly tells the unfolding stories: the Swiss banks’ attempt to hide dormant bank accounts belonging to Holocaust survivors or heirs of those who perished in the war; German private companies that used slave laborers during World War II—including American subsidiaries in Germany; Italian, Swiss and German insurance companies that refused to pay on prewar policies; and the legal wrangle going on today in American courts over art looted by the Nazis in wartime Europe. He describes both the human and legal dramas involved in the struggle for restitution, bringing the often-forgotten voices of Holocaust survivors to the forefront. He also addresses the controversial legal and moral issues over Holocaust restitution and the ethical debates over the distribution of funds.
With an eye to the future, Bazyler discusses the enduring legacy of Holocaust restitution litigation, which is already being used as a model for obtaining justice for historical wrongs on both the domestic and international stage.
. Preface. xi. 1. The Time of the Second Temple. 1. . The Persian Period (538-332 BCE). 1. . Beginnings. 2. . Events in Yehud (Judah). 3. . The Work of Ezra and Nehemiah. 3. . Jaddua and Alexander the Great. 6. . Events in Egypt. 7. . Events in Babylon and Persia. 9. . The Hellenistic Age (332-63 BCE). 11. . Ptolemaic Control of Egypt and Judea (ca. 305-198 BCE). 12. . Ptolemy I and Judea. 12. . Ptolemy II and the Greek Translation of the Torah. 13. . The Tobiad Romance. 14. . Seleucid Control/Influence in Judea (198-63 BCE). 16. . Antiochus III (223-187 BCE). 16. . Antiochus IV, High Priests, and Hellenism. 18. . The Hasmonean State (ca. 140-63 BCE). 24. . Simon (142-134 BCE). 25. . John Hyrcanus (134-104 BCE). 27. . Aristobulus I (104-103 BCE) and Kingship. 28. . Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 BCE). 29. . Salome Alexandra (76-67 BCE). 30. . Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II (67-63 BCE). 31. . The Roman Period (63 BCE and Beyond). 32. . The Early Years (63-37 BCE). 32. . Herod (37-4 BCE) and Archelaus (4 BCE-6 CE). 36. . Direct Roman Rule (6-66 CE). 39. . The First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-73 CE). 41. . The Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE). 48. . Appendix on Egyptian Judaism. 49. 2. Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period. 53. . Second Temple Texts in the Hebrew Bible. 53. . The Classification of Second Temple Literature. 54. . Apocrypha. 54. . The Catholic Deuterocanonical Books. 55. . Works in Greek Bibles but Not in the Hebrew Bible. 55. . Pseudepigrapha. 56. . Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period. 59. . Narrative Works. 59. . Histories. 59. (1). 1 Esdras. 59. (2). 1 Maccabees. 62. (3). 2 Maccabees. 65. . Tales. 69. (1). Tobit. 69. (2). Judith. 72. (3). Susanna. 75. (4). 3 Maccabees. 78. (5). Letter of Aristeas. 81. (6). The Greek Esther. 85. . Rewritten Scripture. 88. . 1 Enoch. 88. (1). The Astronomical Book of Enoch (1 Enoch 72-82). 89. (2). The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36). 91. . Aramaic Levi. 94. . The Book of Jubilees. 97. . The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. 100. . Apocalypses. 102. . The Apocalypse of Weeks (1 Enoch 93:3-10; 91:11-17). 103. . The Book of Dreams (1 Enoch 83-90). 105. . Sibylline Oracles. 107. . The Similitudes or Parables of Enoch (1 Enoch 37-71). 110. . The Testament of Moses. 113. . Wisdom Literature. 115. . The Wisdom of Ben Sira. 115. . The Epistle of Enoch (1 Enoch 91-107 [108]). 119. . Baruch (or 1 Baruch). 121. . The Wisdom of Solomon. 124. . Poetic Works. 128. . The Psalms of Solomon. 128. . The Prayer of Manasseh. 132. . The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men. 133. . Mockery of Idols. 135. . The Letter of Jeremiah. 135. . Bel and the Dragon. 136. . Philo and Josephus. 138. . Philo of Alexandria. 138. . Josephus. 142. . Great Archeological Discoveries. 147. . The Elephantine Papyri. 147. . The Dead Sea Scrolls. 150. (1). The Manuscripts and Fragments. 151. (2). Archeological Evidence. 158. (3). The Qumran Community and Its History. 160. . Masada. 166. (1). The Story. 166. (2). Archeological Evidence. 170. 3. Synthesis: Leaders, Groups, and Institutions. 175. . Rulers and Leaders. 176. . The Priests. 176. . High Priest. 176. . Leading Priests. 181. . Ordinary Priests. 182. . Civil Rulers. 183. . Sanhedrin/Council. 184. . Groups. 186. . Early Second Temple Period. 186. . Late Hellenistic and Roman Times. 187. . Pharisees. 187. . Sadducees. 189. . Essenes. 191. . Others. 192. . Worship. 193. . The Temple. 194. . The Temple Structure. 194. . The Sacrificial System. 203. . Festivals. 204. (1). Passover. 204. (2). The Festival of Unleavened Bread. 204. (3). Second Passover. 205. (4). The Festival of Weeks. 205. (5). The First of the Seventh Month. 206. (6). The Day of Atonement. 206. (7). The Festival of Tabernacles (or Booths). 207. (8). Hanukkah. 207. (9). Purim. 208. . Other Forms of Worship. 208. (1). Music. 208. (2). Prayer. 210. . The Synagogue. 211. . Scriptures. 213. . Groups of Authoritative Writings. 213. . Versions. 215. . Interpretation. 216. . Bibliography. 219. . Index. 225.
Three books on Jewish heritage from the author of Jews, God, and History, “the best popular history of the Jews written in the English language” (Los Angeles Times).

With over a million and a half copies sold, Jews, God and History introduced readers to “the fascinating reasoning” of acclaimed scholar Max I. Dimont’s “bright and unorthodox mind” (San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle). In these three volumes, Dimont builds on the themes and insights presented in that seminal work, providing a rich and comprehensive portrait of the cultural and religious history of the Jewish people.
 
The Indestructible Jews traces the four-thousand-year journey of the Jewish people from an ancient tribe with a simple faith to a global religion with adherents in every nation. Through countless expulsions and migrations, the great tragedy of the Holocaust and the joy of founding a homeland in Israel, this compelling history evokes a proud heritage while offering a hopeful vision of the future.
 
The Jews in America offers an overview of Judaism in the United States from colonial times to twentieth-century Zionism. Dimont follows the various waves of immigration, recounts the cultural achievements of those who escaped oppression in their native lands, and discusses the attitudes of American Jews—both religious and secular—toward Israel.
 
Appointment in Jerusalem explores the mystery surrounding the predictions Jesus made about his fate. Dimont re-creates the drama in three acts using his knowledge of the events recorded in the Bible. Thoughtful and fascinating, his account offers fresh insights into questions that have surrounded religion for centuries. Who was Jesus—the Christian messiah or a member of a Jewish sect?
The Exodus has become a core tradition of Western civilization.  Millions read it, retell it, and celebrate it.  But did it happen?

 

Biblical scholars, Egyptologists, archaeologists, historians, literary scholars, anthropologists, and filmmakers are drawn to it.  Unable to find physical evidence until now, many archaeologists and scholars claim this mass migration is just a story, not history.  Others oppose this conclusion, defending the biblical account.

 

Like a detective on an intricate case no one has yet solved, pioneering Bible scholar and bestselling author of Who Wrote the Bible? Richard Elliott Friedman cuts through the noise — the serious studies and the wild theories — merging new findings with new insight.  From a spectrum of disciplines, state-of-the-art archeological breakthroughs, and fresh discoveries within scripture, he brings real evidence of a historical basis for the exodus — the history behind the story.  The biblical account of millions fleeing Egypt may be an exaggeration, but the exodus itself is not a myth.

 

Friedman does not stop there.  Known for his ability to make Bible scholarship accessible to readers, Friedman proceeds to reveal how much is at stake when we explore the historicity of the exodus.  The implications, he writes, are monumental.  We learn that it became the starting-point of the formation of monotheism, the defining concept of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Moreover, we learn that it precipitated the foundational ethic of loving one’s neighbors — including strangers — as oneself.  He concludes, the actual exodus was the cradle of global values of compassion and equal rights today.

 

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