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Bad Rabbi

Author: Eddy Portnoy
Publisher: Stanford Studies in Jewish His
ISBN: 9781503604117
Size: 18.77 MB
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Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird--Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An alternative history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories of drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens, all plucked from the pages of the Yiddish dailies, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the Jews whose follies and foibles were fodder for urban gossip, before winding up at the bottom of bird cages or as wrapping for dead fish. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl--in short, not quite the Jews you expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.

Bad Rabbi

Author: Eddy Portnoy
Publisher: Stanford Studies in Jewish His
ISBN: 9780804797610
Size: 35.41 MB
Format: PDF
View: 2835
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Stories abound of immigrant Jews on the outside looking in, clambering up the ladder of social mobility, successfully assimilating and integrating into their new worlds. But this book is not about the success stories. It's a paean to the bunglers, the blockheads, and the just plain weird--Jews who were flung from small, impoverished eastern European towns into the urban shtetls of New York and Warsaw, where, as they say in Yiddish, their bread landed butter side down in the dirt. These marginal Jews may have found their way into the history books far less frequently than their more socially upstanding neighbors, but there's one place you can find them in force: in the Yiddish newspapers that had their heyday from the 1880s to the 1930s. Disaster, misery and misfortune: you will find no better chronicle of the daily ignominies of urban Jewish life than in the pages of the Yiddish press. An alternative history of downwardly mobile Jews, Bad Rabbi exposes the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With true stories of drunks, thieves, murderers, wrestlers, poets, and beauty queens, all plucked from the pages of the Yiddish dailies, Eddy Portnoy introduces us to the Jews whose follies and foibles were fodder for urban gossip, before winding up at the bottom of bird cages or as wrapping for dead fish. There's the Polish rabbi blackmailed by an American widow, mass brawls at weddings and funerals, a psychic who specialized in locating missing husbands, and violent gangs of Jewish mothers on the prowl--in short, not quite the Jews you expect. One part Isaac Bashevis Singer, one part Jerry Springer, this irreverent, unvarnished, and frequently hilarious compendium of stories provides a window into an unknown Yiddish world that was.

Adventures In Yiddishland

Author: Jeffrey Shandler
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520244160
Size: 14.23 MB
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"Shandler takes a wide-ranging look at Yiddish culture, including language learning, literary translation, performance, and material culture. He examines children's books, board games, summer camps, klezmer music, cultural festivals, language clubs, Web sites, cartoons, and collectibles - all touchstones of the meaning of Yiddish as it enters its second millennium. Rather than mourn the language's demise, Adventures in Yiddishland calls for taking an expansive approach to the possibilities for the future of Yiddish. Shandler's conceptualization of postvernacularity sheds important new light on contemporary Jewish culture generally and offers insights into theorizing the relation between language and culture."--BOOK JACKET.

Never Better

Author: Miriam Udel
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 0472053051
Size: 60.38 MB
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It was only when Jewish writers gave up on the lofty Enlightenment ideals of progress and improvement that the Yiddish novel could decisively enter modernity. Animating their fictions were a set of unheroic heroes who struck a precarious balance between sanguinity and irony that author Miriam Udel captures through the phrase “never better.” With this rhetorical homage toward the double-voiced utterances of Sholem Aleichem, Udel gestures at these characters’ insouciant proclamation that things had never been better, and their rueful, even despairing admission that things would probably never get better. The characters defined by this dual consciousness constitute a new kind of protagonist: a distinctively Jewish scapegrace whom Udel denominates the polit or refugee. Cousin to the Golden Age Spanish pícaro, the polit is a socially marginal figure who narrates his own story in discrete episodes, as if stringing beads on a narrative necklace. A deeply unsettled figure, the polit is allergic to sentimentality and even routine domesticity. His sequential misadventures point the way toward the heart of the picaresque, which Jewish authors refashion as a vehicle for modernism—not only in Yiddish, but also in German, Russian, English and Hebrew. Udel draws out the contours of the new Jewish picaresque by contrasting it against the nineteenth-century genre of progress epitomized by the Bildungsroman. While this book is grounded in modern Jewish literature, its implications stretch toward genre studies in connection with modernist fiction more generally. Udel lays out for a diverse readership concepts in the history and theory of the novel while also explicating the relevant particularities of Jewish literary culture. In addressing the literary stylistics of a “minor” modernism, this study illuminates how the adoption of a picaresque sensibility allowed minority authors to write simultaneously within and against the literary traditions of Europe.

Yivo And The Making Of Modern Jewish Culture

Author: Cecile Esther Kuznitz
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139867385
Size: 32.22 MB
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This book is the first history of YIVO, the original center for Yiddish scholarship. Founded by a group of Eastern European intellectuals after World War I, YIVO became both the apex of secular Yiddish culture and the premier institution of Diaspora Nationalism, which fought for Jewish rights throughout the world at a time of rising anti-Semitism. From its headquarters in Vilna, Lithuania, YIVO tried to balance scholarly objectivity with its commitment to the Jewish masses. Using newly recovered documents that were believed destroyed by Hitler and Stalin, Cecile Esther Kuznitz tells for the first time the compelling story of how these scholars built a world-renowned institution despite dire poverty and anti-Semitism. She raises new questions about the relationship between Jewish cultural and political work and analyzes how nationalism arises outside of state power.

Young Lions

Author: Leah Garrett
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 0810131455
Size: 60.13 MB
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Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Awards in the American Jewish Studies category Winner, 2017 AJS Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Modern Jewish History and Culture: Africa, Americas, Asia, and Oceania Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel shows how Jews, traditionally castigated as weak and cowardly, for the first time became the popular literary representatives of what it meant to be a soldier and what it meant to be an American. Revisiting best-selling works ranging from Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead to Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and uncovering a range of unknown archival material, Leah Garrett shows how Jewish writers used the theme of World War II to reshape the American public’s ideas about war, the Holocaust, and the role of Jews in postwar life. In contrast to most previous war fiction these new “Jewish” war novels were often ironic, funny, and irreverent and sought to teach the reading public broader lessons about liberalism, masculinity, and pluralism.

The Impossible Jew

Author: Benjamin Schreier
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479895849
Size: 70.78 MB
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He destroys in order to create. In a sweeping critique of the field, Benjamin Schreier resituates Jewish Studies in order to make room for a critical study of identity and identification. Displacing the assumption that Jewish Studies is necessarily the study of Jews, this book aims to break down the walls of the academic ghetto in which the study of Jewish American literature often seems to be contained: alienated from fields like comparative ethnicity studies, American studies, and multicultural studies; suffering from the unwillingness of Jewish Studies to accept critical literary studies as a legitimate part of its project; and so often refusing itself to engage in self-critique. The Impossible Jew interrogates how the concept of identity is critically put to work by identity-based literary study. Through readings of key authors from across the canon of Jewish American literature and culture—including Abraham Cahan, the New York Intellectuals, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Safran Foer—Benjamin Schreier shows how texts resist the historicist expectation that self-evident Jewish populations are represented in and recoverable from them. Through ornate, scabrous, funny polemics, Schreier draws the lines of relation between Jewish American literary study and American studies, multiethnic studies, critical theory, and Jewish Studies formations. He maintains that a Jewish Studies beyond ethnicity is essential for a viable future of Jewish literary study.

Defenders Of The Faith

Author: Samuel C. Heilman
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520221123
Size: 26.76 MB
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"An indispensable sociological and anthropological account of an important religious group within Israel. . . . Heilman combines his own detailed observations within a cautious and critical sociological framework."--Calvin Goldscheider, Brown University

Feeling Jewish

Author: Devorah Baum
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300212445
Size: 37.26 MB
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In this sparkling debut, a young critic offers an original, passionate, and erudite account of what it means to feel Jewish--even when you're not. Self-hatred. Guilt. Resentment. Paranoia. Hysteria. Overbearing Mother-Love. In this witty, insightful, and poignant book, Devorah Baum delves into fiction, film, memoir, and psychoanalysis to present a dazzlingly original exploration of a series of feelings famously associated with modern Jews. Reflecting on why Jews have so often been depicted, both by others and by themselves, as prone to "negative" feelings, she queries how negative these feelings really are. And as the pace of globalization leaves countless people feeling more marginalized, uprooted, and existentially threatened, she argues that such "Jewish" feelings are becoming increasingly common to us all. Ranging from Franz Kafka to Philip Roth, Sarah Bernhardt to Woody Allen, Anne Frank to Nathan Englander, Feeling Jewish bridges the usual fault lines between left and right, insider and outsider, Jew and Gentile, and even Semite and anti-Semite, to offer an indispensable guide for our divisive times.

A History Of The Grandparents I Never Had

Author: Ivan Jablonka
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804799385
Size: 34.55 MB
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Ivan Jablonka's grandparents' lives ended long before his began: although Matès and Idesa Jablonka were his family, they were perfect strangers. When he set out to uncover their story, Jablonka had little to work with. Neither of them was the least bit famous, and they left little behind except their two orphaned children, a handful of letters, and a passport. Persecuted as communists in Poland, as refugees in France, and then as Jews under the Vichy regime, Matès and Idesa lived their short lives underground. They were overcome by the tragedies of the twentieth century: Stalinism, the mounting dangers in Europe during the 1930s, the Second World War, and the destruction of European Jews. Jablonka's challenge was, as a historian, to rigorously distance himself and yet, as family, to invest himself completely in their story. Imagined oppositions collapsed—between scholarly research and personal commitment, between established facts and the passion of the one recording them, between history and the art of storytelling. To write this book, Jablonka traveled to three continents; met the handful of survivors of his grandparents' era, their descendants, and some of his far-flung cousins; and investigated twenty different archives. And in the process, he reflected on his own family and his responsibilities to his father, the orphaned son, and to his own children and the family wounds they all inherited. A History of the Grandparents I Never Had cannot bring Matès and Idesa to life, but Jablonka succeeds in bringing them, as he soberly puts it, to light. The result is a gripping story, a profound reflection, and an absolutely extraordinary history.