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Shush Growing Up Jewish Under Stalin

Author: Emil Draitser
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520254465
Size: 21.55 MB
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"This memoir conveys us back to Draitser's childhood and adolescence and provides a unique account of post-Holocaust life in Russia. We live side by side with young Draitser as he struggles to reconcile the harsh values of Soviet society with the values of his working-class Jewish family. Despite the waves of anti-Jewish campaigns, which swept over the country and climaxed in the infamous "Doctors' Plot," we feel the Draitsers' loving family life - lively, evocative, and rich with humor. This intimate story ends with the death of Stalin and, through the author's anecdotes about his ancestors, presents a sweeping panorama of two centuries of Jewish history in Russia."--BOOK JACKET.

No Joke

Author: Ruth R. Wisse
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 140084634X
Size: 21.88 MB
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Humor is the most celebrated of all Jewish responses to modernity. In this book, Ruth Wisse evokes and applauds the genius of spontaneous Jewish joking--as well as the brilliance of comic masterworks by writers like Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Philip Roth. At the same time, Wisse draws attention to the precarious conditions that call Jewish humor into being--and the price it may exact from its practitioners and audience. Wisse broadly traces modern Jewish humor around the world, teasing out its implications as she explores memorable and telling examples from German, Yiddish, English, Russian, and Hebrew. Among other topics, the book looks at how Jewish humor channeled Jewish learning and wordsmanship into new avenues of creativity, brought relief to liberal non-Jews in repressive societies, and enriched popular culture in the United States. Even as it invites readers to consider the pleasures and profits of Jewish humor, the book asks difficult but fascinating questions: Can the excess and extreme self-ridicule of Jewish humor go too far and backfire in the process? And is "leave 'em laughing" the wisest motto for a people that others have intended to sweep off the stage of history?

In The Shadow Of The Shtetl

Author: Jeffrey Veidlinger
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253011523
Size: 80.11 MB
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The story of how the Holocaust decimated Jewish life in the shtetls of Eastern Europe is well known. Still, thousands of Jews in these small towns survived the war and returned afterward to rebuild their communities. The recollections of some 400 returnees in Ukraine provide the basis for Jeffrey Veidlinger’s reappraisal of the traditional narrative of 20th-century Jewish history. These elderly Yiddish speakers relate their memories of Jewish life in the prewar shtetl, their stories of survival during the Holocaust, and their experiences living as Jews under Communism. Despite Stalinist repressions, the Holocaust, and official antisemitism, their individual remembrances of family life, religious observance, education, and work testify to the survival of Jewish life in the shadow of the shtetl to this day.

Inventing Jewish Ritual

Author: Vanessa L. Ochs
Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
ISBN: 9780827608344
Size: 52.44 MB
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Vanessa Ochs invites her readers to explore how Jewish practice can be more meaningful through renewing, reshaping, and even creating new rituals, such as naming ceremonies for welcoming baby girls, healing services, Miriam’s cup, mitzvah days, egalitarian wedding practices, and commitment ceremonies. We think of rituals—the patterned ways of doing things that have shared and often multiple meanings— as being steeped in tradition and therefore unalterable. But rituals have always been reinvented. When we perform ancient rituals in a particular place and time they are no longer quite the same rituals they once were. Each is a debut, an innovation: this Sabbath meal, this Passover seder, this wedding—firsts in their own unique ways. In the last 30 years there has been a surge of interest in reinventing ritual, in what is called minhag America. Ochs describes the range and diversity of interest in this Jewish American experience and examines how it reflects tradition as it revives Jewish culture and faith. And she shows us how to create our own ritual objects, sacred spaces, ceremonies, and liturgies that can be paths to greater personal connection with history and with holiness: baby-naming ceremonies for girls, divorce rituals, Shabbat practices, homemade haggadahs, ritual baths, healing services. Through these and more, we see that American Judaism is a dynamic cultural process very much open to change and a source of great personal and communal meaning. The ceramic “Tree of Life” spice container that appears on the cover of Inventing Jewish Ritual is by Susan Garson of Garson and Pakele Studios, www.garsonpakele.com

Farewell Mama Odessa

Author: Emil Draitser
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 9780810141087
Size: 76.94 MB
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Set in the summer of 1979 at the height of the movement to free Soviet Jewry, Farewell, Mama Odessa is an autobiographical novel whose intertwined storylines follow a variety of people--dissidents, victims of ethnic discrimination, and black-marketers among them--as they bid farewell to their beloved home of Odessa, Ukraine, and make their way to the West. At the book's center is Boris, a young writer thwarted by state censorship and antisemitism during the twilight years of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's sclerotic rule. With an Angora kitten for his companion and together with other émigrés, vulnerable, displaced, continually living out of a suitcase, he puts Russia in his rear-view mirror and sets out on a journey that will take him to Bratislava, Vienna, Rome, and New York on his way to Los Angeles. Will Boris be able to rekindle his creative passion and inspiration in the West? Will other Jewish émigrés fit into the new society, so much different than the one they'd left behind? With humor and compassion, Farewell, Mama Odessa describes the émigrés' attempts at adjustment to the free world.

Stalin S Romeo Spy

Author: Emil Draitser
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
ISBN: 0810126648
Size: 22.46 MB
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Relates the life of a top Soviet spy, who seduced women to obtain diplomatic pouches, risked his life to steal military secrets and summoned physical courage to cross the Sahara Desert and the jungles of the Congo, only to be tortured by the Stalin regime, forced to falsely confess to selling out and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor in the Gulag.