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Interview with Scholar of Judaism about their New Books

Interview with Scholar of Judaism about their New Books
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Interview with Scholar of Judaism about their New Books




Mohammed Dajani Daoudi, "Teaching Empathy and Reconciliation In Midst Of Conflict" (Wasatia Press, 2016)

“Moderation in times of extremism is a revolutionary idea. It is a positive, courageous value, as opposed to a defeatist attitude. It is swimming against the tide, rather than following the crowd on a path obviously leading to the abyss. We need to create our own vision rather than just copy the vision of others.” -Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi In a time when Islam is increasingly identified by violent extremism and hostility towards Christians and Jews, Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi...


Yael Almog, "Secularism and Hermeneutics" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2019)

In the late Enlightenment, a new imperative began to inform theories of interpretation: all literary texts should be read in the same way that we read the Bible. However, this assumption concealed a problem—there was no coherent "we" who read the Bible in the same way. In Secularism and Hermeneutics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Yael Almog shows that several prominent thinkers of the era constituted readers as an imaginary "we" around which they could form their theories and...


Jonathan Robker, "Balaam in Text and Tradition" (Mohr Siebeck, 2019)

Balaam plays a prominent role in the book of Numbers, but who was he? Where did he come from? What was his religion? What was his occupation? The mystery of Balaam has interested exegetes and scribes for millennia. Join us as we talk to Jonathan Miles Robker about his book Balaam in Text and Tradition (Mohr Siebeck, 2019), which explores the figure of Balaam in the Hebrew Bible, Qumran, the New Testament, and beyond. Robker studied History and Philosophy, with a concentration in Religious...


Rachel Werczberger, "Jews In The Age Of Authenticity: Jewish Spiritual Renewal In Israel" (Peter Lang, 2016)

Perhaps there’s something in the air in the Middle East, something that elevates spirituality. The Middle East, particularly Israel, is the legendary home of spiritual searching, of prophecy and religious expression. And in this historical birthplace of monotheism – of Judaism and its daughter religions, Christianity and Islam – religious vitality is as vibrant today as ever. Although traditional forms of religious practice dominate throughout the Middle East, not everyone finds their...


Jonathan Sarna, "American Judaism: A History" (Yale UP, 2019)

American Judaism: A History (Yale University Press; second edition, 2019) chronicles the 350-year history of the Jewish religion in America. Tracing American Judaism from its origins in the colonial era through the present day, Jonathan Sarna explores the ways in which Judaism adapted in this new context. How did American culture―predominantly Protestant and overwhelmingly capitalist―affect Jewish religion and culture? And how did American Jews shape their own communities and faith in the...


Mark Roseman, "Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany" (Metropolitan Books, 2019)

What makes some people aid the persecuted while others just stand by? Questions about rescue and resistance have been fundamental to the field of genocide studies since its inception. Mark Roseman offers a sophisticated and deeply human exploration of this question in his new book Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany (Metropolitan Books, 2019). The book is a careful examination of a small organization called “League: Community for Socialist Life.” Generally...


Evdoxios Doxiadis, "State, Nationalism, and the Jewish Communities of Modern Greece" (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018)

How did minorities fit into the new Greek state during the country’s transition from imperial rule to national sovereignty? How did the relationship between Greece and its Jewish minorities, in particular, shift as definitions of national belonging expanded, shrunk, and transformed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? These are the questions that Dr. Evdoxios Doxiadis, Associate Professor in History at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, seeks to answer in his new book, State,...


Jeffrey Saks, "Agnon Library of The Toby Press"

Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970) was born in Buczacz, Eastern Galicia (now part of Ukraine). Yiddish was the language of his home, and Hebrew the language of the Bible and the Talmud which he studied formally until the age of nine. His knowledge of German literature came from his mother, and his love of the teachings of Maimonides and the Hassidim came from his father. In 1908 he left for Palestine, where, except for an extended stay in Germany from 1912 to 1924, he lived until his death....


Evgeny Finkel, "Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust" (Princeton UP, 2017)

Can there be a political science of the Holocaust? Evgeny Finkel, in his new book Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust(Princeton University Press, 2017), answers Charles King's question with a resounding yes. Finkel is interested in a very specific question: What made individual Jews choose from a variety of different strategies in responding to the threat posed by German violence. He lays out several possible strategies for survival, ranging from cooperation and...


Shai Lavi, "Bioethics and Biopolitics in Israel: Socio-legal, Political and Empirical Analysis" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Once upon a time, or so we’ve been told, medical ethics were confined to the patient-doctor relationship. As long as doctors were true to their Hippocratic oaths, as long as they acted with compassion and wisdom, then all expectations were met. Life is more complicated today, and so is healthcare: an undertaking, like all others, that is influenced by social, political, legal and cultural factors. Nothing is value-free. In Bioethics and Biopolitics in Israel: Socio-legal, Political and...


Lynn Kaye, "Time In The Babylonian Talmud: Natural and Imagined Times in Jewish Law and Narrative" (Cambridge UP, 2018)

The great writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” Time is the topic of a new book by Lynn Kaye, Assistant Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought at Brandeis University and Visiting Library Fellow at The Van Leer Institute Jerusalem. With insights gleaned from art and literature, as well as a close...


Markus Zehnder, "New Studies in the Book of Isaiah: Essays in Honor of Hallvard Hagelia" (Gorgias Press, 2014)

Who is the Suffering Servant? The book of Isaiah is one of the most beloved and well-known prophetic books among both Jews and Christians, but its references to the ‘Suffering Servant’ have been a source of controversy in scholarship. In today’s show, we speak with Dr. Markus Zehnder about the book he edited, New Studies in the Book of Isaiah: Essays in Honor of Hallvard Hagelia (Gorgias Press, 2014), which contains twelve articles that shed new light on the Book of Isaiah, covering a wide...


David Slucki, "My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons" (Wayne State UP, 2019)

In Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons (Wayne State University Press, 2019), David Slucki, Assistant Professor in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston, gives us a very different type of history book. Slucki’s memoir blends the scholarly and literary, grounding the story of his grandfather and father in the broader context of the twentieth century. Based on thirty years of letters from Jakub to his brother Mendel, on archival materials, and...


Naftali Rothenberg, "Rabbi Akiva’s Philosophy of Love" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Is love between man and woman the source of wisdom and the cornerstone of moral life? Naftali Rothenberg says it is, based on the works and life of the first century Jewish scholar and sage, Rabbi Akiva. In Rabbi Akiva’s Philosophy of Love (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) Rothenberg explores the philosophy of love through the thought and life of Rabbi Akiva whose life was transformed by the love of his wife, Rachel. From this starting point, Naftali Rothenberg conducts a thorough examination of...


Liat Steir-Livny, "Remaking Holocaust Memory: Documentary Cinema by Third Generation Survivors in Israel" (Syracuse UP, 2019)

The Holocaust was and remains a central trauma in Israel’s national consciousness. It has found ample expressions in Israeli documentary cinema from 1945 until the present. Third-generation Holocaust survivors were born between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. They grew up in a society which acts out the trauma and since the 1990s they have related to the Holocaust in a range of cultural fields. Remaking Holocaust Memory aims to paint the first comprehensive portrait of third-generation...


Miryam Sivan, "Make it Concrete" (Cuidono Press, 2019)

For twenty years, 47-year-old Isabel Toledo has been ghostwriting the stories of Holocaust survivors. It's the mid 1990's, Isabel is divorced from the father of her three children and in precarious relationships with three different men. Now, for the first time since she began ghosting, she’s having trouble finishing a book. This Holocaust survivor’s story brings up the angst she feels about not knowing how her own mother survived the war. And how much of Isabel’s inability to love just one...


Lynn Downey, "Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World" (U Massachusetts Press, 2016)

Nearly every consumer today is familiar with the name Levi Strauss thank to the jeans that bear his name. As Lynn Downey explains in her book Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), to understand the man behind the brand requires sorting through decades of popular legends created to fill a vacuum of knowledge. Born Löb Strauß, he changed his name to Levis Strauss when he emigrated as a young man from Bavaria to the United States. Once...


Sophia Shalmiyev, "Mother Winter: A Memoir" (Simon and Schuster, 2019)

The story of where we come from is such an important aspect of our personal sense of self, the forefront of many conversations about national identity, community, and belonging. In a country like the United States, where so many of us are or are descended from immigrants, the answer to this question of heritage can be a complicated one that takes us back generations. And, with proliferation of home genealogy tests like AncestryDNA and 23andMe, people are learning more about their family...


Kirsten Fermaglich, "A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America" (NYU Press, 2018)

Throughout the 20th century, especially during and immediately after WWII, New York Jews changed their names at rates considerably higher than any other ethnic group. Representative of the insidious nature of American anti-Semitism, recognizably Jewish names were often barriers for entry into college, employment, and professional advancement. College and job application forms were intentionally used as a means to “control” the Jewish population in a given college or institution. As such,...


Matilda Rabinowitz, "Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century" (ILR Press, 2017)

It’s quite common these days to hear young people being urged to collect and record the stories of their grandparents or parents in order to learn and preserve their family’s history. For a few fortunate folks, like Robbin Légère Henderson, such a record already exists. Henderson’s maternal grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz, penned her own memoir before her passing in 1963 so that her grandchildren would know her history. With candor and wit, Rabinowitz, born in 1887 in Ukraine, described her...