Research

Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950

By Julia Phillips Cohen and Sarah Abrevaya Stein. (Stanford University Press, 2014)

This ground-breaking documentary history contains over 150 primary sources originally written in 15 languages by or about Sephardi Jews. Designed for use in the classroom, these documents offer students an intimate view of how Sephardim experienced the major regional and world events of the modern era. They also provide a vivid exploration of the quotidian lives of Sephardi women, men, boys, and girls in the Judeo-Spanish heartland of the Ottoman Balkans and Middle East, as well as the émigré centers which Sephardim settled throughout the twentieth century, including North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Read more

The Business of Identity: Jews, Muslims, and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt

By Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman. (Stanford University Press, 2014)

The Cairo Geniza is the largest and richest store of documentary evidence for the medieval Islamic world. This book seeks to revolutionize the way scholars use that treasure trove. Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman draws on legal documents from the Geniza to reconceive of life in the medieval Islamic marketplace. Read more

Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era

By Julia Phillips Cohen. (Oxford University Press, 2014)

The Ottoman-Jewish story has long been told as a romance between Jews and the empire. The prevailing view is that Ottoman Jews were protected and privileged by imperial policies and in return offered their unflagging devotion to the imperial government over many centuries. In this book, Julia Phillips Cohen offers a corrective, arguing that Jewish leaders who promoted this vision were doing so in response to a series of reforms enacted by the nineteenth-century Ottoman state: the new equality they gained came with a new set of expectations. Ottoman subjects were suddenly to become imperial citizens, to consider their neighbors as brothers and their empire as a homeland. Read more

The Modernity of Others: Jewish Anti-Catholicism in Germany and France

By Ari Joskowicz. (Stanford University Press, 2013)

The most prominent story of nineteenth-century German and French Jewry has focused on Jewish adoption of liberal middle-class values. The Modernity of Others points to an equally powerful but largely unexplored aspect of modern Jewish history: the extent to which German and French Jews sought to become modern by criticizing the anti-modern positions of the Catholic Church. Read more

A Jew’s Best Friend? The Image of the Dog Throughout Jewish History

Edited by Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman and Rakefet Zalashik. (Sussex Academic Press, 2013).

A Jew’s Best Friend discusses specific cultural manifestations of the relationship between dogs and Jews, from ancient times to the present, highlighting the constant tension between domination/control and partnership which underpins the relationship of humans to animals, as well as the connection between Jewish societies and their broader host cultures. Read more

Diasporic Modernisms: Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in the Twentieth Century

By Allison Schachter. (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Spanning from 1894 to 1974, Diasporic Modernisms traces the development of a diasporic aesthetic in the shifting centers of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, including Odessa, Jerusalem, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and New York. Through an analysis of Jewish writing, Schachter theorizes how modernist literary networks operate outside national borders in minor and non-national languages. Read more

The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us

By Douglas Knight and Amy-Jill Levine. (Harper Collins Publishers, 2011).

Passed down for generations, compiled between 500 and 100 BCE, and finalized around the time of Jesus, the various accounts in the Hebrew Bible took shape under a variety of cultures. Knight and Levine explore this diverse history and equip us with the critical tools necessary to understand what the ancient texts originally meant. Read more

The Other Jewish Question: Identifying the Jew and Making Sense of Modernity

By Jay Geller. (Fordham University Press, 2011).

Mapping the dissemination of and interrelationships among corporeal signifiers in German-speaking cultures between the Enlightenment and the Shoah, The Other Jewish Question will appeal to readers interested in psychoanalysis, in Jewish studies, in cultural studies, and in the whole question of “the body.” Read more

The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler. (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Although major New Testament figures 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 put these writings back into the context of their original authors and audiences, and explain how these writings have affected the relations of Jews and Christians over the past two thousand years. Read more

Zellig Harris: From American Linguistics to Socialist Zionism

By Robert F. Barksky. (The MIT Press, 2011)

In this meticulously-researched biography, Robert Barsky casts a great deal more light upon Harris’s story. Exploring his involvement in the Avukah student group in the 1930s and 40s, Barsky shows how Harris not only strove to advance the cause of socialist Zionism, but also shaped the destinies of several influential thinkers. He also traces the course of the revolutionary programme of linguistic enquiry that Harris laid out, inspired by the example of theoretical physics, and how this ongoing work came to be regarded as eccentric by practitioners of the dominant contemporary research trends. Read more

Tours That Bind: Diaspora, Pilgrimage and Israeli Birthright Tourism

By Shaul Kelner. (New York University Press, 2010).

Since 1999 hundreds of thousands of young American Jews have visited Israel on an all-expense-paid 10-day pilgrimage-tour known as Birthright Israel. This ethnographic analysis provides an on-the-ground look at this hotly debated and widely emulated use of tourism to forge transnational ties. Read more

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Francophone World

By Nathalie Debrauwere-Miller. (Routledge, 2009).

With interdisciplinary analyses of texts whose origins span the diversity of the Jewish and Muslim traditions, the provocative essays collected in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Francophone World offer startling insights into the meaning of the volatile history of this conflict in the Francophone world. Read more

Maimonides and His Heritage

Edited by Idit Dobbs-Weinstein, Lenn E. Goodman, and James Allen Grady. (SUNY Press, 2008).

This volume celebrates the depth and breadth of Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides’ (1138–1204) achievements. The essays gathered here explore the rich diversity of a heritage that extends over eight hundred years. Read more

On Freud’s Jewish Body: Mitigating Circumcisions

By Jay Geller. (Fordham Unviersity Press, 2007).

Through a symptomatic reading of Freud’s corpus, from his letters to Fliess through the case of Little Hans to Moses and Montheism, this book demonstrates how “circumcision”—the fetishized signifier of Jewish difference and source of knowledge about Jewish identity—is central to Freud’s construction of psychoanalysis. Read more

The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus

By Amy-Jill Levine. (Harper Collins Publishers, 2007).

Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the “Jewishness” of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place. Levine’s humor and informed truth-telling provokes honest conversation and debate about how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus, the New Testament, and each other. Read more