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Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

David Aaronovitch

Jonathan Cape ISBN 9780224074704

May 2009

Click to enlargeOur age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere – from Pearl Harbour to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana. Bookshop shelves threaten to collapse under the weight of texts devoted to proving myriad conspiracy theories true, while even quality newspapers and serious TV channels are prepared to give them credence.

For David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern. These theories used similar dodgy methods with which to insinuate their claims: they linked themselves to the supposed conspiracies of the past (it happened then so it can happen now); they carefully manipulated their evidence to hide its holes; they relied on the authority of dubious academic sources. Most importantly, they elevated their believers to membership of an elite – a group of people able to see beyond lies to a higher reality. But why believe something that entails stretching the bounds of probability so far? Surely it is more likely that men did actually land on the moon in 1969 than that thousands of people were enlisted to fabricate a deception that they did. 

In this entertaining and enlightening book – aimed to provide ammunition for those who have found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or twin towers – Aaronovitch carefully probes and explodes a dozen of the major conspiracy theories. In doing so, he looks at why people believe them, and makes an argument for a true scepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

David Abulafia

Allen Lane ISBN 9780713999341

May 2011


jacket image for The Great Sea by David Abulafia For over three thousand years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the great centres of world civilisation. From the time of historical Troy until the middle of the nineteenth century, human activity here decisively shaped much of the course of world history. David Abulafia's The Great Sea is the first complete history of the Mediterranean from the erection of the mysterious temples on Malta around 3500 BC to the recent reinvention of the Mediterranean's shores as a tourist destination.

Part of the argument of Abulafia's book is that the great port cities - Alexandria, Trieste and Salonika and many others - prospered in part because of their ability to allow many different peoples, religions and identities to co-exist within sometimes very confined spaces. He also brilliantly populates his history with identifiable individuals whose lives illustrate with great immediacy the wider developments he is describing.

The Great Sea ranges stupendously across time and the whole extraordinary space of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Jaffa, Venice to Alexandria. Rather than imposing a false unity on the sea and the teeming human activity it has sustained, the book emphasises diversity - ethnic, linguistic, religious and political. Anyone who reads it will leave it with their understanding of those societies and their histories enormously enriched.

The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread

Maria Balinska

Yale University Press ISBN 9780300112290

October 2008

If smoked salmon and cream cheese bring only one thing to mind, you can count yourself among the world's millions of bagel mavens. But few people are aware of the bagel's provenance, let alone its adventuresome history. This charming book tells the remarkable story of the bagel's journey from the tables of seventeenth-century Poland to the freezers of middle America today, a story of often surprising connections between a cheap market-day snack and centuries of Polish, Jewish, and American history.Research in international archives and numerous personal interviews uncover the bagel's links with the defeat of the Turks by Polish King Jan Sobieski in 1683, the Yiddish cultural revival of the late nineteenth century, and Jewish migration across the Atlantic to America. There the story moves from the bakeries of New York's Lower East Side to the Bagel Bakers' Local 388 Union of the 1960s, and the attentions of the mob. For all its modest size, the bagel has managed to bridge cultural gaps, rescue kings from obscurity, charge the emotions, and challenge received wisdom. Maria Balinska weaves together a rich, quirky, and evocative history of East European Jewry and the unassuming ring-shaped roll the world has taken to its heart.

Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters

Louis Begley

Yale University Press ISBN 9780300125320

October 2009

In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a brilliant French

artillery officer and a Jew of Alsatian descent, was court-martialed for selling secrets to the German military attache in Paris based on perjured testimony and trumped-up evidence. The sentence was military degradation and life imprisonment on Devil's Island, a hellhole off the coast of French Guiana. Five years later, the case was overturned, and eventually Dreyfus was completely exonerated. Meanwhile, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, pitting Dreyfusards - committed to restoring freedom and honour to an innocent man convicted of a crime committed by another - against nationalists, anti-Semites, and militarists who preferred having an innocent man rot to exposing the crimes committed by ministers of war and the army's top brass in order to secure Dreyfus' conviction. Was the Dreyfus Affair merely another instance of the rise in France of a virulent form of anti-Semitism? In "Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters", the acclaimed novelist draws upon his legal expertise to create a riveting account of the famously complex case, and to remind us of the interest each one of us has in the faithful execution of laws as the safeguard of our liberties and honour.

Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe

Robert Chazan

Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521145435

November 2012

Reassessing Jewish Life in Medieval Europe This book re-evaluates the prevailing notion that Jews in medieval Christian Europe lived under an appalling regime of ecclesiastical limitation, governmental exploitation and expropriation, and unceasing popular violence. Robert Chazan argues that, while Jewish life in medieval Western Christendom was indeed beset with grave difficulties, it was nevertheless an environment rich in opportunities; the Jews of medieval Europe overcame obstacles, grew in number, explored innovative economic options, and fashioned enduring new forms of Jewish living. His research also provides a reconsideration of the legacy of medieval Jewish life, which is often depicted as equally destructive and projected as the underpinning of the twentieth-century catastrophes of antisemitism and the Holocaust. Dr Chazan's research proves that, although Jewish life in the medieval West laid the foundation for much Jewish suffering in the post-medieval world, it also stimulated considerable Jewish ingenuity, which lies at the root of impressive Jewish successes in the modern West.

Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry

Editors: Richard I. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel & Stefani Hoffman

Littman Library ISBN 9781906764005

January 2010

Cohen, Frankel and Hoffman - Insiders and Outsiders This collection of essays breaks new ground in its interdisciplinary study of the way Jews redefined their identity in the changing societies of modern eastern Europe. Sensitively treating the drama of east European Jewry from cultural and political vantage points, prominent scholars provide fresh insights into the complex issues facing the Jewish world. The multifaceted essays in this volume reflect the influence of the pioneering work of the historian Ezra Mendelsohn.

The contributors approach the predicament of east European Jews in various settings: some focus primarily on the Jews' inner development and outlook, while others discuss how elements of the majority society viewed their presence. Scholars of history, art history, and literature display originality and insight in illuminating the nuances and intricacies of the Jewish ‘outsider’.


Broadening Jewish History: Towards a Social History of Ordinary Jews

Todd M. Endelman

Littman Library ISBN 9781904113027

December 2010

Endelman - book cover Key themes and issues relevant to writing the social history of the Jews in the modern period are brought to the fore here in a way that is accessible both to professional historians and educated readers with an interest in Jewish history. Some of the articles are programmatic and argumentative, others are case studies. Together they create a strong, coherent volume that demonstrates the advantages of the social historical perspective as a tool for interpreting the Jewish world.

Todd M. Endelman is currently William Haber Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Michigan, where he served as director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies for eleven years. He is the author of three books on Anglo-Jewish history—The Jews of Georgian England, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, and The Jews of Britain, 1656-2000— and the editor of three collections of essays Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World, Comparing Jewish Societies, and Disraeli's Jewishness.

Reluctant Refuge: The Story of Asylum in Britain

Edie Friedman and Reva Klein

British Library ISBN 9780712308878

April 2008

Reluctant RefugeRefugees and asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable and disempowered people in the world. In Britain, they are also the most vilified. Anti-asylum media campaigns have exercised enormous influence on government policy and political discourse, resulting in the belief that we are sinking under the weight of refugees clambering onto our island. The facts show otherwise: two-thirds of the world’s refugees are in the Middle East and Africa. Britain’s hardening stance means that the numbers entering now are negligible and steadily declining.
Reluctant Refuge attempts to show how current attitudes reflect a centuries-old tradition of ambivalence towards the world’s dispossessed, fuelled by economic protectionism and the perceived need to maintain social cohesion. Woven throughout are the voices of asylum seekers and refugees, illuminating the uncertain and often challenging future they face in Britain.

Dr Edie Friedman is a regular speaker and writer on race and asylum issues. In 1976 she founded the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), of which she is now the director. Reva Klein is an award-winning freelance journalist and the founding editor of the International Journal on School Disaffection. Reva also teaches journalism at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

In Ishmael's House: A History of the Jews in Muslim Lands

Martin Gilbert

Yale University Press ISBN 9780300167153

July 2010

Relationships between Jews and Muslims have known many flashpoints, affecting stability in the Middle East and with consequences around the globe. In this absorbing and eloquent book, Martin Gilbert challenges the standard media portrayal, presenting instead a fascinating account of hope, opportunity, fear and terror that have characterised these two people throughout the 1,400 years of their entwined history. Harking back to the Biblical story of Ishmael and Isaac, Gilbert takes the reader from the origins of the fraught relationship - the refusal of Medina's Jews to accept Mohammed as a prophet - through the ages of the Crusader reconquest of the Holy Land and the great Muslim sultanates to the present day. He explores the impact of Zionism in the first half of the twentieth century, the clash of nationalisms during the Second World War, the mass expulsions and exodus of 800,000 Jews from Muslim lands following the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War and its aftermath, and the political sensitivities of the current Middle East. "In Ishmael's House" sheds light on a time of prosperity and opportunity for Jews in Muslim lands stretching from Morocco to Afghanistan, with many instances of Muslim openness, support and courage. Drawing on Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources, Gilbert uses archived material, poems, letters, memoirs and personal testimony to uncover the human voice of this centuries-old conflict. Ultimately, Gilbert's moving account of mutual tolerance between Muslims and Jews provides a perspective on current events and a template for the future.

Sir Martin Gilbert is the author of more than eighty books, including the six-volume authorised biography of Winston Churchill, the twin histories, First World War and Second World War, Israel: A History, The Holocaust, A History of the Twentieth Century in three volumes, and nine pioneering historical atlases, including Atlas of Jewish History and Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In 1995, he was knighted for services to British history and international relations, and in 2009 he was appointed to the British government's Iraq War Inquiry. He lives in London.

East End Chronicles

Ed Glinert

Penguin ISBN 9780141017181

June 2006

The East End:  Roman burial ground, medieval rubbish tip, Victorian hellhole, WW2 bombing target, 21st century gentrification template.  Always a rum place, the industrial revolution replaced rose bushes and hedgerows with metallic roads and iron railways, mudbanks give way to deep-water docks and sweatshops.  East End Chronicles tells the story of this part of London that has always enthralled writers and readers through the bizarre, the unusual, the arcane and the mysterious.  Chapters on the Silk Weavers of Spitalfields; Docks, Dockers and River Pirates; Murder and Mayhem on the Radcliffe Highway; Myths and Mythmakers; The Blitz and Bombs; The Jewish Ghetto and more reveal the real underbelly of the history of the East End.

Emancipation: How Liberating Europe's Jews from the Ghetto Led

to Revolution and Renaissance

Michael Godlfarb

Simon & Schuster ISBN 9781416547969

November 2009

EmancipationFor almost 500 years the Jews of Europe were kept apart, confined to ghettos or tiny villages in the countryside. Then, in one extraordinary moment in the French Revolution, the Jews of France were emancipated. Soon the ghetto gates were opened all over Europe. The era of Emancipation had begun. What happened next would change the course of history.

Emancipation tells the story of how this isolated minority emerged from the ghetto and against terrible odds very quickly established themselves as shapers of history, as writers, revolutionaries, social thinkers, and artists. Their struggle to create a place for themselves in Western European life led to revolutions and nothing less than a second renaissance in Western culture.

The book spans the era from the French Revolution to the beginning of the twentieth century. The story is told through the lives of the people who lived through this momentous change. Some are well-known: Marx, Freud, Mahler, Proust, and Einstein; many more have been forgotten. Michael Goldfarb brings them all to life.

This is an epic story, and Goldfarb tells it with the skill and eye for detail of a novelist. He brings the empathy and understanding that has marked his two decades as a reporter in public radio to making the characters come alive. It is a tale full of hope, struggle, triumph, and, waiting at the end, a great tragedy.

This is a book that will have meaning for anyone interested in the struggle of immigrants and minorities to succeed. We live in a world where vast numbers are on the move, where religions and races are grinding against each other in new combinations; Emancipation is a book of history for our time.

Jacob's Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History

David B Goldstein

Yale University Press ISBN 9780300125832

May 2008

Who are the Jews? Where did they come from? What is the connection between an ancient Jewish priest in Jerusalem and today's Israeli sunbather on the beaches of Tel Aviv? These questions stand at the heart of this engaging book. Geneticist David Goldstein analyzes modern DNA studies of Jewish populations and examines the intersections of these scientific findings with the history (both biblical and modern) and oral tradition of the Jews. With a special gift for translating complex scientific concepts into language understandable to all, Goldstein delivers an accessible, personal, and fascinating book - the first to tell the history of a group of people through the lens of genetics.In a series of detective-style stories, Goldstein explores the priestly lineage of Jewish males as manifested by Y chromosomes, the Jewish lineage claims of an obscure black South African tribe, the differences in maternal and paternal genetic heritage among Jewish populations, and much more. The author also grapples with the medical and ethical implications of our rapidly growing command of the human genomic landscape. The study of genetics has not only changed the study of Jewish history, Goldstein shows, it has altered notions of Jewish identity and even our understanding of what makes a people a people. 

David B. Goldstein is professor of molecular genetics and director of the Institute for Genome Science and Policy's Center for Population Genomics and Pharmacogenetics, Duke University.

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations

Martin Goodman

Allen Lane ISBN 9780713994476

  In AD 70, after a war which had flared sporadically for four years, three  Roman legions under the future Emperors Vespasian and his  son Titus, surrounded, laid siege to, and eventually devastated the city of Jerusalem,destroying completely the magnificent Temple which had been built by Herod only 80 years earlier. What brought about this extraordinary conflict, with its extraordinary consequences? This superb book, by one of the world's leading scholars of the ancient Roman and Jewish worlds, narrates and explains this titanic struggle, showing why Rome's interests were served by this policy of brutal hostility, and how the first generation of Christians first distanced themselves from its Jewish origins and then became increasingly hostile to Jews as their influence spread within the empire. The book thus also provides an exceptional and original account of the origins of antisemitism, whose history has had often cataclysmic reverberations down to our own time.

Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain, 1933-1970:

Their Image in AJR Information

Anthony Grenville

Vallentine Mitchell ISBN 9780853038528

October 2010

Jewish Refugees from Germany and Austria in Britain, 1933-1970: Their Image in AJR Information Between 1933 and the outbreak of war in 1939, over 60,000 Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia fled to Britain, and some 50,000 settled there. No previous historical study of this group of immigrants exists, though they form one of the most high-profile groups of refugees to have come to Britain in the twentieth century, both as survivors of the Nazi terror and as high-achieving contributors to British society. Grenville focuses on the first quarter-century of their settlement in Britain. He covers new ground by drawing on a rich source of contemporary material, the previously untapped monthly journal of the Association of Jewish Refugees, AJR Information, which started in January 1946. The journal is the only contemporary source that provides material for a full-scale history of these refugees when they established themselves permanently in Britain, how they adapted to British society and developed their distinctive 'Continental' identity and culture that characterized them in their adopted homeland.

Anthony Grenville, son of Jewish refugees from Vienna, is Consultant Editor of the AJR Journal, he lectured in German from 1971 till 1996 at the universities of Reading, Bristol and Westminster. He was co-curator of the exhibition 'Continental Britons' at the Jewish Museum, London, co-director of the AJR's 'Refugee Voices' audio-visual testimony project, and is a founding member of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, London.

The Book in the Jewish World, 1700-1900

Zeev Gries

Littman Library ISBN 9781874774990

December 2009

Gries - book cover Zeev Gries’s analysis of what books were being published and where shows the importance of the printed book in disseminating religious and secular ideas, creating a new class of Jewish intellectuals, and making knowledge of the world available to women. This unique perspective on Jewish intellectual history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the history of book-publishing throws light on many of the key Jewish cultural issues of the time.

Zeev Gries is Professor in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva. 

A Faithful Sea: The Religious Cultures of the Mediterranean, 1200-1700 
Adnan Husain

One World Publications ISBN 9781851684960

July 2007

Contemporary academia relies upon categorization. One can study Africa or Europe; East or West; the Middle Ages or the Early Modern period. In this innovative collection of essays, the Mediterranean is taken as a whole. Distinctive both in scope and approach, A Faithful Sea addresses a wide array of cases of Mediterranean interreligious tradition and identity in the Medieval and Early Modern periods. With contributions from leading specialists on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, readers will discover how the birthplace of the three principal monotheistic religions is a distinct cultural space characterized by hybridity, diversity, and cultural dynamism.

Adnan A. Husain is Associate Professor and a Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University, Kingston. K.E. Fleming is Director of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University, and Associate Director of the Remarque Institute.

Jewish Parliamentarians

Lord Greville Jenner and Derek Taylor

Vallentine Mitchell ISBN 9780853038177

Jewish ParliamentariansJuly 2008 marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the Oath Act which enabled Jews to become members of parliament without taking the Oath of Allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian". Lionel de Rothschild was the first to be allowed to swear on the Old Testament, using less contentious wording. Since that time there have been just over 200 Jewish MPs and to mark the anniversary Lord Janner and Derek Taylor are writing a history of their work and achievements. The book describes the background to the political scene and includes a short biography of each of the MPs.

Among the many Jewish MPs of particular renown have been Rufus Isaacs, Herbert Samuel, Leslie Hore-Belisha, Manny Shinwell, Harold Lever, Keith Joseph, Leon Brittan, Nigel Lawson, Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Howard. There have, however, also been Jewish MPs who have won the VC., created the House of Commons Jazz Club and been famed for the quality of the catering they supervised in the House. There have also been three crooks.

Jewish MPs have been responsible for the Aldermarston marches, the abolition of stage censorship and capital punishment, changes in the law on defamation and many other important pieces of legislation. They have created Shell and ICI. They have also supported all the Jewish institutions and given massvely to national and Jewish charities.

The book illustrates how a small minority can play a full part in the service of their country while still retaining their own faith. In a multi-cultural society this is an important lesson.


Treasures of Jewish Heritage

The Jewish Museum, London

Scala Publishers  ISBN 9781857594133

The publication of Treasures of Jewish Heritage celebrates in a richly illustrated catalogue the outstanding collections of The Jewish Museum, London.

The history of Jewish people in Britain and the context of religious life, is interweaved with specialist essays by experts on the range of media represented within the collection (Manuscripts, Prints and Drawings, Life Cycle objects, Silver and Textiles). Further essays on the Jewish East End, refugees from Nazism and the diverse patterns of Jewish migration to Britain, are illuminated by fascinating photographs, prints and objects from the Museum's collection.

Contributors to the publication include historians Sir Martin Gilbert and Dr Anne Kershen, as well as authorities such as Dr David Bindman, Professor of Art History at University College London; Anthony Phillips, International Director of Silver and Objects of Vertu at Christie’s; Dr Shalom Sabar, Associate Professor of Jewish and Comparative Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ilana Tahan, Curator of Hebrew Collections at the British Library. The book is introduced with a foreword by Lord Moser.

This is the first major publication of the Jewish Museum in London’s collections for more than 30 years. The Museum has recently undertaken an extensive programme of digital photography which is utilised beautifully in this new publication. Treasures of Jewish Heritage updates the information in RD Barnett’s Catalogue of the Jewish Museum, published in 1974 and now out of print and a collector’s item in its own right, but also includes important new acquisitions of recent decades and essays on the social history collections of the former London Museum of Jewish Life, now amalgamated with the Jewish Museum.  This catalogue publication complements the new online searchable collections, offering a comprehensive view of the collections, while the  allows researchers to search for more than 11,500 individual objects.

Available from The Jewish Museum Shop at 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town NW1 7NB. Tel: 020 7284 1997. E:

Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century
Tony Judt

Vintage ISBN 9780099532330 

May 2008

Today’s world is so utterly unlike the world of just twenty years ago that we have set aside our immediate past even before we could make sense of it. We literally don't know where we came from, and the results of this burgeoning ignorance are proving calamitous. We have lost touch with three generations of international policy debate, social thought and public-spirited social activism. We no longer know how to discuss such concepts and we have forgotten the role once played by intellectuals in debating, transmitting and defending the ideas that shaped their time. InReappraisals, Tony Judt resurrects key aspects of the world we have lost and reminds us how important they still are to us: now and to our hopes for the future.

Judt draws provocative connections between a dazzling range of subjects, from the history of the neglect and recovery of the Holocaust and the challenge of ‘evil’ in understanding the European past, to the rise and fall of the state in public affairs and the displacement of history by ‘heritage’. Ranging with his trademark acuity and élan from Belgium to Israel, from the memory of Marxism to the practice of foreign policy, he takes us beyond what we think we know to show us how we came to know it, and reveals how much of our history has been sacrificed in the triumph of myth-making over understanding and denial over memory. His book is a road map back to the historical sense we urgently need.

Professor Tony Judt was born in London in 1948. He studied at King's College, Cambridge and the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, and has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, Berkeley and New York University, where he is currently the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies and Director of the Remarque Institute, which he founded in 1995.

Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England

Anthony Julius

Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199297054

February 2010

A History of Anti-Semitism in EnglandTrials of the Diaspora is a ground-breaking book that offers the first ever comprehensive history of anti-Semitism in England. Anthony Julius identifies four distinct versions of English anti-Semitism, which he then proceeds to investigate in detail.

The first is the anti-Semitism of medieval England, a radical prejudice of defamation, expropriation, and murder, which culminated in 1290, the year of Edward I's expulsion of the Jews from England, after which there were no Jews left to torment.

The second major strand is literary anti-Semitism: an anti-Semitic account of Jews continuously present in the discourse of English literature, from the anonymous medieval ballad "Sir Hugh, or the Jew's Daughter" through Shakespeare to T. S. Eliot and beyond. Thirdly, Julius addresses modern anti-Semitism, a quotidian anti-Semitism of insult and partial exclusion, pervasive but contained, experienced by Jews from their "readmission" to England in the mid-17th century through to the late 20th century.

The final chapters then deal with contemporary anti-Semitism, a new configuration of anti-Zionisms, emerging in the late 1960s and the 1970s, which treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises. It is this final perspective which, in Julius's opinion, now constitutes the greatest threat to Anglo-Jewish security and morale.

We are Coming, Unafraid: The Jewish Legions and the Promised Land in the First World War

Michael and Shlomit Keren

Rowman & Littlefield ISBN 9780742552746

September 2010

We are Coming, Unafraid: The Jewish Legions and the Promised Land in the First World War This book tells the little-known stories of three all-Jewish battalions formed in the British army as part of the Allies' Middle East campaign, recruiting soldiers from the United States, Canada, England, and Argentina. Many of the soldiers, ranging widely in education level, social class, and combat experience, were displaced immigrants or children of such immigrants. Together, they coalesced into the all-Jewish battalions: "the liberators of the Promised Land." The ranks of the Jewish Legions included some who would become prominent leaders, such as David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Israel's second president; however, this book focuses on the experiences of ordinary soldiers who served alongside them. Drawing on diaries, memoirs, and letters, the book follows their journey at sea through unrestricted submarine warfare; by trains and trucks through Europe, Egypt, and Palestine; and their battlefield experiences. The authors show how these Yiddish-speaking young men forged a new kind of soldier identity with unique Jewish features, as well as an evolving sense of nationalism.

Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams

Charles King

WW. Norton ISBN 9780393070842

May 2011

Odessa Odessa was the Russian Empire’s gateway to the Middle East, its greatest commercial seaport and home to one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in all of Europe.
        Created as a model of enlightenment by Catherine the Great, and developed by colourful adventurers such as Grigory Potemkin, José de Ribas and Armand de Richelieu, Odessa became a magnet for the artistic and the ambitious—from Alexander Pushkin and Isaac Babel to Zionist activist Vladimir Jabotinsky and immunologist Ilya Mechnikov.
        Odessa’s reputation for nurturing feisty dissenters, artful raconteurs and good-natured crooks cemented its place among Europe’s great cities. But in the twentieth century, pogroms devastated the Jewish community; the Russian civil war brought refugees and new rulers, the Bolsheviks; and during the Second World War, Romanian occupiers killed tens of thousands of Jews in one of the untold episodes of the Holocaust.
        Drawing on a wealth of original source material, historian Charles King paints a rich portrait of Odessa through the lives of its geniuses and villains, revealing how a diverse, cosmopolitan city turned against itself during the Holocaust—but also how Odessa’s dream has survived in a diaspora reaching all the way to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

God's Gold: The Quest for the Lost Temple Treasure of Jerusalem

Sean Kingsley

John Murray 9780719568046 

God`s Gold charts the fate of the greatest religious treasure in history, the key symbols of the Jewish faith – looted from the Temple of Jerusalem. The golden candelabrum, silver trumpets and bejewelled Table of the Divine Presence were ransacked by the Roman emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, in AD 70. They were cast adrift in Mediterranean lands, which saw 550 years of turbulent history and the rule of four different civilisations. Now, only an intriguing trail of clues remains as to their whereabouts. 

The Temple treasure is an immeasurably precious hoard, but it has yet greater significance as a symbol of man`s communications with God. The gold is central to Israel`s dreams for messianic redemption and it`s discovery could signify the return to an age of biblical sacrifice. 

Using untapped historical texts and new archaeological sources, Sean Kingsley reveals the incredible history of this treasure, its composition and religious, political and financial meaning across the ages. Unexpected discoveries send him on a physical pilgrimage to trace the treasure`s destiny, which exposes facts more astonishing than fiction.

Jewish Pirates of the Caribbeans

Edward Kritzler

JR Books ISBN 9781906779429

June 2009

ISBN: 9781906779429 - Jewish Pirates of the CaribbeanAt the end of the fifteenth century, the Spanish Inquisition forced many Jews to flee the country. The most adventurous among them took to the high seas as freewheeling outlaws. In ships bearing names such as Prophet Samuel, Queen Esther, and Shield of Abraham, they attacked and plundered the Spanish fleet while forming alliances with other European powers to ensure the safety of Jews living in hiding. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean is the entertaining saga of a hidden chapter in Jewish history, and of the cruelty, terror and greed that flourished during the Age of Discovery. Among the many daring figures to feature in the book are: 'the Great Jewish Pirate' Sinan, Barbarossa's second-in-command; Rabbi Samuel Palache and his brother, Joseph, who went from commanding pirate ships to founding the first openly Jewish community in the New World; and Abraham Cohen Henriques, and arms dealer who used his cunning and economic muscle to find safe havens for other Jews. Filled with high-seas adventures including encounters with Captain Morgan and other legendary pirates - and detailed portraits of cities stacked high with plunder, such as Port Royal, Jamaica, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean captures a gritty and glorious era of history from an unusual and eye opening perspective.

Edward Kritzler is a historian and a former reporter for USA Today. He lives in Kingston, Jamaica.

Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation

Paul Kriwaczek

Phoenix Press ISBN-10: 9780753819036  

A portrait of a civilisation which flourished within living memory and left

an indelible mark on history. In the 13th century Yiddish language and

culture began to spread from the Rhineland and Bavaria slowly east into

Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, then to Poland and Lithuania and finally

to western Russia and the Ukraine, becoming steadily less German and

more Slav in the process. In its late-medieval heyday the culturally vibrant, economically successful, intellectually adventurous and largely self-ruling Yiddish society stretched from Riga on the Baltic down to Odessa on the Black Sea.

In the 1650s the Chmielnicki Massacres in the Ukraine by the Cossacks killed 100,000 Jews, forcing those that were left to spread out into the small towns (shtetls) and villages. The break-up of Poland-Lithuania - a safe haven for Jews in previous centuries - in the late 18th century further disrupted Yiddish society, as did the Russian anti-Jewish pogroms from the 1880s onwards, at the very time when Yiddish was producing a rich stream of plays, poems and novels.
Paul Kriwaczek describes the development, over the centuries, of Yiddish language, religion, occupations and social life, art, music and literature. The book ends by describing how the Yiddish way of life became one of the foundation stones of modern American, and therefore of world, culture.

Paul Kriwaczek was born in Vienna in 1937and died in 2011. In London he trained as a dentist, and spent a decade working in Iran and Afghanistan. From there he travelled extensively in Asia and Africa before developing a career in broadcasting and journalism. In 1970 he joined the BBC full-time and wrote, produced and directed for 25 years. He was fluent in six languages, including Farsi and Yiddish.

250 Years of Convention and Contention

A History of the Board of Deputies of British Jews 1760-2010

Raphael Langham

Vallentine Mitchell ISBN 9780853039822

June 2010

250 Years of Convention and Contention: A History of the Board of Deputies of British Jews 1760-2010 In November 1760, the leaders of the Bevis Marks synagogue in London established a committee to consider how the synagogue should pay homage to King George III, who had just ascended the throne. This committee evolved into what we know today as the Board of Deputies, the representative body of Jews in Britain. This is the first comprehensive history of the Board. The history of the Board is about disputes, controversies, factions, responding to crises, protecting Jewish religious observance, and providing the Jewish community with direction and leadership. Langham covers issues such as emancipation, Sunday trading, marriage and divorce laws, combating antisemitism and fascism, pogroms in Russia, the rise of Zionism, the Holocaust and Israel. The book concludes by looking back over the last 250 years thus enabling the reader to answer for himself the question Has the Board been good for the Jews?

The book will appeal to the general reader as well as those interested in Jewish history.

Raphael Langham is Vice-President of the Jewish Historical Society of England, a member of their Executive Committee, Chairman of their Website Committee. He has a first class degree in Jewish History from University College London. In 2005 he published a book entitled The Jews in Britain: A Chronology.

33 Revolutions Per Minute                              

Dorian Lynskey

Faber and Faber ISBN 9780571241347

The protest song is where pop music collides most dramatically with the wider world, forcing its way into the news, even prompting conversations in Westminster or Washington. Rather than being a worthy adjunct to the business of pop, protest music is woven into its DNA. When you listen to Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Public Enemy or the Clash, you are not sitting down to a dusty seminar — you are hearing pop music at its most thrillingly alive. Bad protest music can be banal, misguided, dreary, hectoring, idiotic, or just plain dreadful, but the good stuff is as exciting as popular culture gets.

33 Revolutions Per Minute
 is a history of protest music told via 33 songs. Why 33? Partly because that’s the number of rotations performed by a vinyl album in one minute, and partly because it takes a lot of songs to tell a story which spans seven decades and five continents — to capture the colour and variety of this shape-shifting genre. Think of it as a compilation CD or iPod playlist in book form. Each track offers a way into a subject, an artist, an era or an idea, to argue that protest music is still entertainment, however serious its objectives. Pop is about the moment, and the unpredictable chemistry of personality, geography and history which produces that moment. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in the protest song.

In Their Own Image: New York Jews in Jazz Age Popular Culture 
Ted Merwin 
Rutgers University Press ISBN 9780813538099  

The Jazz Age of the 1920s is an era remembered for illegal liquor, innovative music and dance styles, and burgeoning ideas of social equality. It was also the period during which second-generation Jews began to emerge as a significant demographic in New York City. In Their Own Image examines the growing cultural visibility of Jewish life amid this vibrant scene.

From the vaudeville routines of Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, and Sophie Tucker, to the slew of Broadway comedies about Jewish life and the silent films that showed immigrant families struggling to leave the ghetto, images and representations of Jews became staples of interwar popular culture. Through the performing arts, Jews expressed highly ambivalent feelings about their identification with Jewish and American cultures. Ted Merwin shows how they became American by producing and consuming not images of another group, but images of themselves. As a result, they humanized Jewish stereotypes, softened anti-Semitic attitudes, and laid the groundwork for today's Jewish comedians.

An entertaining look at the role popular culture plays in promoting the acculturation of an ethnic group, In Their Own Image enhances our understanding of American Jewish history and provides a model for the study of other groups and their integration into mainstream society.

Ted Merwin teaches Religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) where he also directs the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. For the last six years, he has served as chief theater critic of the New York Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the United States. His articles appear in newspapers throughout the country.

Iraq's Last Jews Stories of Daily Life, Upheaval, and Escape from Modern Babylon

Tamar Morad, Dennis Shasha and Robert Shasha9780230608108

Palgrave Macmillan ISBN 9780230608108

December 2008

Iraq's Last Jews is a collection of first-person accounts by Jews about

their lives in Iraq's once-vibrant, 2500 year-oldJewish community and

about the  disappearance of that community in the middle of the 20th

century. This book  tells the story of this last generation of Iraqi Jews,

who both reminisce about  their birth country and describe the

persecution that drove them out, the result  of Nazi influences,growing

Arab nationalism, and anger over the creation of the State of Israel.

Tamar Morad  is a journalist who has worked at the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, and the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. Robert Shasha is founder and president of the Cotswold Group, a real estate ownership and management company. Dennis Shasha is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of New York University, USA.

The Jews in Poland and Russia

Volume 1: 1350-1881

Antony Polonsky

Littman Library ISBN  9781874774648

Dec 2009

Polonsky cover The history of the Jewish communities of these lands - where most of the Jews of Europe and America originated - is often the subject of woolly thinking and stereotypes.

Antony Polonsky recreates this lost world in a way that avoids both sentimentalism and the simplification of the east European Jewish experience into a story of persecution and martyrdom.

This is an important story whose relevance extends beyond the Jewish world or the bounds of east-central Europe.


Volume 2: 1881-1914Polonsky II cover

Littman Library ISBN  9781904113836

June 2010

The second volume considers the deterioration of the position of the Jews in the period from 1881 to 1914 and the new Jewish politics that

led to the development of new movements: Zionism, socialism, autonomism, the emergence of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Jewish urbanization, and the rise of Jewish mass culture. Galicia, Prussian Poland, the Kingdom of Poland, and the tsarist empire are all treated individually, as are the main towns.

Volume 3: 1914-2008

Littman Library ISBN 9781904113485

Feb 2012

Polonsky III cover The final volume deals with the twentieth century. Starting from the First World War and the establishment of the Soviet Union, it deals in turn with Poland, Lithuania, and the Soviet Union up to the Second World War. It then reviews Polish—Jewish relations during the Second World War and examines the Soviet record and the Holocaust. The final chapters deal with the Jews in the Soviet Union and in Poland since 1945, concluding with an epilogue on the Jews in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia since the collapse of communism.

The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice, 1550-1620

Brian Pullan

IB Tauris ISBN 978-1860643576

The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice 15501670 Cover

A paperback edition of a much-acclaimed history of Europe's forgotten Inquisition. Venice in the 16th and 17th centuries was on the frontier between Christianiity and Judaism, being one of the principal points of departure from Europe to the Levant, and of re-entry from the Ottoman Empire. It was often the place where Europeans of Jewish origin made their final choice between Christianity and Judaism, and those who hesitated over their choice, or behaved ambiguously, frequently fell into the hands of the Inquisition. Pullan examines the social and political purpose of the Inquisition: its composition, procedures and legal entitlement to judge Jews. He explains the origins of the new Christians of Portugal and the neophytes of Italy, and describes those Christians who, though having no Jewish ancestry, nevertheless were attracted - at some risk to themselves - by the doctrines and customs of Judaism.

How Jewish is Jewish History?Rosman cover

Moshe Rosman

Littman Library of Jewish Civilization ISBN 9781904113850

Moshe Rosman treats the key questions that postmodernism raises

for the writing of Jewish history. What is the relationship between

Jewish culture and history and those of the non-Jews among whom

Jews live? Can we—in the light of postmodernist thought—speak of

a continuous, coherent Jewish People, with a distinct culture and

history? What in fact is Jewish cultural history, and how can it be

written? How does gender transform the Jewish historical narrative?

How does Jewish history fit into the multicultural paradigm? Has Jewish history entered a postmodern phase? How can Jewish history utilize the methodologies of other disciplines to accomplish its task? All these are questions that Jewish historians need to think about if their work is to be taken seriously by mainstream historians and intellectuals, or indeed by educated Jews interested in understanding their own cultural and historical past.  

Moshe Rosman is Professor of Jewish History at Bar Ilan University in Israel. He has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, winner of the National Jewish Book Award in History (1996), the Zalman Shazar Prize (2000), the Jerzy Milewski Award (2000), and visiting professor at the University of Michigan and at Solomon University in Kiev. His previous books include The Lords’ Jews: Jews and Magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Founder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba’al Shem Tov

Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History 

David Ruderman

Princeton University Press ISBN 9780691144641


Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society. Looking at how Jewish settlements in the early modern period were linked to one another in fascinating ways, he shows how Jews were communicating with each other and were more aware of their economic, social, and religious connections than ever before.

Ruderman explores five crucial and powerful characteristics uniting Jewish communities: a mobility leading to enhanced contacts between Jews of differing backgrounds, traditions, and languages, as well as between Jews and non-Jews; a heightened sense of communal cohesion throughout all Jewish settlements that revealed the rising power of lay oligarchies; a knowledge explosion brought about by the printing press, the growing interest in Jewish books by Christian readers, an expanded curriculum of Jewish learning, and the entrance of Jewish elites into universities; a crisis of rabbinic authority expressed through active messianism, mystical prophecy, radical enthusiasm, and heresy; and the blurring of religious identities, impacting such groups as conversos, Sabbateans, individual converts to Christianity, and Christian Hebraists.

In describing an early modern Jewish culture, Early Modern Jewry reconstructs a distinct epoch in history and provides essential background for understanding the modern Jewish experience.

The American Future: A History

Simon Schama

Vintage ISBN 9780099520399  

July 2009

In November 2008 the United States elected a new President. But the imminent collapse of twenty years of Republican conservativism meant the country was already conducting an intense self-examination about the trajectory of its history; how it came to find itself in multiple crises and how an America that began as ‘the last, best hope of earth’ came to be so suspected and vilified around much of the world.

The American Future, written by an author who has spent half his life there, takes the long view of how the United States has come to this anguished moment of truth about its own identity as a nation and its place in the world.

In each of the chapters devoted to the most compelling issues facing Americans now – the projection of power (“American war”) ; race, immigration and the problematic promise of e pluribus unum (“American skin”); the intensity of religious conviction in public life (“American fervour”) ; the mystique of American land and its battles with the imperatives of profit ('American Plenty'- Schama traces the deep history of the present crisis. 
Cumulatively the chapters build into a history of American exceptionalism – the ‘American difference’ that means so much to its people but which has led it into calamities as well as triumphs. 
The American Future: A History argues that if you want to know what is truly at stake, you need to absorb these stories and understand this history – for understanding is the condition of hope.

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. Since 1995 he has been art and culture critic for The New Yorker and essayist forThe Guardian. His award-winning books include The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretatation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens; Rembrandt's Eyes, the History of Britain trilogy and Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution.

Jewish Philosophy and Western Culture: A Modern IntroductionJewish Philosophy and Western Culture A Modern Introduction Cover

Victor Seidler

IB Tauris ISBN 9781845112813

This text introduces Jewish philosophical tradition to students while also making a contribution to inter-religious dialogue. This book offers a critical reappraisal of the philosophical underpinnings of western

Christian culture, which for so long has viewed Judaism with hostility.

From Pogrom to Purge: Soviet Yiddish Writing 1917-1947 
Edited by Joseph Sherman
Five Leaves Publications ISBN: 9781905512621

February 2009

The thirty years between the Russian Revolution and Stalin’s destruction of Yiddish culture produced some of the best 20th C writing in Yiddish. Brilliant avant-garde work challenged the best of European modernism during the 1920s.

This was stamped out in the 1930s by Stalin’s repressive demand for “socialist realism”. The greatest challenge to Yiddish writing under Stalinism came during World War II when Soviet policy insisted that German atrocities did not single out the Jews for special extermination but applied equally to all Soviet citizens. Jewish writers in the USSR, well aware of the extent of the Holocaust, had to find ways to express their horror and grief without falling foul of the official Soviet censorship. The results were remarkable.

Remarkable stories from the forgotten world of Soviet Yiddish writing during World War II.

Joseph Sherman taught at the Oriental Institute, Oxford. He has edited a number of books on Yiddish literature and writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement. He died in 2009. 

Families, Rabbis and Education Stampfer - Families, Rabbis and Education

Traditional Jewish Society in Nineteenth-Century Eastern Europe

Shaul Stampfer

Littman Library ISBN 9781874774853

February 2010

The family and the community, which were in a very real sense the core in

stitutions of east European Jewish society, underwent very rapid change in the nineteenth century. These essays look at the past through the prism of the lives of ordinary people, with results that are sometimes surprising, but always stimulating. The topics they treat are varied, but the concern to explain what lay behind the visible reality is common to all of them.

Shaul Stampfer is Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet and East European Jewry and chairman of the Department of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Plumes Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce

Sarah Abrevaya Stein 
Yale University Press ISBN 9780300127362

November 2008

From Yiddish-speaking Russian-Lithuanian feather handlers in South Africa to London manufacturers and wholesalers, from rival Sephardic families whose feathers were imported from the Sahara and traded across the Mediterranean, from New York's Lower East Side to entrepreneurial farms in the American West, Stein explores the details of a remarkably vibrant yet ephemeral culture. This is a singular story of global commerce, colonial economic practices, and the rise and fall of a glamorous luxury item.The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. When feathers fell out of fashion with consumers, the result was an economic catastrophe for many, a worldwide feather bust. In this remarkable book, Sarah Stein draws on rich archival materials to bring to light the prominent and varied roles of Jews in the feather trade. She discovers that Jews fostered and nurtured the trade across the global commodity chain and throughout the far-flung territories where ostriches were reared and plucked, and their feathers were sorted, exported, imported, auctioned, wholesaled, and finally manufactured for sale.From Yiddish-speaking Russian-Lithuanian feather handlers in South Africa to London manufacturers and wholesalers, from rival Sephardic families whose feathers were imported from the Sahara and traded across the Mediterranean, from New York's Lower East Side to entrepreneurial farms in the American West, Stein explores the details of a remarkably vibrant yet ephemeral culture. This is a singular story of global commerce, colonial economic practices, and the rise and fall of a glamorous luxury item.

Polin, Volume 22

Social and Cultural Boundaries in Pre-Modern Poland

Edited by Adam Teller, Magda Teter and Antony Polonsky

Littman Library of Jewish Civilization ISBN 9781904113379

November 2009

Boundaries—physical, political, social, religious, and cultural—were a key feature of life in medieval and early modern Poland, and this volume focuses on the ways in which these boundaries were respected, crossed, or otherwise negotiated. It throws new light on the contacts between Jews and Poles, including the vexed question of conversion and the tensions it aroused. The collected articles also discuss relations between the various elements of Jewish society—the wealthy and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, and the religious and the lay elites, considering too contacts between Jews in Poland and those in Germany and elsewhere. Classic studies by such eminent scholars as Meir Balaban, Jacob Goldberg, and Moshe Rosman provide a foil for new research by Hanna Zaremska and David Frick, as well as Adam Teller, Magda Teter, Elisheva Carlebach, Jürgen Heyde, and Adam Kazmierczyk. Taken together, the contributions on this central theme help redefine the Jewish history of pre-modern Poland.

As ever, the New Views section examines a wide variety of other topics. These include accusations of ritual murder in nineteenth-century Poland; the Russian Jewish integrationist politician Mikhail Morgulis; the attitude of Boleslaw Prus towards Jewish assimilation and his relationship with the Jewish journalist Nahum Sokolow; women in the Mizrahi movement in Poland; Polish patriotism among Jews; the impact of the first Soviet occupation of 1939–41 on Polish–Jewish relations; how the war affected the views of Julian Tuwim and Antoni Slonimski; the shtetl in the work of American Jewish writers Allen Hoffman and Jonathan Safran Foer; and the initial Polish response to Jan Gross's Fear.

On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War

Bernard Wasserstein

Profile Books ISBN 9781846681806

May 2012

ISBN: 9781846681806 - On the Eve This is a major new history examining the realities of Jewish life across Europe up to the very eve of World War Two. This is the portrait of a world on the eve of its destruction. Bernard Wasserstein presents a disturbing interpretation of the collapse of European Jewish civilization even before the Nazi onslaught. Wasserstein shows how the harsh realities of the age devastated the lives of communities and individuals. By 1939, the Jews faced an existential crisis that was as much the result of internal decay as of external attack. Ranging from Vilna ('Jerusalem of Lithuania') to Salonica with its Judeo-Espanol-speaking stevedores and singers, and beyond, the book's focus is squarely on the Jews themselves rather than their persecutors. Wasserstein's aim is to 'breathe life into dry bones.' Based on vast research, written with compassion and empathy, and enlivened by dry wit, "On the Eve" paints a vivid and shocking picture of the European Jews in their final hour.

Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia
Jonathan Webber, photographs by Chris Schwarz

Published for the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization and Indiana University Press ISBN 9781906764036

July 2009 

Webber - Rediscovering Traces of Memory book coverSince the Holocaust, traces of memory are virtually all that remain in Poland today after more than eight hundred years of Jewish life there. This remarkable album, published on behalf of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, offers a sensitive way of looking at that past. Based entirely on arresting, present-day colour photographs of Polish Galicia, it shows how much of that past can still be seen today if one knows how to look and how to interpret what one sees. 

Jewish life in Poland was in ruins after the Holocaust, and so too were most of its synagogues and cemeteries. Much evidence of ruin remains, but, astonishingly, there are also traces that bear witness to the great Jewish civilization that once flourished there—synagogues and cemeteries of astounding beauty in villages and small towns as well as in the larger cities. One can also see the exact locations where the Germans murdered the Jews of Galicia in the Holocaust: not only in the infamous death camps and ghettos, but also in fields, in forests, and in rivers. The Germans tried to destroy even the memory of the Jews in Poland, and to a very great extent they succeeded; then came forty years of communism, including the antisemitic campaign of 1968. But now that Poland is once again part of a multicultural Europe, the great Jewish civilization that once flourished on Polish lands is increasingly being memorialized, by local Poles as well as by foreign Jews. Synagogues and cemeteries are being renovated, monuments are being erected, museums are being set up, pilgrimages are taking place, festivals of Jewish culture are being organized, books about Jews are being published, and there are once again rabbis and kosher food. So the traces of memory include how the past is being remembered in Poland today, and the people doing the remembering.

Given all these perspectives, the contact with contemporary realities involves a complex emotional journey: grief at a civilization in ruins; pride in its spiritual and cultural achievements; anger at its destruction; nostalgia for a past that is gone; hope for the future.

Arts Council Blackwell

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