Shofar

Founded in 1925, Shofar is a quarterly Jewish youth newspaper published by B'nai B'rith Youth Organization in Washington, D.C. Its subject matter covers youth and Jewish interests.

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 2, Winter

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War
1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, by Benny Morris. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008. 524 pp. $32.50.Benny Morris's new book gives no hint of the controversies that have swirled around his historical work and political pronouncements...
American Experience: Religion in America
American Experience: Religion in America, by Timothy L. Hall. New York: Facts On File, Ine, 2007. 482 pp. $80.00.Much like American religious history, American religious historiography has changed quite a lot over the past 150 years. From Robert Baird's...
"And G-D Said": Language, Translation, and Scripture in Two Works by Walter Benjamin
In the works "On Language as Such and on the Language of Man" and the better-known "The Task of the Translator," Benjamin explores the relationships between languages, and between language and human beings. In this essay, I work first to articulate Benjamins...
Book Notes
American Jewish LifeImagining the American Jewish Community, edited by Jack Wertheimer. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England/Brandeis University Press, 2007. 346 pp. $29.95. ISBN 1-58465-670-0.This volume explores the multiple conceptions of...
Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship
Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship, by Martin Gilbert. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007. 359 pp. $30.00.A great many books have been written about Winston Churchill, in part because the story of Churchill's life intersects with many...
Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843-1933
Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843-1933, by Robin Judd. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2007. 283 pp. $45.00.When writing about an aspect of the German-Jewish experience that does...
Converts, Heretics, and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider
Converts, Heretics, and Lepers: Maimonides and the Outsider, by James A. Diamond. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007. 360 pp. $35.00.When University of Notre Dame Press asked me for a blurb for this remarkable book, I responded that...
Crime, Jews and News: Vienna 1895-1914
Crime, Jews and News: Vienna 1895-1914, by Daniel Mark Vyleta. Austrian and Habsburg Studies, Vol. 8. New York: Berghahn Books, 2007. 254 pp. $80.00.Daniel Vyleta's book is innovative as it looks at perceptions of crime and criminals through the lens...
Dark Images, Secret Hints: Benjamin, Scholem, Molitor and the Jewish Tradition
Dark Images, Secret Hints: Benjamin, Scholem, Molitor and the Jewish Tradition, by Bram Mertens. Bern: Peter Lang 2007. 278 pp. $67.95.Bram Mertens' Dark Images, Secret Hints: Benjamin, Scholem, Molitor and the Jewish Tradition traces a path readers...
Displaced: The Memoir of Eliezer Gruenbaum, Kapo at Birkenau-Translation and Commentary
Eliezer Gruenbaum, the communist son of Yitzhak Gruenbaum, who was a prominent leader of Polish Jewry between the two world wars and Israel's first interior minister, was a kapo in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Eliezer survived only to die fighting in the war...
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Were Walking on the Way: El Caballero Andante and the Book of Radiance (Sefer HaZohar)
That Miguel de Cervantes was quite likely a converso and that his masterpiece Don Quixote explores quintessential converso concerns is now widely accepted. This article extends the converso hypothesis through an examination of literary and phenomenological...
Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father's German Village
Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of My Father's German Village, by Mimi Schwartz. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. 250 pp. $24.95.In Good Neighbors, Bad Times Mimi Schwartz sounds the depths of human relations to open up a depth dimension...
Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust
Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust, edited by Dorota Glowacka and Joanna Zylinska. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. 337 pp. $45.00.Memory of the Holocaust and its influence on Polish-Jewish...
Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey
Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey, by Richard S. Hess. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007. 432 pp. $34.99.This volume in the reviewer's humble opinion is one of the best studies on the religion(s) of ancient Israel that has...
Jesus in the Talmud
Jesus in the Talmud, by Peter Schafer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. 210 pp. $24.95.A book concerning the Jesus passages in the Talmud is bound to capture the attention of a broad authence of Jews, Christians, and anyone interested in...
Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine
Jewish Babylonia Between Persia and Roman Palestine, by Richard KaImin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 285 pp. $65.00.Richard Kalmin has now given us another collection of his studies of Babylonian rabbinic culture, and while some of the themes...
Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant
Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant, edited by Edward Feinstein. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing 2007. 166 pp. $24.99.Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century: Human Responsibility,...
Jews and Power
Jews and Power, by Ruth Wisse. New York: Schocken Books, 2007. 231 pp. $19.95.Jews and Power, part of the Nextbook/Schocken's Jewish Encounters series intended for mainstream authences, is not so much a work of historiography proper as it is a historically...
Jews Dreaming of Acceptance: From the Brill Building to Suburbia with Love
The Brill Building sound refers to the music produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s by composers of popular music associated with 1619 and 1650 Broadway. The vast majority of these writers were Jewish. I argue that the romance in the lyrics of these...
Jews in the Early Modern World
Jews in the Early Modern World, by Dean Phillip Bell. Lanham: Rowman OC Littlefield Publishers, 2008. 301 pp. $79.00 (c); $29.95 (p).Dean Phillip Bell's book is an overview of the history of the Jews in the early modern period, defined, somewhat arbitrarily,...
Jews or Christians? the Followers of Jesus in Search of Their Own Identity
Jews or Christians? The Followers of Jesus in Search of Their Own Identity, by Giorgio Jossa, translated from the Italian by Molly Rogers. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 202. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006. 175 pp. euro69.00.Giorgio...
Kafka and Cultural Zionism: Dates in Palestine
Kafka and Cultural Zionism: Dates in Palestine, by Iris Bruce. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007. 262 pp. $65.00.Iris Bruce has presented us with an important book about Kafka and Zionism, which makes it possible for readers in English to...
Once upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life, by Sari Nusseibeh (with David Anthony). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. 542 pp. $27.50This is the autobiography of one of the foremost Palestinian intellectual and political leaders. The scion of an...
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Vol. 19, edited by Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski and Antony Polonsky. Portland: Littman Library for Jewish Civilization, 2007, published for the Institute for Polish Jewish Studies and the American Association for Polish Jewish...
Reflections on Jesus
Review EssayThe twentieth-century theologian Paul Tillich defined religion as a system of beliefs, rituals, symbols, and myths directed towards an ultimate concern of a society. Religion has meaning in the sense of absolute interpretation of the central...
Shards of Memory: Narratives of Holocaust Survival
Shards of Memory: Narratives of Holocaust Survival, edited by Yehudi Lindeman. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2007. 256 pp. $49.95.The photograph of Rena S. appears to be that of an ordinary teenage girl from the early 1940s. But as we read on, we...
Stefan Zweig Reconsidered: New Perspectives on His Literary and Biographical Writings
Stefan Zweig Reconsidered: New Perspectives on his Literary and Biographical Writings, edited by Mark H. Gelber. Tübingen: Niemeyer Verlag 2007. 225 pp. euro62.00.Mark H. Gelber is to be congratulated for editing this essay collection on Stefan Zweigs...
Stories of Joseph: Narrative Migrations between Judaism and Islam
Stories of Joseph: Narrative Migrations Between Judaism and Islam, by Marc S. Bernstein. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2006. 315 pp. $69.95.As Michael McGaha shows in his Coat of Many Cultures (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1997), the...
The Book of Psalms
The Book of Psalms, by Robert Alter. New York, London: W. W. Norton, 2007. 518 pp. $35.00.This excellent volume consists of an 18-page introduction to the Psalter and the challenges of translating it, a concluding, two-page list of nine annotated titles...
The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature
The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, edited by Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert and Martin S. Jaffee. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 412 pp. $24.99.This important collection of fifteen essays by an international array...
The Day I Wasn't There/Reveries of the Wild Woman: Primal Scenes
The Day I Wasn't There, by Hélène Cixous, tr. Beverley Bie Brahic. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2006. 103 pp. $17.95.Reveries of the Wild Woman: Primal Scenes, by Hélène Cixous, tr. Beverley Bie Brahic. Evanston: Northwestern University Press,...
The Historical Jesus in Context
The Historical Jesus in Context, edited by Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison, Jr., and John Dominic Crossan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. 440 pp. $22.95.Most surveys on the Synoptic Jesus fall into four categories: those that are history-oriented...
The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology
The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology, edited by Steven T. Katz. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 310 pp. $45.00.All interpretation of history comes from the presenr. When not critically engaged, though, present interpretation faces...
The Jews of Khazaria
The Jews of Khazaria, by Kevin Alan Brook. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. 317 pp. $44.00.The Khazar khagan was the Prester John of the Jewish diaspora towards the end of the first millennium, above all for the Jewish intelligentsia...
The Making and Re-Making of Jewish-American Literary History
Until ten to fifteen years ago, Jewish American literary history was construed and described in overwhelmingly mid-twentieth-century masculine terms. As a corrective to this longstanding trend, this essay undertakes to "remake" Jewish American literary...
The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus
The Misunderstood Jew: the Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006. 250 pp. $24.95.Ecumenical dialogue involving Christians and Jews resembles its associated activity, learning the language...
The Nature of Biblical Criticism
The Nature of Biblical Criticism, by John Barton. Louisville: Westminster/ John Knox, 2007. 206 pp. $24.95.This volume augments and in many ways ties together the author's numerous publications on the subject of biblical criticism and the quest to identify...
The Rabbi's Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life
The Rabbi's Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life, by Shuly Rubin Schwartz. New York and London: New York University Press, 2006. 311 pp. $18.95.Sometimes, the most memorable articles are the ones you end up never completing. A decade and a half...
The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing, 1790-1876
The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing, 1790-1876, by Brian Yorhers. Aldershot Hampshire GB/Burlington VT: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2007. 147 pp. $89.95.The premise of this book is that nineteenth-century American travel writing about...