Book Notes


American Jewish Life

Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present, by Hasia Diner and Beryl Benderly. New York: Basic Books, 2002. 450 pp. $35.00. ISBN 0-465-01711-8.

Jewish women have played a major role in building the culture of the United States. They were active in the salons of Federal Philadelphia, during the California Gold Rush, on frontier homesteads, and in 1970s protest marches. The authors relate how American transformed generations of Jewish women and how they transformed America.

A Homeland in the West: Utah Jews Remember, by Eileen Hallet Stone. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002. 448 pp. $39.95. ISBN 0-87480-702-6.

The author has gathered oral histories that weave a varied tapestry of Utah's Jewish heritage.

Jews of Brooklyn, edited by Ilana Abramovitch and Seán Galvin. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England (Brandeis University Press), 2002. 354 pp. $39.95. ISBN 1-58465-003-6.

From the first documented settlement of Jews in Brooklyn in the 1830s to the present day, Jewish presence has been key to the development of the borough. In this book over 40 historians, folklorists, museum curators, musicians, and ordinary Brooklyn Jews present a record of this cultural heritage.

The Jews of New Jersey: A Pictorial History, by Patricia M. Ard and Michael Aaron Rockland. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2002. 148 pp. $29.00. ISBN 0-8135-3012-1.

Jews have called New Jersey home since the late seventeenth century, and they currently make up almost six percent of the state's residents. This book focuses on representative Jewish communities throughout the state, paying particular attention to ordinary people.

Ancient World and Archaeology

The Biblical Engineer: How the Temple in Jerusalem Was Built, by Max Schwartz. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 2002. $29.50 (c); $17.95 (p). ISBN 0-88125-711-7 (c); 0-88125-710-9 (p).

The Second Temple was built by returning exiles from Babylon, expanded to glory by Herod, and destroyed by the Romans. Max Schwartz, using both classical and biblical sources and including illustrations, maps, floor plans, and diagrams, surveys the state of architectural and engineering technology during this time period.

Holiness: Rabbinic Judaism and the Graeco-Roman World, by Hannah K. Harrington. New York: Routledge, 2001. 242 pp. $85.00. ISBN 0-415-14987-8.

The author places holiness in the context of rabbinic Judaism and in contrast to other notions of the sacred in the Graeco-Roman world.

Israel in the Biblical Period: Institutions: Festivals, Ceremonies, Rituals, by J. Alberto Soggin. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001. 209 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-567-08811-1.

J. Alberto Soggin gives an account of the features of Israelite and Jewish religion in the biblical period. He includes accounts of the three salient features of Israelite religion: the Jerusalem temple and its worship, the covenant, and sacrifices. He discusses the main festivals, the new moon, the sabbatical year and the jubilee, and the calendar. The book ends with an account of changes brought about after the exile and the development of Middle Judaism, and the collapse of the old Israelite system of worship after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.

Iudaea -- Palaestina: The Pagan Cults in Roman Palestine (Second to Fourth Century), by Nicole Belayche. Tuubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001. 386 pp. Euro 89. ISBN 3-16-147153-9.

Pagan Palestine differed little from the rest of the Roman world in being a religious mix. Nicole Belayche examines the pagan part (quantitatively the majority) of the Palestinian population city by city between 135 and the fourth century and finds that the collection of gods is varied and proves the adherence of the province to the main religious trends of the imperial Greco-eastem ensemble. Belayche also discusses the pagan religious life in relationship to the Jewish population.

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