Academic journal article Shofar

Book Notes

Academic journal article Shofar

Book Notes

Article excerpt

American Jewish Life

The Jewish 1960s: An American Sourcebook, edited by Michael E. Staub. Hanover: University Press of New England/Brandeis University Press, 2004. 371 pp. $24.95. ISBN 1-58465-417-1.

This volume, a collection of primary sources about Jewish contributions to and involvement in the tumultuous social transformations of the 1960s, brings together materials from Jews on the right as well as the left and chronicles, among other things, Jewish religious and ethnic renewal, the Jewish stand on civil rights, Jewish liberalism and the origins of Jewish neo-conservatism, American Jews' commitments to Israel, Jewish contributions to feminism and the gay and lesbian rights movements, and the evolution of Holocaust consciousness.

The Letters of Abigaill Levy Franks, 1733-1748, by Abigaill Levy Franks, edited by Edith B. Gelles. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. 186 pp. $35.00. ISBN 0-300-10345-X.

This collection of 35 letters to her son by a lively and articulate Jewish woman in colonial New York City is accompanied by an introduction that provides a portrait of the city, describes typical colonial family life, and discusses the Jewish immigration experience in New York.

The Tenement Saga: The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers, by Sanford Sternlicht. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. 171 pp. $45.00. ISBN 0-299-20484-7.

Sanford Sternlicht's book combines personal experiences with a realistic picture of Jewish immigrant family and community life, discussing the role of women in East Side life of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the pleasures of the Yiddish theater, secular values, the struggle between generations, street crime, the role of Tammany politics, the develoment of labor unions, and the importance of newspapers and periodicals. He documents the decline of Yiddish culture as immigrants blended into what they called "The Golden Land."

Ancient World and Archaeology Myth and Politics in Ancient Near Eastern Historiography, by Mario Liverani. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. 214 pp. $75.00. ISBN 0-8014-4333-4.

The Italian historian Mario Liverani analyzes historical texts from various regions of the Ancient Near East. Liverani focuses on the central themes of myth and politics, and finds a connection between the writing of history and the validation of political order and political action. Liverani demonstrates that history writing in the Ancient Near East made frequent use of mythical patterns, wisdom motifs, and literary themes. The resulting nonhistorical literary forms can mislead interpretation, but an analysis of these forms allows the texts' sociopolitical frameworks to emerge.

The Pesher Nahum Scroll from Qumran: An Exegetical Study of 4Q169, by Shani L. Berrin. Leiden: Brill, 2004. 351 pp. $167.00. ISBN 90-04-12484-5.

The underlying premise of this study is the close relationship between Pesher Nahum (4Q169) and its biblical base-text. Historical and literary considerations, as well as theological, sociological, halakhic, textual, and linguistic data, are examined in terms of their exegetical functions. This edition includes a transcription and translation of 4QpNah, with textual notes. The treatment of 4QpNah follows the natural division of the extant text into five thematic literary sections, or "pericopes," each consisting of a series of "lemma/pesher units." For each pericope, proposed historical contextualizations are evaluated on the basis of exegetical criteria. "Equivalents" are "mapped" for each unit, such that individual elements of each lemma are aligned with corresponding elements from the biblical base-text. A focus upon "lemma/pesher correspondence" provides the framework for systematic exegetical analysis of 4QpNah.

Art, Music, and Film Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish: How Yiddish Songs and Synagogue Melodies Influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood, by Jack Gottlieb. …

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