Book Notes

Article excerpt

American Jewish Life

Jews in America: A Contemporary Reader, edited by Roberta Rosenberg Farber and Chaim I. Waxman. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England (Brandeis University Press), 1999. 448 pp. $24.95 (p). ISBN 0-87451-899-7.

This interdisciplinary collection offers an examination of the personal, social, religious, and political aspects of contemporary American Jewish life. Essays address topics such as feminism, spirituality, intermarriage, antisemitism, and community.

Live and Be Well: A Celebration of Yiddish Culture in America, by Richard F. Shepard and Vicki Gold Levi. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000. 192 pp. $28.00 (c). ISBN 0-8135-2812-7.

This book documents the rich traditions of Yiddish-speaking immigrants and their children in America, from the first arrivals to the Second World War. Illustrated with photos, cartoons, theater posters, and song sheets.

Ancient World and Archaeology

The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years, by Lee I. Levine. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 608 pp., 100 illus. $60.00. ISBN 0-300-07475-1.

Drawing on archeological evidence and literary sources, Lee Levine traces the development of the synagogue from what was essentially a communal institution to one which came to embody a distinctively religious profile. Exploring its history in the Greco-Roman and Byzantine periods in both Palestine and the Diaspora, he describes the synagogue's physical remains; the roles of its rabbis, Patriarchs, women, and priests in its operation; its liturgy; and its art.

Le judéo-christianisme ancien: Essais historiques, by Simon Claude Mimouni. Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1998. 547 pp. 300 F. ISBN 2-204-05937-4.

The essays presented here are the fruit of ten years of a historian's work. To understand the development of Christianity in the ancient world, knowledge of the Jewish parameter is as important as knowledge of the pagan. The basic question is when, how, and why Christianity left Judaism to become a separate religion. In other words, from which moment did Jesus' disciples consider themselves no longer Jews or pagans but Christians? Christianity has constructed a history through the work of its theologians. The historian, however, must depart from this perspective, explain the traditional sources, and discover historic elements which illuminate the progressive separation. (French)

Art, Music, and Film

After Rabin: New Art from Israel, by Susan Tumarkin Goodman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999. 112 pp.; 69 illus. $19.95 (p). ISBN 0-87334-076-0.

This book portrays the vitality and innovation mat characterize the work of 36 artists who currently live in Israel. It seeks to capture the flavor of a turbulent, splintered time in Israeli society since the deatii of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 by examining the work of a stylistically and ideologically diverse group of artists.

The Chosen Image: Television's Portrayal of Jewish Themes and Characters, by Jonathan Pearl and Judith Pearl. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. 270 pp. $43.50. ISBN 0-7864-0522-8.

On the whole, Jewish issues have been portrayed wim respect and relative depth during three decades of television programming. This work documents and examines the portrayal of Jewish themes in popular prime time television, from 1948 through the 1996-1997 television season, focusing on how such topics as antisemitism, intermarriage, Jewish lore and traditions, Israel, me Holocaust, and questions of Jewish identity have been featured in various television genres.

Biblical and Rabbinic Literature

Adonaj - Warum Gott "Herr" genannt wird, by Martin Rosei. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000. 270 pp. DM150. ISBN 3-16-147193-8.

Martin Rösel shows how the title "lord" was used in biblical texts from the eighth century BCE on. Its oldest use is related to the "lord" of a temple or a sanctuary. …

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