MANY YEARS of schooling taught me how private a matter writing is; working on this book showed me how social it can be. Friends and colleagues are in these pages. I can feel their presence—their ideas, inspiration, criticism, encouragement, patience, cajolings, suggestions, and also the tensions and strains among us. It is a pleasure to acknowledge their help.
Throughout their history, Jewish women have endured many things. But only Wini Breines has had to endure a husband working very slowly on, and sometimes running from, a book about tough Jewish men. As she tended to her own writing and teaching, she also made possible the completion of this work. Dedicating it to her is only a token of my gratitude not only for countless encouraging pushes and proppings-up and for an extremely helpful reading of the manuscript, but also for innumerable insights and suggestions that in major ways shaped what I have thought and written. For the attitude toward tough Jews that I develop here, Nesi and Simon Breines bear heavy responsibility. Although they often disagree sharply with many of my judgments, it is nevertheless as their child that I came to understand the stupidity of nationalism and the