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Out of the Whirlwind Reconsidered

Context and Appreciation

Michael Berkowitz

Abstract

This article argues that Albert Friedlander's edited book, Out of the Whirlwind (1968), should be recognised as pathbreaking. Among the first to articulate the idea of ‘Holocaust literature’, it established a body of texts and contextualised these as a way to integrate literature – as well as historical writing, music, art and poetry – as critical to an understanding of the Holocaust. This article also situates Out of the Whirlwind through the personal history of Friedlander and his wife Evelyn, who was a co-creator of the book, his colleagues from Hebrew Union College, and the illustrator, Jacob Landau. It explores the work's connection to the expansive, humanistic development of progressive Judaism in the United States, Britain and continental Europe. It also underscores Friedlander's study of Leo Baeck as a means to understand the importance of mutual accountability, not only between Jews, but in Jews’ engagement with the wider world.

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Pascal on Happiness

Diversion, Pleasure and the Good

Michael Moriarty

Abstract

Pascal sees happiness (bonheur) as the ultimate goal of all human activity, but argues that experience shows it to be unattainable; our underlying condition is unhappiness. In the immediate, he argues, human activities are forms of diversion or distraction, by which we seek to screen from ourselves our unhappiness and mortality and to gratify our vanity. This analysis omits the role of pleasure, which he elsewhere identifies as the motive force of all volition. In order to reconcile this anomaly, we need to distinguish between the motive of our actions, the ultimate end they have in view, and the Supreme Good. The motive of our actions is pleasure, their ultimate end happiness, and the Supreme Good God, in union with whom authentic happiness consists.

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Iris Ferreira

Abstract

A Piyyut for Hoshana Rabbah presents a modern piyyut designed for the last day of the Sukkoth festival. It focuses on the ushpizin that we invited under the sukkah during the festival, presenting not only the male ushpizin mentioned in the Zohar, but also female ones, following the list given in the Machzor Forms of Prayer for Jewish Worship: II Prayers for the Pilgrim Festivals. The goal of this piyyut is to value the biblical characters invited as ushpizin during Sukkoth and their specific destiny in the context of the festival, as well as the progressive value of gender equality.

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Lena Steveker

Abstract

In this article, I discuss Richard Brome's tragicomedy The Queen and Concubine (1635–1636), focusing on how the play reflects the iconography of Charles I as well as Stuart ideals of statecraft. I argue that the play's representation of a royal ruler in a pastoral setting draws on Van Dyck's portraiture and on Charles I's masques, as well as on Lipsius's political concept of ‘love’. I claim that the play promotes a ‘politics of happiness’ which affirms the Caroline ideology of royal rule. My reading of Brome's play aims at furthering the critical understanding of the cultural and political concerns shared by court drama and drama written for the commercial theatre in the Caroline period.

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Prelude to a Grid

Energy, Gender and Labour on an Electric Frontier

Kristin D. Phillips

Abstract

People in the Singida region of Tanzania have long utilized diverse energy sources for subsistence. The wind separates grain from chaff. The sun ripens the millet and dries it for storage. More recently, solar panels charge phones and rural electricity investments extend the national grid. Yet as an electric frontier, Singida remains only peripherally and selectively served by energy infrastructures and fossil fuels. This article sketches Singidans’ prospect from this space and time of energy transition. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted between 2004 and 2019, it asks: how do rural Singidans eke energy from their natural and social environment? How can ideas of the sun and of labour in Nyaturu cosmology inform understandings of energy? And how are new energy technologies reshaping Singida's social and economic landscape? I theorize energy as a deeply relational and gendered configuration of people, nature, labour and sociality that makes and sustains human and natural life.

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Cassy Sachar

Abstract

This article explores the personal experience of the Leo Baeck College librarian encountering Albert Friedlander, teacher and dean of the college, through his writing, the books he owned and his presence in the institution's library and archival material. It explores how readers and writers are in relationship with one another and argues that a broad concept of reading and what can be read can offer new ways of being in relationship with the living and dead.

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Speaking of the Holocaust

From Silence to Knowledge and Back Again

Keith Kahn-Harris

Abstract

Albert Friedlander's writings were part of a generational struggle to find a language in which to speak of the experience of the Holocaust. This struggle was, in part, a response to the ‘unspeakability’ of the Holocaust, the silence and denial of its perpetrators. As such, in the postwar period, the perpetrators of the Holocaust also struggled to find the words to speak of what they had done. This short article goes on to speculate on the implications of the unspeakability of the Holocaust and other genocides. It suggests that this unspeakability is beginning to break down as desires are spoken of more openly. As such, it is possible that current and future generations will have to embark on a different struggle to that of Albert Friedlander. While he could count on an assumed moral consensus that the Holocaust was wrong, current and future generations may no longer be able to rely on this assumption.

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Uneasy Entanglements

Solar Energy Development in Zanzibar

Erin Dean

Abstract

This article considers the entanglements revealed by the recent and rapid influx of solar technology on the archipelago of Zanzibar. Following a technical failure that left the islands without electricity for three months in 2009–10, the Zanzibari government has pursued several avenues to increase energy autonomy, including solar power. However, the future of energy independence promised by solar development is complicated by a legacy of political conflict and new relationships of dependence and inequality. Drawing on interviews with domestic energy users, government officials, state engineers and NGO activists, and situated within the unique post-revolutionary context of Zanzibar, this article explores how solar innovations and investments contribute to the reimagining of social, economic and political entanglements while simultaneously reproducing persistent discourses of hierarchy, inclusion and exclusion.

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Yagil Levy

Since the 2000s, a fundamental structural change has led to the development of two armies within the IDF. In co-existence with the ‘official’ army, a ‘policing’ force has emerged in the West Bank. Ostensibly subordinated to political authority, it has evolved into a quasi-militia force, enacting policies that often deviate from the official line. The question of who controls this policing army is central to this article. I argue that this policing army, unlike the official army, is controlled by a matrix rather than a hierarchical structure. Characterized by a web of mostly extra-military mechanisms, it is embedded within the civilian communities of the Jewish settlers, and this embeddedness shapes the form of control by creating several control mechanisms. Therefore, this policing army is only partially controlled by the official echelon of command.

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Why Does God Get It Wrong?

Divine Fallibility in Athens and Jerusalem

Gabriel Kanter Webber

Abstract

Jewish texts, both Biblical and post-Biblical, depict the Divine as fickle, fallible, imbued with human characteristics. This article attempts to establish a typology of Divine fallibility, categorising examples and seeking to explain them through literary and theological-anthropological lenses. Somewhat similar trends are seen in Ancient Greek myths about the behaviour and interactions of Greek gods, who are shown betraying, plotting against and envying each other just as humans do. The article explores the literary possibilities of a polytheistic system – where deities can display fallible pettiness among their own while maintaining a front of infallibility in their interactions with humankind – over a monotheistic system.