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Ester Levanon-Mordoch

This paper examines the presentation of female characters in dramatic roles, in which they appear as representatives of marginalized Jewish immigrants to Israel (olim hadashim, to use the Hebrew term). The two plays examined here were written as criticisms of Israel's double standards concerning the actual acceptance and assimilation of the 'welcomed and longed-for' immigrants, and have hitherto been examined from this perspective. A reading of these plays from the perspective of feminist critique shows that the representation of the central female characters suffers from a pattern of double stereotypical characterization; these characters are stigmatized and stereotyped both in the category of 'women' and in the category of 'unwelcome immigrants'. Thus, in some cases, counterproductively to the playwright's attempt to criticize Israeli institutions and hegemonic society, these representations reveal the stereotypical tendencies inherent in the playwright's own 'transparent' or 'unconscious' world view when it comes to female representation.

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Julia Neuberger

My first few visits to the Leo Baeck College from Cambridge in 1972 were amazing to me because of a totally different, far less dry, approach to texts. I was blessed, then and later, with classes taught by Nelly Littman and Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs. After three years at Cambridge (this was my fourth year, and I made weekly visits to the College), I was used to people standing and lecturing me even if I was the only person in the class. I was used to discussions of cognate languages, of a form of historical analysis that has stayed with me for the rest of my life but left little room for an emotional bond with a period or a people, and of a deep and loving understanding of the Hebrew language.

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Returning to Cosmology—Thoughts on the Positioning of Belief

Don Handelman

Cosmology may be helpful in positioning belief. I suggest, through discussing the contributions to this collection, that belief, especially propositional belief, is integral to monotheistic cosmoses that are constituted through gigantic fractures (like that between God and human being). Such fractures distinguish between cosmic interior and cosmic exterior. The fracture as boundary is absolute, paradoxical, not to be breached. Thus, the infinite Hebrew God integrates His finite cosmos by holding it together from its outside. The absolute boundary signifies cosmic discontinuity. Here belief in the unfathomable may be central to overcoming such discontinuity and, so, to integrating cosmos. By contrast, an organic cosmos is held together within itself, is more continuous within itself, is more holistic, and, in flowing through itself, obviates any centrality of belief.

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Menachem Mautner, Law and the Culture of Israel Review by Gad Barzilai

Nadav G. Shelef, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel, 1925–2005 Review by Ilan Peleg

Susan A. Glenn and Naomi B. Sokoloff, eds., Boundaries of Jewish Identity Review by Kirsten Fermaglich

Arieh Bruce Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine Review by Nina S. Spiegel

King Abdullah II, Our Last Best Chance: The Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril Review by Saliba Sarsar

Leslie Stein, The Making of Modern Israel: 1948–1967 Review by Pierre M. Atlas

Joyce Dalsheim, Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project Review by Myron J. Aronoff

Beverley Milton-Edwards, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A People’s War 180 Review by Raphael Cohen-Almagor

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David J. Goldberg

The Liberal movement that John Rayner joined in the mid-1950s and speedily came to dominate was small, inward-looking, aimlessly treading water and intellectually undistinguished. But my conviction is that whether in its sister movement in the U.S.A., the two million strong Union of American Hebrew Congregations or in the glory days of nineteenth- century German Reform Judaism, John's powerful intellect, wide Jewish knowledge, conviction of principle, clarity of thought and concision of expression would have brought him to the forefront. When the history of Progressive Judaism comes to be written in a hundred years time, his name will be mentioned in the same breath as luminaries like Abraham Geiger, Kaufmann Kohler, Isaac Mayer Wise, Leo Baeck and Solomon Freehof. He was one of the great ones for his and future generations.

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James W. Nelson Novoa

The article presents a recently identified and studied manuscript, Ms. Pal. 2666 from the Palatine library of Parma which contains a miscellaneous collection of philosophical and literary texts in aljamiado script or Spanish but written in Hebrew characters. The collection of texts, dating from the middle of the fifteenth century including renderings of some important works of Medieval Spanish literature adds to our knowledge of Sephardic reading and writing on the eve of the expulsion. After providing a description of the manuscript, of its contents and organization, the article presents a case for a Sephardic readership and literature culture conversant with the literary trends in vogue in Spain at the time of the compilation of the collection.

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Instructive Ritual

The Arab Student Union and the Communitas of the Palestinian Israeli Educated

Lauren Erdreich

In spite of state efforts to limit public nationalist ritual of the Palestinian Israeli community, one ritual system, as this article details, is kept intact by the Arab Student Union (ASU). Based on an ethnographic study of the Hebrew University ASU, I show how this ritual system is instructive in a specific, educated Palestinian Israeli identity. Instruction revolves around the root paradigms of a specifically Israeli Palestinian-ness and of the national responsibility of the educated. The instructive ritual system arouses communitas of the educated Palestinian community through instruction carried out in the context of sacralized space and time and by means of the use of ritual art and events, the recruitment of ritual commentators, and the intermeshing of ethos and world-view. This ritual system can be understood as an indigenous Palestinian Israeli pedagogy for liberation.

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From Bible to Berlin (Irving)

The Message of Jewish Popular Song

Jonathan Magonet

In this paper I would like to explore, in a somewhat whimsical way, certain aspects of popular songs written by Jewish composers and lyricists. In some cases simply eliciting the title evokes memories of a particular singer or context. In all cases they have about them a quality that has stamped them on the popular mind, often to become ‘classics’ of the repertory. The whimsical aspect of this paper lies in the attempt to relate them to themes to be found in the Hebrew Bible, though without venturing to suggest there is a direct line of connection. Rather this suggests that there are common life experiences to be found universally, each generation finding a popular way of expressing them in their own particular medium

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Revital Amiran-Sappir

This article deals with the relation of Micha Yosef Ben Gurion (Berdichevski)—one of the central formulators of the Zionist idea and of modern Hebrew literature—to the Zionist political sphere. As a wordly Jewish intellectual, Berdichevski attempted to establish a kind of Zionism that would allow Jewish individuals to engage in it as an act of their desires. In exploring how his carnal inclinations affected his vision of the political, I argue that Berdichevski's perception fails qualitatively by transposing its guiding sensual approach to the formulation of the new Jewish political sphere. As this article will show, Berdichevski's relation to the Jewish political revolution reveals a sometimes limited perception regarding the possibilities of freedom inherent in political activity and often contradicts his own aspiration to nurture the liberty of Jewish individuals.

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The Detective Novel in Ladino

Clues to a Little Known Genre

Julie Scolnik

The end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth saw the emergence of the detective novel in Europe and in the United States and it soon became a social phenomenon. In the countries pertaining to the Ottoman Empire the Sephardim were no exception; they, too, were avid readers of these detective novels. As was true of much of the literature published in Ladino at this time, these novels were translated from other languages. They were aljamiados, that is to say written in Hebrew script and published in Salonica. In most cases each novel was about forty pages long and generally published as a separate book, although some novels were published in instalments in the Ladino newspapers of the time.