Abstract (source): In its full-color poster for elections to the All-Russian Jewish Congress in 1917, the Jewish People’s Party depicted a variety of Jews in seeking to enlist the support of the broadest possible segment of Russia’s Jewish population. It forsook neither traditional religious and economic life like the Jewish socialist parties, nor life in Europe like the Zionists. It embraced Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian as fulfilling different roles in Jewish life. It sought the democratization of Jewish communal self-government and the creation of new Russian Jewish national-cultural and governmental institutions. Most importantly, the self-named “folkists” believed that Jewish national aspirations could be fulfilled through Jewish autonomy in Russia and Eastern Europe more broadly. Ideologically and organizationally, this party’s leadership would profoundly influence the course of Russian Jewish politics.
Jewish Rights, National Rights provides a completely new interpretation of the origins of Jewish nationalism in Russia. It argues that Jewish nationalism, and Jewish politics generally, developed in a changing legal environment where the idea that nations had rights was beginning to take hold, and centered on the demand for Jewish autonomy in Eastern Europe. Drawing on numerous archives and libraries in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Israel, Simon Rabinovitch carefully reconstructs the political movement for Jewish autonomy, its personalities, institutions, and cultural projects. He explains how Jewish autonomy was realized following the February Revolution of 1917, and for the first time assesses voting patterns in November 1917 to determine the extent of public support for Jewish nationalism at the height of the Russian revolutionary period. (Stanford University Press, 2014)
Toleration within Judaism, Martin Goodman, Joseph E. David, Corinna R. Kaiser and Simon Levis Sullam (Oxford: Littman Library, 2013)
Co-authored by our Professor of Jewish Studies, Martin Goodman, this latest publication from the Littman Library traces the concept of toleration within the Jewish faith over the past 2000 years. This book does not present a warm and sentimental form of Tolerance and harmony, but is a frank and honest portrayal of toleration and at times tensions within the Jewish community. This book acknowledges the diversity within Judaism and explores the ways in which these differences have been negotiated, including Josephus’ representation of the Sadducees and Pharisees. Goodman writes that Josephus avoids going into great detail about the relationship between differing Jewish Philosophies, and suggests that this was an act of diplomacy. Goodman concludes:
The coexistence of such Jews in the Jerusalem Temple is evidence not of co-operation but of a sort of grumbling mutual tolerance which was to recur at later stages in the history of Judaism. (p. 44)
Kaiser in the final chapter examines the increasing use of tripartite seating patterns in today’s Jewish community, which allow multiple Jewish denominations to worship in accordance with their own beliefs simultaneously. This chapter explores the effect of this changing notion of toleration, namely that religious practise is more personalised and therefore more fragmented. Furthermore that tolerance becomes voluntary rather than enforced which can polarise some religious groups.
We constantly receive new titles in English and Hebrew; these are available from the ‘New acquisitions’ bookcase at the entrance to the reading room and can be borrowed. The books are frequently rotated so remember to check the shelves regularly. Here are some other new books in our English collection:
Jewish Symbols and Secrets: A Fifteenth-century Spanish Carpet, Anton Felton (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2012)
A Russian Jew of Bloomsbury: The life and times of Samuel Koleliansky, Gayla Diment (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011)
Süssen is now free of Jews: World War II, the Holocaust, and Rural Judaism, Gilya Gerda Schmidt (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012)
The Pinnacle of Hatred: The Blood Libel and the Jews, Darren O’Brien (Jerusalem: Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2011)