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Judaism AF J: Sara E. Karesh and Mitchell M. Hurvitz J. Gordon Melton, Series Editor

Encyclopedia of Judaism Copyright © 2006 by Sara E. Karesh and Mitchell M. Hurvitz All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information contact: Facts On File, Inc. An imprint of Infobase Publishing 132 West 31st Street New York NY 10001 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Karesh, Sara E. Encyclopedia of Judaism / Sara E. Karesh and Mitchell M. Hurvitz. p. cm. — (Encyclopedia of world religions) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8160-5457-6 1. Judaism—Encyclopedias. I. Hurvitz, Mitchell M. II. Title. III. Series. BM50.K37 2005 296′.03—dc22 2004026537 Facts On File books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quantities for businesses, associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call our Special Sales Department in New York at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755. You can find Facts On File on the World Wide Web at http://www.factsonfile.com Text design by Erika Arroyo Cover design by Cathy Rincon Printed in the United States of America VB Hermitage 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 This book is printed on acid-free paper.

“. . . wherever you go, I will go . . .” Ruth 1:16 For David, Roseanne, Simon, Naomi, Ezra, and Faith We dedicate this volume to you, for if you had not been with us on our journey to create this book, we would not have had the resolve to reach our goal.

contents K About the Editor


List of Illustrations






Note on Transliteration


Introduction: Judaism


Chronology ENTRIES A TO Z

xxiii 1





about the editor K Series editor J. Gordon Melton is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California. He holds an M.Div. from the Garrett Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Melton is the author of American Religions: An Illustrated History, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, Religious Leaders of America, and several comprehensive works on Islamic culture, African-American religion, cults, and alternative religions. He


has written or edited more than three dozen books and anthologies as well as numerous papers and articles for scholarly journals. He is the series editor for Religious Information Systems, which supplies data and information in religious studies and related fields. Melton is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the American Society of Church History, the Communal Studies Association, and the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion.

list of illustrations K Hannah Arendt 29 Representation of the Ark of the Covenant 33 Auschwitz 36 Ehud Barak 44 Bat mitzvah boy reading Torah 45 Menachem Begin 48 Ben Yehudah Street 53 Irving Berlin 54 Membership certificate for the B’nai B’rith 62 Louis Brandeis 66 Berlin Chapel, Brandeis University 67 Marc Chagall 82 Hanukkiyah 84 Synagogue in Hong Kong, China 86 Dead Sea Scrolls 109 Decalogue 110 President Herzog, Denmark 112 Dreidel 122 Ezer Weizman 128 Albert Einstein 134 Ellis Island 136 Street sign in London, England 139

Freed hostages at the Entebbe airport 141 David Ben-Gurion 158 Anne Frank 161 Betty Friedan 164 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 177 Samuel Gompers 181 Rebecca Gratz 183 Great Synagogue, Jerusalem 185 Guggenheim Museum 187 Reading the Passover Haggadah 193 Hamsa 198 Hebrew Union College 202 Hebrew University 203 Theodor Herzl 208 Israel Defense Forces 238 Israeli flag 239 Kapparah ritual 266 Kibbutznik 271 Children on a kibbutz 272 Henry Kissinger 274 Knesset 276 Yitzhak Shamir at the Kotel (Western Wall) 279 Lower East Side, New York 299

Boy selling Ma’ariv newspaper 302 Marx Brothers 313 Masada 314 Golda Meir 319 Menorah near the Knesset 322 Mezuzah 326 Arthur Miller 328 Mount Sinai 342 Old City of Jerusalem 364 Priestly blessing 405 Purim costume 409 Yitzhak Rabin 413 Reform synagogue, London, England 421 Philip Roth 434 Anwar Sadat 443 Jonas Salk 447 Solomon Schechter 451 Passover seder table 457 Sephardic synagogue, Los Angeles, California 462 Shekel bills 470 Shofar 475 Star of David 495 Gloria Steinem 498 Sukkot 502 vii



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Synagogue in Nashville, Tennessee 506 Henrietta Szold 508 Boy studying Talmud 511 Praying with tallit and tefillin 513 Praying during Tisha B’Av 520

Torah scroll 522 Funeral procession after the Triangle Fire in New York 525 Leon Trotsky 527 Harry Truman 528 Survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and concentration camps 548

Chaim Weizmann 550 Elie Wiesel 552 Isaac Mayer Wise 554 Yellow Star 561 Studying at a yeshiva 562

preface K The Encyclopedia of World Religions series has been designed to provide comprehensive coverage of six major global religious traditions—Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, and Protestant Christianity. The volumes have been constructed in an A-to-Z format to provide a handy guide to the major terms, concepts, people, events, and organizations that have, in each case, transformed the religion from its usually modest beginnings to the global force that it has become. Each of these religions began as the faith of a relatively small group of closely related ethnic peoples. Each has, in the modern world, become a global community, and, with one notable exception, each has transcended its beginning to become an international multiethnic community. Judaism, of course, largely defines itself by its common heritage and ancestry and has an alternative but equally fascinating story. Surviving long after most similar cultures from the ancient past have turned to dust, Judaism has, within the last century, regathered its scattered people into a homeland while simultaneously watching a new diaspora carry Jews into most of the contemporary world’s countries. Each of the major traditions has also, in the modern world, become amazingly diverse. Buddhism, for example, spread from its original home

in India across southern Asia and then through Tibet and China to Korea and Japan. Each time it crossed a language barrier, something was lost, but something seemed equally to be gained, and an array of forms of Buddhism emerged. In Japan alone, Buddhism exists in hundreds of different sect groupings. Protestantism, the newest of the six traditions, began with at least four different and competing forms of the religious life and has since splintered into thousands of denominations. At the beginning of the 19th century, the six religious traditions selected for coverage in this series were largely confined to a relatively small part of the world. Since that time, the world has changed dramatically, with each of the traditions moving from its geographical center to become a global tradition. While the traditional religions of many countries retain the allegiance of a majority of the population, they do so in the presence of the other traditions as growing minorities. Other countries—China being a prominent example— have no religious majority, only a number of minorities that must periodically interface with one another. The religiously pluralistic world created by the global diffusion of the world’s religions has made knowledge of religions, especially religions practiced by one’s neighbors, a vital ix



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resource in the continuing task of building a good society, a world in which all may live freely and pursue visions of the highest values the cosmos provides. In creating these encyclopedias, the attempt has been made to be comprehensive if not exhaustive. As space allows, in approximately 800 entries, each author has attempted to define and explain the basic terms used in talking about the religion, make note of definitive events, introduce the most prominent figures, and highlight the major organizations. The coverage is designed to result in both a handy reference tool for the religious scholar/specialist and an understandable work that can be used fruitfully by anyone—a student, an informed lay person, or a reader simply wanting to look up a particular person or idea. Each volume includes several features. They begin with an essay that introduces the particular tradition and provides a quick overview of its historical development, the major events and trends that have pushed it toward its present state, and the mega-problems that have shaped it in the contemporary world. A chronology lists the major events that have punctuated the religion’s history from its origin to the present. The chronologies differ somewhat in emphasis, given that they treat two very ancient faiths that both originated in prehistoric time, several more recent faiths that emerged during the last few millennia, and the most recent, Protestantism, that has yet to celebrate its 500-year anniversary. The main body of each encyclopedia is constituted of the approximately 800 entries, arranged alphabetically. These entries include some 200 biographical entries covering religious figures of note in the tradition, with a distinct bias to the 19th and 20th centuries and some emphasis on leaders from different parts of the world. Special attention has been given to highlighting female contributions to the tradition, a factor often overlooked, as religion in all traditions has until recently been largely a male-dominated affair. Geographical entries cover the development of the movement in those countries and parts of

the world where the tradition has come to dominate or form an important minority voice, where it has developed a particularly distinct style (often signaled by doctrinal differences), or where it has a unique cultural or social presence. While religious statistics are amazingly difficult to assemble and evaluate, some attempt has been made to estimate the effect of the tradition on the selected countries. In some cases, particular events have had a determining effect on the development of the different religious traditions. Entries on events such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (for Protestantism) or the conversion of King Asoka (for Buddhism) place the spotlight on the factors precipitating the event and the consequences flowing from it. The various traditions have taken form as communities of believers have organized structures to promote their particular way of belief and practice within the tradition. Each tradition has a different way of organizing and recognizing the distinct groups within it. Buddhism, for example, has organized around national subtraditions. The encyclopedias give coverage to the major groupings within each tradition. Each tradition has developed a way of encountering and introducing individuals to spiritual reality as well as a vocabulary for it. It has also developed a set of concepts and a language to discuss the spiritual world and humanity’s place within it. In each volume, the largest number of entries explore the concepts, the beliefs that flow from them, and the practices that they have engendered. The authors have attempted to explain these key religious concepts in a nontechnical language and to communicate their meaning and logic to a person otherwise unfamiliar with the religion as a whole. Finally, each volume is thoroughly crossindexed using small caps to guide the reader to related entries. A bibliography and comprehensive index round out each volume. —J. Gordon Melton

acknowledgments K This volume could not have been completed without the support of many. Our families and friends lived through month after month of hearing about nothing but “the encyclopedia,” yet they stood by us through it all. We would especially like to thank Kathryn McClymond, Ellen Posman, Tatyana Leifman, and Noah Hurvitz for contributing to the initial draft of the volume. Their contri-

butions to the breadth of the volume were crucial to its success. We would also like to thank Susan Shapiro, the librarian at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, for her research assistance. Finally, the infinite patience of Claudia Schaab at Facts On File and J. Gordon Melton is much appreciated and made the completion of this project possible.


note on transliteration K The Chicago Manual of Style suggests that authors and editors make distinct decisions about Hebrew transliterations when writing and editing a particular work. While we loosely followed the suggestions articulated in Chicago, we often chose to transliterate a term based on its common appearance in other texts. Thus, we have followed the following format: the Hebrew letter chet ( ) generally has been represented by the letters ch instead of h with a dot underneath it. The Hebrew letter chaf ( ) generally has been represented by


the letters kh. Generally when a word ends with the Hebrew letter hey ( ), we have used the letter h at the end of the word. However, several exceptions to these guidelines occur when a word is commonly recognized with a different transliteration, such as the H instead of Ch for Hasidism and Rosh Hodesh, the ch instead of kh for the word bracha. In addition, we used the letters tz to represent the Hebrew letter tzadi in words such as tzaddik, tzedakah, and tzitzit.

introduction judaism

K Defining the Subject Matter Encyclopedia of Judaism illustrates the history and civilization of the Jews across the millennia, and presents Judaism as a singular yet multifaceted religion. The Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and the other Israelites who people the Hebrew Bible, called the Tanakh, are considered to be the ancestors of the Jews, and the biblical Moses is considered the religion’s lawgiver. Jews today still identify so strongly with this heritage and history that most of them think of Abraham, Moses, and the rest as practicing Jews. However, Judaism in the modern world falls into the category of rabbinic Judaism, which evolved from biblical religion but is based on the traditions of the ancient rabbis of some 2,000 years ago. Beginning as a small people following a local sacrificial cult, Jews and Judaism began spreading through the world from the time of the first Exile in 586 B.C.E. The first Diaspora community began to develop institutions and sacred texts that eventually would carry Jewish traditions around the world. Later, the Jewish people built distinct communities in all corners of the globe. As Judaism grew and adapted, these communities borrowed customs and culture from the surrounding non-

Jewish societies while maintaining common traditions based on the sacred texts. Covering the full 3,000 years of Judaism, this volume highlights the excitement, the joy, the innovations, the sorrows, and the pain that have made Judaism a living, vibrant tradition. Using an A to Z format, these entries provide coverage of the individuals, places, events, theologies, ideologies, organizations, movements, and denominations that have contributed to the development of the multifaceted Judaism that exists today. In constructing this volume, the authors have encountered the ambiguity of terms such as liberal, progressive, traditional, and normative. The terms liberal and progressive stand in opposition to the term traditional, and denote innovation and change from what tradition claims “has always been.” The term normative has been defined in its own entry, as has traditional, in order to clearly delineate the boundaries of Jewish communities as commonly accepted. In other words, the authors have attempted to explain how world Jewry has defined itself through the inclusion of groups such as Ethiopian Jews and the exclusion of other groups such as Messianic Jews. The authors have used the notations of C.E., or Common Era, and B.C.E., or Before the Common Era, instead of A.D. and B.C. to indicate dates xiii



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before and during the present age in an attempt to secularize the Christian calendar.

Sacred Texts, Commentaries, and Codes Judaism’s birth can be traced back approximately 4,000 years to one man’s belief in a single God. The events in the life of that man, Abraham, and the lives of the other Patriarchs and Matriarchs and their descendants over some 1,500 years, are found in the Bible. Jews do not refer to their Bible as the Old Testament because they recognize no other testament as their own; there can be no Old testament when there is no New one. Jews call their Bible the Tanakh, an acronym that stands for Torah (the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). According to the Jewish tradition, the Tanakh is the primary source for Jewish belief and practice. The Torah is considered the most holy or sacred set of books within the Hebrew Bible. Traditional dogma asserts that Moses received the Torah from God on Mount Sinai, and that the text we have today is unchanged from then, having been passed down from Moses to the Judges to the biblical prophets and then to the Pharisaic sages, or rabbis. Not only did Moses receive the Written Torah, or Written Law, from God, but he also received the Oral Torah, or Oral Law. Tradition teaches that God provided the Oral Law because the written text is often ambiguous. The Written Torah is preserved in scroll form, and read as part of the regular Jewish liturgical cycle in the synagogue at designated times. The Oral Torah is the commentary on the written text; it was eventually committed to writing, in the form of the Mishnah, the Talmud, and other rabbinic texts. When seeking a biblical proof text to answer a religious question, the Torah is considered the most authoritative place to look. However, the remainder of the Tanakh is also considered holy. Each of the Torah’s five books is equal in authority to the others. The teachings of the various

books in Nevi’im, while not as authoritative as those of the Torah, are also equal in weight to each other. The last section of the Tanakh, Ketuvim, is the least authoritative, though still important. A traditional Jew studies the entire Tanakh to develop and maintain a firm grasp on the foundations of Judaism, but Torah study takes priority in allocating a student’s biblical study time. The word Torah (Hebrew for “teaching” or “law”) is related to the Hebrew word meaning “to shoot.” The rabbis explained that God gave the Israelites the Written and Oral Law so that they and their descendants would properly shoot at and hit the divine target. One who goes beyond the intended target is committing an aveirah, literally “overshooting” but metaphorically a transgression of the law. The word Torah, apart from referring to the five books of Moses, is also commonly used for the entire collective of Jewish laws, traditions, legends, commentaries, and customs. Around the year 220 C.E., the Oral Torah was written down in the form of the Mishnah. The Mishnah codified many standard Jewish traditions, practices, and ideas. It articulated a complete religious system, which replaced the ancient centralized sacrificial cult and was even considered superior to it. The Mishnah highlighted the key categories of Jewish law and preserved legal opinions and narrative interpretations of the law. It became an authoritative text that in many practical ways became as important to Judaism as the Torah itself. Commentaries and debates among the ancient rabbis concerning the contents of the Mishnah were compiled to create the Gemara. The Mishnah and the Gemara appear together as the Talmud, which was redacted in two versions around the years 400 and 550 C.E. Scholars often refer to the Talmud as the “Sea of the Talmud,” so vast and complicated were these records of rabbinic debates and discussions on the Mishnah. In traditional Judaism, all of rabbinic law is considered grounded upon the Torah, but explicated by the Talmud. In most traditional Jewish circles, Talmudic study is emphasized over biblical study.


It is the Talmud that ultimately framed rabbinic Judaism. There are two primary components to the Talmud, halakhah and aggadah. Halakhah denotes Jewish law. The verb root literally means “pathway.” Halakhah implies how one is to walk on God’s path. Jewish law is the social contract of the Jewish people. Stamped by the traditional authority of God and the Torah, halakhah defines how the Jew is supposed to live, wherever he or she may be. The genius of the Jews is that they created a portable constitution at a time when it was not an easy feat. Though they lacked political sovereignty over a piece of land, they were able to take their law with them wherever they went. With the law always in their midst, they reconstituted their Jewish communities over and over again. While halakhah governed the Jews, aggadah taught the narratives of the Jewish people. Aggadah consisted of ethical teachings and stories, which framed the purpose of Jewish law. Halakhah and aggadah went hand in hand, one unable to exist without the other. In the modern setting, within all Jewish religious movements, Jewish law, traditions, and customs are always balanced by the narrative or the ethics behind the law itself. Once the Talmud, both the Mishnah and the Gemara, was in place, rabbis began analyzing and commenting on them. Rashi’s 11th-century commentaries on Tanakh and Talmud are the first studied by any young student. They are written in a special “Rashi” script; and a common method of study is to ask, “What was Rashi’s problem [with this text]?” Rashi identified the questions that any student of the primary text of the Talmud would have, and he provides his answers, usually derived from standard rabbinic tradition. After Rashi’s lifetime, his school continued his studies, producing further commentaries called Tosafot. Several of the Tosafists, writers of Tosafot, were Rashi’s grandchildren, and they commented on Rashi and on the Talmud itself. A typical page of Talmud contains the Mishnah and Gemara in the center, with Rashi, Tosafot, and other commentary surrounding it. The Talmud represents the world’s



first hypertext, as many indicators are used to refer the student to other parts of the Talmud for further edification. In the 12th century, Maimonides wrote the Mishneh Torah, which was the first systematic Jewish code of law based on the Mishnah. In this text, Maimonides articulated his own occasional disagreements with Talmud interpretations, but he consistently stated that the Talmudic teaching was nonetheless binding upon the Jews. In this way, Maimonides demonstrated freedom to interpret while at the same time accepting the rule of wellestablished Talmudic law. Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah does not list the references that support his interpretations. This is one reason that it did not become the standard authority. Instead most traditional Jews follow the Shulchan Arukh, penned by Joseph Caro in the 16th century, and the Mapah, added to the Shulchan Arukh by Moses Isserles not long after. The mystical text called the Zohar appeared in the early 14th century and became the key book for the Kabbalists, who ascribed authorship to the ancient sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai; scholars believe it was actually composed by the Spanish scholar Moses de León. Kabbalah is still studied in Hasidic, ultra-Orthodox Jewish circles, but Jewish custom requires a strong grounding in all traditional texts before beginning a study of Kabbalah. The Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, and codes represent text and commentaries that are still studied by Jews in the contemporary world. In addition to these texts, compendiums of responsa also exist. While the codes provide general rules and regulations for everyday life, responsa provide specific answers to the problems of real individuals and communities. Since the early Diaspora, Jews have had questions about Judaism; if there was no rabbi around to answer they would write to one of the rabbinic academies or a respected rabbi in another community. The written answers to these Jewish questions form collections of responsa. Some responsa appear in the Talmud, but there are also separate compilations of responsa. Such collections provide insight into the world of historical



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Jewish communities. In modern times, the responsa format was used for practical questions when Jews were faced with new situations. Contemporary rabbis, both traditional and liberal, still use this format today to publish answers to questions regarding modern Jewish life and action.

A Historical Perspective While contemporary Judaism is technically rabbinic Judaism, the religion established by biblical history was not. Judaism as practiced today was developed by the ancient rabbis after the destruction of the second Temple in the year 70 C.E. Thus, much of the Jewish religion as practiced since the first century of the Common Era cannot be explicitly found in the Tanakh. Three distinct religious traditions are depicted in the Tanakh. First, there is the category of nonIsraelite religions, including paganism, idolatry, and polytheism. Second, there is the religion that the biblical prophets wanted the Israelites to practice. Finally, there is the religion that was actually practiced by the Israelites. It is important to note this distinction because the sociological reality is that the Israelites struggled to balance their own distinctive practices with those that their religious leaders demanded that they practice. Israelite transgression is a repeated topic in the Bible. Moses often reprimanded, coerced, prodded, and pleaded in his efforts to get the Israelites to observe God’s law. He was not alone in Israelite history. The Prophets eventually took on the same role, often without success. The Israelites often wandered from the will of God; their subsequent punishments were cited as evidence of their evil ways. The Prophets created the parameters for what would ultimately evolve into rabbinic Judaism. Over the centuries, Israelite religion evolved. The core was always the same—the belief in one God, or monotheism. Biblical monotheism perceived God as creator, redeemer, lawgiver, and sovereign of the natural world. Biblical monothe-

ism was at its core ethical; in other words, it taught that right and wrong existed and it showed people how to distinguish one from the other. Ethical behavior even impacted the natural world: if the Israelites remained true to ethical monotheism, God promised to reward them with nature’s bounty. If they strayed from that path, God promised to keep nature from being productive. This simple biblical theology was very powerful in an agrarian society, and it laid a firm foundation for the later Jewish belief in ethical monotheism. Judaism underwent multiple periods of theological, ideological, and sociological evolution. After the Israelites settled in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, they were led by the Judges. Periodic upheavals followed and at the conclusion of the time of the Judges, the prophet Samuel emerged to lead the Israelites into a period of stability. According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribes of Israel wanted to be like other nations and asked Samuel to appoint a king over the nation even though God had not done so originally. Samuel resisted, warning of the terrible things a king can do to a people. Yet they insisted, and with God’s begrudging permission, Samuel anointed Saul as the first King of Israel in approximately 1020 B.C.E. At first Saul was a successful king and a good religious leader. However, he ultimately disobeyed the will of God, and his descendents did not succeed him as rulers. Instead, he was succeeded by David, also anointed by the prophet Samuel. David is considered to be the greatest king of Israel. Under his leadership, the Israelites took full control of all the land promised them by God; he captured Jerusalem, which was named the eternal capital of the Israelite nation, and he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. However, David was perceived in the Tanakh as a flawed leader. Despite God’s favor he was a sinner. God at times abandoned him, and he suffered the loss of children, several of whom rebelled against him. Because of his sins, David was not permitted to build the Temple, which was meant to be the site of the Israelite sacrificial cult and the place where God’s presence was most felt. Upon his death,


David was succeeded by his son Solomon, who led from a position of strength in the early years of his tenure. He reinforced his father’s successes and built the Temple. Biblical tradition teaches that King David’s influence was the apex of Israelite success. For this reason, messianic motifs in later biblical and rabbinic literature depend on the propagation of David’s seed. The apex of Davidic rule, however, ended halfway through Solomon’s reign. He began to sin and tolerate idolatrous activities. His vast construction activities led to a heavy tax and labor burden on the Israelite nation. After Solomon’s death, the Israelite kingdom split. The Northern Kingdom called itself Israel and established its own Temple; it consisted of 10 of the original tribes of Israel. Jerusalem remained the capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judea. Ultimately, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by Assyria in the early eighth century B.C.E.; its people were exiled and disappeared from history, except in legends and historical speculations about the Ten Lost Tribes. Sixty years after the conquest of the Northern Kingdom, Judea went through an intensive series of religious reforms, directed by King Josiah, which expanded on earlier reforms initiated by King Hezekiah. These reforms were the first steps toward rabbinic Judaism. The Bible relates that Josiah rediscovered the fifth book of the Torah, Deuteronomy, which had been lost by the Israelites. Critical scholars maintain that the book was new, and that it signaled a new Israelite theology they call the Deuteronomic school. Its adherents wrote the new book and edited the first four books of the Torah from the standpoint of Deuteronomic theology. The Deuteronomic school introduced a perspective that rejected any anthropomorphism. They discouraged belief in a God with a physical essence. Rather, God was without physical being, but omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good. The Deuteronomic school also strongly emphasized the role of central cultic worship and the preeminence of the Temple and Jerusalem in religious life.



Some 50 years later, in 586 B.C.E., the Babylonians conquered Judea. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, eradicating the Israelite aristocracy and relocating the religious leaders to Babylonia. The need to rebuild the Temple and restore central cultic worship remained paramount for the Israelite religious leadership, but Ezra the Scribe instituted additional religious reforms to guarantee cultural continuity even in the absence of a temple. Ezra replaced the ancient Hebrew letters of the Torah scroll with the more familiar Aramaic letters to allow widespread access to the sacred text. He instituted regular public Torah readings, so that the entire Torah was read to the people over the course of the year. Ezra’s reforms laid the foundation for the future institution of the synagogue; they gradually led to daily worship and study, which eventually replaced the cultic sacrificial worship system. Ezra also implemented a xenophobic agenda, although converts determined to become part of the people of Israel were always welcomed into the community. He urged the Israelites to cast out foreign spouses and not to intermarry. Ezra’s xenophobia would also take root in future rabbinic Judaism, which maintained a high degree of tension between the desire to remain separate from the non-Jewish world and the appeal of secular knowledge and the advantages it can bring. The Babylonian exile was short-lived. The Persians who conquered Babylonia allowed the Israelites, now also referred to as Jews, to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple. Sacrifices resumed, but it is believed that Ezra’s worship and study innovations survived intact and continued in parallel with the cultic system. Besides, Temple worship faced many crises over the centuries, most notably under the Hellenistic Syrians, who defiled the Temple and provoked the Maccabee revolt. The successful national-religious revolt and the rededication of the Temple are celebrated in the holiday of Chanukah. The early rabbis resisted this holiday, as being a secular celebration of a military victory. They



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also objected to the glorification of the Maccabees, whose descendants were extremely corrupt. Yet the holiday survived, in a classic case of rabbinic acceptance of the desires of the people. The common Jews did not care about the later corruption; they wanted to maintain their nationalistic celebration in an era of oppression, this time by the Romans. The rabbis, according to critical scholarship, invented a religious reason for Chanukah— the miracle of the oil—and transformed the nationalistic holiday into a religious holiday. Even so, Chanukah remains a minor festival and the book of Maccabees was not included in the canon of the Tanakh. Deep sectarian divisions emerged among the Jews during the first century of the Common Era. The Essenes are now widely known through their theorized role in creating or preserving the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were ascetics who kept themselves apart from other Jews, although periodic social intercourse did take place; they preached an apocalyptic, messianic faith. Unlike the Essenes, the Pharisees and Sadducees interacted with each other, but as opponents. The two sects competed for the support and fidelity of the Jews. The Sadducees primarily consisted of the old Israelite aristocracy; they were the priests who ran the sacrificial Temple cult. Their interpretations of the Oral Torah, or Oral Law, were often unsympathetic towards the concern of the commoners. The Pharisees primarily represented the common Israelites, though they boasted a few aristocrats among their ranks. Their leaders were the ancient sages and rabbis who ultimately solidified rabbinic Judaism. Hillel and Shammai were perhaps the most important of the sages at the end of the second Temple era. Each developed his own school of disciples. In almost all cases in rabbinic law, Hillel’s teachings are followed over the teachings of Shammai. Shammai is often the more conservative of the two, and least sympathetic to the commoner’s plight. It has been speculated that the school of Shammai became the origin for the Sadducean split from the Pharisees.

In the first century of the Common Era, another new sect emerged, the Nazareth cult, which followed the teacher Jesus of Nazareth. According to some scholars, Jesus was a Jew born into the Pharisaic tradition. However, he preached his own more liberal interpretation of the law, emphasizing the Jewish teachings of love and compassion. Most of the early followers of Jesus were Jews, and they were traditionally observant. Jesus apparently raised the ire of some members of the established Pharisaic leadership and most likely was not well liked by the Jewish “establishment.” However, his preaching was even more unacceptable to the Roman rulers of Judea, who opposed new religious movements and feared the Jewish tendency toward rebellion. They decided to execute Jesus. While it is historically plausible that some Jewish leaders endorsed this execution, the murder of Jesus was probably seen by most Jews as just one of the many Roman injustices inflicted upon their fellow Jews. After Jesus’s death, his followers claimed that he was resurrected. Under the leadership of Paul, himself a convert from Judaism, and the other apostles, all of them born Jewish, early Christianity evolved. Paul allowed non-Jews to become Christians without obliging them to observe Jewish law, even though Jewish Christians were committed to the observance of Jewish law. Gentile influences quickly came to predominate, and the two religions parted company. The turning point in the development of rabbinic Judaism was the Roman destruction of the second Temple in the year 70 C.E. The Jews of Judea, at least those who escaped the widespread killing and starvation, lamented this second destruction of their beloved city and the violent suspension of their sacrificial cult. Until the modern period, the destruction of the Temple was the most cataclysmic moment in the history of the Jewish people. Without the Temple, the Sadducees no longer had any claim to authority, and they faded away. The sage Yochanan ben Zakkai, with permission from Rome, set up the outpost of Yavneh to continue to develop Pharisaic, or rabbinic, Judaism.


By the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132 C.E., both rabbinic Judaism and Christianity had evolved in different directions, and the distinction between the two hardened. Many Jewish Christians joined in the Bar Kokhba revolt, but gentile Christians did not. This choice cemented the final separation of Christianity from Judaism. Those Jewish Christians who survived the revolt were reassimilated into Pharisaic Judaism. Two centuries later, Christianity, once also oppressed by Rome, became the official religion of the Roman Empire and the new persecutors of the Jewish people. After the Bar Kokhba revolt failed, the Roman Empire embarked on a firm plan to destroy any potential Jewish revolt. Having already destroyed the Temple, the Romans purposefully turned Jerusalem into a pagan city. They outlawed many of the practices of Judaism, murdered many of the Jewish sages, and exiled the majority of the Jews from Judea, which they renamed Palestine. The Pharisees represented the surviving Jewish leadership, and their traditions prevailed in the new world order. Under the leadership of Judah the Prince, head of the Sanhedrin, the Oral Torah, as interpreted by the Pharisaic tradition, was committed to writing in 220 C.E. in the Mishnah, to ensure its survival in those terrible times of persecution. These early codifiers of the law were called the tannaim. Over the next several centuries new generations of rabbis, called the amoraim, developed vast commentaries on the Mishnah. Two authoritative collections of these commentaries were eventually compiled—one developed in Palestine and was called the Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud, and the other developed in Babylonia and was called the Babylonian Talmud. Ultimately, the Babylonian Talmud came to be accepted as the most authoritative. After the completion of the Babylonian Talmud, the Jews were led by rabbinic authorities in Babylon called the geonim from the sixth to the 11th centuries. They were accepted by most Jews as the authentic interpreters of Jewish law, although they faced their own rebels. The Karaite



school of Judaism rose to challenge the rabbinic leadership and their interpretation of the Written Law. The Karaites rejected the Talmud, and took a more literal view of biblical teachings. In response to the Karaite rebellion, the following Geonic teaching was clearly articulated: “The Talmud is the final word accepted by the collective of the Jewish people. From the Talmud nothing can be diminished, and nothing can be added.” The Karaite movement faded during the medieval period, and Talmudic authority was not rigorously opposed until the rise of Reform Judaism at the end of the 18th century. After the geonim, new rabbinical schools emerged in different countries to build on the Talmudic foundation, and no central authority ever again emerged in the rabbinic world. Before the 16th century, the most notable rabbinic academies were found in France, Germany, Italy, North Africa, and Spain. These included the school of Rashi, the famous 11th-century commentator. Many Jewish texts were written and codified during the Middle Ages, such as the Mishneh Torah, the Zohar, and the Shulchan Arukh. In 16th-century Safed, Israel, a center for Jewish mysticism, Moses Cordovero and Isaac Luria developed what became the standard system of Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism, known for centuries as the Lurianic Kabbalah. Kabbalah was resisted by many rabbis, some of whom claimed it taught a dualistic notion of God. On the other hand, Kabbalah was studied by many other rabbis, and it remains a strong influence within most Hasidic groups today. The Kabbalah also influenced certain more widely held Jewish notions of God and Torah, and has had a significant influence on the liturgy of the traditional prayer book. Life for Jews and Jewish communities in the Middle Ages was unpredictable. In most countries of the world, east and west, Jews had few rights. They were not allowed to own land, and they were usually restricted from craft guilds. In some eras, in some lands, such as in Spain and Persia, the Jews attained high degrees of economic prosperity and professional acumen, in such fields as medicine,



Encyclopedia of Judaism

politics, or commerce, only to see the good times disappear as new rulers restricted their ability to maintain their livelihood and often exiled them from their lands. Many Jews in the Middle Ages practiced moneylending, as this profession was often the only one open to them. Such practices, however, brought antagonism among both the nobility and the peasants, and Jewish communities often suffered great persecution and violence. On a positive note, as the Middle Ages waned, many Jewish communities won high levels of communal autonomy. While the Jews were ill equipped to defend themselves, they often were allowed to run their own internal affairs without interference from the ruler of the land, as long as taxes were paid. Despite uncertainty, Jewish life continued to develop, and after the 16th century, important rabbinic academies were established in Lithuania, Palestine, and Poland. These schools continued to churn out commentaries to the Tanakh and the Talmud. Over the course of the centuries many false messiahs appeared, offering hope to a people who had little aside from their eternal dream to return to Eretz Yisrael. In the 17th century one such false messiah was Shabbatai Zvi. His conversion to Islam marked one of the greatest disappointments in medieval Jewish history. In the early 18th century a new Jewish movement called Hasidism emerged to offer hope. Its founder was Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, known as the Baal Shem Tov. The Hasidic movement taught two primary ideas. The first, that one must become attached to God, was not controversial within the Jewish world. The second, loyalty to a new type of Jewish leader called the tzaddik (righteous one) or rebbe, created significant controversy in Jewish life. The rebbe’s authority came from his spiritual leadership, not so much from knowledge of rabbinic law and literature. The Hasidim were opposed by the Mitnagdim (opponents). Led by the Vilna Gaon in Lithuania, the Mitnagdim believed that the notion of the rebbe as a conduit to God violated the primary teachings of Judaism; no human beings should need an intermediary between themselves and God. The

Hasidic tendency to glorify the rebbe struck the Mitnagdim as a form of idolatry. The Mitnagdim were also suspicious of leniency in Jewish ritual observance among the Hasidim, who tended to value emotional religiosity over intellectual study of the texts. Yet when the two groups were faced with the challenges of Enlightenment thought and Jewish religious reform, their differences seemed far less significant. The Hasidim became more stringent in their personal observance, and while non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews still dislike the emphasis on the rebbe, tension between the two groups has declined. The next key transition in the Jewish world came with the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment movement that began late in the 18th century. The maskilim, the enlighteners, first emerged in Berlin. They were led by Moses Mendelssohn, who preached the need to embrace the ideals of Western society and modernity. The maskilim wanted to leave the autonomous Jewish community and became full participants in general society. Many of those who embraced the Enlightenment came to reject traditional Judaism; they were fiercely opposed by both the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim. After the Napoleonic emancipation of the Jews, many Jews fled the ghettoes to fully embrace the Enlightenment and completely reject their Judaism. The Reform movement emerged in Germany to combat this trend. Led by Abraham Geiger and Samuel Holdheim, Jewish reformers believed it was necessary to reform Judaism to keep it relevant for the modern Jew. Ritual that did not have intrinsic value was eliminated, and ethics became paramount. These ritual reforms were rejected by the traditionalists, but they did provoke the creation of Neo-Orthodoxy (Modern Orthodoxy) in Germany, originally led by Samson Raphael Hirsch. He maintained that a Jew could live within modern society and still observe the laws of God. The Positive-Historical School also emerged, aiming to provide a middle ground between Reform and Orthodoxy. Led by Zachariah Frankel, this move-


ment taught that traditional Judaism had always been an evolving religion; a critical study of Judaism would demonstrate how organic changes have occurred in the past, and how, by extension, they could still occur. Frankel’s views took root in the United States with the emergence of Conservative Judaism. Reform Judaism also matured in the United States, along with several other movements that first saw the light of day in the new world. These included the 20th-century movements of Reconstructionism and Jewish Renewal. Reconstructionist Judaism was a small movement that began as an outgrowth of Conservative Judaism. The movement has had minimal success in terms of numbers, but its ideas, as taught by Jewish thinker and leader Mordecai Kaplan, significantly impacted American Jewish life. In the middle and end of the 19th century huge numbers of Jews emigrated from Europe to the United States. The German Jews arrived first in midcentury, recognizing the potential of religious pluralism. More than 2 million eastern European Jews immigrated as the 19th century turned into the 20th, fleeing the violence and poverty of their native lands. The story of Jewish life in America has been far less violent than that of the Jews of Europe, despite surges of antisemitic activity and sentiment. In the new world, Jewish culture and religion flourished and continue to do so. The three dominant Jewish religious movements of 20th- and early 21st-century America are the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Movements. Zionism, the Jewish nationalistic movement, emerged in the late 19th century. Catalyzed into the modern world by Theodor Herzl, Zionism sought to secure a new Jewish homeland in Palestine. Concerned for the physical safety of Jews in eastern Europe and aware of rising antisemitism in the west, the Zionist Organization worked with Jewish pioneers in Palestine to settle the land. Initially, the concept of Zionism was rejected by most ultra-Orthodox and Reform Jews. The ultraOrthodox believed that Israel could be re-created



only after the messianic era arrived, while Reform preferred to view Judaism as devoid of national identity. Conservative Jewish leaders, and some individuals from within Orthodoxy and Reform, joined mostly secular Jews in participating in the Zionist mission. However, as the horrors of the Holocaust became clear to the world, most mainstream Jews ceased to criticize the Zionist dream. As the Jewish pioneers struggled to settle in Palestine, the greatest tragedy of modern Jewish history occurred, the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust from 1933 to 1945. Six million European Jews, one-third of world Jewry, were exterminated by the German Nazis. This horror was a culmination of centuries of religious, nationalistic, political, and ultimately racial antiJudaism, or antisemitism. The Holocaust proved to the world that Jews needed a land of their own, and for a brief period, international sympathy led the United Nations to support a partition of Palestine into two states, one for the Jews and the other for the Arabs. The Jews reluctantly accepted the plan; the Arabs rejected it and, after Israel declared its independence, declared war. Israel managed to persevere, and stave off several decades of Arab aggression. In 1967, waging the pre-emptive Six-Day War, Israel won significant additional territory and reunited Jerusalem. The triumph inspired world Jewry, and for a brief period made Jews feel as though they had gone from being the conquered to the conquerors. This feeling of elation dissipated, as Israel had to face the task of ruling an Arab majority in occupied lands. In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise military attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and Israel at first suffered terrible losses. Ultimately the Arab attack was repelled, but Jewish pride was severely damaged. Six years later, Egypt accepted a peace treaty in exchange for the return of Egyptian land. In the 1980s Israel invaded Lebanon to remove terrorists who threatened Israel’s northern border. The war was the first military maneuver in Israel’s history that did not receive the full support of Israel’s citizens. In 1993, a peace accord was



Encyclopedia of Judaism

reached with the Palestinian leadership, which resulted in a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership and Israeli leadership have not reached a comprehensive peace agreement, and violence and terrorism continues to haunt Israel. Jews and Jewish communities continue to develop around the world. The decimation of Jewish life in Europe, however, eradicated hundreds of centers of Jewish life and growth. Today, the United States and Israel maintain the largest and most productive Jewish communities in the world. These two centers provide leadership for all Jews and Jewish communities.

An Encyclopedic Approach This volume seeks to be comprehensive. However, not everything that exists in Judaism and the history of the Jewish people, nor every person or place, is given space. Choices had to be made. For example, although the important Jewish community of Lithuania does not receive its own entry, the Vilna Gaon, its revered leader, does. In addition, it was decided to include biographical profiles of some Jews who have shown few, if any, ties to the Jewish community. The success of unaffiliated Jews is a double-edged sword, revealing a dangerous degree of assimilation, yet highlighting the freedom of Jews to blend completely into nonJewish society. Regardless, it is clear that many

Jews have impacted the world around them outside the Jewish community itself. As often as possible, the authors discovered links between these secular Jews and the Jewish community. The authors have made a special effort to include topics that are difficult for the non-Jew to research in libraries. Many of these constitute the vernacular of religious Jews, such as sheitel and shuckling. Others include common terms that are difficult to discover, such as the word and symbol chai and the Lion of Judah. Finally, an effort has been made to include descriptions under the most commonly used phrase, whether it be Hebrew or English. In the pages that follow, the Encyclopedia of Judaism, in approximately 800 entries, presents the world of Judaism from its origins to the present. The entries highlight the significant people, places, institutions, texts, and beliefs that have constituted Judaism since its inception. In an effort to provide context to Jewish life in the arena of religious studies, the authors have included entries such as secularization, modernity, syncretism, sacred time, and sacred space. Judaism and its people are highly diversified in almost every aspect. While it was not possible to include every important concept, this volume provides numerous points of entry for the student to begin a comprehensive inquiry into the forces that shaped contemporary Judaism. —Sara E. Karesh and Mitchell M. Hurvitz

chronology K c. 2000–1700 B.C.E.

c. 1020

¶ The Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people—Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel, and Leah—settle in the land of Israel.

¶ Saul becomes first Israelite king.

c. 1700–1300 ¶ Joseph becomes prime minister of Egypt. After Joseph dies, Israelites become slaves to Pharaoh.

c. 1300–1260

c. 1000 ¶ David succeeds Saul as king.

c. 990 ¶ David conquers Jerusalem and makes city his capital. Ark of the Covenant retrieved.

¶ Exodus from Egypt led by Moses. Israelites receive Torah at Mt. Sinai, followed by 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

c. 960

c. 1260

c. 950

¶ Conquest of Canaan led by Joshua.

¶ Solomon builds first Temple in Jerusalem.

c. 1200–1050

c. 930

¶ Period of the Judges.

¶ Israelites divide into Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah) Kingdoms.

¶ Solomon succeeds David as king.

c. 1050–1020 ¶ Philistines threaten Israelites, seize Ark of the Covenant. Samuel preserves Israelite confederation.

722–720 ¶ Northern Kingdom conquered by Assyrians; 10 Israelite tribes lost to history. xxiii



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¶ Judah undergoes Hezekiah’s religious reforms.


¶ Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem under Persian authority; rebuilds walls and initiates religious reforms to strengthen and unify Israelites.

¶ Hezekiah revolts against Assyria despite Isaiah’s warnings.



¶ Alexander the Great conquers Judea. Hellenistic rule begins.

¶ Assyrian invasion. Northern Judah devastated.

323 c. 640 ¶ Judah undergoes Josianic religious reforms, religious centralization. Pagan influences uprooted. Deuteronomic editing of the Bible.

¶ Alexander dies, Ptolemy takes control of Judea.

c. 200 ¶ Antiochus III of Syria seizes Judea.

604 ¶ Judah becomes vassal of Babylon.

c. 175 ¶ Antiochus IV of Syria tries to Hellenize the Jews.

601 ¶ Judah revolts against Babylon.

c. 167–165


¶ Maccabees, or Hasmoneans, lead successful uprising against religious repression and desecration of the Temple.

¶ Israelite rebellion defeated. First exile of Judean leadership to Babylon.

165 589 ¶ Judah revolts against Babylon again, despite ¶ Jeremiah’s warning.

586 ¶ Judah falls, first Temple destroyed.

586–538 ¶ Babylonian Exile. Ezra the Scribe implements religious reforms to strengthen community in exile. Exile ends with Cyrus’s edict to return to Judah.

¶ Rededication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans (holiday of Chanukah).

161 ¶ Judah Maccabee killed, succeeded by brother Jonathan

152 ¶ Jonathan makes himself high priest. Beginning of sectarian period.

140 515 ¶ Second Temple completed under Persian rule.

¶ Jonathan killed and replaced by brother Simon, who also takes title of high priest.






¶ Son of Simon, John Hyrcanus becomes ruler of Judea. Forced conversions of conquered peoples.

¶ Jerusalem and second Temple destroyed. Second great exile of the Jews; Yochanan ben Zakkai establishes Sanhedrin in Yavneh.

104 ¶ Hasmoneans proclaim themselves kings of Judea.




¶ Romans oversee Hasmonean rule.

¶ Three Jewish revolts against Rome defeated. Increased persecutions of Jews and repression of Judaism.


¶ Siege of Masada.

¶ Civil war for throne of Judea.

130–132 63

¶ Hadrianic persecution of Jews.

¶ Rome supports Hyrcanus, who becomes high priest. Antipater becomes Roman administrator over Judea; Jews lose independence.


40 ¶ Herod, son of Antipater, recognized by Rome as king of Judea; he refurbishes the Temple.

4 B.C.E. ¶ Herod’s kingdom divided among three sons.

¶ Bar Kokhba revolt. Many Jewish Christians participate, reassimilated into rabbinic Judaism. After defeat, Christianity distanced from Judaism. Hundreds of thousands of Jews die.

135 ¶ Jewish sages tortured and executed by Romans. Jerusalem transformed into a pagan city, Aelius Hadrianus.

6 C.E. ¶ Rome assumes direct control of Judea.

c. 140


¶ Office of Exilarch created in Babylon; significant autonomy won.

¶ Pontius Pilate becomes procurator of Judea.

195 30 ¶ Jewish preacher Jesus of Nazareth put to death by Romans. After his death some Jews join Gentiles in early Christianity.

¶ Judah HaNasi extends power of Sanhedrin in Palestine, restores productive relations with Rome, firmly establishes rabbinic dominance within Judaism.


c. 200–220

¶ Jewish revolt against Romans ends in defeat.

¶ Mishnah compiled by Judah HaNasi.



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¶ Some Jews granted citizenship rights by Rome.

¶ Anti-Jewish riots and synagogue destruction in Palestine, led by monk Bar Sauma.

c. 219 ¶ Sura Academy created in Babylon.

c. 429


¶ Emperor of Rome abolishes post of nasi as head of the Jews. Sanhedrin power reduced; Jewish intellectual life in land of Israel greatly curtailed.

¶ Pumbeditha Academy created in Babylon.

c. 300


¶ El Vira church council in Spain passes antiJewish legislation.

¶ Persecution of Jews in Babylon led by the Sassanids. Position of exilarch abolished for a short period.

c. 313–315 ¶ Church aggression toward Judaism increases under Constantine, setting precedent for entire Christian medieval world.

513–520 ¶ Autonomous Jewish state in Babylon; crushed, Mar Zutra crucified.



¶ Jewish revolt against Rome in land of Israel. Many Jewish towns decimated as rebellion defeated.

¶ Resumption of Jewish communal institutions and traditions in Babylon.


c. 550

¶ Jewish lunar calendar begun, replaces monthly witnesses in deciding dates; still in use today.

¶ Babylonian Gemara completed.

360 ¶ Roman emperor Julian promises to rebuild Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Many Jews return to Israel. Julian dies and Temple plans are stopped; Christian aggression returns.

c. 385 ¶ Renewed anti-Jewish activity and laws implemented throughout Roman Empire. Forced conversions increase; synagogues burned, Jews expelled.

576 ¶ Forced conversions of Jews in France; those who refuse are exiled.

580 ¶ Renewed persecutions against Jews in Babylon. Pumbeditha Academy forced to relocate.

581–582 ¶ Frankish (German) persecution of the Jews.

600 c. 400 ¶ Palestinian Gemara completed.

¶ Pope Gregory sets official church policy toward Jews: Jews should convert to Christianity, but


not by force or violence. Restrictions on Jewish activity permitted, as well as inducements for converts.

613 ¶ Jews of Spain told to convert or be expelled.



c. 800 ¶ Jews move to Rhine area.

808 ¶ Jews admitted to Fez, Morocco.



¶ Persians gain temporary control of Palestine and Jews return to Jerusalem.

¶ Agobard, bishop of Lyons, attacks Western European Jewry.



¶ Muhammad forces Jews to leave Arabia.


¶ Bodo, a high churchman at the court of Frankish emperor Louis, converts to Judaism, which leads to heightened church tensions against Jews.

¶ Byzantine emperor Heraclius demands all Jews convert to Christianity.

c. 940 ¶ High Jewish courtiers join Muslim court in Spain.

636 ¶ Muslims conquer Palestine; allow Jews to return.

c. 970 ¶ First Spanish yeshiva created in Córdoba, Spain.

691 ¶ Caliph Abd el-Malik builds Dome of the Rock on site of first and second Temples in Jerusalem.

711 ¶ Muslims conquer Spain. Allow greater freedom for Jews and attract more Jews to the country.

717 ¶ Muslims oppress Jews in Babylon.

c. 765 ¶ Karaite schism from rabbinic Judaism.

c. 1013 ¶ Start of Jewish golden age in Spain.

c. 1020 ¶ Egyptian Jews persecuted. Many flee to Byzantine Empire or Yemen.

c. 1050 ¶ Birth of the Yiddish language.

1066 ¶ Jews allowed into England.

c. 780–965 ¶ Conversion to Judaism of Khazar kingdom; remains Jewish until Russian conquest.

1070 ¶ School of Rashi takes root in northern France.



Encyclopedia of Judaism

c. 1080


¶ Christians expand rule in Spain and outlaw Judaism.

¶ Jews facing death by angry mobs during Third Crusade take their own lives in York, England.



¶ First Crusade. Numerous Jews massacred in Europe.

¶ 300 Western European rabbis answer Saladin’s call to return to Jerusalem.



¶ Crusaders capture Jerusalem, massacre Muslim and Jewish residents.

¶ First Jewish community in Switzerland established in Basel.

1144 ¶ First recorded blood libel, in Norwich, England.

1147–1149 ¶ Second Crusade. Renewed violence targeting Jews.

c. 1150 ¶ Rabbenu Tam and Rashbam initiate first rabbinical synod in Ashkenaz (France and Germany).

1163 ¶ Jews establish a synagogue in Kai-feng, China.

1165 ¶ Shi’ite Muslims force Jews to convert in Yemen.

1215 ¶ Fourth church Lateran Council promotes more intense anti-Jewish legislation.

1232 ¶ A French rabbi bans Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed (1190).

1236 ¶ Pope Frederick II proclaims blood libel to be baseless.

1239 ¶ The Christian king of Aragon grants a charter of rights for the Jews.

c. 1175–1250


¶ Hasidei Ashkenaz established; a Jewish movement for inner piety.

¶ Paris disputation, followed by burnings of the Talmud.



¶ Moses Maimonides completes the Mishneh Torah.

¶ First blood libel in Spain.



¶ Muslims reconquer Jerusalem. Jews invited to return.

¶ The Barcelona Disputation, Nachmanides vs. Pablo Christiani.




¶ Polish Jewish community inaugurated with first charter of rights, expanded in 1333.

¶ Expulsion of Jews from Portugal.



c. 1500 1288 ¶ Jews expelled from Naples kingdom and southern Italy.

1290 ¶ England expels its Jews.

1291 ¶ Muslims drive crusaders out of the land of Israel.

1298 ¶ Rindfleisch massacres of Jews in Germany.

1305 ¶ Rabbi Shlomo Ben Aderet of Spain bans all Jewish study of philosophy and science for anyone under the age of 25.

¶ Development of the Ladino language.

c. 1500 ¶ First appearance of Conversos in the “New World.”

1510–1516 ¶ Jewish expulsion from Naples.

1516 ¶ First Jewish ghetto established, in Venice.

1517 ¶ Turkish Ottoman Empire conquers land of Israel. Jews return in large numbers to Palestine. New Jewish mystical center arises in Safed.



¶ Jews of France expelled.

¶ Two suspected Conversos burned at the stake in the New World.

1348–1349 ¶ “Black Death” plague strikes Europe; Jews accused of poisoning wells.

1543 ¶ Martin Luther attacks the Jews.



¶ Jews expelled from Hungarian communities.

¶ Polish and Lithuanian Jews appoint their first chief rabbi.

1391–1492 ¶ Inquisition, forced conversions of Jews, and final expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

1554 ¶ Pope Paul IV strengthens anti-Jewish legislation, promotes ghettoization of Jews.

c. 1475 ¶ First Hebrew printing press, in Italian and Iberian peninsula.

1555 ¶ Joseph Caro completes his Shulchan Arukh.



Encyclopedia of Judaism



¶ Rabbi Isaac Luria relocates to Safed.

¶ Rabbis excommunicate Baruch Spinoza in Amsterdam.

1581 ¶ Council of the Four Lands established in eastern Europe; Jews become semiautonomous.




¶ Amsterdam emerges as a major center for Conversos.

¶ False messiah Shabbatai Zvi flourishes.

1593 ¶ Leghorn (Livorno), Italy, develops into major Jewish center.

c. 1600 ¶ Prague develops into major Jewish center.

c. 1600–1625 ¶ Northern European ports develop major Jewish communities.

1603 ¶ Council of German Jewry created in Frankfurt.

1630–1654 ¶ Jewish settlement in Brazil.

1648–1649 ¶ Chmielnicki Massacres in the Ukraine.

1654 ¶ First Jews in North America arrive in New Amsterdam.

¶ Jews allowed to settle in Denmark.

1676 ¶ Jews expelled from Yemen.

1723 ¶ Sephardic Jewish community in Bordeaux, France, officially recognized.

1730 ¶ First synagogue in America, Shearit Israel, established in New York.

c. 1740 ¶ Baal Shem Tov begins Hasidic movement.

1764 ¶ Poland abolishes the council of the four lands, ending two centuries of Jewish semiautonomy.

1768 ¶ Haidamack attacks against Jews in Poland.

1770–1780 ¶ Haskalah movement in Europe begins.



¶ Rabbi Menashe Ben Israel petitions for Jews to be allowed to return to England.

¶ Vilna Gaon orders excommunication of any Jews who embrace Hasidism.





¶ First modern Jewish school opens in Berlin, Germany.

¶ Semi-emancipation of Jews in Prussia.

1783 ¶ Moses Mendelssohn translates the Torah into German.


1819 ¶ Riots directed against Jews in Denmark and Germany. ¶ Rebecca Gratz establishes first independent Jewish women’s charitable society in Philadelphia.

1789 ¶ First debate on Jewish emancipation in France.



¶ Beginning of Reform Judaism and NeoOrthodoxy in Germany.

¶ American president George Washington pledges religious liberty to Jews.


1791 ¶ Jews granted French citizenship. Pale of Settlement created in Russia.

1794 ¶ Jewish Legion formed in Poland.

1796 ¶ Italian Jews emancipated by Napoleon.

1802 ¶ First chief rabbi of England appointed. Volozhin Yeshiva established in the Pale.

1804 ¶ Czar Alexander I implements new anti-Jewish legislation.

1805 ¶ Jewish massacre in Algeria.

¶ Jewish massacre in Greece.

1824 ¶ First Reform Jewish group in America formed in Charleston, South Carolina.

1830 ¶ Large immigration of German Jews to United States begins.

1836 ¶ Russian government begins censorship of Jewish books and closes down Jewish printing presses.

1837 ¶ Major earthquake in Safed kills thousands of Jews.

1839 ¶ Forced conversions of Jews in northern Persia.

1806 ¶ Yeshiva established in Pressburg, Hungary, to lead opposition to reform within Judaism.

1840 ¶ Damascus blood libel.



Encyclopedia of Judaism



¶ David Levy Yulee elected first Jew in U.S. Congress, as senator from Florida territory.

¶ Jews of Baden, Germany, granted full civil rights.

1862 1842 ¶ Musar movement begins in Lithuania.

1843 ¶ B’nai B’rith founded; first secular Jewish organization in the United States.

1844 ¶ Russia abolishes the kahal, the community organization of the Jews. ¶ First Reform rabbinical meeting, in Brunswick, Germany.

1846 ¶ New anti-Jewish legislation in Yemen.

¶ Judah Benjamin appointed secretary of state of American Confederacy. ¶ U.S. Army appoints first Jewish chaplain.

1863 ¶ Montefiore petitions sultan of Morocco to improve living conditions for Jews.

1867–1870 ¶ Jews granted full emancipation in Austria, Germany, and Italy.

1873 ¶ Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform) founded.

1875 1850 ¶ Jews travel to California to sell to gold rush miners; 6 percent of San Francisco population is Jewish, two synagogues created.

¶ Isaac Mayer Wise founds Hebrew Union College, first rabbinical seminary.



¶ New Jewish agricultural settlement in Palestine, Petach Tikvah.

¶ Zachariah Frankel opens the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau, Germany.



¶ Pogroms in southern Russia in aftermath of czar’s assassination.

¶ Edgardo Mortara, Jewish child, kidnapped by church in Italy; causes international furor. ¶ First Jew sits in British Parliament.

1881–1924 ¶ More than 2 million eastern European Jews immigrate to America.

1860 ¶ First modern Jewish neighborhood, Mishkenot Shaananim, built outside Jerusalem’s walls. ¶ Alliance Israelite Universelle founded, first modern international Jewish organization.

1882–1903 ¶ First Aliya: large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine, mainly from Russia. Four more waves of immigration to follow.






¶ Pittsburgh Platform issued by U.S. Reform Jews.

¶ Industrial Removal Office operates in United States.



¶ Conservative Judaism takes hold in America. Jewish Theological Seminary founded in New York.

¶ Mizrahi movement created. ¶ Solomon Schechter arrives in New York to head Jewish Theological Seminary.



¶ Jews expelled from Moscow.

¶ Herzl backs Uganda as temporary Jewish home. ¶ Kishinev pogrom.

1892 ¶ Workmen’s Circle established, promotes Yiddishist and socialist ideas among Jewish laborers. ¶ American Jewish Historical Society established.




¶ Dreyfus Affair in France.

¶ Kiev blood libel trial of Mendel Beilis. ¶ Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 women workers, most of them Jewish.

1895 ¶ First Jewish federation organized in Boston.

¶ First kibbutz, Degania, and first modern Jewish city, Tel Aviv, founded in Palestine.


¶ Cairo Genizah discovered by Solomon Schechter.

¶ Agudath Israel movement founded. ¶ Henrietta Szold founds Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.



¶ First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; founds Zionist Organization. ¶ Founding of the Bund in Russia. ¶ Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary trains Orthodox rabbis; later becomes part of Yeshiva University. ¶ Jewish Daily Forward founded.

¶ Leo Frank accused of murdering girl in Atlanta, Georgia; sentenced to life in prison. ¶ Anti-Defamation League formed by B’nai B’rith.


1915 ¶ Leo Frank lynched.

1916 1898 ¶ Union of Orthodox Congregations founded in United States.

¶ Louis Brandeis becomes first Jewish justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ¶ HaShomer Hatzair movement created.



Encyclopedia of Judaism



¶ British end 400 years of Ottoman rule over Palestine. Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for Jewish home in Palestine.

¶ Stalin government actively attempts to destroy Jewish culture in Soviet Union.

1933 1920 ¶ Henry Ford publishes Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the Dearborn Independent. ¶ Histadrut (Jewish labor federation) and Haganah (Jewish defense organization) founded in Palestine. Vaad Leumi (National Council) set up by Jewish community (yishuv) to conduct its affairs.

¶ Rise of the Third Reich. ¶ Albert Einstein flees Germany; finds refuge in United States.

1936–1939 ¶ Anti-Jewish riots in Palestine by Arab militants.

1938 1921

¶ Kristallnacht, Night of Broken Glass, in Germany.

¶ New United States immigration quotas limit Jewish immigration. ¶ First moshav, Nahalal, founded in Palestine.


1922 ¶ Britain granted Mandate for Palestine by League of Nations; Transjordan set up on 75 percent of area. Jewish Agency for Palestine created. ¶ Mordecai Kaplan establishes Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

¶ Jewish immigration to Palestine severely limited by British White Paper. ¶ SS St. Louis denied permission to dock at a U.S. port; returns to Europe, most passengers later murdered in the Holocaust. ¶ Irving Berlin writes God Bless America.

1939–1945 ¶ World War II and the Holocaust. Murder of 6 million European Jews by German Nazis.

1924 ¶ Technion, first Palestine technical institute, founded in Haifa.




¶ Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened on Mt. Scopus

¶ Irgun blows up British headquarters at King David Hotel.

1928 ¶ Soviet Union creates autonomous area for Jews in Birobidzhan.

¶ Yeshiva University founded in New York.

1947 ¶ United Nations proposes establishment of Arab and Jewish states in Palestine, via Partition Plan.

1948 1929 ¶ Hebron Jews massacred by Arab militants.

¶ State of Israel declares independence, defeats Arab invaders.


¶ Brandeis University founded; first secular Jewish university in United States.

1949 ¶ Israel signs armistice with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Jerusalem divided under Israeli and Jordanian rule. First Israeli Knesset (parliament) elected.



1979 ¶ Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel; Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

1981 ¶ Israel Air Force destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor.

1982 1949–1952 ¶ Mass Jewish immigration from European and Arab countries to Israel.

¶ Israel completes withdrawal from Sinai. Lebanon/Israeli War drives PLO terrorist leadership to Tunisia.



¶ Germany agrees to pay reparations to Israel.

¶ Jewish Theological Seminary decides to accept women to rabbinical school.

1955 ¶ Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine.

1956 ¶ Sinai War in Israel.

1962 ¶ Adolf Eichmann tried and executed in Israel for his role in the Holocaust.

1967 ¶ Six-Day War. Jerusalem reunited under Jewish control.

1972 ¶ Sally Priesand ordained first woman rabbi.


1985–1991 ¶ Israel rescues Ethiopian Jewry.

1986 ¶ Anatoly Sharansky, a Russian refusenik, released by Soviet Union.

1987 ¶ First Intifada begins against Israel.

1989 ¶ Massive Jewish aliyah from former Soviet Union begins.

1991 ¶ Israel attacked by Iraqi scud missiles during Gulf War. Middle East peace conference convened in Madrid.

¶ Yom Kippur War.

1993 1977 ¶ Labor party loses Knesset to Likud for first time. ¶ Anwar Sadat visits Jerusalem.

¶ Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and PLO. ¶ U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum opens in Washington, D.C.



Encyclopedia of Judaism



¶ Implementation of Palestinian self-government in Gaza Strip and Jericho. ¶ Peace treaty between Israel and Jordan.

¶ Sbarro Pizza massacre in Jerusalem. Israeli government suspends dialogue with Arafat until Palestinian violence ends.



¶ Broadened Palestinian self-government in West Bank and Gaza Strip; Palestinian Council elected. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated at peace rally by Jewish extremist.

¶ Israel captures a ship smuggling 50 tons of illegally procured weapons for the Palestinian Authority. Netanya Passover massacre kills 28 and injures 134.



¶ Arab terrorist attacks grow, targeting civilians on buses and at social gatherings. ¶ University of Judaism Ziegler Rabbinical School breaks from Jewish Theological Seminary.

¶ Israel begins to build security fence; fence reduces terror attacks in Israel by 90 percent. Prime Minister Sharon plans unilateral Gaza withdrawal. ¶ Reform Judaism changes the name of umbrella organization from Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) to Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

1998 ¶ Israel and PLO sign Wye River Memorandum to facilitate implementation of an interim peace agreement.

2004 1999 ¶ In the United States, Council of Jewish Federations, United Jewish Appeal, and United Israel Appeal merge to form United Jewish Communities.

¶ The Israeli Knesset passes Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s proposal to withdraw unilaterally Israeli troops from Gaza Strip. ¶ Yasser Arafat, leader of Palestine Liberation Organization and president of Palestinian Authority, dies in a Paris hospital.

2000 ¶ Palestinian Authority and Israel fail to conclude a comprehensive peace agreement at Camp David. ¶ Joseph Lieberman named Al Gore’s running mate for the Democratic presidential ticket. ¶ Pope John Paul II visits Israel. ¶ Al-Aksa (Second) Intifada begins.

2005 ¶ Mahmond Abbas is elected president of Palestinian Authority. ¶ First national Holocaust memorial is completed in Berlin, Germany, after 15 years of controversy and debate. It is called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

entries a to z K

A AF J: Aaron (c. 13th century B.C.E.) brother of Moses and first high priest of the Israelites Aaron was born in Egypt to Amram and Jochebed (Ex 6:20), and was the older brother of MOSES. Both were members of the tribe of Levi, which thanks to them became the tribe of priests and LEVITES (assistants to the priests). According to the book of EXODUS, Aaron accompanied Moses to beseech the PHARAOH to free the Israelite slaves. Aaron acted as the spokesperson for Moses, who was “slow of speech” (Ex 4:10). Aaron’s rod, like Moses’, became a conduit of miracles and plagues, and God, who usually spoke only to Moses, sometimes spoke to Aaron as well. Each of the two thus meets the definition of a prophet. Once freed from slavery, Aaron played a fundamental role in the life of the Israelites in the desert. On the one hand, God consecrated Aaron and his sons as the priests of ISRAEL. On the other hand, Aaron agreed to build the GOLDEN CALF for the people of Israel when they become frightened while Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days, supposedly receiving the law from God. Despite this lapse, God retained Aaron as HIGH PRIEST, and his male descendants are KOHANIM, or the priestly class. Aaron’s right to be high priest was confirmed in the story of Korach in the book of Numbers. Korach led a rebellion against Aaron, but the

rebels were swallowed up by the earth, demonstrating the family of Aaron were the only legitimate high priests (Ex 16:25–35). The ancient rabbis seemed to place Moses and Aaron on an equal footing, sometimes even giving Aaron a higher status than Moses. According to rabbinic thought, Moses represents a strict political leader, while Aaron represents a gentler priest of the people. Further reading: Moshe Greenberg, Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Ronald H. Isaacs, Legends of Biblical Heroes: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

abortion Traditional interpretation of HALAKHAH, Jewish law, allows abortion if the fetus presents a serious physical threat to the mother, but authorities differ about its permissibility in other cases. Halakhah defines full human life as existing only when the head of an infant emerges from the womb. The fetus is considered “potential life” and has sacred value, but complete human status begins only with actual birth. 1

J 2 Abravanel, Isaac ben Judah RASHI, the great 12th-century commentator on the Hebrew Bible (see TORAH) and TALMUD, states clearly that the fetus is not a person. The Talmud contains the expression “ubar yerech imo—the fetus is as the thigh of its mother.” In other words, the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant woman’s body. Therefore, abortion is permitted if the fetus creates a direct threat to the life of the mother. While there is a rabbinic consensus that permits abortion if the fetus presents a physical threat to the mother, there are differing Jewish opinions about whether the psychological health of the mother takes precedence over the pregnancy. Because the Talmud (Yevamot 69b) states that “the embryo is considered to be mere water until the 40th day,” after which the embryo is considered partially human until it is born, many traditional Jews will consider an abortion to be a greater option prior to the 41st day. Few rabbinic scholars would accept the notion that abortion may be utilized merely as a form of birth control. Further reading: David M. Feldman, Birth Control in Jewish Law: Marital Relations, Contraception, and Abortion As Set Forth in the Classic Texts of Jewish Law (Lanham, Md.: Jason Aronson Publishers, 1998); Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1988); Daniel Schiff, Abortion and Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Abravanel, Isaac ben Judah (1437–1508) medieval scholar and public figure Isaac ben Judah Abravanel was born in Lisbon, PORTUGAL in 1437. He was an accomplished scholar of the Hebrew Bible (see TORAH), TALMUD, and philosophy. Abravanel also established a reputation as a scholar of secular studies while remaining a devoted Jew, even when faced with expulsion; he is recognized as an exegete, philosopher, historian, and mystic. Influenced by the great Renaissance writers of his time, Abravanel’s

commentary to the prophets (see NEVI’IM) yields rich insights into 15th-century European society because of his comparisons between I Samuel and the monarchies of his day. In his biblical commentaries, Abravanel interpreted the texts with attention to society and history, using in this endeavor many Christian sources. He also analyzed messianic texts, maintaining a belief in a future messianic age when Jews would once again dwell in ERETZ YISRAEL. Although Abravanel was dedicated to Judaism and spent much energy on the pursuit of Jewish knowledge, he also understood the practical importance of finance and diplomacy; he is best known for his genius in these fields. Abravanel also understood the role a diplomatic position could play in mitigating the living conditions and political situations of his fellow Jews. While serving as the personal assistant to King Alfonso V in Portugal, he was able to raise the ransom to redeem 250 Jews held captive by the king. Despite his influence among wealthy Christians, however, Abravanel had to flee Portugal in 1483 when life for Jews became more difficult under Pope John II. When Abravanel arrived in bordering SPAIN, he had not intended to resume his former position in another ruler’s court, but when King Ferdinand requested his services, he did not refuse, taking the position in 1484 even though it was illegal for a Jew to assume such a high position in the land. Thus, Abravanel became one of the most recognized COURT JEWS in history. Even so, his position and wealth did not make it possible for Abravanel to convince or bribe King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to rescind their decision to expel all Jews from Spain in 1492. Choosing not to convert, Abravanel fled from Spain with his son, first to Naples and finally to Venice, where he died five years after he arrived. Further reading: Joseph Dan, ed., Studies in Jewish History (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1989); Benzion Netanyahu, Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman and Philosopher (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1972).

Adler, Cyrus

accommodation (acculturation) The term accommodation is used by some scholars to refer to the practice of many modern Jews of adapting Jewish tradition, culture, and rituals to the non-Jewish cultures of the modern world. Some scholars prefer to use the term ASSIMILATION to refer to the same practice, which they believe has led to the loss of Jewish culture as Jews became secularized and more like non-Jews. However, the first group claims that Jews have not assimilated to modern Western culture, but have transformed within it, or accommodated to it. The years surrounding World War II saw an increase in ANTISEMITISM in the UNITED STATES, and during this time some American Jews made an effort to fit into Christian America. They downplayed their success in all arenas, Anglicized their names for both economic and social reasons, and shirked all traditions that might separate them from American society. However, in the 1960s Americans began to value ethnicity on a large scale and the American Jewish community began to feel comfortable enough to display their Jewishness. American Jews began to feel pride in their Jewish names, to express Jewish characteristics and customs such as wearing a KIPPAH, and to look for ways in which they could be Jewish and American without conflict between the two. In fact, it had become clear that a Jewish person could choose to be Jewish or not to be, but either way he or she had to make a conscious decision. Scholars who support the idea that individuals in the Jewish community have accommodated to American culture rather than simply assimilated into it point to evidence that most Jews continued to live near other Jews, join professions and businesses with a large Jewish presence, and celebrate holidays such as PASSOVER and CHANUKAH, which have become part of the American consciousness. Ultimately the American example of accommodation includes a continuing similarity among many Jews, as compared with non-Jews, in occupation, lifestyle, residence, values, schooling, family, and economic and political interests.

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Since the exile in the early first century, Jews have lived in a variety of host societies. In some they have been forced to convert or die, to flee, or to hide their JEWISH IDENTITY. However, there have been others where the Jewish community was free, at least for a time, to be a Jewish community. These instances include medieval SPAIN, Hellenistic EGYPT, America, and even to a degree the Roman Empire and czarist RUSSIA. In many situations, Jewish communities have chosen to adapt to their environment, maintaining core identity while including customs and observances of their host society. To the extent that this has happened in contemporary America, it can be called accommodation. Further reading: Calvin Goldscheider, Jewish Continuity and Change: Emerging Patterns in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Calvin Goldscheider and Alan D. Zuckerman, The Transformation of the Jews (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1984); Charles S. Liebman and Bernard Susser, Choosing Survival: Strategies for a Jewish Future (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Charles E. Silberman, A Certain People: American Jews and Their Lives Today (New York: Summit Books, 1985).

Adler, Cyrus (1863–1940) rabbi and educator Cyrus Adler was an educator, scholar, rabbi, and leader in the American Jewish community at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. He was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, in 1863 and raised in Philadelphia from the age of four, when his father died. Living with his mother and her brother’s family, he grew up learning the culture of German Jews, many of whom had emigrated from GERMANY with his own father in the 1840s. In his early years Adler attended a Jewish day school (see JEWISH DAY SCHOOL MOVEMENT), but he later attended public school, receiving Jewish learning through private tutors. Adler’s interest in libraries began while he was still a high school student; he developed a catalog of authors of books donated by Isaac LEESER to the library of the

J 4 afikomen Philadelphia Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA). Having already begun to favor a life of scholarship, Adler attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his B.A. in 1883 and his M.A. in 1886. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1887, marking the first degree in Semitics granted at an American university. At Johns Hopkins from 1884 to 1893 he taught courses in HEBREW, Assyrian, Ethiopic, Arabic, biblical archaeology, and history of the ancient Near East. Throughout his life Adler produced more than 600 writings, including articles, reports, notes, catalogs, bibliographies, translations, and book reviews. These are currently housed in the AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY, of which he was the founder. Adler also published books, including Told in the Coffee House (with Allen Ramsey, 1898), International Catalogue of Scientific Literature (1905), Jews in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (1906), Jacob H. Schiff: His Life and Letters (1928), and I Have Considered the Days (1941), his autobiography. Adler was known for his incredible ability to multitask, and this trait is obvious when one looks at the contributions he made to the American Jewish community at the turn of the 20th century. Beyond his work with the historical society, he was also a founding member of the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the United Synagogue of America (see CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM), and the JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY. Adler remained active in all of these organizations, taking leadership positions. He was cochairman of the International Jewish Agency for Palestine, even though, like many of his fellow German-American Jews, he was not a supporter of ZIONISM. He attended the 1919 Paris Peace Conference following World War I and fought for the rights of Jews in European countries ravaged by war. Adler’s achievements are not limited to the world of Jewish welfare; he contributed to the world of academics as well. From 1889 to 1908 he served as the curator of historic archaeology and historic religions at the United States National

Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He was the Smithsonian Institute’s librarian from 1892 to 1905, and its assistant secretary from 1905 to 1908. In his lifetime, Adler edited several publications, including the Jewish Encyclopedia, The Jewish Quarterly Review, and the American Jewish Year Book after 1899. From 1908 to 1940, Adler was the president of Dropsie College. In 1916 he became acting president of the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY following the death of Solomon SCHECHTER, and in 1924 he assumed the position permanently. Adler’s impact on the American Jewish community cannot be overstated. He influenced Jewish and secular academics and led the community in developing organizations and associations that cemented the power of the American Jewish community well into the future. Adler did not marry until he was 42, and he and his wife had one child, a girl. He did not slow down his academic and communal activities until his faltering health demanded it, spending his last years with his family until his death in 1940. Further reading: Cyrus Adler, I Have Considered the Days (New York: Burning Bush Press, 1969); Moshe Davis, The Emergence of Conservative Judaism: The Historical School in 19th Century America (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1963); A. Neuman, Cyrus Adler: A Biographical Sketch (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1942).

afikomen The afikomen, a piece of MATZAH (unleavened bread), is the final food eaten at the SEDER on PASSOVER. The word is a loan from Greek, where it meant “that which is coming,” or, in the case of a meal, dessert. During the seder, the afikomen serves several purposes. First, it is a symbol of the Paschal Lamb, the lamb that was ritually sacrificed on the holiday of Passover during the time of the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM and eaten as the last part of the festive meal. Since the destruction of the Temple in the

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year 70 C.E., Jewish tradition discontinued the practice of animal SACRIFICE and the afikomen has come to represent the sacrifice that no longer takes place. During the first section of the seder the middle of the three ritual matzah loaves is broken in two. The larger portion is wrapped and stored away to be the afikomen. There are different traditions surrounding this piece of matzah. Some contemporary Jewish families hide the matzah and reward the child who finds it at the end of the meal. Others encourage the children to take the matzah and hold it for ransom, since the meal cannot end without it. Either way the purpose of this game is to retain the attention of the children throughout the seder. The ritual of hiding the afikomen appears in Jewish history only a couple of centuries ago, based on a Talmudic passage (Talmud Pesachim 109a) (see TALMUD) that describes a children’s game surrounding the matzah to keep them awake. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Dalia Hardof Renberg, The Complete Family Guide to Jewish Holidays (New York: Adama Books, 1985).

aggadah Aggadah is one of the two main types of interpretive commentary found in the TALMUD and other ancient Jewish texts. It is based on parable, legend, and other nonlegal ways of thinking. To a large degree the Talmud and other texts from the Talmudic era consist of midrashic attempts (see MIDRASH) to interpret and understand the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. The ancient rabbis who speak in the Talmud sought to explain any difficulties in understanding, or anomalies that appear in, the text. They used many different techniques to accomplish that task. Of the two major forms of commentary, midrash HALAKHAH is primarily concerned with finding legal remedies to particular issues—in other words, defining what exactly is the law. In

the context of legal or judicial debates, midrash halakhah will locate relevant biblical texts and then derive laws from them, often based on fine grammatical and lexical distinctions; it may include majority and minority opinions. Midrash aggadah, by contrast, is a more playful style of interpretation. It uses parable, legend, or other creative methods. In this method, the rabbis answer questions about the text by telling a story that explains why it is so. The midrash aggadah so influenced normative Jewish biblical perspectives that many Jews view parts of midrash aggadah as actual stories in the Hebrew Bible. The most common aggadic story mistaken for being part of the Hebrew Bible is the story of Abraham destroying the idols in his father’s idol shop. In other words, this story is not part of the Bible but instead a part of midrash aggadah. Aggadah helps to bring the biblical text alive. These “stories of the rabbis” inspire the reader or listener to imagine how the heroes of the Hebrew Bible felt or suggest reasons for their behavior. While the aggadah does not give authoritative answers, it enables the reader to more deeply engage the text. The modern writer Chaim Nachman BIALIK, in recording the aggadah for modern Jews, described midrash halakhah, “interpreting the law,” as the Jewish body, but midrash aggadah, as the Jewish soul. See also HAGGADAH. Further reading: Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Yehoshua Hana Rawnitzki, and William G. Braude, eds., The Book of Legends: Sefer Ha-Aggadah: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash (New York: Schocken Books, 1992); Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1956); Reuven Hammer and Judah Goldin, The Classic Midrash: Tannaitic Commentaries on the Bible (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1995).

agunah An agunah (literally, a “chained” woman) is one whose husband is unwilling or unable to give her

K 6 Ahad Ha’am a religious divorce, or GET, even though the couple underwent a civil divorce and/or the husband has abandoned her. She is recognized as divorced by the civil authorities, but she is not able to marry again in a Jewish religious ceremony, according to ORTHODOX JUDAISM and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM. If a husband is missing in action while at war, his wife is considered an agunah until his body is found; she remains in a state of limbo, unable to remarry. In the past, married couples often went through divorce proceedings to protect the wife against such an eventuality. Many women and courts have attempted to solve this legal dilemma, but there are few solutions for women today who are considered agunahs. If a husband refuses to give a get to his wife, a BET DIN, or rabbinic court, is religiously empowered to fine and/or excommunicate him. Excommunication was a far more powerful tool in earlier historical periods when a man depended almost exclusively on the Jewish community for his livelihood and ability to pray to God. In more ancient times a man who refused the bet din’s order to grant a divorce would be flogged until he relented. In Israel today, some men are imprisoned if they do not provide their ex-wife with a get. Yet, there are still many women who live in our modern world as agunahs. In Orthodox Judaism rabbis try to procure a get whenever possible. Rabbi Moshe FEINSTEIN, one of the most respected Orthodox rabbis of the postwar era, permitted agunahs to remarry if the rabbi who originally married them belonged to either the Conservative or Reform (see REFORM JUDAISM) movements. As those rabbis were not considered valid, the original marriage was invalid too, and no get was required. This solved the problem for Jewish women who were not originally Orthodox but wanted to marry an Orthodox man. While the other movements did not welcome this invalidation of their Jewish legal authority, Rabbi Feinstein’s action shows how Orthodox rabbis often create legal loopholes to mitigate an agunah’s plight. Conservative rabbis have found more flexibility in providing creative solutions to the problem

of the agunah. The Conservative solutions include both preventive measures before a marriage and curative measures when facing the agunah scenario. The primary preventive solution is to create a separate document, not part of the traditional KETUBAH, or wedding contract, which authorizes a get to be delivered if a civil divorce were to take place. Another solution, called the “Lieberman Clause,” penned by a leading 20th-century Conservative rabbi, Saul LIEBERMAN (1898–1983), is a prenuptial agreement included within the actual ketubah that grants a get if there is a civil divorce. If these preventive measures are not taken, some Conservative rabbis (and a handful of Orthodox ones) are willing to annul marriages. In doing so, Conservative rabbis rely on a Talmud dictate that “all betrothals receive the approval of the rabbis, and therefore the rabbis have the power to rescind their approval.” Further reading: E. Berkovits, Jewish women in Time and Torah (Hoboken, N.J.: KTAV Publishing House, 1990); R. Biale, Women and Jewish Law: An Exploration of Women’s Issues in Halakhic Sources (New York: Schocken Books, 1984); L. M. Epstein, The Jewish Marriage Contract: A Study in the Status of the Woman in Jewish Law (New York: Arno Press, 1973).

Ahad Ha’am (1856–1927) writer and proponent of cultural Zionism Born Asher Ginsberg in 1856, Ahad Ha’am was one of the most influential early literary supporters of ZIONISM. He began life in the town of Skvira in the Ukraine. He came from a prominent and well-to-do family, and as a child he formally studied only Jewish texts and thought. He became an accomplished TALMUD scholar and student of the devotional literature of HASIDISM. Although his teachers were forbidden to teach him the Russian alphabet, for fear that this would lead to secular studies and heresy, Ginsberg taught himself to read Russian when he was eight years old, beginning his journey into the secular world. Eventually he would be known as the agnostic rabbi.

Ahad Ha’am

In 1868, at the age of 12, Ginsberg moved with his family to a leased estate. He studied constantly, delving into the works of MAIMONIDES and then into the MASKILIM, the Jewish Enlightenment (see HASKALAH) thinkers. Eventually he turned to German and Russian philosophy, and abandoned his religious roots entirely to seek a secular path to Jewish identity, with an emphasis on cultural Judaism. He made several attempts to pursue his studies in larger cities such as Vienna, Berlin, Breslau, and Leipzig, but always returned to his family and sickly wife. In 1886 a new Russian law forbidding Jews to lease land forced the Ginsberg family to relocate to Odessa. In this center of Zionist thought, Ginsberg was able to pursue his own philosophical ideas. At the age of 33 he published his first and now-classic essay entitled “This Is Not the Way.” The essay outlined the recent political and national attempts of European Jews to settle in PALESTINE; the author concluded that nationalistic energy was waning, and that a spiritual and cultural renewal of Judaism within the hearts of the Jewish people was the correct path to the survival of Judaism itself. The article was published under the name Ahad Ha’am, meaning “one of the people,” illustrating Ginsberg’s humility and tendency to downplay his own influence. In 1897, after two visits to Palestine (1891 and 1892), Ahad Ha’am published “Jewish State and Jewish Problem,” reinforcing his earlier opinion that massive settlement of Jews in Palestine was not the answer to the Jewish problem. He discussed such obstacles as difficulties in developing the land, the opposition of the ruling Turks, and the protests of Arab communities. Ahad Ha’am lived and wrote during the early Zionist years, which were influenced by the rise of violent POGROMS in Russia. Jewish societies such as Hovevei Zion, also called HIBBAT ZION, developed political and nationalistic platforms based on settlement in Palestine, ERETZ YISRAEL, as the answer to the alienation of Jews in the world. Ahad Ha’am, however, saw this rush to settle Palestine

7 J

as a hasty method toward Jewish renewal, and he cautioned that it should be done with great care. Inspired by Ahad Ha’am’s essay “This Is Not the Way,” a group of young Zionists founded an organization called Bnei Moshe that emphasized the regeneration of Jewish thought, culture, and modern HEBREW as the first step toward rejuvenating Judaism itself. They believed that settlement of Palestine without cultural renewal was pointless and destined to failure and disaster. The intention of this originally secret society was to redirect Hovevei Zion to accept the ideas of cultural Zionism and deemphasize political Zionism and the call for the reestablishment of the Jewish state. Ultimately, Ahad Ha’am wished to see a select few settle in Palestine and create a center that all Jews in the DIASPORA could depend upon for the spiritual and cultural renewal of Judaism. He believed that there would always be Jews living in the diaspora and that the answer to Jewish alienation would come from his idea of a cultural renewal. Ahad Ha’am attended the first Zionist Congress but none of the subsequent meetings. However, Zionist leaders such as Chaim WEIZMANN and Chaim Nachman BIALIK used many of Ahad Ha’am’s ideas in their pursuit of the Zionist dream. As influential as Ahad Ha’am’s writings were, he did not consider himself to be a writer or a leader. From 1896 to 1902 he supported his family as the editor of a monthly Jewish newsletter entitled Ha-Shiloah, which developed as a forum for discussion of contemporary Jewish issues. He resigned that post and left his public career behind to pursue business interests as an official of the Wissotzky Tea Company, traveling across Europe and settling in London with his family in 1907. In 1921 Ahad Ha’am left London to live in Tel Aviv. The street he lived on was named after him, and he died there in 1927. Further reading: “Essential Texts of Zionism” Web site URL: www.geocities.com/Vienna/6640/zion/essential. html, accessed on May 10, 2004; Arthur Hertzberg, ed., The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader


8 Akedah

(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997); David H. Weinberg, Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-Am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1996); Steven J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

Akedah The Akedah (“the binding”) is the Hebrew term that refers to the Genesis story (22:1–19) in which Abraham (see PATRIARCHS) ties his son Isaac to an altar in preparation for his SACRIFICE. Traditionally, the story is understood as a test of Abraham’s faith in God. So strong is this faith paradigm that the narrative is highlighted every year by a reading during the service of ROSH HASHANAH, the Jewish New Year. In the biblical narrative, God tells Abraham to offer up his “one and only son.” Abraham obeys this seemingly unreasonable command to kill the very son who God has promised will inherit his estate and mission. It is only at the last possible moment that God stays Abraham’s hand, praises his obedience, and promises him and his offspring great blessings for the future. Traditional sources interpret the Akedah as a celebration of Abraham’s immense devotion to God. Abraham has to be tested, because God must be sure that he is fully devoted. Rabbinic literature imagines that God had been challenged by the prosecuting angel (SATAN) who questioned Abraham’s devotion. Yehudah HALEVI (1075–1141) and NACHMONIDES (1194–1270) assert that Abraham had to be tested by God in order to justify the future blessings that were promised to him and his descendants. Since the death of Isaac would bring the line of Abraham and Sarah (see MATRIARCHS) to an end, Abraham’s willingness to perform this sacrifice demonstrated a willingness to give up all that he was and all that his tradition would be. Some rabbinic commentators are uncomfortable with God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son. They instead assert that Abraham misun-

derstood what was being asked of him. While God did call upon him to take Isaac up to the mountain, according to these interpreters, God never asked him to slaughter Isaac, only to prepare him as a burnt offering (veha’alehu le’olah). Presumably, God wanted to see how Abraham would interpret the request, and what he would do in response to his interpretation. This interpretation pictures Abraham as confused and frustrated when he is told not to sacrifice his son. The MIDRASH says that God told Abraham: “I did not tell you to slaughter him but rather to take him up to the top of the mountain. You have indeed taken him up. Now take him down again.” The point of this interpretation is that the biblical reader must learn how to interpret carefully what God wants, without ever doing harm in the process of learning from the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Some modern interpreters of the Akedah perceive the narrative as an example of a moral lapse, even a sign of mental derangement. Michael Lerner, a leader of the JEWISH RENEWAL movement, writes that “Abraham is victimizing Isaac because of an unconscious compulsion on Abraham’s part to repeat in reverse his own earlier experience of victimization. Moreover, the voice that told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice was not really the voice of God but a projection of his own mind.” Burton Visotzky, a scholar of CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, also stresses the psychological dimensions of the Akedah story. No matter the interpretation, the Akedah story remains a key lesson in how one should observe faith. Whether one interprets the narrative as a warning to beware of voices that seem to be God or as an example of supreme faith in God, one can derive rich meanings from it. Further reading: Avrohom Davis, Metsudah Chumash/ Rashi: A New Linear Translation (Jersey City, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1999); Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CD-ROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); Michael

Akkadian 9 J Lerner, Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994); Burton Visotzky, The Genesis of Ethics: How the Tormented Family of Genesis Leads Us to Moral Development (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996).

Further reading: Louis Finkelstein, Akiba: Scholar, Saint and Martyr (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson Press, 1990); H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CD-ROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); Judah Nadich, Rabbi Akiba and His Contemporaries (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson Press, 1990).

Akiva ben Yoseph (50 C.E.–132 C.E.) ancient rabbinic leader Akiva ben Yoseph was one of the most important TANNAIM (teachers of the MISHNAH), and the greatest of the early rabbinic leaders. A primary force in the early development of rabbinic law and a strong nationalist leader, Akiva died a martyr’s death at the hands of the Romans (see ROME). There are many legends about Akiva’s life. He was born to humble parents, but according to the TALMUD he fell in love with Rachel, daughter of a great landowner, while he was still an illiterate peasant. Against Rachel’s father’s wishes, they married, and she was disowned. But Rachel encouraged her husband, at the age of 40, to attend school. Akiva excelled in his studies, and he became the preeminent sage of his time. The Talmud, tractate Nedarim 50a, records that at one point Akiva had 48,000 disciples. Legend further teaches that Akiva, with his students, joined in the failed revolt against Rome in 132–135 C.E., led by Shimon BAR-KOKHBA. Sentenced to death by torture, Akiva is said to have ignored the pain and uttered the sacred words of the SHEMA, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” When his torturers asked him how he managed to ignore the pain, he patiently told them that as he lived his life for God, now he was privileged to give his life for God. Akiva is held as a primary role model for modern day rabbinic leadership, thanks to his willingness to learn at an advanced age, his charisma, intellect, and leadership qualities. Akiva’s greatest attributes were his “benevolence and kindness toward the sick and needy” (Nedarim 40a). Akiva represents these universal characteristics, and so he remains a positive example even in the contemporary world.

Akkadian Akkadian is the oldest member of the family of Semitic languages to be recorded in writing. It was the primary language of ancient Mesopotamia for well over 2,000 years; the languages of BABYLONIA and Assyria (see ASSYRIANS ) were dialects of Akkadian. The TANAKH, or Hebrew Bible, contains traces of the Akkadian language, and some of the stories in the Hebrew Bible reflect the influence of Akkadian literature, which was cherished by many of the cultures surrounding the territory of the ancient ISRAELITES. Akkadian was written in the cuneiform script originally developed for the earlier Sumerian language. Modern scholars first deciphered this script in the mid-19th century. Today, scholars possess primary Akkadian documents covering the period 2350 B.C.E. to the first century C.E. The Epic of Gilgamesh is probably the bestknown Akkadian literary document. Considered the first extant heroic epic, copies have been found that predate the Hebrew Bible by centuries. The Epic of Gilgamesh includes an episode about a massive flood, which has some parallels to the biblical flood story of NOAH. Further reading: Robert M. Best, Noah’s Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Flood Myth (Fort Myers, Fla.: Enlil Press, 1999); S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh and Others (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Hans J. Nissen, The Early History of the Ancient Near East: 9000–2000 B.C. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).

K 10 Alexander II

Alexander II (1818–1881) progressive Russian czar Russian czar Alexander II played a significant role in Jewish history. He sought to modernize Russia, and his reforms and concessions improved living conditions for many Jews as well as other minority and poor groups living under his rule. His assassination by political radicals brought about a fierce reactionary backlash that proved to be a catastrophe for the Jewish communities of eastern Europe. Alexander II was crowned in September of 1856, and he instituted many reforms throughout Russia. At the time of his coronation, Alexander announced in his Coronation Manifesto that he planned changes in law and customs that went beyond what most new rulers dared to seek. Many poor people in Russia benefited: back taxes were cancelled, tax exemptions granted, better distribution of the poll-tax announced, military recruitment was suspended for three years, and many soldiers returned to their families. Specifically for the Jews, special Jewish taxes were annulled. In 1861, Alexander freed the serfs. The promises of Alexander II’s reign included the end of juvenile conscription, which had been set at an earlier age (12) for Jews than for Christians. In addition, a larger number of Jews were allowed to live outside the PALE OF SETTLEMENT, where they were previously forced to live; exemptions were granted to merchants, graduates of universities, mechanics, or artisans. Those few Jews already living in the larger cities of St. Petersburg, Odessa, and Moscow were joined by many more. Alexander’s plans to “Russify” the Jewish populations allowed Jews to participate in the intellectual, social, and economic life of Russia. Mostly wealthier Jews were able to take advantage of new areas of settlement, while the masses remained in their villages in the Pale of Settlement. Life was improving for the Jews of Russia, but this was not without its repercussions. The Jewish communities had to face the dangers of ASSIMILATION, and as their prominence in Russian society grew so too did ANTISEMITISM. The old myth of

reappeared in Russian society. Yet life was generally better than it had been for the Jews before the rule of Alexander II. In 1881, Alexander II was assassinated, and life for the Jewish communities in Russia grew worse. Some claimed that a Jewish woman had been involved in the plot to kill the czar, and POGROMS ignited throughout the country, decimating many Jewish communities. In May of 1882, the Temporary Laws were passed, preventing Jews from living in Russian villages or from trading on Sundays and Christian holidays, and denied them jobs in the civil service. The Pale of Settlement was reduced by 10 percent, forcing tens of thousands of Jews from their homes and livelihoods. Thus, Russian Jews found themselves in physical and economic danger as a direct result of the death of Alexander II. This set the stage for massive emigration from Russia for those who were able to flee, and the emergence of large Jewish communities in western Europe and the United States. BLOOD LIBEL

Further reading: W. E. Mosse, Alexander II and the Modernization of Russia (London: English Universities Press, Ltd., 1958); Gabriella Safran, Rewriting the Jew: Assimilation Narratives in the Russian Empire (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000).

aliyah (pl.: aliyot) The word aliyah in HEBREW literally means “going up.” Within Jewish tradition, the word is used in two specific ways: aliyah is the act of going up to the elevated platform (bima) where the TORAH is being read during a worship service in order to participate in the rituals; it is also the act of immigrating to ISRAEL. The Torah is divided into 54 portions—which are read in rotation during SHABBAT and holiday worship services over the course of the year—and each portion is divided into seven aliyot. In other words, during most Shabbat morning worship services, seven people are individually called up to the Torah scroll, which is spread out for reading,

Alliance Israelite Universelle 11

and each says a blessing before and after the section is read. After the seven regular aliyot, an additional aliyah is given, called the maftir, which is a repetition of the last few verses. The person who has the honor of this aliyah often goes on to chant the day’s selection from the NEVI’IM; this selection is known as the HAFTARAH. When attending a Jewish worship service it is considered a great honor to receive an aliyah. In some congregations the honor is purchased by a promise of charity, or TZEDAKAH. In some of those congregations the purchaser then gives the aliyah to an honored worshipper other than himself. The tradition of purchasing aliyot is no longer widespread in American SYNAGOGUES. In recent decades, both CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM and REFORM JUDAISM have decided to give aliyot to women as well as men, a practice that may have existed in ancient times. The second utilization of the term aliyah applies to Jews who immigrate to Israel. Leaving the DIASPORA to return to the Promised Land is perceived as “ascending” to Israel. Moving to Israel is perceived by many rabbis as its own MITZVAH, a fulfillment of God’s will. While the immigrant to Israel is considered praiseworthy, the emigrant from Israel is often perceived as “going down” (yored), although some consider this term to be pejorative. Historians label the waves of immigration to PALESTINE as a succession of mass aliyot. They number each aliyah for easy reference to critical time periods when many people immigrated. These stages are First Aliyah, 1882–1902; Second Aliyah, 1904–14; Third Aliyah, 1919–23; Fourth Aliyah, 1924–28; and Fifth Aliyah, 1932–39. Each aliyah was characterized by different countries of origin and/or political or religious affiliation. The First Aliyah consisted mostly of Jews from RUSSIA and ROMANIA who organized agricultural settlements in an attempt to resurrect large-scale Jewish life in the land of Israel. The Second Aliyah also consisted of eastern European Jews, this time with socialist ideas and a dedication to the revival of HEBREW as a modern language. The Third Aliyah


consisted of young eastern European Jews, who built roads and towns, drained marshes, built industry, organized government, and instituted a nascent defense force. The Fourth Aliyah brought middle-class Polish Jews who built business and expanded the cities and towns, and the Fifth Aliyah brought professional Germans, who were fleeing HITLER, and more eastern Europeans. Following the Fifth Aliyah, waves of immigration were no longer numbered, but often referred to by the types of Jews who arrived: Ethiopian, Iraqi, Soviet. Further reading: Hayim Halevy Donin, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service (New York: Basic Books, 1980); David Maisel, The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998); Howard Morley Sachar, Aliyah: The People of Israel (Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company, 1961).

Alliance Israelite Universelle The Alliance Israelite Universelle was founded in Paris in 1860 as the first Jewish defense organization in the modern world. The organizers were prodded into action by the Mortara Affair, in which an Italian Jewish child was taken from his parents to be raised by Christians after his nurse secretly baptized him as a baby. The Alliance aimed to defend the civil and religious rights and freedoms of Jews around the world, to help those Jews who desired to emigrate from their homes, and to promote education among Jewish youth. By helping Jews achieve political and economic success, the Alliance hoped to show that they were productive members of society, worthy and capable of EMANCIPATION. The Alliance had considerable success with its schools in the Middle East. Many Jews in Iraq and Iran attended them; in 1882 the Bilu pioneers (see ZIONISM) learned agricultural techniques at an Alliance training center in Palestine called Mikveh Israel. The Alliance Israelite Universelle remains active from its Paris headquarters. It continues to


12 Amalek

be involved in Jewish defense, and it has developed programs that encourage interreligious dialogue. It maintains divisions in countries around the world such as Canada, Israel, Morocco, and Spain. Further reading: Ben Halpern and Jehuda Reinharz, Zionism and the Creation of a New Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Michael Laskier, The Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Jewish Communities of Morocco, 1862–1962 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983); Aron Rodrigue, French Jews, Turkish Jews: The Alliance Israelite Universelle and the Politics of Jewish Schooling in Turkey, 1860–1925 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); ———, Images of Sephardi and Eastern Jewries: The Teachers of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, 1860–1939 (Seattle: University of Washington, 1993).

Amalek The Amalekites were a nomadic nation that lived south of ISRAEL; they attacked the children of Israel after the EXODUS, and became the archetypical enemy in Jewish tradition. In the genealogy citation of Genesis (36:12), Amalek is cited as the grandson of Esau (see PATRIARCHS), and he is the presumed father of the Amalekite nation. In Deuteronomy (25:17–19), God tells the Israelites, “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt, how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore . . . you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!” The nation of Amalek is especially evil because they attacked the weak in particular. On the Jewish Sabbath (see SHABBAT) prior to the holiday PURIM, the biblical verses on Amalek are read in the SYNAGOGUE as a reminder to the congregation to blot out the metaphoric, and sometimes literal, evil that confronts the Jews. Rabbinic tradition teaches that the villain of the story of Purim, Haman, is also a descendent of Amalek.

Within Jewish literature, the term Amalek came to represent all the enemies of Israel, those who are bent on her destruction or the destruction of the Jewish people. These evildoers are never to be forgotten, and one has a religious imperative to remove the evil from one’s midst. Amalek thus became a metaphor supporting the idea that enemies in the midst of the community needed to be dealt with and not forgotten. For example, some right-wing Israelis today cite the case of Amalek to argue in favor of expelling all Arabs from Israel and/or from all territories under Israeli control. Further reading: H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CD-ROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Cristiano Grottanelli, Kings and Prophets: Monarchic Power, Inspired Leadership, and Sacred Text in Biblical Narrative (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

amen The Hebrew interjection amen is translated as “so be it,” “it is true,” or “certain.” It is derived from the root aman, which means to be permanent. The word has been adopted into multiple languages, including Greek, Latin, English, and Spanish. In the English language, it may be the root of the word “amenable.” Multiple examples of the use of the word amen can be found in Deuteronomy, Chapter 27. One example: “Cursed be the man that makes any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD . . . And all the people shall answer and say, amen.” In utilizing the term here, the ISRAELITES are affirming their faithful embrace of God’s instructions. Within Jewish liturgy, Jews answer “amen” to the prescribed prayers recited by others. They are affirming that the statements they hear others utter are “truthful declarations.” The TALMUD


teaches that even if a Jew cannot recite his or her own blessing, he or she may answer “amen” to the blessing of another, and thus fulfill the liturgical ritual requirement. The recitation of the word “amen” can also signify the end of a particular prayer or prayer service. Further reading: Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993); H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CDROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); Rabbi Jules Harlow, ed., Siddur Sim Shalom: A Prayerbook for Shabbat, Festivals, and Weekdays (New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of America, 1989); Abraham Millgram, Jewish Worship (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1975); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a lobbying group of Americans supporting an American foreign policy favorable to Israel. Formed in the 1950s, it now has more than 65,000 members. It operates in the political arena in Washington, D.C., and in communities throughout the country. Fortune magazine lists AIPAC as one of the most effective political action committees in the UNITED STATES. AIPAC generates support across the country through regional offices that make contact with activists through meetings in people’s homes, gala events, or encouragement to participate in AIPAC conferences in Washington, D.C. Individuals interested in AIPAC’s work can also access information about its activities and information about the situation in the Middle East through their newsletter called The Near East Report, published quarterly. AIPAC’s primary mission is to help ensure the security of the State of Israel. They formally lobby American leaders to address the perceived chal-

13 J

lenges facing Israel. These challenges include the need for economic and military aid and strong American cooperation in fighting the threat of terrorism aimed at Israel. Mainstream political experts and media sources recognize AIPAC to be the most important nongovernmental organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel. AIPAC activists help generate within Congress more than 100 pro-Israel legislative initiatives a year, and its lobbyists are well received within Congress. The committee carefully covers every hearing on Capitol Hill that touches on the U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC has developed a political leadership program, which educates and trains many young leaders in pro-Israel advocacy, and it also coordinates an active college campus program, which encourages students to be politically active and learn how to effectively advocate for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. AIPAC has identified specific actions that the United States government can take to create a more secure Middle East for Israel. These activities would include countering terrorism aimed at the United States and Israel, pressuring Arab leaders to make peace with Israel, enhancing U.S.Israel strategic cooperation, delaying nuclear weapons programs among hostile countries, broadening the U.S.-Israel relationship, protecting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ending Israel’s isolation in world bodies, such as the European Union and the United Nations. Further reading: J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 1996); I. L. Kenen, Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1981); official Web site for AIPAC, URL: www.aipac.com, accessed April 13, 2004.

Americanization The process in which immigrants to the United States gradually adopt American culture and values is often called Americanization. The different waves of Jewish immigration, starting with


14 American Jewish Committee

SEPHARDIM from the Latin world in the colonial era, moving to German Jews in the 1840s, and culminating in the massive migrations from eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all came to adopt American culture, in differing degrees. Some Jews chose to adopt American customs entirely, leaving behind their own. This is called ASSIMILATION. Others chose to synthesize their customs and culture with the American culture they encountered. This is often called ACCOMMODATION or acculturation. Finally, some Jewish immigrants chose to adopt as few American customs as possible in an attempt to safeguard and pass on their own religious and cultural traditions. While this final group attempted to maintain European Jewish culture in America, even they became Americanized in ways that could not be avoided; for example, changes in cuisine were unavoidable due to differences in the available food supply. The process of Americanization included learning to eat and enjoy American foods, sometimes modified in accordance with KASHRUT (kosher food requirements), dressing in American fashions, celebrating American holidays such as the Fourth of July, and speaking English. Immigrants adapted at different rates to different customs; often the adoption of English did not occur until a generation was born on American soil. The development of the public school system speeded the process for many children. Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Gerald Sorin, A Time for Building: The Third Migration, 1880–1920 (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).

American Jewish Committee (AJC) The American Jewish Committee is a voluntary organization of American Jews that pursues educational and political activities in support of religious freedom and human rights for Jews and others.

The committee was founded in 1906 by a number of wealthy and influential members of the German-Jewish community in the United States who controlled the group, though it was set up as a representative body made up of 14 districts throughout the United States. Concerned for the well-being of Jews all over the world, this group of men, including Cyrus ADLER, Jacob SCHIFF, Oscar Straus, Cyrus Sulzberger, and Louis MARSHALL, took it upon themselves to organize an institution that would be able to address ANTISEMITISM and Jewish needs worldwide. They were particularly responding to continued reports of violent POGROMS against Jews in RUSSIA, and they sought to create an organization that could counteract persecution and provide relief. The early leadership used their personal authority to influence lawmakers and political leaders to maintain the American dream of religious freedom and equality not only for Jews but for all individuals and communities. The committee also operated with an eye toward relief. For example, it opposed immigration quotas, but supported the GALVESTON PLAN, an attempt to direct ships bringing new immigrants to Galveston, Texas, instead of to ELLIS ISLAND and New York, where high numbers of immigrants were believed to be creating vast social problems. It also influenced officials responsible for drafting the Treaty of Versailles to include protections for Jews and other minorities in Europe. Its efforts on behalf of the League of Nations were less successful. In later years, the committee walked a tightrope between Jewish and American identities. It supported open immigration to PALESTINE, but its ties to ZIONISM were somewhat weak because of fear of alienating the many Jewish-American opponents of Zionism before World War II. Today the American Jewish Committee has 33 regional offices, or chapters, across the United States and headquarters in New York City. The committee continues to address issues of religious freedom and human rights. The stated mission of the organization is: “To safeguard the welfare and security of Jews in the United States, in Israel, and

American Jewish Congress 15

throughout the world. To strengthen the basic principles of pluralism around the world, as the best defense against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. To enhance the quality of American Jewish life by helping to ensure Jewish continuity and deepen ties between American and Israeli Jews.” The committee pursues this mission by transmitting its ideals in a variety of settings, including schools and synagogues, churches and community centers, city and state legislatures, businesses and civic associations. The committee addresses major world issues such as religious liberty and church-state relations, antisemitism and racism, immigration policies, education, and energy resources. The committee believes that education is one route to better understanding among people, but it also pursues its goals through economic, political, and social channels. It sponsors the intellectual magazine Commentary. Further reading: Naomi W. Cohen, Not Free to Desist: The American Jewish Committee, 1906–1966 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972); Michael N. Dobkowski, Jewish American Voluntary Organizations (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986); Toward Peace and Equity: Recommendations of the American Jewish Committee (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1946); Web site URL: http://www.ajc.org, accessed May 13, 2004.

American Jewish Congress (AJC) The American Jewish Congress was founded in 1918 as a political action group to defend religious and human rights for Jews and others. Its founders were eastern European immigrants who felt unrepresented by the German-Jewish Americans who founded and led the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE and other communal or charitable groups. These eastern European Jews wanted to assume a leadership role in the wider community, but they perceived that their wealthier and more assimilated coreligionists treated them in a condescending and humiliating manner. As World War


I drew to a close, rising ANTISEMITISM and violence in Europe was a catalyst for them to form a Jewish defense vehicle of their own. After much debate within the Jewish community, including opposition from the American Jewish Committee, the congress held its first meeting in 1918. The original focus was on rising violence toward Jews in Europe following World War I; the congress saw itself as vital to the survival of Jews around the world. Largely Zionist (see ZIONISM) in orientation, the American Jewish Congress began with the following stipulations: that it convene after the war concluded, that national Jewish organizations elect 25 percent of the delegates to the congress, that the remaining 75 percent be nominated at regional conventions through direct elections, and that the organization disband once it had accomplished its goals of rehabilitating Jewish communities in Europe and obtaining basic human rights for those Jews living there. The congress sent a group of representatives to the Paris Peace Conference following the war. This delegation helped obtain clauses and promises in peace treaties that established and protected the rights of European Jews; however, the delegation felt that since these decisions were not made by the people of their countries but by politicians, they did not ensure security on the local level. The congress reconvened in 1922, establishing itself as a watchdog organization with an eye toward protecting the human rights of Jews in Europe and around the world. The American Jewish Congress never garnered the power needed to prevent the decimation of European Jewry during the HOLOCAUST. Stephen WISE, one of its foremost leaders, was thought to have influence with President Roosevelt, but it proved to be too little. Once World War II ended, the American Jewish Congress saw the importance of defending all peoples, Jews and non-Jews, from bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination. It focused its resources on constitutional law and fought many battles in the courts to preserve the human rights of all minorities.


16 American Jewish Historical Society

Today the congress national headquarters is in New York City. There is a second national office in Washington, D.C., and nine regional offices throughout the United States. The organization is run by a lay president, who serves a two-year term, and an executive director. Its 50,000 members are invited to participate in biennial meetings, and the operations of the organization are established by an 80-member governing council. The American Jewish Congress defines its objectives as follows: “to protect fundamental constitutional freedoms and American democratic institutions, particularly the civil and religious rights and liberties of all Americans and the separation of church and state; advance the security and prosperity of the state of Israel and its democratic institutions, and to support Israel’s search for peaceful relations with its neighbors in the region; advance social and economic justice, women’s equality, and human rights at home and abroad; remain vigilant against anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry, and to celebrate cultural diversity and promote unity in American life; and invigorate and enhance Jewish religious, institutional, communal and cultural life at home and abroad, and seek creative ways to express Jewish identity, ethics and values.” Further reading: Morris Frommer, “The American Jewish Congress: A History, 1914–1950” (Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1978); Stephen S. Wise, Challenging Years: The Autobiography of Stephen S. Wise (New York: Putnam’s Press, 1949); Web site: http://www.ajcongress. org, accessed May 14, 2004.

American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) The American Jewish Historical Society is a research and educational organization that gathers and disseminates information about the history of Jews in America. In the late decades of the 19th century, Cyrus ADLER, one of the foremost American Jewish lead-

ers of his time, recognized a need for a formal organization devoted to gathering information about Jews in America. Some sources claim that Adler was in part motivated by antisemitic comments from prominent non-Jewish historians (see ANTISEMITISM). Adler felt that the Jewish community needed a repository of information about their lives and roles in the history of the UNITED STATES. Throughout its life the society has been funded by generous philanthropists and members. In 1892, the American Jewish Historical Society was formally created by a group of men gathered at the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY in New York City. Their initial activities included publishing papers about Jews in the United States, primarily in a yearly journal called Publications, which became a quarterly in 1948. In 1961, the title of the journal changed to the American Jewish Historical Quarterly and then to American Jewish History in 1978. The society also gathered materials and collections pertaining to American Jewish history, housing them first in a reading room and then transferring them to the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1903. After World War II, the society’s leadership decided to focus on the history of eastern European Jewish immigrants and on Jews living in the western and southern regions of the United States. The collections, manuscripts, and materials accumulated, creating a need for a larger space. In 1968 the society relocated to its own building on the campus of BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY in Waltham, Massachusetts. In 2002, the organization moved its headquarters to New York City, where it became one of the founding institutions in the Center for Jewish History. Some facilities remain at Brandeis. The society sponsors lectures, conferences, and fellowships that encourage the study of American Jewry and American Judaism. The collection, which is open to scholars, includes a variety of resources, including the papers of the Baron de Hirsch Fund (see HIRSCH, BARON MAURICE DE), the Council of Jewish Federations (now called the UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES), the Galveston

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Movement (see GALVESTON PLAN) and the INDUSTRIAL REMOVAL OFFICE, Shearith Israel Congregation of New York, the Synagogue Council of America, and the American Jewish Congress. The society also houses the Rutenberg and Everett Yiddish Film Library. The society is fully modernized and holds traditional media such as pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, and annual reports as well as audio, visual and computer resources. According to the society itself, its mission today is: “to foster awareness and appreciation of the American Jewish heritage and to serve as a national scholarly resource for research through the collection, preservation and dissemination of materials relating to American Jewish history.” Further reading: John J. Appel, “Immigrant Historical Societies in the United States, 1880–1950” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1960); Web site URL: http://www.ajhs.org, accessed on May 14, 2004.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee ( JDC; “The Joint”) The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a cooperative venture among a number of Jewish communal organizations, is devoted to providing relief and rehabilitation for Jews and other victims of political persecution and other disasters. In response to a plea for help from Jews living in PALESTINE as World War I began, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (UOJC) (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM) organized a group called the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews (CCRJ) in early October 1914. At the same time, the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE (AJC) also began to contribute funds to aid Jewish war victims. In an attempt to avoid duplicating their efforts, representatives from 40 Jewish agencies came together to form another organization in November of 1914, which they called the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers (JDC). The main mission was to raise money to send abroad to Jews who

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were suffering from dislocation or privation during the war. Although it was meant to represent the whole spectrum of Jewish communities, the JDC was controlled mainly by the Reform Jews, mostly of German descent (see REFORM JUDAISM). Even in its infancy, the organization raised $1.5 million and sent 900 tons of food to Jews in Palestine, then controlled by Turkey. In 1917, with the help of the Red Cross and the influence of President Woodrow Wilson, the JDC raised $4.75 million to provide relief to Jewish war sufferers. By 1919, a year after World War I ended, the JDC had shifted its focus to reconstruction. It began to develop more comprehensive programs to help Jews in need abroad. It sent trained emissaries to Europe to assess living conditions and needs, to help local communities improve sanitation and child care, and to provide more economic choices. Ultimately, the JDC set up local social service agencies in European cities and towns and funded them until they could become independent, sustainable organizations. The work of the JDC extended into Bolshevik RUSSIA. “The Joint” became a familiar name in many European countries, especially POLAND, with its huge Jewish community. Although its leaders had seen the JDC as a temporary relief organization, all thoughts of dissolving it disappeared as the organization gained in sophistication in the 1920s, and especially after Hitler rose to power in Germany and ANTISEMITISM gained strength throughout Europe in the 1930s. During World War II, the JDC rescued children and adults from Europe, organized social service agencies in GHETTOS, provided relief to the Warsaw ghetto, and aided the Jewish underground. JDC workers were the first to arrive at the displaced persons camps following the conclusion of World War II. Though it had remained neutral toward the idea of ZIONISM prior to the onset of World War II, the JDC began encouraging and aiding in the migration of Jews to Palestine. After the State of ISRAEL became a reality, the JDC operated a number of programs to help Jews immigrate to Israel. For example, in 1945–50, the organization ran Operation Magic Carpet, relocating a large group of


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Yemenite Jews to Israel. And in 1991, the JDC contributed to Operation Solomon, the airlifting of 15,000 starving Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Today the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee remains one of the most efficient and successful worldwide Jewish social service agencies. Their current mission includes rescue, relief, renewal, Israel, and nonsectarian emergency needs. JDC is dedicated to the relief of suffering throughout the world based on the Jewish principle of TIKKUN OLAM, the Jewish responsibility of repairing the world. Further reading: Yehuda Bauer, My Brother’s Keeper: A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1929–1939 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974); Oscar Handlin, A Continuing Task: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1914–1964 (New York: Random House, 1964); Web site URL: http://www.jdc.org, accessed on May 17, 2004.

am ha-aretz Am ha-aretz is an ancient and a contemporary term, usually pejorative, for a person lacking education, whether general or in Jewish topics. The opposite term is talmid hacham, a scholar. The term appears in Genesis (23:12–13) (see TORAH), where it apparently retains its literal Hebrew meaning of “the people of the land,” or the ordinary citizens. In the period of the TALMUD, the term am ha-aretz referred to the Jewish peasants, who were poorly educated and, perhaps out of ignorance, did not scrupulously observe Jewish law. The Talmud records certain scholars as being dismissive of these people. However, many rabbis were embarrassed by this rhetoric against the uneducated; they decreed that everyone has sufficient learning, whether from books or life experience, to exempt them from the category of am ha-aretz. The term survived in Yiddish (usually as amoretz, pl. amoratzim). In contemporary Jewish polemics (in Hebrew or other languages), the term is once more used in a derogatory fashion.

Further reading: Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); Marcus Jastrow, Dictionary of the Targunim, Talmud Babli, Yerushalmi, and Midrashic Literature (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Judaica Press, 1989).

Amichai, Yehuda (1924–2000) modern Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai was one of ISRAEL’s most important 20th-century HEBREW poets. He influenced the direction of modern Israeli poetry and attained wide popularity. Amichai was born in Bavaria in 1924 to a family steeped in ORTHODOX JUDAISM, and he received a traditional Jewish education. In 1935 the family fled HITLER and immigrated to PALESTINE, finding a home in JERUSALEM. During World War II, Amichai fought with the Jewish Brigade of the British army. After his honorable discharge in 1946, he joined the PALMACH, and fought in the ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. Later, he also participated in the 1956 Suez War and the YOM KIPPUR WAR. After the war, Amichai attended HEBREW UNIVERSITY, specializing in the study of biblical texts and Hebrew literature. Amichai’s first volume of poetry, Now and in Other Days, was published in 1955 and prompted significant interest among both readers and literary critics. This collection, and subsequent volumes of poetry, demonstrated Amichai’s devotion in both content and language to a modern literary approach and subject matter. He addressed what had previously been ignored— the realities of the modern day, things such as tanks, airplanes, fuel, war, and bureaucracy. Amichai strongly believed that the modern poet must confront the pressing issues of the times. Thus, Amichai was innovative in his use of the Hebrew language. He drew from the entire linguistic history of the Hebrew language, including classical biblical Hebrew and Hebrew spoken in the streets. Amichai became known for changing the language of poetry, creating new Hebrew idioms and slang. His linguistic versatility


reflected his interest in the contemporary, as opposed to a strict grounding in classical genres. Yet he also wrote about his childhood, emphasizing the peace and innocence he remembered before Hitler. In 1982 Amichai was awarded the Israel Prize for his unique contribution to the field of poetry. Robert Alter, literary scholar, wrote in the New York Times Magazine, “For sheer energy of imagination, for the constantly renewed sense of poetry’s ability to engage reality, Amichai has no close competitors on the Israeli scene, and perhaps only a few worldwide.” Amichai’s poetry covered all the human emotions, but his emphasis was on the individual as part of the collective. His works often included biting criticism of Israel’s contemporary political realities. Eventually he published many books of poetry as well as short stories, two novels, radio sketches, and children’s literature. Although the themes in Amichai’s work are generally highlighted by the Hebrew language, many of his works have been translated into other languages. Further reading: Glenda Abramson, The Experience Soul: Studies in Amichai (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997); Yehudah Amichai, The Selected Poetry of Yehudah Amichai (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996); Yehuda Amichai, Benjamin Harshaw, and Barbara Harshaw, Yehuda Amichai: A Life of Poetry, 1948–1994 (New York: HarperCollins, 1994); Haim Chertok, Stealing Home: Israel Bound and Rebound (New York: Fordham University Press, 1988); John Piling, A Reader’s Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets (London: Heinemann US, 1982).

Amidah The Amidah (literally the “standing,” for the position in which it is recited) is the central prayer sequence of every Jewish worship service. As such it is recited three times a day by every observant Jew, and four or five times on SHABBAT (the Sabbath) and holidays (in a somewhat different format). It is often called the Shemoneh-Esrei, the

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“Eighteen,” for the number of blessings or benedictions it originally contained, or simply Ha-T’filah, “the Prayer.” Unlike nearly all other Jewish prayers, it is recited silently or in a very low voice. The Amidah was composed as a vehicle to teach the basic dogmas of rabbinic Jewish belief. Written 2,000 years ago by the rabbis of the SANHEDRIN, it retained its central status through every historical period and in every Jewish community. It is one of the primary sacred texts taught to Jewish children today. The prayer was considered so important that it was ruled long ago that the CANTOR or prayer leader must repeat it out loud at most services, for the sake of those who were illiterate or unable to pray, and the custom continues to this day among most congregations. The prayer consists of three principal sections: praise, supplication and thanksgiving. The first and third sections comprise three blessings each; they are said in every Amidah every day of the year. The number of blessings in the second section varies between ordinary and special days in the calendar. The first three blessings speak of the eternal bond between God and the Jewish people; God’s awesome might, including the power to revive the dead; and God’s holiness. The middle 13 blessings in the weekday Amidah (one was added to the original 12) ask for wisdom, repentance, forgiveness, redemption from suffering and exile, good health for all, bountiful harvest, the ingathering of the exiles to Israel, justice, the downfall of the renegades (heretics or informers), reward for the righteous, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the restoration of the Davidic kingship (presumably via the MESSIAH), and acceptance of prayer. The final three blessings, in the third section, are a request for the reestablishment of the TEMPLE service, an acknowledgement of God’s compassion, and a prayer for peace. Over the centuries, certain phases and passages were inserted into the Amidah, such as the request for rain in the winter and dew in the summer, as were prayers that recognize specific Jewish holidays, when appropriate to recite.


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Every Amidah concludes with a private meditation: “that God help us refrain from talebearing, slander, and deceit, and that He protect us against the evil intention of others and strengthen us to observe the Torah.” Jewish liturgical tradition also encourages the worshipper to use the time during the Amidah to add private prayer and thought to the required benedictions.

Maimonides, Mishne Torah: Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah: The Laws, Which Are the Foundations of the Torah, Mishne Torah Series (New York: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1989); Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1976); H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

Further reading: Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Rabbi Jules Harlow, ed., Siddur Sim Shalom: A Prayerbook for Shabbat, Festivals, and Weekdays (New York: Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of America, 1989); Abraham Millgram, Jewish Worship (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1975); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

ancient synagogues

amoraim (sing.: amora) The amoraim (literally “interpreters”) were the rabbis of the academies in BABYLONIA and PALESTINE who interpreted and expanded upon the MISHNAH; their discussions and rulings were compiled in the GEMARA. The Mishnah and Gemara together constitute the TALMUD, the basic repository of rabbinic Jewish law and ethics. The Amoraic period lasted from 219 C.E. to 500 C.E. JUDAH HA-NASI completed the redaction (editing) of the Mishnah around 219 C.E. The Mishnah then served as the basis for discussion by the amoraim. Among the best-known amoraim were Abaye and Rava. Their debates appear frequently in the Babylonian Talmud. Moses MAIMONIDES in his MISHNEH TORAH (4:3) declared that the legal debates of these great amoraim were the foundation for practical Jewish law.

Most scholars trace the origins of the SYNAGOGUE back to local gatherings by Jews in BABYLONIA during the first EXILE (586–538 B.C.E.). Before the exile, the religion of the ISRAELITES mainly revolved around the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM, the site for communal gatherings and ritual sacrifice. Upon the destruction of this central location, the exiled Jewish communities would meet in small assemblies (Greek synagog, Aramaic knishtu), which gradually developed into worship services. The habit of meeting weekly for worship, TORAH teaching, and cultural life was brought into JUDEA with the return of the exiles. It has been argued that the development of the synagogue with its threefold purpose of study, prayer, and communal gathering is the single most important reason that Judaism was able to survive and flourish during historic periods of exile. Further reading: Howard Clark Kee and Lynn Cohick, Evolution of the Synagogue: Problems and Progress (Harrisburg, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1999); Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Books, 2000).

angels See MALAKHIM. Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Further reading: Richard Lee Kalmin, Sages, Stories, Authors and Editors in Rabbinic Babylonia (Providence, R.I.: Brown Judaic Studies, 1994); Alfred J. Kolatch, Masters of the Talmud: Their Lives and Views (Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 2002); Moses

The Anti-Defamation League is an independent voluntary organization dedicated to opposing prejudice and discrimination against minority groups, especially Jews in the UNITED STATES and ISRAEL.


In 1913 the leaders of B’NAI B’RITH, already established as a fraternal order and benevolent society, decided to launch an organized struggle against a wave of ANTISEMITISM, which included the incendiary campaigns surrounding LEO FRANK, who was later lynched. They established the ADL with a mission to fight discrimination and prejudice against Jews. According to its leader, Sigmund Livingston, a lawyer living in Chicago, Illinois, the ADL aimed “to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people . . . to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike . . . [and to] put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” While Livingston’s vision has not rid the world of antisemitism, racial hate, bigotry, or prejudice, the ADL has made great strides in ridding the public arena of expressions of prejudice. The group has helped pass state and federal laws protecting religious, racial, and other minority groups from discrimination in hiring, housing, immigration, and college admissions, and has made the media more alert to harmful negative portrayals of these groups. In one of its early and most striking successes, after auto magnate Henry Ford published and promoted books based on the fraudulent document, the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION, which outlined a supposed Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, the ADL demanded and eventually secured a public apology by Ford, who published evidence refuting the Protocols. In the 1930s, the ADL began to gather data on people and organizations designed to promote hate, such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Information leads to power, and the ADL has used its stores of information to bring dangerous groups motivated by hate to public attention in order to break their power, as they did when they successfully “unmasked” the KKK by law in the 1950s. The ADL was active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and became instrumental in the passing of laws that prevented outright discrimination.

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By the second half of the 20th century it became clear that the ADL needed to attend to issues of hate, bigotry, and prejudice on a global scale. The ADL does not, therefore, limit its activities to the United States, but watches for evidence of prejudice and discrimination to the world’s minorities in all areas of the globe, including unfair representations of Israel around the world. The ADL promotes a variety of educational programs as well, to combat racism, prejudice, and discrimination. The group has also utilized the horrors of the HOLOCAUST to teach the serious ramifications of hate to children and adults. In addition, the ADL has monitored issues of churchstate separation in the United States, encouraged the peace process in the Middle East, and fought defaming images of Jews in the context of the ongoing crisis in that region. With a sophisticated approach to education, and a vigilant concern with the image of Jews and other minority groups in the media, the ADL has become a successful monitoring force in the fight against hate worldwide. The organization boasts 30 regional and satellite offices. Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Extremism in America: A Guide, (CD-ROM), 2002 edition, published by the AntiDefamation League; Web site URL: http://www.adl.org, accessed on May 17, 2004.

anti-Judaism The term anti-Judaism is often used in historical works to refer to a dislike or hatred of the Jews because of their religious beliefs or opinions, or, in the ancient context, because of their political actions and their threat to the ruling power, such as the Jewish rebellions against ROME that led to the destruction of the second TEMPLE. It is important for the student of Judaism to distinguish between anti-Judaism and the more familiar term ANTISEMITISM, which is more properly used in the context of the modern era. Antisemitism is a


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product of the rise of nationalism and racism in the last two centuries, and depends on constructs or concepts of nations and ethnic groups. It promotes negative feelings and hatred of the Jews based on their lack of a nation (before 1948) and their alleged nature as foreigners in other nations. It uses misconceived negative stereotypes and images of Jews, and myths such as the BLOOD LIBEL. Judaism first developed as the national religion of a fairly isolated people. Once it evolved into a more international religion in the context of other cultures and belief systems, anti-Judaism became a factor as other religions struggled against it. Anti-Judaism did not necessarily reflect any dislike or hatred of Jews as a people or race or any perceived negative stereotypes. For example, from the start of Christianity until the present there have been Christians who felt and expressed dislike for Jews because they did not accept JESUS OF NAZARETH as the messiah. Those who espoused this form of anti-Judaism would often welcome any Jewish person who converted to CHRISTIANITY and thus accepted Christ as the MESSIAH; their hatred was not based on a perceived Jewish racial characteristic that cannot be removed even by conversion. However, a Christian who continued to hate a Jew on national grounds even after he or she converted can fairly be called antisemitic. In the modern democratic tradition most people reject the view that religious differences, heresy, or error justify hatred for the people who hold those different views, and many Christian clergy, for example, would condemn anti-Judaism just as they would condemn antisemitism. However, antiJudaism is no different in essence from antiCatholicism or even anticapitalism. It is important to recognize this difference from antisemitism, which has its own connotations and unique historic characteristics. Further reading: David Berger, History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986); Jeremy Cohen, The Friars and

the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1982); Judith M. Leiu, Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001); Marvin Perry, ed., Jewish-Christian Encounters over the Centuries: Symbiosis, Prejudice, Holocaust, Dialogue (New York: Peter Lang, 1994).

Antiochus (Antiochus Epiphanes) (215–164 B.C.E.) Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes was the Hellenistic ruler who, in the second century B.C.E., provoked a Jewish revolt led by the Maccabee family, which reestablished Jewish independence and which is celebrated in the holiday of CHANUKAH. A member of the Seleucid dynasty, which inherited one-third of the empire built by Alexander the Great, Antiochus came to power around 175 B.C.E. He tried to impose Hellenistic culture on the Jewish people in Judea, at the time a Seleucid province, and outlawed many Jewish religious practices. His actions culminated in the defilement of the Second TEMPLE in December 167 B.C.E. He or his agents offered unclean animals (such as a pig) on the altar, dedicated the Temple to the Greek deity Zeus, erected a statue of Zeus within the Temple, and plundered the Temple of valuable ritual objects. According to the book of MACCABEES in the APOCRYPHA, Antiochus’s actions prompted the Maccabean revolt, leading to the reclamation of the Temple and its rededication in 164 B.C.E. During Chanukah, Jews light candles to memorialize the miracle of the oil lamp in the rededicated Temple that burned for eight days, though it contained only sufficient oil for one. Some historians conjecture that Antiochus became involved in conflicts between priests in the Temple; in this view, he entered into a series of bribe negotiations that resulting in the installation of Menelaus into the office of HIGH PRIEST, thus interrupting the traditional succession to that position through the Zadokite family lineage, and setting the stage for a Jewish civil war.

antisemitism Further reading: Norman Bentwich, Hellenism (New York: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1920); Shaye J. D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (New York: Westminster Press, 1987).

antisemitism Antisemitism is a modern term denoting hatred against Jews or the Jewish people, quite apart from any rejection of the Jewish religion (see ANTIJUDAISM). The term antisemitism does not have a single meaning. It can refer to a general hostility without any claimed justification, or it can refer to a hatred based on false beliefs about the behavior or characteristics of individual Jews or the Jewish people as a group, such as brutal religious rituals (see BLOOD LIBEL), unethical business behavior, or dangerous political activity. It often involves conspiracy theories about supposed Jewish desires to dominate non-Jews economically or politically. Antisemitism often relies on negative stereotypes concerning the physical appearance or health of Jews, with little or no basis in reality. In fact, the concept, no matter how it is defined, generally involves the idea that the Jewish person is fundamentally different from or inferior to other humans in a way that cannot be changed. It is similar to concepts such as racism and sexism. Racism, sexism, and antisemitism all include the notion that the people thus described are “other,” they are unlike the person perpetuating the dislike, and they are thus less than human and do not deserve sympathy or rights as other humans do. The term was coined in 1879 by the German writer Wilhelm Marr to categorize the anti-Jewish sentiment then increasing in Europe; he first used it in a pamphlet entitled “The Victory of Judaism over Germanism.” Marr based the term on a linguistic category: the Semitic languages, which include Hebrew as well as many ancient languages like AKKADIAN and various languages spoken today in the Middle East and North Africa by people of many different races and origins.

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Since that time, it has become common to use the term antisemitism to refer to any activity in the past or present that exhibits hatred or animosity toward someone of Jewish descent, or toward the modern state of ISRAEL. Nevertheless, historians prefer to restrict its use to the context of modern social and political behavior, and to the history of nationalism and racism, primarily in the European and Middle Eastern world. There are several problems with the term antisemitism. In a sense it was always a misnomer, as there is no such thing as a “Semite” or Semitic individual, only a Semitic language. The category of Semitic language includes Arabic. Thus, it seems silly to call an Arab antisemitic, since he or she speaks a Semitic language; nevertheless, the modern behavior and belief system known as antisemitism is present in the Arab world, where the products of European antisemitism such as the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION have been widely distributed. This oddity causes one to look at the term more closely. Scholars agree that the term antisemitism has often been used in an anachronistic fashion— projecting our modern notions of race and peoplehood to time periods where people did not organize themselves into nations and races. For example, during the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans did not hate the Jews any more or less than any other non-Roman people, all of whom they considered to be barbarians. The Romans destroyed the TEMPLE in 70 C.E. because the Jews were rebelling against them, not because of any ideas of race or irrational categorical hatred. Christians living in the early centuries of the first millennium may have hated the Jews either because they did not accept Jesus of Nazareth as the MESSIAH or because the Christians held the Jews responsible for his death. This dislike, however, is an extension of a belief system about the world in general, not a result of an irrational hatred toward the Jews as a group. The Romans and the Christians, therefore, could be seen as exhibiting anti-Jewish sentiment, but not antisemitism in the narrow sense of the term.


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Adolf HITLER, on the other hand, perpetuated a systematic hatred against the Jews based on their very existence, an irrational categorical condemnation of a group of people, whether or not they ascribed to any Jewish beliefs. Hitler’s antisemitism is often called political antisemitism. Cultural and religious forms of antisemitism also exist. The reasons for the existence of antisemitism around the globe are difficult to identify. It cannot be traced to one culture or exclusively identified as social, economic, political, or psychological. One reason that goes across cultures is that the Jews, since Roman days, have lived as a minority group in many different countries, and were often regarded as strangers in their host lands, an existence made even more dangerous with the rise of nationalism and a growing intolerance of minorities among majority cultures. Another aspect of Jews that some cultures found intimidating is their tendency to live in urban areas and their disproportionate presence in commerce and finance. There are historic reasons for this presence, including Christian laws that prohibited Jews from owning land, working in agriculture, or practicing crafts, and other laws that prohibited Christians from charging interest on loans or making a profit. In addition, Jews maintained contact across political boundaries for religious reasons, which facilitated commerce. This created a negative stereotype of Jews as money-hungry and exploitative, ultimately resulting in the ideas summarized in the Protocols, which claimed that wealthy Jews were conspiring to take over the world. Economic antisemitism developed to the point that extremist or cynical political leaders have often used the Jews as scapegoats for all a nation’s economic ills, such as in RUSSIA at the end of the 19th century and in GERMANY after World War I. The UNITED STATES has often been viewed as an exception among host countries in its attitude toward the Jews. It is possible to attribute a higher degree of acceptance to the general multicultural nature of the country and its democratic and egal-

itarian principles. However, America also has a history of antisemitism and anti-Judaism, seen most clearly in Henry Ford’s publication of the Protocols or in the anti-Jewish radio speeches of the wildly popular priest Father Charles Coughlin before World War II. Today, the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE and the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE express concern over rising antisemitism. Often in the contemporary world, political beliefs about the State of Israel are connected with preexisting antisemitic sentiment. Further reading: Yehuda Bauer, series editor, Studies in Antisemitism (Chur, Switz.: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1994); David Berger, History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986); Stephen Eric Bronner, A Rumor about the Jews: Reflections on Anti-Semitism and “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hamps., U.K.: Palgrave McMillan, 2000); Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism in America (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein, The New Anti-Semitism (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974).

Apocrypha (Deuterocanon) Literally “hidden writings,” the Apocrypha is a collection of ancient Jewish religious books that are included in many Christian Bibles but were not included by the rabbis when they compiled the TANAKH or Hebrew Bible. Several of the books do appear in most manuscripts of the SEPTUAGINT, so scholars believe they were probably accepted as Scripture by many Jewish communities in the early rabbinic period. The Apocrypha includes historical material such as First and Second MACCABEES; moral tales such as Tobit, Judith, and Susanna; wisdom literature such as Ecclesasticus; letters such as the Letter of Jeremiah; and poetry such as the Prayer of Manasseh. Material from the Apocrypha was eventually accepted as canonical within the Roman Catholic community, but it was excluded from the Tanakh and Protestant Christian Bibles (see CHRISTIANITY).

Arab-Israeli conflict Further reading: Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy, eds., The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); J. R. Porter, The Lost Bible: Forgotten Scriptures Revealed (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Arab-Israeli conflict The conflict between Arabs, particularly Palestinian Arabs, and Jews is a modern phenomenon. While the struggle is certainly affected by religious and cultural differences, the driving issue is a dispute over territory in the Middle East that Jews wish to possess as their own Jewish state. The land known as PALESTINE is claimed by both Arabs and Jews. After the end of the ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE in 1949, the territory that formerly comprised the BRITISH MANDATE of Palestine was divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (see JUDEA and SAMARIA) of the Jordan River, and the Gaza Strip. These three parts together cover about 10,000 square miles, roughly the size of Belgium or Maryland. The Jewish claim and Arab claim to be legitimate governors of these lands is irreconcilable unless significant compromise can be made by both sides. Jews claim ownership rights to the land variously called CANAAN, ERETZ YISRAEL, Judea, and Palestine, based on several arguments: they believe they have a biblical title to the land; their religious and national ancestors occupied the land for 1,500 years and developed ethical MONOTHEISM there; no other nation, religion, or language was ever exclusively identified with that land; and there is an imperative need for a Jewish state to ensure the safety of world Jewry, while dozens of Arab countries already exist, some of which share the culture, dialect, and history of the Palestinian Arabs. Arabs claim the land of Palestine belongs to them because Arabs were the majority of the population there for more than a thousand years (although the land was ruled by Turkish Muslims or western European Christians for most of that period). They reject Jewish history as a claim for land, and they believe that the Koran interprets

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the words of the Hebrew Bible to indicate that the Arabs are the correct heirs to the land. They also do not believe a safe haven for world Jewry should be created in a country where the Arabs were the majority when European Jews began to return and settle the land. ZIONISM emerged as a political movement in the 19th century at the same time that many nationalist movements began, including Arab nationalism. The Zionist movement demanded the right of self-determination and sovereignty in the land of Israel. In 1882, Zionist Jewish immigration to Palestine began. At this time, the land in question was governed by the Muslim Turkish Ottoman Empire. By the time World War I began in 1914, the population of Jews in Palestine was between 60,000 and 85,000, while the non-Jews (mostly Arabs) numbered 683,000. Initially, most Arab landowners welcomed Jewish settlers, actively wishing to profit on the purchase of land. Many poor Arabs benefited from the modern economy built by the immigrants, and Arab immigrants flocked from neighboring countries. The Zionist Organization (see WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS) was established by Theodor HERZL in 1897, and it subsequently led the movement to secure a national home for the Jews in Palestine. At the conclusion of World War I, the British Empire took control of Palestine and vast other territories in the Middle East. They needed to balance the competing interests and desires of both Jews and Arabs. In 1917, the British foreign secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, issued the BALFOUR DECLARATION announcing British support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The British helped set up several independent Arab states after World War I, including Iraq, Transjordan, and Saudi Arabia, but the Arabs believed Britain had promised them Palestine as part of Syria, as well, and were angry about the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs’ concern grew stronger in the 1920s as Jewish immigration to Palestine continued unchecked. Beginning in 1920 the Jewish National Fund began to purchase large areas of land in Palestine from absentee Arab landowners. Violent clashes


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between Arab and Jewish residents in Palestine began at that time; they continued intermittently throughout the British Mandate period, and still continue. With the rise of Adolph HITLER in GERMANY, Jewish immigration to Palestine soared, and land purchases accelerated. This resulted in an Arab revolt that lasted from 1936 to 1939, which was suppressed by a British-Zionist alliance. The British issued the 1939 WHITE PAPER, which laid down a new British policy that limited Jewish immigration and land purchases. The Zionists believed this to be a violation of the Balfour Declaration, and a major threat to the safety of world Jewry as Hitler’s power increased and the persecution and discrimination against Jews in Europe spread. By the end of 1946, 608,000 Jews and 1,269,000 Arabs resided in Palestine. The Jews had purchased approximately 7 percent of the total land in Palestine from Arab landowners, comprising 20 percent of available arable land. The British turned to the UNITED NATIONS to resolve the competing claims of the Arabs and Jews. In response, the United Nations approved a PARTITION PLAN, which the Zionist leadership reluctantly accepted and the Arab leadership completely rejected. When Israel declared its independence on May 15, 1948, it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors. The war ended in 1949, when armistice agreements were signed between the Arab countries and Israel based on the “green line” of disengagement, which remained the practical border for 18 years. The Jewish State of Israel encompassed approximately 77 percent of what had been Palestine. Approximately 700,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees following the Israeli War of Independence. Today there are approximately 3 million Arab Palestinians living within the areas of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and 700,000 of them are citizens of Israel. Outside Israel’s official border, 1.3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and 1 million in the Gaza Strip. It is estimated that another 3 million Palestinians live outside these three contested areas, of whom 1.3

million reside in Jordan (which before 1922 was a part of Palestine). Some 70 percent of the land assigned to Britain in its Mandate is now Jordan, 85 percent of whose population can be considered Palestinian. In June 1967, the SIX-DAY WAR resulted in Israel taking possession of both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The occupation of these territories restored JERUSALEM to Jewish control, and the Israelis now claim the entire city as their eternal capital. The war placed a significant number of Palestinians under Israeli military rule. The Palestinian national cause reached its own crescendo, led by the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO), a collection of political, military, and terrorist factions. In 1973 the Arab nations launched a surprise attack against Israel on the Jewish holy day of YOM KIPPUR. After initial military success, the Arab nations were defeated, marking the last formal aggression by Arab states against Israel. Several years later Egyptian President Anwar SADAT initiated a peace agreement with Israel, which won back the Sinai Peninsula for Egypt and secured Israel’s southern border. Since 1967, Israel has developed Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. While concentrated in specific areas, this is a source of further stress between the Jews and the Arabs. The PLO was endorsed and supported by the Arab League, by the Communist bloc, and eventually by most countries in the world. With the Arab defeat of 1967, the group pursued both legal and illegal means to achieve their goal of securing a Palestinian state. Led by their chairman, Yasser Arafat, they rejected the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, calling for its destruction and organizing violence against it. At the same time, they lobbied the world for support of their Palestinian cause. When Jordan no longer wished to serve as an operations base for Palestinian aggression against Israel in 1970, the Palestinians relocated to Lebanon. Their attacks against Israel from that country eventually sparked the LEBANON WAR in the 1980s. Israel succeeded in removing the

Aramaic 27

Palestinian military groups from Lebanon, but the war had long-term consequences for both Lebanon and the Israeli conscience. In December 1987, the PLO helped organize the first INTIFADA, or uprising against Israel by Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza. The intifada utilized both civil disobedience and violence directed toward Israeli Jews. Israel managed to suppress the rebellion, and after the first Gulf War in 1991, negotiations between the two sides formally began. In 1993, an agreement was reached in which both the Israelis and the Palestinians mutually recognized each other’s national claims. As a result, they set forth parameters by which both a Palestinian and a Jewish state could live side by side. In 1994 the PLO became the core of the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (PA), a semiautonomous government in the West Bank and Gaza. In January 1996, elections were held for a Palestinian legislative council, and Arafat became the president of the PA. In July 2000, UNITED STATES president Bill Clinton invited Israeli prime minister Ehud BARAK and Arafat to CAMP DAVID ACCORDS to negotiate a final comprehensive agreement. Israel agreed to significant withdrawal from Palestinian land areas, awarding the PA approximately 97 percent of the land they asked for (plus transfers of Israeli land to make up the difference) and allowing for the creation of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. However, the Israelis agreed to allow only limited numbers of Palestinians to return to Israel proper. Whether for those reasons, or because he was not interested in a peace agreement, Arafat rejected the proposal. In the meantime, PA-sponsored groups embarked on a second Intifada, called the al-Aksa Intifada, which focused on suicide bombings of civilian facilities in Israel. Arafat’s terrorist groups were joined by Hamas, an Islamic Arab extremist group which continues to explicitly reject Israel’s right to exist. Israel, unable to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, has embarked on the controversial project of building a security fence to cut off Jewish territories from Palestinian territories. Prime


Minister Ariel SHARON announced a plan in 2004 to withdraw all Israeli settlements from Gaza, and several from the West Bank, as a unilateral interim solution to the conflict. The United States had declared that since Arafat was unwilling to renounce the use of terrorism, they no longer accepted him as a representative of the Palestinian people. It seemed that the Arab-Israeli conflict would remain at the same point of irreconcilable differences as existed in 1920. However, following Arafat’s death in November 2004, the Palestinian people elected Mahmoud Abbas (b. 1935), also known as Abu Mazen, to be their president. Both Israelis and Palestinians hope for peace, as new leadership brings the promise of new possibilities. Further reading: Mitchell G. Bard, Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Chevy Chase, Md.: American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2001); Robert O. Freedman, World Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (New York: Pergamon Press, 1979); Walter Laqueur, The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict (New York: Penguin Books, 2001); Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage Books, 2001).

Aramaic Aramaic was a widely spoken language in the Middle East for 2,000 years before and after the start of the Common Era; it was the primary language of Jews during the early rabbinic period (70 C.E.–640 C.E.). The GEMARA, the largest component of the TALMUD and the major source of Jewish rabbinic law, was written down in Aramaic. In addition, about 200 verses of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, are written in the language, including a large part of the book of Daniel. It is also the language of a few important HEBREW prayers to this day. The rabbis in the TALMUD discussed the surprising fact that many Jewish sacred texts were written in the Aramaic vernacular of their time, though Hebrew was the language of nearly all the


28 Arendt, Hannah

Tanakh and most prayers. In the Talmud, the rabbis claimed that even Adam, the first human being, spoke Aramaic (SANHEDRIN 38b). This explanation justifies for the ancient rabbis the extensive use of Aramaic in rabbinic and biblical literature. Aramaic was originally written in cuneiform, the writing system developed for Sumerian and AKKADIAN, but was later written in its own version of the alphabet. The Aramaic alphabet eventually replaced the ancient Hebrew alphabet. The prophet NEHEMIAH was apparently the first to use the Aramaic alphabet for the books of the Tanakh, when he saw that the Israelite people were no longer familiar with the ancient Hebrew letters. JESUS OF NAZARETH probably spoke Aramaic as his mother tongue, since it was the common language spoken in Judea 2,000 years ago. Some words in the NEW TESTAMENT are also in Aramaic. Some of the first widely used translations of the Hebrew Bible were into Aramaic. These versions, known as the Targums, have been used for centuries by scholars seeking to understand how the ancient rabbis interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures. Further reading: John Bowker, The Targums and Rabbinic Literature: An Introduction to Jewish Interpretation of Scripture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969); Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A SocioLiterary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Marcus Jastrow, ed., Hebrew Aramaic English Dictionary (New York: Shalom Publications, 1967).

Arendt, Hannah (1906–1975) political philosopher and writer Trained as a political scientist in GERMANY before World War II, Hannah Arendt was a rising student of philosophy as the war commenced. She is credited with establishing the concept of totalitarianism and its negative relationship with the nation-state, and she is also known for her theory of “the banality of evil” in the 20th-century bureaucratic state, which she developed in her reporting on the EICHMANN TRIAL. Arendt’s writ-

ings are universal in scope, although she never denied or specifically ignored her Jewish heritage or experiences. Born in Hanover, Germany, on October 14, 1906, Arendt was an only child. Both her parents were raised in homes of Russian-Jewish businessmen. Arendt’s father died of a syphilis-related disease when she was seven. She grew up in the city of Konigsberg, which witnessed extensive fighting between RUSSIA and Germany during World War I. War was not a foreign concept to Arendt as she grew from childhood to adulthood. In 1924 Arendt graduated from high school and began her university studies with Rudolf Bultmann at the University of Marburg. There she met Martin Heidegger, who was also on staff at the university. They both explored and wrote about the philosophical schools of existentialism and phenomenology. Arendt and Heidegger had a romantic affair, but she soon relocated her studies to the University of Heidelberg to study with Karl Jaspers. Ironically, Heidegger was to become an ardent antisemite (see ANTISEMITISM) and proponent of the Nazi worldview. At the age of 22, Arendt received her doctorate from the University of Heidelberg. Escaping Germany and the Nazis in 1933, Arendt fled to FRANCE, where she was involved with a Zionist group called Youth Aliyah, which sent young European Jews to PALESTINE (see ALIYAH, ZIONISM). Arendt served as director of the group from 1935 to 1938, and she even had the opportunity to go with some of the young people to Palestine. However, in 1940, Arendt became an inmate in the Gurs concentration camp in France. Along with a group of 100 intellectuals, Arendt, her husband Henrich Blucher, and her mother were allowed to immigrate to the UNITED STATES as part of a political agreement made with President Roosevelt. Arendt arrived in the United States in 1941 and became a U.S. citizen 10 years later. In the United States she fashioned a successful career as a scholar, editor, and research director. She continued to move in prominent intellectual circles in the United States, forging a strong relationship with the

Arendt, Hannah

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Twentieth-century philosopher Hannah Arendt, on the left, proposed the theory of the banality of evil after reporting on the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961. (Library of Congress)

historian Salo Baron and his wife, Jeanette. She was research director for the Conference on Jewish Relations (1944–46), chief editor of Schocken Books (1946–48), and executive secretary of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (1949–52). Arendt was the first woman to become a full professor at Princeton University, and she also taught at the

University of Chicago, Wesleyan University, and the New School for Social Research. She was the author of many works that discuss the political aspects of human behavior, including Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958), On Revolution (1963), Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963, first appearing in a series of


30 Argentina

articles in the New Yorker magazine), and On Violence (1970). Arendt’s career was not without struggle. The publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem met with opposition from the Jewish community. Arendt argued that Eichmann’s actions were not those of an evil villain, but simply of a cog in the Nazi machine. She suggested that Eichmann was guilty more of thoughtlessness in pursuing his duties as a Nazi than as an evil leader who masterminded the murder of millions. Arendt received even more criticism for her comments suggesting that fewer Jews would have died in the HOLOCAUST if the Jewish councils, the JUDENRAT, had been less helpful to the Nazis. While Arendt did see herself as a Jew, she did not connect with the Jewish community beyond her early activities as a Zionist and her belief in a binational state in Palestine. Arendt’s ideas of the banality of evil and its connection to the modern state remain vital parts of Holocaust study today despite the initial rejection of many of her ideas. In recent decades, she has been criticized for defending Heidegger after World War II despite his Nazi activities. Further reading: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin Books, 1977); Lewis P. Hinchman, and Sandra K. Hinchman, eds., Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994); Dana R. Villa, Politics, Philosophy, Terror: Essays on the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999).

Argentina The story of Jewish life in Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest country and the one with the largest Jewish community, can be defined by immigration patterns not unlike that of the UNITED STATES. Waves of Jewish immigration occurred after 1492, in the middle of the 19th century, and around the turn of the 20th century. The Jews who immigrated to Argentina and the communities that they formed experienced times of

peace along with instances of ANTISEMITISM. During the middle of the 20th century, Argentina became home to many Nazis (see GERMANY), including war criminals fleeing justice. The first wave of Jewish immigration to Argentina occurred after the expulsion of Jews from SPAIN in 1492. These Jewish immigrants are called CONVERSOS, as they had openly converted to CHRISTIANITY to avoid the Inquisition but secretly retained Jewish practices behind closed doors. Most of the Jews of the first wave of immigration probably assimilated into Argentinean society (see ASSIMILATION) because of the tolerant atmosphere in the early 19th century created by the first president of independent Argentina, Bernardino Rivadavia. Rivadavia’s policies also opened Argentina’s doors to the second wave of Jewish immigration in the mid-19th century. During this period, Ashkenazic Jews from western Europe arrived on Argentinean soil where they were encouraged to farm the land. The first recorded MINYAN came together in 1862, and the first Argentinean Jewish SYNAGOGUE was established a few years later; it was called the Congregación Israelita de la República Argentina. Scholars estimate the number of Jews living in Argentina in 1870 at 300 to 500. Though a small community, the Jewish settlers in Argentina enjoyed many civil rights, including the ability to marry in both the legal and religious realms. They were subject to some discrimination, mostly due to the personal actions of immigration officers rather than codified and encouraged by the government. In the late 19th century Jewish immigrants from RUSSIA began to arrive in Argentina, encouraged by the loose immigration laws and by philanthropist Baron de HIRSCH. Hirsch viewed Jewish immigration to Argentina as a viable option for those young Zionists (see ZIONISM) who were unable to immigrate into PALESTINE because of Turkish restrictions. The Russian immigrants were called “Rusos,” and they were to become part of Argentinean society, taking on roles as farmers, peddlers, artisans, and shopkeepers. At least one group of Jewish immigrants, those who arrived on


the SS Weser in 1889, became gauchos, or Argentinean cowboys, working the land with the financial backing of Hirsch, who founded the Jewish Colonization Association. Today many Jews still manage these properties, although many are now owned by non-Jews. By the year 1920, more than 150,000 Jews had made Argentina their home. Jewish immigration had remained steady between 1906 and 1912, resulting in approximately 13,000 Jewish immigrants each year. Most of the immigrants from this period were ASHKENAZIM from Europe, but some were SEPHARDIM from Morocco and the Ottoman Empire. They settled in a country mostly free of antisemitism, which did not appear in Argentina in force until after World War I. The Russian Revolution (1918–30) sparked POGROMS aimed at the Rusos in Buenos Aires in January of 1919, but it was the rise of Juan Perón to power in 1946 that marked the beginning of ongoing antisemitic sentiment in Argentina. Perón closed Argentina’s doors to Jewish immigrants, and he allowed Nazis to settle there without recrimination. At the same time, he recognized the existence of the State of ISRAEL in 1949. Perón was removed from power in 1955, but more instances of antisemitism dotted Argentina’s history as Adolf EICHMANN was abducted in Argentina by Israeli agents and put on trial in Israel for war crimes in 1960. The Argentinean Jewish community would suffer further when the country fell under military rule between the years 1976 and 1983. Of the 9,000 people who disappeared off the streets of Argentina for political “crimes,” it is estimated that around 1,000 of them were Jewish. Antisemitism has decreased in Argentina, though there were two major terrorist attacks in the 1990s, one at the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the other at the Jewish community headquarters in 1994. Carlos Saúl Menem, elected president in 1989, has been a friend to the Jewish community in Argentina despite his Arab origins, although he has recently been accused of complicity or negligence regarding the 1994 attack. The recent economic crisis of Argentina’s middle class has reduced many Jewish families to

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poverty levels, causing Jewish communities around the world to rally to their support. The AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE and the JEWISH AGENCY played a role in training young Argentinean Jews to rebuild the Jewish community and its institutions. Many young Jews have emigrated from Argentina in the last half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. The contemporary Jewish community in Argentina numbers at most a quarter of a million, most of whom live in Buenos Aires. About 60 percent of Jewish children attend some form of Jewish educational institution. There are many Jewish aid societies in Argentina, including the political Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DIAI), the Ashkenazic Mutual Aid Society (AMIA), and the Vaad HaKehilot, the federation of Jewish communities. While most of Argentina’s synagogues are traditional, the Conservative movement has been a strong influence. The JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY established a branch in Argentina in 1962, and Rabbi Marshall Meyer was influential within the Jewish community and with the Argentinean government until his departure in 1984. The seminary continues to provide rabbis for Latin America, and the Jewish community of Argentina is beginning to find its voice as an energetic expression of contemporary Judaism, including a more open Sephardic culture and the appearance of ultra-Orthodox Jews (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM) on the scene. Further reading: Haim Avni, Argentina and the Jews: A History of Jewish Immigration (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 1991); Martin A. Cohen, ed., The Jewish Experience in Latin America (Waltham, Mass.: American Jewish Historical Society, 1971); Daniel Judah Elazar and Peter Medding, Jewish Communities in Frontier Societies— Argentina, Australia and South Africa (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1983); Eugene F. Sofer, From Pale to Pampa: A Social History of the Jews of Buenos Aires (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1982); Robert Weisbrot and Robert Murciano, Jews of Argentina: From the Inquisition to Peron (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989).


32 ark

ark The English word ark evokes several images from Jewish history and civilization. In chronological order, the most popular images of an ark are the ark of NOAH, the Ark of the COVENANT, and the Holy Ark that is the most important fixture in every SYNAGOGUE. In the book of Genesis in the TORAH, God commands Noah to build an ark (Teivah), a very large boat, of gopher wood (Gn 6:14–16). God warns Noah that there is going to be a global flood, and that the animals and people who are allowed onto the ark will be saved from death. Thus, the ark in Jewish lore may often refer to the boat that Noah built to save each species of animal as well as his own family from drowning during the flood. There are many legends about Noah’s ark; occasionally a modern archaeologist will claim to know where it rests, although no convincing evidence has yet been uncovered. The Hebrew word for the ark of Noah is not related to that of the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Ark. The Ark of the Covenant (Aron HaBrit) is first mentioned in the book of Exodus in the TANAKH. This time God commands MOSES to build a wooden box to house the tablets of the law, or the Ten Commandments (see DECALOGUE) that God gave to Moses and the ISRAELITES at MOUNT SINAI (Ex 25:10–22). The ark was known to encase the tablets of the law, but it was also known to be in a sense a dwelling place for God. The box was made from acacia wood and was four feet long, two and one-half feet wide and two and one-half feet high. It was lined with gold and had rings of gold through which poles could be inserted to carry it. There was another plate of gold the size of the box on the top, and two cherubim, or angels, who protected the ark with their wings. The ark was carried by the LEVITES, the priestly class, as the Israelites wandered through the desert, and sometimes it was brought into battle. Aside from times of war, the ark rested inside the Tabernacle (see MISHKAN) and was approached only by the HIGH PRIEST on YOM KIPPUR, the Day of Atonement. After the Israelites settled in CANAAN,

in ERETZ YISRAEL, the ark rested in the Holy of Holies in a sanctuary in Shiloh. The Bible states that it was once captured by the Philistines, but it was returned after a series of misfortunes befell them. King DAVID transferred the ark to JERUSALEM, and when King SOLOMON built the first TEMPLE, it was housed there. No one knows where the ark may be today. However, every Jewish sanctuary contains a different kind of ark, the Holy Ark that holds Torah scrolls (Aron Ha-Kodesh). The ark in a modern sanctuary is a sort of closet that houses the Torah, usually positioned at the front, toward Jerusalem in the east, or in the very center of the room. Either way, the ark is the focal point of any Jewish sanctuary, and when it is opened to reveal the Torah scrolls inside, the congregation rises with respect. While Noah’s ark led to a covenant, or agreement, between God and all humans to repopulate the earth with animals and people, the Ark of the Covenant represented God’s covenant with the Jewish people to be their God. The Holy Ark carries forth the promise to modern times. As the Ark of the Covenant was believed to be a vessel for God’s presence, so too does the Holy Ark contain the promise between God and the Jews to protect them and to provide law for them. Further reading: Hayim Halevy Donin, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and Synagogue Service (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1956); Avram Kampf, Contemporary Synagogue Art: Developments in the United States, 1945–1965 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1966); Patrick D. Miller, The Religion of Ancient Israel (London: SPCK, 2000).

Ashkenazim World Jewry includes two significant cultural groups. One group is called the SEPHARDIM, and the other is called the Ashkenazim. Both groups emerged during the early Middle Ages—the


Believed to be a representation of the portable Ark of the Covenant, this relief was found by archaeologists in the Capernaum synagogue located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Mention of the Ark of the Covenant first appears in the biblical book of Exodus. It was made of wood and housed the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Holy Ark was considered to be a dwelling place for God. (Library of Congress)

Sephardim in the Iberian Peninsula, the Ashkenazim in central Europe. The first Ashkenazi communities were founded in the Rhineland in what is now western GERMANY, probably by Jews migrating north from Italy, where they had been exiled following the destruction of the TEMPLE. The term Ashkenazim comes from a HEBREW name for a particular people mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (see TORAH). Beginning in the ninth century the term Ashkenaz was applied to Germany, and German Jews began to be called Ashke-

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nazim to distinguish them from the Sephardim. When the Crusades concluded, Ashkenazim began to relocate to eastern European countries. Therefore, when one refers to the Ashkenazim today, eastern European Jews are included in that category. Eventually, Ashkenazim settled in western Europe and in America. Ashkenazim pronounce Hebrew differently than Sephardim do, their liturgies are slightly different, and some of their ritual practices differ as well, such as the types of food permitted to be eaten during the holiday of PASSOVER. Until the beginning of the 20th century, most Ashkenazim spoke YIDDISH, a blend of Hebrew and German. However, Hebrew remained the language of religious scholarship among Ashkenazim. The Ashkenazim lived under the Christian rulers of Europe. By the 11th century, they had organized themselves into kehillot and kahals (see KAHAL, KEHILLAH), autonomous communities formally recognized by the feudal rulers. The kehillot and kahals developed their own administrative, judicial, educational, medical, and social support systems. The Ashkenazim paid the feudal rulers their taxes and enjoyed their insular existence. Almost all legal matters were taken care of in the kehillot and kahals, with the local Jewish authorities maintaining their own systems of justice. Ashkenazim, unlike Sephardim, did not embrace the study of secular philosophy and science, concentrating their intellectual resources on the oral study of Jewish law and religion. The spread of printing in Europe greatly assisted the mass distribution of religious scholarship written by Ashkenazi RABBIS, such as the scholar RASHI in 11th-century France. The primary goal of the Ashkenazi Jew before the enlightenment of the 18th century was to lead a devout religious life devoted to traditional Jewish textual study. The HOLOCAUST that occurred in Europe during World War II destroyed 6 million of the 18 million Jews who once populated the world. The majority of those murdered were Ashkenazim. In the UNITED STATES, the significant majority of the Jewish community is of Ashkenazi decent. In


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ISRAEL, the Jewish population is split more or less in half between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Further reading: David Biale, Cultures of the Jews: A New History (New York: Schocken Books, 2002); Jacob Rader Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Source Book, 315–1791 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1999); Stephen Sharot, Judaism: A Sociology (New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1976); H. J. Zimmels, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Their Relation, Differences, and Problems as Related in the Rabbinical Responsa (London: Marla, 1976).

assimilation Assimilation is the process by which a minority group adapts to a surrounding culture, usually at the expense of part or all of its own original culture. It has been a major issue in Jewish history, especially since the EMANCIPATION of the Jews in Europe beginning in the 1800s. Even in ancient times, Jews were faced with assimilation. When Jews lived under Greek rule, for example, from 333–174 B.C.E., they were influenced by the prevailing HELLENISM, often adopting Greek names and participating in aspects of Greek culture such as the gymnasium. In modern times, assimilation is rampant among American Jewry and some believe it to be a threat to the survival of Judaism. Of course, there are varying degrees of assimilation. Jews can accept partial AMERICANIZATION by eating pizza or hot dogs but only at kosher fastfood restaurants, work with and go to school with non-Jews but only date fellow Jews, and take off work or school on Christmas while avoiding any possible religious participation in the holiday. Such a degree of assimilation is often termed ACCOMMODATION—one keeps one’s JEWISH IDENTITY and practices but also enjoys the amenities of American culture. A further level of assimilation may include shopping on Shabbat (after all, Saturday is the major shopping day in America), eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger (a particularly nonkosher item), intermarrying with non-Jews, and having a Christmas tree in one’s home. In this

case, as one assimilates more into American culture, one becomes in danger of losing one’s Jewish identity and practices. Further reading: Steven M. Cohen, American Assimilation or Jewish Revival (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988); Alan M. Dershowitz, The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998); Gerhard Falk, American Judaism in Transition: The Secularization of a Religious Community (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995); Calvin Goldscheider and Alan S. Zuckerman, The Transformation of the Jews, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986); Arthur Hertzberg, A Jew in America: My Life and A People’s Struggle for Identity (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002); Menachem Mor, ed., Jewish Assimilation, Acculturation, and Accommodation: Past Traditions, Current Issues, and Future Prospects (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992); Charles E. Silberman, A Certain People: American Jews and their Lives Today (New York: Summit Books, 1986).

Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies (AJFCA) The American Jewish community has a long history of social service, on behalf of both Jews and non-Jews. The Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies is an umbrella agency attesting to the breadth and depth of Jewish social service agencies across the UNITED STATES. The AJFCA traces its roots back to the 19th century, when the needs of new immigrants made specifically Jewish social services essential. The group is not itself a service-providing agency, but a membership organization that provides support to other agencies that do provide direct services to those in need. The mission of the AJFCA is to provide support to the more than 145 preventive and social service agencies that look to it for support of their programs. Among its many goals, AJFCA advocates for safety nets for the poor and other families with special needs, assists member agencies with management, capacity building, strategic


planning, and personnel development, educates lay and professional leaders, improves program quality by highlighting and publicizing programs that work, engages in public policy development and legislative monitoring, establishes standards of practice to increase the professionalism of the field of social service, and encourages member agencies to share and communicate with one another. Further reading: Jerome A. Chanes, Norman Linzer, and David J. Schnall, A Portrait of the American Jewish Community (Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 1998); Web site URL: http://www.ajfca.org, accessed June 9, 2004.

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Testament World, ed. Alfred J. ho*rth, Gerald L. Mattingly & Edwin M. Yamauchi (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1998).

aufruf Aufruf is a YIDDISH term that means “calling up.” It originated as a European Jewish custom, still practiced, in which a groom (or both bride and groom in egalitarian congregations) is called up to the TORAH during a worship service, in order to receive a special pre-wedding blessing, called a MI SHEBERAKH. The congregation asks God to bless the bride and groom on their forthcoming marriage and their life together as husband and wife. The aufruf traditionally occurs on the SHABBAT morning before the wedding.

Assyrians In biblical times, the Assyrian state often bordered ISRAEL, and there were numerous battles between the ISRAELITES and the Assyrians. Assyria, like EGYPT and BABYLONIA, was a major empire during biblical times; it was at its peak from approximately 1100 to 645 B.C.E., ruling extensive territories from its capital of Nineveh. From biblical sources as well as from the extensive royal library that archaeologists have uncovered at Nineveh, we know a significant amount about the kingdom of Assyria and its relationship to ancient Israel. In the year 722 B.C.E., the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, known as Samaria, leaving the southern kingdom of Judea intact but under Assyrian domination (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA). The citizens of the northern kingdom assimilated (see ASSIMILATION) into Assyrian culture and have never been heard from again. Many legends have arisen about these people, who are often referred to as the TEN LOST TRIBES of Israel. The Assyrians were eventually conquered by the revived Babylonian Empire, and disappeared from history. Further reading: Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); H. J. Zimmels, Peoples of the Old

Further reading: Rita Milos Brownstein, Jewish Weddings: A Beautiful Guide to Creating the Wedding of Your Dreams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003); Anita Diamant, The New Jewish Wedding (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001).

Auschwitz (Oswiecim) Auschwitz was the largest CONCENTRATION AND called by the German name of the nearby Polish city Oswiecim; apart from its vast slave labor facilities, it was known as the largest death camp, where vast numbers of Jews and a smaller number of non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Most Jews arrived at the camp by train and were immediately divided into two lines. Those in one line—the elderly, weak, and most children—were immediately gassed. Others were set to work in appalling conditions until they died or became too weak to work, at which point they were sent to the gas chambers. More than 1.5 million Jews were gassed to death in this camp alone during the HOLOCAUST. In addition, hundreds of inmates were forced into medical experiments supervised by Dr. Josef MENGELE, the chief physician at Auschwitz. DEATH CAMP,


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The phrase arbeit macht frei (“work makes free”) greeted inmates as they entered the camp; the sign has become a well-known image, representing the hellacious experience of the Holocaust, comprising both life in unbearable conditions and the massacre of innocents. In addition to Jews, many Gypsies, Poles, and others deemed subhuman by the Nazis were murdered in Auschwitz. Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. Soldiers were so appalled by the skeletal

figures they saw that many of them were physically sickened. Auschwitz came to represent the failure of the world community to recognize and respond to Jewish persecution. The proximity of the camp to the town makes it virtually impossible for the city’s residents not to have had some idea of what was going on inside the camp, but no one in the city spoke out. Allied war leaders have also been criticized for failing to bomb the camp

This is an aerial photograph of Auschwitz, World War II’s most notorious concentration and death camp. The highly organized layout of the camp reveals how the Nazis murdered 1.5 million Jews in an extremely efficient manner. (U.S. National Archives)

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or the rail lines leading to it to slow the Nazi death machine. Further reading: Peter Cunningham, “Bearing Witness: Notes from Auschwitz,” Tricycle 6, 3 (Spring 1997): 35–39; Michael R. Marrus, Auschwitz: New Perspectives on the Final Solution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Terence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976); John K. Roth and Richard L. Rubenstein, Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and its Legacy (New York: John Knox Press, 1987).

Austria Jews have lived in Austria since the time of the Romans. The first written record of a Jewish presence in the country dates from the years 903–906. The oldest Jewish tombstone in Austria bears the date 1130, and the earliest evidence of a Jewish settlement dates to 1194. The first SYNAGOGUE appears to have stood in Vienna in 1204. In fact, most of the Jews who have lived in Austria since the late medieval period resided in that city. By the 13th century, the Jewish community had established Vienna as a center of Jewish learning. In addition, many Jews had become involved in Viennese commerce, holding important positions in tax collection and trade. Even though the Jews had established a place for themselves in Vienna and Austria, they were not free from discrimination and prejudice. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen granted the Jews of Vienna a charter in 1238, followed by another charter for all of Austria in 1244. Such charters granted minorities certain rights, although not full membership in society, and the number of Jews immigrating to Austria from GERMANY increased. However, by the end of the same century, the Jews saw increasing discrimination and anti-Jewish sentiment, much of it emanating from the Catholic Church, especially after the ecclesiastical Council of Vienna in 1267. Four instances of BLOOD LIBEL can be found in the records from this era, in addition to massacres, mercantile restric-


tions, and the random cancellation of debts owed to Jews. By the end of the 18th century, Austria was developing into a centralized modern state, and the Jewish population was encouraged to become more integrated into Austrian society. The Jews no longer were required to wear the yellow badge (see YELLOW STAR) identifying them as Jews, and they were encouraged to teach their children to speak German and to send them to Germanspeaking schools. In 1784 the judicial autonomy of the Jewish community was dissolved; instead, the Jewish population was required to use the Austrian court system and to join the army. Joseph II of the Hapsburg Empire made these sweeping changes; after his death life for the Jews declined in quality, as various restrictive laws were passed, ranging from a quota on marriages to a requirement that Jewish children attend Christian schools. Yet the Jews were not stripped of all rights, and the late 19th century brought another upswing in the status of Jews, especially during the reign of Franz Josef. In 1867 Austria-Hungary (see HUNGARY) adopted a new constitution that guaranteed religious freedoms, officially granting equality within the law to peoples of different religious traditions. ASSIMILATION among the Jews of Vienna had already begun to take hold, and by the end of the 19th century, the upper and middle economic classes of Jews identified strongly with German culture. Even so, more instances of blood libel accusations were to develop, and strains of modern ANTISEMITISM appeared in Austrian society. The city of Vienna at the turn of the 20th century was governed by a mayor elected on an explicitly antisemitic platform, yet Jews participated fully in economic, cultural, and political life without much encumbrance, even from the mayor. Movements to combat antisemitic trends appeared in Austrian society, especially ZIONISM, which attracted wide support in the country thanks to the writings and activities of THEODOR HERZL (1860–1904), a Viennese journalist. The Zionist influence increased during and after


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World War I, as 36,000 mostly poor refugees arrived in Vienna from eastern Europe; this was not the first time eastern European Jews had migrated to Austria. By 1918 300,000 Jews lived in the newly created Austrian Republic, twothirds of them residing in Vienna. Despite instances of antisemitism and civil rights that changed by the year, the Jewish community thrived. By the 1930s, a very large number of Jews were prominent in the Austrian economy, in industries ranging from scrap iron, which was traded exclusively by Jews, to advertising, furniture, banking, and textiles, where the proportion of Jews was at least 75 percent. By this time, the Austrian Jewish community had created several Jewish schools, a teacher’s seminary, Zionist organizations, youth organizations, and Jewish political parties. There was open debate in the community about the benefits and dangers of assimilation. On the part of the German Austrian community, however, there was a vast different between the government’s attitude toward the Jews, which was positive, and the public’s attitude toward the Jews, which was still heavily influenced by antisemitic ideologies. Austrian-born Adolf HITLER is believed to have been strongly influenced by antisemitic writings and organizations he encountered while living for several years in Vienna. On March 13, 1938, Germany annexed Austria, an event called the Anschluss. At the time there were between 180,000 and 220,000 Jews living in Austria, 90 percent of them in Vienna. The Nazis immediately removed all civil rights from Jews, fined the community, incited POGROMS, seized property, desecrated synagogues, and imprisoned the leaders and intelligentsia of the Jewish community at the Dachau CONCENTRATION CAMP. Sigmund FREUD (1856–1939) was among the first of thousands of Austrian Jews forced to flee their homeland to save their lives. In the next few years, the majority of the Jewish population emigrated from Austria with the help of Zionist groups and even the German authorities. By the time of World War II, well over 100,000 had left,

leaving around 66,000 living in Vienna. Nearly all these remaining Jews were either murdered in concentration camps, sent to GHETTOS in POLAND or RUSSIA, killed on the road, or finally sent to the concentration camp called Theresienstadt to die. By the time the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved, there were only 7,000 Jews living there, most of them married to non-Jews. By 1943 there were only 800 Jews left in Vienna, and these were secretly helped by some in the nonJewish community and by the Budapest Jewish rescue committee. Some of the 800 survived World War II. Most Jewish communities in Austria were never rebuilt, but the Viennese community, today called the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, did reconstitute and begin to resurrect Jewish communal institutions, among them the Jewish Labor Federation and the Zionist Federation. The AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE funded half the Viennese Jewish community’s budget until the 1950s, when the financial situation began to improve. Despite the continued vibrancy of antisemitism in Austria, relations between ISRAEL and Austria have been decent. Bruno Kreisky, a Christian whose parents had been born Jewish, was elected federal chancellor (prime minister) in 1970, though critics decried his decision to end the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in Austria, which had provided a disproportionate number of high functionaries in the HOLOCAUST, including Adolf EICHMANN. Even before, Austria was notorious for its leniency toward Nazi war criminals, and the country never fully participated in the search for lost property or in the payment of war reparations or restitution, though belated attempts were carried out in the late 1990s and afterward. Before World War II there were 97 synagogues in Austria; only six have been rebuilt. Further reading: George E. Berkley, Vienna and Its Jews: The Tragedy of Success, 1880–1980s (Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Books, Inc., 1988); Gordon Brook-Shepherd, The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey (New York: Carroll

Azazel, goat of & Graf Publishers, 1996); David W. Weiss, Reluctant Return: a Survivor’s Journey to an Austrian Town (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999).

Auto-Emancipation See PINSKER, YEHUDAH LEV. Azazel, goat of The concept of a “scapegoat,” often used in modern Western society, has a very literal meaning in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible—the goat of Azazel. In chapter 16 of the book of Leviticus, God tells AARON the HIGH PRIEST to present a sin offering on the altar, in order to make “expiation for himself and for his household.” Aaron was to bring two rams “before the Lord at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; and he shall place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the Lord and the other marked for Azazel. . . . the goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be left standing alive before the Lord, to make expiation with it and to send it off to the wilderness for Azazel” (Leviticus 16). The high priest, in the original instance Aaron but later the priests of the TEMPLE in Jerusalem, would symbolically lay his hands upon the head of the goat marked for Azazel and confess over it the sins of the people; he would then send the goat out into the wilderness. In English translation, the goat of Azazel became commonly known as the “scapegoat” (the goat that escapes). The medieval rabbinic commentator NACHMANIDES taught that Azazel was a goatlike demon to which the ISRAELITES sometimes offered sacrifices (see SACRIFICE). He further taught that sending the goat to the wilderness was a symbolic expression of the idea that the people’s sins, such

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as worshipping a foreign demon, and the punishment for those sins, were to be sent back to their original source—the spirit of desolation and ruin beyond the sphere of law and true religion. This Azazel cultic practice ceased when prayer replaced sacrifice, after the destruction of the Second Temple in JERUSALEM in 70 C.E. However, the model of symbolically ridding oneself of sin remains in place today in the traditional Day of Atonement liturgy. On the day of YOM KIPPUR, Jews gather in public worship, confess their sins, ask God for forgiveness, and hope that if they are sincere, God will forgive the sins committed against God. Sins against other people must be addressed directly with the wronged individuals before they can be forgiven by God. Some European Jews perform a ritual recalling the goat of Azazel in the days before Yom Kippur. A live chicken is waved over the head of each member of the family to absorb his or her sins; the chicken is then slaughtered and given to poor people. The notion of a scapegoat became significant in the history of medieval and modern ANTISEMITISM. When Jews were blamed for epidemics, economic crises, and other disasters, it was said that they were being “scapegoated.” It is a historical irony that the concept of “scapegoat” itself originates with the ritual of the high priest in the ancient Temple. Further reading: Ralph D. Levy, The Symbolism of the Azazel Goat (San Francisco, Calif.: International Scholars Publication, 1998); Patrick D. Miller, The Religion of Ancient Israel (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2000); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

B AF J: Baal The term baal has multiple connotations within the Jewish religion. The Hebrew root of the word translates as “possess”; in combination with other words, it usually means “possessor of” or “characterized by.” By itself, it can mean “lord” in all its secular contexts. Most often, in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, it refers to one of the ancient pagan deities of the Semitic cultures neighboring the ISRAELITES. Baal worship is commonly referred to in the Tanakh as the illicit religious behavior of the Israelites when they joined in the practices of their pagan neighbors. Baal worship represented the immoral or cruel behavior that people can indulge in, especially as typified by pagan hedonism. The Book of 1 Kings (16:31) records that a king of Israel, Ahab, “took as a wife Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians,” and he went and served Baal. Elijah the Tishbite, a great Jewish prophet, battles Ahab, Jezebel, and the Baal worshippers. Jezebel assists in a campaign to wipe out the “prophets of the Lord,” but when Elijah is the only prophet left, he has a final confrontation with the Baal worshippers, and with God’s help, destroys them all. Further reading: Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia:


Fortress Press, 1985); Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1988); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Baal Shem Tov (the Besht) (1700–1760) founder of modern Hasidism Originally named Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov (“Master of the Good Name”) is considered the founder of the modern movement of HASIDISM (which literally means “piety”). Though an attested historic figure, he has become the subject of many legends and morality tales. The Baal Shem Tov is said to have been born to poor elderly parents and orphaned while still young. He worked at various jobs; he was an assistant in a Hebrew religious school, quarry laborer, and innkeeper. Legends abound about him, all emphasizing his piety, his simple life, and his skill as a healer and teacher. In 1740 the Besht (an acronym for Baal Shem Tov) moved to Meziboz, and he began to attract students through his focus on individual piety and joyfulness rather than on rigorous TALMUD study and ascetic practices, which were then commonly deemed the highest goals of religious life. He established the basic elements of Hasidism,


including the focus on developing a religious spirit and closeness to God, appreciation of physical pleasures as creations of God, and respect for every Jew. He emphasized that individuals worship God in many ways, not just in formal religious observances. Most significantly, the Besht taught that the true spiritual leader (the TZADDIK) should not only have deep knowledge of the TORAH, but should also be a model of religious piety. Later leaders in Hasidism would expand the importance of the tzaddik, but its roots were in the Besht’s teachings. His teachings put him at odds with the MITNAGDIM, the religious conservatives of the time. All contemporary Hasidic movements trace their roots back to the Besht. Further reading: D. Ben Amos and J. R. Mintz, eds. In Praise of the Baal Shem Tov (Lanham, Md.: Jason Aronson, 1994); Martin Buber, Hasidism (New York: Philosophical Library, 1948); Martin Buber and Maurice Friedman, The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism (New York: Horizon Press, 1960).

baal teshuvah A baal teshuvah (“master of return” or repentance) is a formerly nonobservant Jew who has returned to a traditional observant Jewish lifestyle. Within today’s ORTHODOX JUDAISM there is an informal baal teshuvah movement. Many Jewish people seeking a greater sense of spirituality, or who have found life in the secular world to be unsatisfactory, choose to become baal teshuvahs, sometimes jocularly called B.T.s. A return to tradition can provide a structure and belief system that seems to make sense to some modern individuals. Many organizations are active in the baal teshuvah movement, including CHABAD and Aish HaTorah, Ohr Sameach, and other YESHIVAS dedicated to the training of nonobservant Jews. It is not uncommon for baal teshuvahs to become religious zealots, intolerant of Jews who are less observant or who identify with liberal Judaism. Baal teshuvahs often have problems relating to

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non-Orthodox family members; a whole literature has arisen to advise both children and parents on both sides of the divide. Most baal teshuvahs are welcomed in the Orthodox world, but some are considered to be a poor reflection on orthodoxy. Some Orthodox Jews distinguish themselves from baal teshuvahs by referring to themselves as frum (pious) from birth, or F.F.B. Further reading: Agi L. Bauer, Black Becomes a Rainbow: The Mother of a Baal Teshuvah Tells Her Story (Nanuet, N.Y.: Feldheim Publishers, 1991); Jack Wertheimer, A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America (New York: Basic Books, 1993).

Babylonia The ancient land of Babylonia, comprising most of present-day Iraq, played a central role in the development of Judaism. After the destruction of both the first and the second TEMPLES in JERUSALEM (in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively), strong Jewish communities emerged in Babylonia that were able to adapt Judaism and Jewish culture creatively to the new realities. The Babylonian Empire, centered on the vast and wealthy capital city of Babylon, annexed the territory of Judea (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA) in 586 B.C.E. The Hebrew Bible, the TANAKH, is itself a source of information about Babylon; the prophet Jeremiah mentions its walls and the prophet ISAIAH remarks on its greatness. After the Babylonians destroyed the first Temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. they exiled many of the Jews, including the leadership classes. The exiles headed for Babylonia and settled there along the canals at Babylon, a city located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. Psalm 137 (see TEHILLIM) records their cries of woe: “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down, and we wept when we remembered Zion.” Even though the Persian CYRUS the Great, who conquered Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to Judea 70 years later, many Jews remained in Babylonia, having


42 Baeck, Leo

established their own autonomous communities governed by Jewish officials known as the EXILARCH and the NASI. Some scholars believe that Babylonian culture absorbed by the first exiles strongly influenced the final shape of biblical Judaism. When the Romans defeated the rebellions in Judea in 70 C.E. (when they destroyed the second Temple) and again in 132, they laid waste to the entire country, and a large part of the surviving population left. The Jewish community in Babylonia grew in strength, both economically and, more important, culturally, especially in the field of RABBINIC LAW and literature. Around the year 220 the TANNAIM in Palestine completed their redaction of the MISHNAH, the authoritative compilation of the ORAL LAW ultimately derived from the Torah. Over the next 300 years, the Babylonian and Palestinian Jewish communities each developed a body of commentary on the Mishnah which was eventually compiled into the GEMARA. The combination of Mishnah and Gemara is called the TALMUD. One Talmud came to be known as the Babylonian Talmud, completed around 550 B.C.E., the other the Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud, completed around 400 B.C.E. Over the years, the authority of the Babylonian Talmud came to be accepted over that of the Palestinian Talmud. Most references to the Talmud today are understood to imply the Babylonian version. One reason historians propose for the greater authority of the Babylonian Talmud is that the Babylonian scholars tended to address issues of the DIASPORA in greater detail, since they themselves lived outside of ISRAEL. In doing so, they spoke directly to the broader Jewish community as it spread around the world. In addition, the Palestinian community suffered severe repression under Byzantine rule, while the Babylonian Jewish community remained strong for many more centuries, even well after the emergence of the Muslim Caliphate at Baghdad, near Babylon. Babylonia was to become the home of the greatest rabbinic academies, places of study that

would produce a gigantic collection of rabbinic commentary, legal and religious opinions, and liturgy, and would provide leadership to Jewish communities around the world through the Middle Ages. The chief academies were located in the cities of SURA and PUMBEDITA. The exile of the Jews to Babylonia did not technically end until 1948, when most of the 200,000-strong Jewish community of Iraq immigrated to the new state of Israel. Further reading: Shaye J. D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987); Jacob Neusner, There We Sat Down: Talmudic Judaism in the Making (New York: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1978); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Baeck, Leo (1873–1956) modern German rabbi Leo Baeck was born in what is now Lezno, POLAND, and raised in a family loyal to ORTHODOX JUDAISM, but he was also educated in classical and German secular philosophy. He received his rabbinical ordination in 1897. Beginning in 1912, Baeck served as a rabbi in Berlin, where he also lectured on the literature of the MIDRASH. As a rabbi, Baeck is best known for his contributions to the liberal stream of Judaism. Within that tradition, which tended to focus on ethical behavior, he insisted on the need for mystery, spirituality, and the divine. Early in his rabbinic career, Baeck became the recognized spiritual leader for German REFORM JUDAISM, serving as the chairman of the Union of Rabbis. Most of his philosophical positions are captured in his book, The Essence of Judaism. Baeck’s ideas were grounded upon the teachings of Hermann COHEN (1842–1919). Both Baeck and Cohen believed that the fundamental essence of Judaism was ethical MONOTHEISM. After the universalistic embrace of God came the religion’s ethical emphasis, which was expressed within the context of particularistic religious teachings. In Baeck’s theological system Jewish particularism represented how the Jew understood and practiced holiness. Ultimately, Baeck moved beyond

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Cohen’s idea that the belief in God was sufficient. He urged individual Jews to cultivate an emotional awareness of God in everyday life. Baeck asserted that such a state would eventually result in proper ethical behavior in accordance with God’s ethical commandments, or mitzvot (see MITZVAH). Baeck also laid great emphasis on the concept of Jewish PEOPLEHOOD, believing that the Jews had a historical role to play in Western civilization. Baeck believed that the Jewish system of ritual enabled Jews to solidify their relationships with God. While Baeck, like most other Reform Jews, did not believe Jewish rituals were obligatory, he abandoned the anti-ritual perspective of many of the earlier German reformers. Baeck, unlike Cohen, believed in a real supernatural God, and helped to move Reform Judaism away from Cohen’s idea of a religion grounded solely on reason. Baeck’s emphasis on universal ethical ideas as mandated by a supernatural God created a bridge between Jewish philosophical rationalists and modern Jewish existentialists. Baeck’s personal life experiences became an important model for Jewish leadership. When the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933, Baeck, as head of the Jewish community, was given the opportunity to flee the country. He explained that he would remain in Germany as long as there was a MINYAN of 10 men. Thus, in 1943 he was sent to the TEREZÍN concentration camp. There he continued to preserve his own personal dignity by helping and teaching others, acts of spiritual resistance. While witnessing Nazi barbarism, he refused to abandon his notion of God or the ethical mandates that God teaches. He taught that Nazi evil was a result of human free will, and that the Nazis had chosen to darken God’s presence within the world. Baeck survived the HOLOCAUST, and in 1946 resettled in London. There he organized the World Union of Progressive Judaism and served as its first president. He frequently visited America, serving as a visiting professor at the HEBREW UNION COLLEGE in Cincinnati, the rabbinical school of the American Reform movement.


Further reading: Leo Baeck, The Essence of Judaism (New York: Schocken Books, 1948); ———, Judaism and Christianity: Essays (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1958); Leonard Baker, Days of Sorrow and Pain: Leo Baeck and the Berlin Jews (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1978); Anne E. Neimark, One Man’s Valor: Leo Baeck and the Holocaust (New York: Penguin USA: 1986).

Balfour Declaration The Balfour Declaration was an official statement of the British government in 1917 calling for a Jewish homeland in PALESTINE. It represented the first time any government had openly supported ZIONISM, and became a call to Jews around the world to immigrate to Palestine. On November 2, 1917, in an attempt to win international support for Britain during World War I (see ENGLAND), British foreign secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour publicized a letter to Lord Rothschild that became known as the Balfour Declaration. He wrote: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” Balfour had acted with the endorsem*nt of the British cabinet and after consultations with Jewish leaders, such as Chaim WEIZMANN. After the war, during which Britain seized Palestine from the Ottoman Turks, the 52 governments of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, formally recognized a British mandate over Palestine to pursue the objectives of the Balfour Declaration. Though the UNITED STATES did not belong to the League of Nations, Congress endorsed the Mandate on September 21, 1922. Congress resolved: “That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly


44 baraita

understood that nothing shall be done which will prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected” (Public Resolution No. 73, 67th Congress, Second Session). Further reading: Ismar Elbogen and Moses Hadas, A Century of Jewish Life (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1946); Nahum Sokolow, History of Zionism 1600–1918: Two Volumes in One (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Ktav Publishing House, 1969).

baraita (pl.: baraitot) A baraita (Aramaic for “external”) is any rabbinic teaching or ruling from the generation of the TANNAIM (between the years 10 and 220 C.E.) that was not included in the MISHNAH, the earliest authoritative written collection of previously oral rabbinic teachings, when it was redacted in 220. Though they were left out of the Mishnah, many of these baraitot found their way into the TALMUD when they were cited by the AMORAIM (the rabbis who developed the GEMARA between 220 and 550 C.E.). An amora would quote a baraita he had learned orally in order to bolster his argument or to clarify an otherwise obscure or contradictory Mishnah. When a sage could corroborate his legal view with a baraita, his opinion would often hold more authority. Baraitot do have legal standing in Talmudic discussions. Many ancient collections of baraitot exist, such as the TOSEFTA and various books of MIDRASH. Others are known only from citations in the Gemara and others, presumably, have been lost. Further reading: Jacob Neusner, Sources and Traditions: Types of Compositions in the Talmud of Babylonia (Lanham, Md.: National Book Network, 1992); ———, The Talmud of Babylonia (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1984); H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

Ehud Barak was prime minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001. He is a member of the Labor Party, which is aligned with Israel’s political left wing. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

Barak, Ehud (b. 1942) Israeli political leader Ehud Barak was prime minister of Israel from 1999–2001. Born in 1942 in KIBBUTZ Mishmar Hasharon, he joined the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (IDF) in 1959. Serving as a soldier and commander of an elite unit, he received numerous medals and promotions during his military career. Barak attended the HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM, graduating with a B.Sc. in 1976, and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, earning an M.Sc. in Engineering–Economic Systems in 1978. In April 1991, he became the chief of the General Staff and was promoted to the highest rank of lieutenant general.

bar/bat mitzvah

In 1996, after his retirement from a full-time military career, Barak was elected to the KNESSET, where he served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. In 1996 he was elected chairman of the LABOR PARTY and in 1999 he formed the One Israel Party, from the Labor, Gesher and Meimad Parties. On May 17, 1999, Ehud Barak was elected prime minister of Israel. He is best remembered for pulling Israel out of Lebanon after two decades of occupation and reigniting peace talks that had stalled under the former prime minister, Benjamin NETANYAHU (b. 1949). After the outbreak of the second INTIFADA and the collapse of the peace talks, Barak lost a reelection bid to Ariel SHARON (b. 1928) in 2001.

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ing from just the maftir, the last few lines of the portion, to the entire parsha. Alternatively, or in addition, one may also read the week’s HAFTARAH or prophetic reading, which has a different trope, deliver a DVAR TORAH, a commentary on the week’s Torah portion, or lead prayers for a section of the Shabbat service or the whole service. In ORTHODOX JUDAISM a bar mitzvah boy often performs all of the above responsibilities, while an Orthodox bat mitzvah generally consists of only a dvar Torah given on a Sunday or a Friday evening. Within other denominations, the individual boy

Further reading: Adam Garfinkle, Politics and Society in Modern Israel: Myths and Realities (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 2000); Colbert C. Held and Mildred McDonald Held, Middle East Patterns: Places, Peoples, and Politics (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1989); The Middle East (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2000).

bar/bat mitzvah At the age of 13 for boys and 12 or 13 for girls, Jewish children undergo a rite of passage and enter the Jewish community as formal adults who are then considered members of the COVENANT and bound by that covenant to observe HALAKHAH, Jewish law. This rite of passage is known as a bar mitzvah (son of the commandment) for boys and a bat mitzvah (daughter of the commandment) for girls. The exact rituals of a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah vary considerably depending on the denomination, the SYNAGOGUE, or the family. It is traditional for the child to act as TORAH reader during a worship service, generally on SHABBAT. To prepare for a bar or bat mitzvah, the child often learns the TROPE (melodies) for leyning (chanting) Torah. At the Shabbat service the bar or bat mitzvah child may read as much of the week’s Torah PARSHA (portion) as he or she has mastered, rang-

This boy is reading from the Torah as he becomes a bar mitzvah. This is the central activity at the bar mitzvah of both boys and girls among many contemporary Jews. (© Claudia Kunin/Corbis)


46 Bar Ilan University

or girl and his or her parents often choose how many of the above tasks to accomplish. In recent years, some Orthodox bat mitzvah girls also read from the Torah, but in a separate service at which only women are present. In modern America, the highlight of the event is often the reception, which can draw friends and family from around the country. There has been a tendency for the receptions to become more and more elaborate; critics have raised concerns that the ceremonial aspects as well as the religious meaning are becoming marginalized. Further reading: Harvey E. Goldberg, Jewish Passages: Cycles of Jewish Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Ronald H. Isaacs, Rites of Passage: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1992); Cantor Helen Leneman, ed., Bar/Bat Mitzvah Basics: A Practical Family Guide to Coming of Age Together (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishers, 2001).

Bar Ilan University Bar Ilan is a religiously oriented university that also offers a full range of degrees in secular subjects. Located east of Ramat Gan in the suburbs of TEL AVIV, Israel’s most metropolitan city, Bar Ilan University was established in 1955 in honor of Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan, who was committed to the survival of TRADITIONAL JUDAISM after the HOLOCAUST. The school is unique in its attempts to merge traditional Jewish thought, belief, and practice with the technology and scholarship of the modern world. Though considered to be a religious university, Bar Ilan seeks to create a bridge between secular and religious Israelis by offering a curriculum that includes study of Jewish ethics and heritage and a highly ranked academic program. In the mid-1990s Bar Ilan was the thirdlargest university in Israel, and it had five satellite campuses throughout the small country. Further reading: Walter Ackerman, “The Americanization of Israeli Education” Israel Studies 5:1 (2000):

228; Web site URL: http://www.biu.ac.il, accessed on July 5, 2004.

Bar-Kokhba, Shimon (d. 135 C.E.) leader of anti-Roman rebellion Shimon Bar-Kokhba, born Bar Kasivah, was the chief military leader in the Jewish revolt against ROME that lasted from 132 to 135 C.E. He was a self-proclaimed MESSIAH, who took the messianic name Bar-Kokhba, which translates as “son of the star.” Bar-Kokhba succeeded in recapturing JERUSALEM from the Romans, but his troops could not withstand the counterattack in 133 by 35,000 Roman troops under the command of Emperor Hadrian and General Julius Severus. Bar-Kokhba and his troops fled to Betar, in the Judean Hills, where they came under siege in 134 and were annihilated in battle the following year. There are few literary sources on Bar-Kokhba or the revolt. Rabbinic literature such as the TALMUD and MIDRASH contain some legendary material on the era, as do the writings of the Church Father Eusebius, who describes the failed revolt and characterizes Bar-Kokhba himself as a “bloodthirsty bandit.” Ancient coins impressed with variations of the name Bar-Kokhba and letters written by Bar-Kokhba have been discovered dating from the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. According to tradition, Bar-Kokhba was a ruthless leader who held his troops together by strength of personality and threats. He is also described as a diligent follower of Jewish tradition. Under his military leadership, Jewish troops retook more than 50 Roman strongholds in PALESTINE. It is said that Jews from outside the land of ISRAEL returned to join in the revolt, and even some non-Jews joined in the battle against the Romans. When Hadrian appointed General Julius Severus to lead his troops it marked a turning point in the war. Severus used the effective technique of laying siege and starving out the enemy. The final battle of the war took place in Betar; after the walls were pierced, the Romans killed every

Beame, Abraham 47

Jewish soldier. The Romans devastated the Jewish communities of Palestine to retaliate against the Bar Kokhba Revolt. The land was ruined, many Jews were sold into slavery, and Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelius Hadrianus. Hadrian implemented intense anti-Jewish (see ANTI-JUDAISM) legislation and persecution. Jewish tradition maintains that during and after the Bar Kokhba Revolt many RABBIS were tortured to death, most notably Rabbi Akiva (see AKIVA BEN YOSEPH). The failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and the subsequent devastation and persecution, threatened the ability of the Jewish people and Judaism to survive. This dire situation convinced the rabbis to begin the process of putting the ORAL LAW into final written form. Further reading: Peter Schafer, Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome (Philadelphia: Coronet Books, 2003); Yigael Yadin, Bar-Kokhba: The Rediscovery of the Legendary Hero of the Last Jewish Revolt Against Imperial Rome (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971); Yigael Yadin, ed., The Documents from the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Nabatean-Aramaic Papyri (Jerusalem, Shrine of the Book, 2002).

Beame, Abraham (1906–2001) mayor of New York City Abraham Beame was the first Jewish mayor of New York City, elected in 1974. He was born in London, ENGLAND, in 1906. His parents had left Warsaw, POLAND, when it became clear that his father, a known Socialist and revolutionary, was in danger of arrest by the police. Far along in her pregnancy, Beame’s mother remained in England to wait for the birth before joining her husband in New York City, via ELLIS ISLAND. Abe Beame’s life was to be an example of the saga of the hardworking immigrant who accepts the challenge of American opportunity. Once in the United States, the Beames made their home on the LOWER EAST SIDE of Manhattan. Beame’s father continued to pursue his interest in


socialism, and Abe too attended many Socialist Party meetings. He was also the recipient of immigrant aid and frequented the University Settlement House for checkers and sports. Although Abe did not follow in his father’s footsteps to become a full-fledged Socialist, he was certainly influenced by popular socialist speakers such as union leader Eugene V. Debs. He grew up with the belief that government should maintain an interest in the well-being of its citizens. As a young adult, Beame did not intend to enter politics. In fact, he graduated with honors from the highly competitive and tuition-free City College in 1928 with a degree in business accounting. Acquiring an accounting license after graduation, Beame and several friends set up an accounting firm, but its success was truncated by the Great Depression of the 1930s. While practicing accounting in his own firm, Beame taught the subject at Richmond Hill High School in Queens after marrying his high school sweetheart, Mary Ingerman. He taught for 15 years, and his family grew with the addition of sons Edmund and Bernard. During World War II, Beame also taught accounting at Rutgers University. Beame became involved in politics in 1946, when he accepted a position as New York City’s assistant budget director, the start of a 31-year career in public service. This first appointment came as a reward for his work for the Democratic Party and in recognition of his financial expertise. It led to his election to the city comptroller’s office in 1961, and eventually to the mayor’s office in 1974. Known to be down-to-earth, and respected for his simple middle-class background, Beame defeated Republican candidate John V. Lindsay, an attorney and former congressman who represented a very different social and economic background. Beame entered office with wide support from Jewish voters, who then constituted the largest ethnic group in the city. He inherited a debilitating deficit and worked laboriously to correct the gap. By the time Beame left office in 1978, with the election of Ed Koch, New York City’s budget enjoyed a surplus of $200 million. Beame’s mayoral term was


48 Begin, Menachem

marked by the “Son of Sam” serial killings, the New York City financial crisis, and both the Bicentennial celebration and the hosting of the Democratic National Convention in 1976. Further reading: Abraham Beame Collection, LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, Web site URL: http://www.abrahambeame.lagcc.cuny.edu/beame/, accessed June 17, 2004; Charles Brecher, Robert A. Cropf, Raymond D. Horton, and Michael Mead, Power Failure: New York City Politics and Policy Since 1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Begin, Menachem (1913–1992) Israeli political leader Menachem Begin was prime minister of ISRAEL from 1977 to 1983, after first rising from underground commander to become a political leader, member of the KNESSET (the Israeli parliament), and cabinet minister. Born in Brest Litovsk, POLAND, in 1913, Begin was a passionate supporter of ZIONISM from an early age, joining the Betar youth movement (see ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS) at the age of 16. In 1938 Begin became head of Betar Poland, a 70,000-member organization that formed part of the Jewish nationalist movement founded by Ze’ev JABOTINSKY (1880–1940). Begin concentrated on military training, foreseeing the need to defend Polish Jewry in the atmosphere of violence before World War II. Following the outbreak of World War II, he made his way to PALESTINE after a period of internment in RUSSIA. There he revitalized the IRGUN TZEVA’I LE’UMI (Etzel), a militant defense force for Jews. In 1944, when the magnitude of the HOLOCAUST became evident, Etzel broke away from the HAGANAH and aggressively challenged British rule in Palestine. Etzel most notably led the Akko prison breakout and destroyed the British administration’s central offices located at the King David Hotel in JERUSALEM. The growing militancy of Etzel’s operations brought Begin into conflict with the mainstream

Menachem Begin, pictured here, was the first prime minister elected from the Likud Party, which is aligned with Israel’s political right wing. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

Zionist strategy of David BEN-GURION, and these two great leaders would be political adversaries throughout their lives. With the creation of Israel, the Haganah and Etzel joined together once again to become the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (IDF). Menachem Begin founded the Herut Party, based on the political ideology of his mentor Jabotinsky. Its ideology combined economic liberalism with a hard-line stance toward the country’s enemies. As a member of the Knesset, he dominated the political opposition to the ruling Labor Party’s rule for the first three decades of Israel’s

Bellow, Saul

independence. Begin was known for his fiery eloquence and his modest lifestyle. In the 1977 elections, Begin’s LIKUD party won 43 Knesset seats, and he became prime minister. His most outstanding achievement was the signing of the peace treaty with EGYPT. In November 1977, six months after Begin became prime minister, President Anwar SADAT of Egypt came to JERUSALEM. This visit inaugurated two years of negotiations that culminated in the CAMP DAVID ACCORDS, which called for Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai and the establishment of Palestinian autonomy in exchange for peace and normal relations with Egypt. A treaty of peace terminating the state of war between the two countries was signed in 1979. Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat were awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for this achievement. During the early 1980s, Begin led Israel to war in Lebanon. After the death of his wife, Aliza, in November 1982 and the continuation of the controversial LEBANON WAR, Begin resigned from the position of prime minister at the age of 69 on August 30, 1983. He lived the remaining years of his life in isolation and was buried in Jerusalem. Further reading: Jacob Abadi, Israel’s Leadership: From Utopia to Crisis (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993); Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1990); Gershon R. Kieval and Bernard Reich, Israel, Land of Tradition and Conflict (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1993); Amos Perlmutter, The Life and Times of Menachem Begin (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987); Ned Temko, To Win or to Die (New York: Morrow, 1987).

Bellow, Saul (1915–2005) American Jewish writer Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, in 1915, to Russian immigrants. His family moved to Chicago when he was nine. He attended the University of Chicago, and received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in sociology and anthropology. He did some graduate work at

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the University of Wisconsin but joined the merchant marines during World War II. Bellow is considered by many to be the greatest Jewish fiction writer of contemporary times. Within the Jewish community, Bellow received the B’NAI B’RITH Jewish Heritage Award (1968) for “excellence in Jewish literature,” and he was awarded the America’s Democratic Legacy Award (1976) of the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, the first time the award was made to a writer. In addition to Jewish communal recognition, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1965 Bellow was awarded the International Literary Prize for his work Herzog, becoming the first American to receive the prize. In 1968 FRANCE awarded him the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by that nation to noncitizens. His greatest recognition came on December 10, 1976, when King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented him with the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Swedish Academy’s presentation emphasized Bellow’s contribution to the field of fiction and writing. Bellow’s writings reflect a humanistic concern combined with a clear-sighted analysis of contemporary society with all its foibles and conflicts. His characters struggle with themselves and their social environment. Bellow’s writings include novels, short stories and plays, but he was also noted as a nonfiction writer. During the 1967 ArabIsraeli war, he served as a war correspondent for Newsday. He taught at Bard College, Princeton University, and the University of Minnesota, and he was a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Among Bellow’s works are Dangling Man, 1944; The Victim, 1947; The Adventures of Augie March, 1953; Seize the Day, 1956; Henderson the Rain King, 1959; Herzog, 1964; Mr. Sammler’s Planet, 1970; Humboldt’s Gift, 1975; The Dean’s December, 1982; More Die of Heartbreak, 1987; Mosby’s Memoirs and Other Stories, 1968; A Wen, 1965; The Wrecker, 1944 (teleplay); The Future of


50 ben Abuya, Elisha

the Moon, 1970: To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account, 1976 (nonfiction). Further reading: Saul Bellow, Saul Bellow: Novels 1944–1953: Dangling Man, The Victim, and The Adventures of Augie March (New York: Library of America, 2003); Jeanne Braham, A Sort of Columbus: The American Voyages of Saul Bellow’s Fiction (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984); Robert R. Dutton, Saul Bellow (Boston: Twayne, 1982); Ellen Pifer, Saul Bellow Against the Grain (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1990).

ben Abuya, Elisha (first century C.E.) controversial rabbi and scholar Very little is known about the historical figure Elisha ben Abuya, but he was derided in the TALMUD as an apostate and heretic. He was one of the TANNAIM who lived during the first century of the common era, born sometime before 70 C.E. A couple of sayings are attributed to him in the MISHNAH and TALMUD. However, he is most famous for his HERESY and apostasy. He renounced the traditions of the PHARISEES, and may have been either a SADDUCEE or an Epicurean. In Talmudic sources Elisha is always represented as a traitor to the Jewish people, but there is internal evidence that he only rejected the Pharisaic community, not the Jewish community as a whole. The Jerusalem Talmud asserts that Elisha kept forbidden books, such as volumes of Greek philosophy, and attempted to lead students away from the study of TORAH. It is said that he went so far as to betray the Pharisees by telling the Romans when Jews disobeyed their orders to violate the Torah by working on the Sabbath. Both Talmuds note that he did not believe in life after death and that he rode through town on the Day of Atonement: in other words, he flouted the Torah in both word and deed. For this reason, he is generally referred to in the Talmud as “the other” (i.e., the heretic). The most famous legend concerning Elisha ben Abuya is the Talmudic story of the four sages who entered paradise (or the orchard): Ben Azzai,

Ben Zoma, “The Other” (Elisha ben Abuya), and Rabbi AKIVA. Ben Azzai died, Ben Zoma went mad, Elisha ben Abuya became a heretic (literally, he “destroyed the plants”), and only Rabbi Akiva survived and attained wisdom. A modern work of fiction, As a Driven Leaf by Milton STEINBERG (1903–50), tells the story of Elisha ben Abuya and his path away from rabbinic Judaism. Further reading: Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); Milton Steinberg, As A Driven Leaf (New York: Behrman House, 1996); Alon Goshen-Gottstein, The Sinner and the Amnesiac: The Rabbinic Invention of Elisha ben Abuya and Eleazar ben Arach (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000).

Ben-Gurion, David (1886–1973) Israeli political leader David Ben-Gurion was for many years the leader of the Zionist movement (see ZIONISM); he became Israel’s first and longest-serving prime minister. Ben-Gurion was born David Green in Plonsk, POLAND, in 1886. In 1906 he immigrated to PALESTINE, where he became immersed in Zionist politics and helped to establish the Jewish self-defense group Ha-Shomer. In the 1920s, Ben-Gurion was elected secretarygeneral of the HISTADRUT, the General Federation of Labor. The position provided the base for his political power and for the realization of his goal of founding a Jewish state. By 1935, Labor Zionism, Ben-Gurion’s movement, had become the most important faction in the Zionist movement. In many ways Ben-Gurion set the course of Zionist history and molded the character of the Jewish state. His political platform blended vision with pragmatism. After World War II, Ben-Gurion challenged British authority by organizing mass “illegal” immigration; he created de facto boundaries for a Jewish state by establishing Jewish settlements in all parts of the country. He developed the Jewish defense capability, and organized the procurement of heavy armaments.

Benjamin, Walter 51

In 1948, as head of the provisional government, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel and the beginning of the “ingathering of the exiles.” In the first five years of statehood, Ben-Gurion’s forceful and charismatic leadership as prime minister facilitated the waves of mass immigration that doubled the country’s population. He directed absorption endeavors, investing the majority of the new nation’s limited resources in integrating the immigrants; secured outlying areas by building settlements on the periphery; and instituted universal education in a nonpartisan public school system (in place of the earlier partisan movement schools). As minister of defense, Ben-Gurion masterminded and carried out the tense transition from underground units to a regular army. He helped mold the character as well as the structure of the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (IDF). David Ben-Gurion held the position of prime minister twice, from 1948–53 and then again from 1955–63. In 1970 Ben-Gurion concluded his political career. He is recognized as one of the most influential figures in the course of modern Zionism. Further reading: David Ben-Gurion, Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (New York: Philosophical Library, 1954); Zeev Sternell, The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998).

Benjamin, Judah P. (1811–1884) Confederate American political leader Judah P. Benjamin was one of the most important figures in the Confederate government during the American Civil War, serving in a variety of formal and informal posts throughout the conflict. Born in the Danish West Indies (now the U.S. Virgin Islands) on August 6, 1811, Benjamin grew up in Georgia and North Carolina, attended Yale University, studied law in Louisiana and became a politician. He served as a senator for Louisiana as a member of the Whig Party, and later as a Demo-


crat. When Louisiana seceded from the Union, Benjamin first served as attorney general for the Confederacy. President Jefferson Davis later appointed him secretary of war, and then secretary of state. Thus, Judah P. Benjamin became the first Jew to serve in the cabinet of a North American president. Benjamin did not become involved with his local Jewish community, nor did he identify with Jewish causes. Nevertheless he was often attacked for being a Jew, and Davis was criticized for appointing him to his cabinet. When the economic and political situation of the Confederacy turned for the worse, critics often held “the Jew” Benjamin responsible for the ills of the administration and the country. Thus, Benjamin’s experience presents a solid example of the strength of prejudice and ANTISEMITISM even in regard to an individual who did not strongly identify with Judaism or the Jewish people. Benjamin died in Paris on May 6, 1884. Further reading: Seymour Brody, Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America: 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism (Hollywood, Fla.: Lifetime Books, 1996); Leanard Dinnerstein and Mary Dale Palsson, Jews in the South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973); Eli N. Evans, Judah P. Benjamin: The Jewish Confederate (New York: Free Press, 1988); Robert Douthat Meade, Judah P. Benjamin: Confederate Statesman (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001).

Benjamin, Walter (1892–1940) philosopher Walter Benjamin was born on July 15, 1892, in Berlin, GERMANY. He became a philosopher and is today considered one of the founders of the field of cultural criticism. Cultural criticism is the process of stepping back from one’s own culture in order to analyze its assumptions and question its commonly held opinions such as, in Benjamin’s case, the beneficial nature of capitalism. In addition, Benjamin’s writings help to make popular culture acceptable to intellectuals as a legitimate form of social expression; he articulated standards


52 Ben-Yehudah, Eliezer

by which popular culture and art could be judged on their own terms. After the Nazis forced him into EXILE in 1933, Benjamin moved to FRANCE, where he stayed until 1940. His literary-philosophical style tended to express itself in short prose forms, such as essays, letters, and reviews. Benjamin’s philosophy owes much to both MARXISM and Jewish mysticism (see KABBALAH), which many assume are due respectively to the influence of two of his closest friends, Bertolt Brecht and Gerschom SCHOLEM. In flight from the Gestapo, Benjamin took his own life in 1940 while trying to cross the Pyrenees into SPAIN. Further reading: Walter Benjamin, Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writing (New York: Schocken Books, 1986); Robin Ridless and Peter Lang, Ideology and Art: Theories of Mass Culture from Walter Benjamin to Umberto Eco (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1984); Bernd Witte, Walter Benjamin: An Intellectual Biography (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991).

Ben-Yehudah, Eliezer (1858–1922) early Zionist leader and founder of Modern Hebrew Born in the Lithuanian town of Luzhky on January 7, 1858, Eliezer Ben-Yehudah’s original name was Eliezer Yitzhak Perelman. Ben-Yehudah began learning HEBREW at a young age as part of his scrupulous religious upbringing, like all the local Jewish children of his time. He proved to be an excellent student, and was sent by his family to a YESHIVA in order to become a RABBI. Ben-Yehudah, however, also like many other young Jews of his time, became interested in the secular world, trading the yeshiva for a modern secular school setting. In 1877, when RUSSIA proclaimed war on the Ottoman Empire in support of the Bulgarian quest to regain independence, Ben-Yehudah became enthralled with the notion of Bulgaria as a modern independent nation. Knowing that several European nations had been revived in his own century, Ben-Yehudah came to believe that the Jewish peo-

ple could also revive the Jewish nation on its ancient national soil. Fervently embracing ZIONISM, Ben-Yehudah believed that in addition to reacquiring Jewish sovereignty in ISRAEL, the Jews needed to revitalize their language, Hebrew. Since the Jewish exile began in 70 C.E., Hebrew had become a “dead language,” utilized only in written form and no longer spoken. Ben-Yehudah set out to revive the spoken Hebrew language. In 1881, in very poor health, he relocated to PALESTINE, embarking on the mission to bring about the “renaissance of the Jewish people, their land, and their language.” Ben-Yehudah’s approach to ubiquitous Jewish usage of Hebrew was “Hebrew in the home,” “Hebrew in the school,” and “words, words, words.” He himself set the example, deciding with his wife to speak only Hebrew and raising their son as a native Hebrew speaker. BenYehudah’s son, Ben-Zion, also known as Itamar, became the first all-Hebrew speaking child in modern Jewish history, and the Ben-Yehudah family proved that the complete revival of the Hebrew language was possible. They also abandoned the ASHKENAZI pronunciation of Hebrew in favor of a new pronunciation heavily influenced by the patterns of the SEPHARDIM and by spoken Arabic. Ben-Yehudah coined many new words and wrote the first modern Hebrew dictionary. He also urged to the world Jewish community that Hebrew should become the sole language of instruction in Jewish schools, both religious and secular, in place of Yiddish or non-Jewish languages. Hebrew could become once again the unifying language of the Jewish people. Ben-Yehudah wrote in 1886 in his Hebrew newspaper, Hatzvi: “The Hebrew language will go from the synagogue to the house of study, and from the house of study to the school, and from the school it will come into the home and . . . become a living language.” With time this is in fact what occurred. A young all-Hebrew-speaking generation emerged and developed. Ben-Yehudah became a scientific lexicographer, and his works culminated in his 17-volume

ben Zakkai, Yochanan

Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew. In order to confront issues of terminology, pronunciation, spelling, and punctuation, in 1890 Ben-Yehudah created the Hebrew Language Council. This council exists today as Israel’s Hebrew Language Academy, the official authority on all matters pertaining to the Hebrew language. Ben-Yehudah implemented and developed the dream to revive the original language of the Jews, and ultimately Jewish society followed his dream. Today, Hebrew is the living language of Israel, spoken by 6.5 million Israelis, and studied by much of world Jewry. A popular street in Jerusalem is named BEN YEHUDAH STREET to commemorate the life and work of Eliezer Ben-Yehudah.

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Robert Ullian, Frommer’s Israel (Foster City, Calif.: IDG Books Worldwide, 2000).

ben Zakkai, Yochanan (first century C.E.) rabbinic scholar and leader of the Pharisees Yochanan ben Zakkai is considered to be the most significant disciple of the great sage HILLEL, and one of the giants of rabbinic Judaism. He is often referred to as the “father of wisdom and the father of generations.” He obtained this high praise because he made possible the continuation of

Further reading: Jack Fellman, Revival of a Classical Tongue: Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the Modern Hebrew Language. (The Hague, Marton, 1973); Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997); Kenneth Katzner, The Languages of the World (New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2002); Robert St. John, Tongue of the Prophets: The Fascinating Biography of Eliezer BenYehudah, the Father of Modern Hebrew (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Wilshire Book Company, 1972).

Ben Yehudah Street Ben Yehudah Street is an outdoor pedestrian mall in modern JERUSALEM; before it became a mall, for many years it was a central thoroughfare in the New City or West Jerusalem. Popular with tourists and young Israelis, the street is filled with souvenir, jewelry, and Judaica shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. In more relaxed times, the street is abuzz with vendors and customers during the day and in the evening. However, Ben Yehudah Street and nearby commercial areas have become targets of suicide bombers; the decreased number of people visiting the mall can be seen as a sign of the current state of political tension. Further reading: Let’s Go Israel and the Palestinian Territories 2002 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002);

Ben Yehudah Street became a center of gathering and tourism. Because of suicide bombing in the early 21st century the vibrant social and commercial center now is more subdued. (Zolton Kluger, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)


54 Berlin, Irving

Jewish scholarship after JERUSALEM fell to the Romans in 70 C.E. According to rabbinic tradition, ben Zakkai lived in Jerusalem in the year 68 C.E. while the Holy City was under siege by General Vespasian. At this juncture the militant ZEALOTS controlled Jerusalem; their fellow Zealots were among those who would commit mass suicide rather than surrender at MASADA. Ben Zakkai promoted conditional surrender to the Romans, but the Zealots completely rejected his calls for negotiation. As a result, legend has it that ben Zakkai faked his own death and had his disciples smuggle him out of Jerusalem in a coffin. According to the MIDRASH, his coffin was carried to General Vespasian’s tent, where ben Zakkai emerged and negotiated a political arrangement. The scholar promised his political loyalty, and the loyalty of his followers, if he could be granted a new location in which Jewish study and leadership could continue outside Jerusalem. Vespasian, soon to be Roman emperor, agreed, and the new rabbinic government was set up at YAVNEH, near modern-day Rehovot. The school at Yavneh became the center of Jewish learning for centuries, and ultimately replaced Jerusalem as the location for the SANHEDRIN, the rabbinic council that governed the Jewish people. Ben Zakkai’s willingness to compromise in the face of the enemy is understood as a vitally significant step that saved the Jewish people and culture from being extinguished by Roman oppression. Further reading: Jacob Neusner, A Life of Yohanan Ben Zakkai, ca.1–80 C.E. (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1970); Solomon Zeitlin, The Rise and Fall of the Judaean State: A Political, Social and Religious History of the Second Commonwealth, vol. 3 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962).

Berlin, Irving (1888–1989) American songwriter Irving Berlin was one of the most successful songwriters in American history. His story is a rags-toriches celebration of the American immigrant.

Irving Berlin composed more than 1,500 songs in his lifetime. These included American favorites “Blue Skies,” “White Christmas,” and “God Bless America.” (Library of Congress)

Berlin was born Israel Baline in Mohilev, RUSin 1888, the youngest child in a large family. His father was a shochet (ritual slaughterer; see KASHRUT) and a CANTOR. The family immigrated to the UNITED STATES in 1893, pushed out by violence and discrimination against Russian Jews (see POGROMS). They settled in the LOWER EAST SIDE of New York City. When Berlin’s father died, he set out to bring in income for his family. He took different types of jobs, sang for pennies, and even became a singing waiter in Chinatown. In 1907 he published his first song, “Marie from Sunny Italy.” That same year, he officially changed his name from Israel Baline to Irving Berlin. In 1909, Berlin worked as SIA,

Bernstein, Leonard 55

a staff lyricist in Tin Pan Alley, and by 1911 he had his first hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which became a sensation around the world. Although he never learned to play a piano properly or read music, Berlin composed 1,500 songs in his lifetime, including “Blue Skies,” “White Christmas,” “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and “God Bless America;” he penned the lyrics to several hit shows and movies, including Annie Get Your Gun. In 1942, Berlin won the Academy Award for “White Christmas” in the category of original song. “God Bless America” represents Berlin’s strong patriotism and appreciation for the freedom he found in his new country. Berlin was an intuitive businessman. He successfully opened his own Broadway theater in 1921, called The Magic Box. He established several charitable foundations to express his love for America, including the God Bless America Fund and This Is The Army. He donated millions of dollars to Army Emergency Relief and to the Boy and the Girl Scouts. Berlin’s personal life held tragedy and success. His life exhibits the immigrant’s ability to make it in America, but also highlights the hardships of immigrant life. His first wife, Dorothy Goetz, died of typhoid fever after their marriage in 1912. Berlin was not to marry again until 1926, when he scandalously (for both families) married a 22year-old Catholic socialite. They remained married until her death in 1988. After decades at the center of American music, Berlin became reclusive, making it difficult for biographers to learn of his life directly from the source. Yet, in 1988 his centennial was celebrated in an all-star tribute at Carnegie Hall, featuring luminaries of the music world like Frank Sinatra, Leonard Bernstein, Natalie Cole, and Willie Nelson. Berlin died in his sleep in New York City at the age of 101. Further reading: Laurence Bergreen, As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin (New York: Viking,


1991); Charles Hamm, Irving Berlin: Songs from the Melting Pot: the Formative Years, 1907–1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Ian Whitcomb, Irving Berlin and Ragtime America (New York: Limelight Editions, 1988).

Bernstein, Leonard (1918–1990) composer and conductor In the history of American music, Leonard Bernstein holds many firsts. In a field dominated by European artists, Bernstein was the first American to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw. His influence on American music stretched from Broadway to the classical world. It would not be an overstatement to say that Bernstein was the most famous conductor who ever lived. Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to middle-class parents in 1918. His musical talent became apparent in childhood, although his parents were concerned that his interest would not yield a stable income through adulthood. Still, he persevered, studying piano as a child and transforming his talent into the professional realm while a student at Harvard. In 1940 Bernstein became involved with Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new summer festival, and eventually taught master classes there. At the age of 25, Bernstein, then conducting assistant at the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, took his first turn as conductor of the orchestra when Bruno Walter was unable to perform. Bernstein was an immediate success; he gained a reputation overnight and was soon offered conducting opportunities all over the world. In his lifetime, he would conduct in such cities as London, Moscow, and Vienna, among many others. Bernstein’s career as a composer took off around the same time as his popularity as a conductor. In 1943 he wrote his Symphony No. 1: Jeremiah, which won him the New York Music Critics Award. In 1944 Bernstein collaborated with his friend Jerome Robbins to produce a new ballet,


56 Beruriah

called Fancy Free, which was later transformed into the Broadway hit On The Town. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Bernstein added television work and numerous recordings to make his impact on American music last. Bernstein managed what many thought was impossible—he brought classical music to the popular ear, making it fun and interesting to all types of people with his awardwinning television series Young People’s Concerts. While building his career and becoming a worldwide celebrity, Bernstein did not forget his Jewish roots. In the mid-1940s he conducted in TEL AVIV, establishing a lasting relationship with the new state of ISRAEL and her people. The Israel Philharmonic honored Bernstein with a festival in 1978 to acknowledge his years of dedication to the country. In 1988 he was given the permanent title of Laureate Conductor for the Israel Philharmonic. In 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he dedicated a symphony to the president’s memory, and called it Symphony No. 3: Kaddish (the name of the Jewish prayer for the dead; see KADDISH). He conducted its premiere with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, Bernstein taught classes at BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY. Bernstein received hundreds of awards, and dozens of festivals were produced in his honor. In 1981, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and simultaneously elected a member. His lifelong support of humanitarian causes brought him the National Fellowship Award in 1985. Bernstein received a variety of other honors throughout his career, including gold medals, keys to cities, honorary degrees, and festivals in countries including AUSTRIA, DENMARK, Finland, FRANCE, GERMANY, Israel, Italy, JAPAN, and Mexico. In 1980 he received the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 1985 he was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. Bernstein and wife Felicia Montealegre, a Chilean actress and pianist, had three children together, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina. More than a

decade after Bernstein’s death in 1990, the Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning was funded by the Grammy Foundation. It is dedicated to music education for children of all ages. Even after death, Bernstein continues to bring classical music to everyone. Further reading: Leonard Bernstein, Joy of Music (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978); Irene Heskes, Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1994); Johanna Hurwitz, Leonard Bernstein: A Passion for Music (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993).

Beruriah (second century C.E.) woman scholar cited in the Talmud Beruriah is the most notable woman in early rabbinic Judaism. She was the daughter of Rabbi Hananyah ben Teradyon and the wife of Rabbi Meir, a primary disciple of the great Rabbi AKIVA. In early rabbinic literary sources Beruriah is cited as residing in the town of Usha in the Galilee. She is the only woman scholar quoted in the TALMUD. Though her name appears only seven times there, she has in modern times become a model for pioneer women scholars in what was once the exclusively male preserve of Talmud study. Beruriah’s opinions on HALAKHAH, Jewish law, appear in the text, although she was never seen as an authority, probably because of her status as a woman. There is significant folklore surrounding Beruriah. Rabbinic tradition depicts her as a sensitive but strong individual. She is praised for her piety, compassion, and wit. In one MIDRASH, Beruriah rebukes her husband, Rabbi Meir, telling him not to be angry with his enemies, and not to pray for their death. She suggests that instead he pray that their sins cease and that they repent (B’rachot 10a). When Beruriah’s two sons die, the midrash reports that she cleverly manages to break the news to her husband in a way that will not crush his spirit. Her father is said to have been martyred in the rebellion led by BAR-KOKHBA, her two sons died, her sister was taken prisoner by the

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Romans (see ROME), and her brother was murdered. Yet, in the face of these great tragedies, she retained her internal strength and faith. During the Middle Ages, misogynistic rabbis uncomfortable with Beruriah’s role as an independent woman role model created stories to defame her character. Her husband is said to have deceived her in a test of her fidelity, and she is said to have subsequently committed suicide after participating in this adulterous scenario. Modern rabbinic critics recognize these stories to be slander; they instead emphasize Beruriah’s original thought and leadership. The best-known contemporary portrayal of Beruriah’s character was in Rabbi Milton STEINBERG’s popular novel, As a Driven Leaf. Further reading: Rachel Adler, “The Virgin in the Brothel: The Legend of Beruriah,” Tikkun 3 (1998): 28–31; Daniel Boyarin, Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Leila Leah Bronner, Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994); Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CD-ROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); David Goodblatt, “The Beruriah Traditions,” in Persons and Institutions in Early Rabbinic Judaism, ed. William Scott Green (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1977).

Betar See ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS. bet din A bet din (“house of judgment”) is a rabbinic court that adjudicates disputes between traditional Jews based on Talmudic law and Jewish traditions. According to the GEMARA, the rabbinic compendium that set down much of practical Jewish law, a bet din must be composed of three learned ordained rabbis. Because smicha, the act of ordination, had been reserved only for scholars living


in the land of ISRAEL, the courts outside PALESTINE created the means to appoint their own rabbis as judges. Over time the term rabbi began to refer to scholars who lived outside the land of Israel as well as those who lived in the Holy Land. Historically, the primary functions of the bet din were to decide matters of civil law and to enforce ritual conformity within a Jewish community. Jews in many countries were often granted autonomy to administer their own local affairs, from ancient times up to, in a few cases, the 20th century. Marriage, divorce, and conversions were processed via the bet din, which also reconciled Jews involved in business and other disputes. Today, a bet din often acts as a supervising agent for Jewish communities in regard to ritual matters such as the laws of KASHRUT (kosher food). A letter from a recognized bet din is recognized as authoritative by Jewish communities. Bet dins continue to supervise divorce, child custody, and conversion ceremonies. Some modern Jews choose to use a bet din as a form of binding arbitration in financial and personal matters with other Jews. By avoiding the government’s civil courts, they keep the disputes within the community, reduce legal expenses, and resolve the dispute according to Jewish values rather than by legal technicalities. ORTHODOX JUDAISM allows only men to serve on bet dins, but CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM and REFORM JUDAISM accept women as judges—both movements ordain women rabbis. There is also a Jewish legal tradition that one rabbi may serve on a bet din and appoint two knowledgeable Jewish lay people as accompanying members. This is especially done in relation to divorce and conversion ceremonies. A bet din does not convene on SHABBAT or major festivals, and it meets only during daylight hours. On the eve of YOM KIPPUR (Day of Atonement), Jewish communities gather prior to sunset to create a symbolic bet din. The TORAH is removed from the ARK as a sign of the court’s legitimacy; the court then pronounces a formula permitting everyone to pray in the company of sinners. The congregation then begins the KOL NIDRE prayer,


58 Bialik, Chaim Nachman

which declares that all vows made to God are legally cancelled, the first step in the daylong process of personal and communal repentance. Further reading: Isadore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud, 30 vols. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1990); Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1988).

Bialik, Chaim Nachman (1873–1934) Zionist writer Born in southern RUSSIA, Chaim Nachman Bialik lost his father as a child and was raised by his grandfather in a traditional Jewish household. He was strongly influenced by traditional Jewish literature as well as contemporary Russian writers. As a young man he moved to Odessa, an early center of ZIONISM. His first poem, “El ha-Zippor” (To the bird), published in 1892, included themes he would address throughout his life: the difficulty of Jewish life in eastern Europe and the need for a Jewish homeland. One of his most important poems, “Be-Ir ha-Haregah” (“In the City of Slaughter”) describes Odessa after a severe POGROM, and calls upon Jews to defend themselves. Bialik wrote in both HEBREW and YIDDISH, working as a writer, translator, and publisher in Berlin and TEL AVIV. He is best known for his success in shaping Hebrew into a vibrant language for a modern Jewish society. He did this in part by translating classical works such as Julius Caesar, Don Quixote, and Wilhelm Tell, and in part by writing modern versions of traditional biblical and Talmudic works. His Hebrew poetry, for adults and children, has had a strong influence on all subsequent Hebrew literature and poetry. His work has been widely translated, including three English poetry collections in 1924, 1926, and 1948.

1984); Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Random Harvest: The Novellas of Bialik, eds. David Patterson and Ezra Spicehandler (New York: Westview Press, 1999); Mordecai Ovadyahu, Bialik Speaks: Words from the Poet’s Lips, Clues to the Man, trans. A. El-Dror (New York: Herzl Press, 1969).

biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew is classified together with Phoenician and Moabite in the Canaanite subgroup of the Semitic languages; it is believed to have become an independent language by the 12th century B.C.E., though it retained strong similarities to the neighboring tongues. The name Hebrew may well derive from the Egyptian term apiru, referring to a laboring class within Egyptian society. The Hebrew alphabet, which has always been read from right to left across a page, includes 22 letters, all of which were originally consonants, though some of them are now pronounced as vowels. Vowel markings were not included in manuscripts of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, until the masorete scribes of the sixth century C.E. included the vowels to ensure that the text would continue to be read according to the oral tradition (see ORAL LAW). Hebrew is considered a sacred language, the language with which God brought forth CREATION. Judaism, unlike some other world religions, encourages all adherents to learn Hebrew rather than to depend on translations for worship and study. See also HEBREW, MODERN. Further reading: Thomas O. Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971); Zohar Livnat, “WLY from Biblical to Modern Hebrew: A Semantic-Textual Approach,” Hebrew Studies 42 (2001): 81–104.

Birkat Ha-Mazon Further reading: Hillel Barzel, “The Last Prophet—The Biblical Ground of Bialik’s Poetry,” in Biblical Patterns in Modern Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago,

Birkat Ha-Mazon (“blessing of the food”) is the Hebrew name for the collection of prayers and blessings (see BRACHA) recited by men and women

black-Jewish relations

after a meal in which bread has been eaten (which is considered a proper meal). Deuteronomy 8:10 (see TORAH) declares: “When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the Lord your God for the good land that God has given you.” In satisfaction of this commandment, Jewish tradition has evolved a liturgy after a meal that emphasizes thanksgiving for all good things, not just for food. This tradition expresses the understanding that when one lives in prosperity, one should remember the divine source of that prosperity, namely God. NACHMONIDES, a medieval sage, taught that the Birkat Ha-Mazon was the rabbi’s antidote to the arrogance that naturally arises when someone enjoys a life of abundance. Birkat Ha-Mazon became the shield that guards against self-satisfaction and haughtiness. The structure of the Birkat Ha-Mazon is specified in the TALMUD. It consists of four blessings: the first blesses God for providing food to all living things; the second speaks about ERETZ YISRAEL, the Torah, REDEMPTION, and the COVENANT; the third used to give thanks for JERUSALEM and the TEMPLE, but later became a prayer for God to rebuild Jerusalem and restore the dynasty of DAVID; and the fourth asks for prosperity, redemption, and blessings on all those present while expressing gratitude for God’s goodness (Talmud B’rachot 48b). HALAKHAH, Jewish law, dictates that Birkat HaMazon is to be recited at the table where one ate any meal that included as little as a morsel of bread. The ability to perform this ritual was paramount, and therefore the Jew was permitted to recite the Birkat Ha-Mazon in the vernacular, if unable to do so in Hebrew. While the Torah required an acknowledgement of satiation and gratitude after eating, the rabbis created the rituals of blessings prior to eating as well. Sociologically, many more Jews are familiar with the prayer over bread, the Motzi, than the Birkat Ha-Mazon. This is probably due to the brevity of the former prayer in comparison to the longer prayer of Birkat Ha-Mazon.



Further reading: Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); Moses Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah: The Laws, Which Are the Foundations of the Torah (Mishe Torah Series) (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Moznaim Publishing Corporation, 1989).

black-Jewish relations The history of the relationship between the American Jewish community and the African-American community is varied. It begins with a memory of slavery, continues through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and passes through some struggles toward the end of the 20th and start of the 21st century. Some scholars question whether blacks and Jews will ever be able to mesh their shared minority status into a relationship that could benefit both communities, while others insist that the intensity of the Civil Rights movement created the perfect conditions for such a union. It is true that some individual Jews were involved in the African slave trade of the 17th century and some Jews owned slaves, as did some blacks; however, the percentage of Jews who participated in the trade of human beings was proportionately minuscule, and today’s American Jews mostly descend from poor eastern Europeans who arrived in America long after slavery was formally abolished. It was not until the early 20th century that a relationship between the Jewish and African-American communities developed, centered around problems in the northern urban environment that African-American migrants from the South shared with eastern European Jewish immigrants. Conscious of similar histories of oppression “back home,” many Jews and blacks living in the growing cities sought social justice in common or



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faced related struggles in the areas of labor, education, and employment. Jewish support for ZIONISM helped inspire black dreams of a return to Africa and influenced black leaders such as Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, a bond existed between the organized black and Jewish communities on the value of civil rights for minorities, nondiscrimination, and larger issues of social justice, where Jewish values seemed to mesh with black needs. Jews were generous with their financial support of the movement, and prominent rabbis voiced their support. Abraham Joshua HESCHEL, having escaped Nazi Europe and pursued study and teaching at the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, joined Martin Luther King, Jr., in his struggle for civil rights in the UNITED STATES. Scholars do not agree on how strong the tie between blacks and Jews in the United States has ever been. However, by the 1970s it became clear that issues involving ISRAEL and the rising leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, would impede further cooperation and positive relations between the black and Jewish communities. In addition, African-American neighborhoods in the Northeast share space with ultra-Orthodox communities (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM), and there were a number of clashes between them during the last decade of the 20th century. Accusations of Jewish racism and black ANTISEMITISM have weakened any links that blacks and Jews shared in the 1960s. Increasingly, black spokespeople such as Farrakhan accuse the Jews of masterminding the slave trade itself and Jews accuse the blacks of spewing antisemitism that rivals the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. Urban clashes and cultural differences seem to have erased the hope that King and Heschel shared for both their communities. Further reading: Mark K. Bauman and Berkley Kalin, eds., The Quiet Voices: Southern Rabbis and Black Civil Rights, 1880s to 1990s (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997); Jack Salzman and Cornel West, eds., Struggles in the Promised Land: Towards a History of Black-Jewish Relations in the United States (New York:

Oxford University Press, 1997); Benjamin Sevitch, “W. E. B. Du Bois and Jews: A Lifetime of Opposing Antisemitism,” The Journal of African American History (June 2002); Micheal E. Staub, Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002).

blood libel Blood libel, also known as the accusation of ritual murder, is the false charge that Jews kill Christians, especially children, during Easter week in a ritual reenactment of the Crucifixion. Though the details have evolved over the centuries, the most common and persistent reason given for the supposed murders is that Jews use the victim’s blood in baking MATZAH, the unleavened bread used in the PASSOVER SEDER. The origins of the ritual murder accusation can be traced to pre-Christian times, at least to the second century before the Common Era, when Hellenistic writers accused Jews of sacrificing non-Jews in the TEMPLE. Ironically, early Christians were also accused of ritual murder by the Romans. The first well-documented blood libel took place in 1144 in Norwich, ENGLAND, where a boy named William disappeared shortly before Easter. A convert from Judaism charged that every year Jews kidnapped or bought a Christian child and killed him in a reenactment of the Crucifixion in order to mock CHRISTIANITY. Though no Jews were tried or punished for the crime since there was no evidence of murder, William was later declared a martyr and beatified by the church. A lack of evidence, however, did not stop authorities from pressing charges against Jews in 1168 in Gloucester, England, when a boy was found dead there. The first case of the blood libel in continental Europe occurred in 1171 in Blois, FRANCE, where Jews were burned at the stake as the result of the accusation. From France, the accusation spread to GERMANY, where it became particularly prominent, reaching its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries. The libel reached POLAND in the 17th century and later appeared in RUSSIA. Often, a

B’nai B’rith International

blood libel accusation was followed by the burning of individual Jews, expelling an entire community, or mob violence. Though individual clergymen were often involved in the various blood libels, the Catholic Church as a whole condemned them. Already in 1245 Pope Innocent IV forbade Christians from bringing the accusation. This prohibition was reiterated by many succeeding popes. Martin Luther declared the charge ridiculous, as it went against fundamental teachings of the Jewish religion, and wicked. And yet at one time or another ritual murder accusations have been made in every country where Jews have resided. Two of the most famous cases were the DAMASCUS AFFAIR (1840) and the Beilis case in Russia. There, in 1911, a Jewish factory foreman was put on trial, accused of murdering a 13-year-old Christian boy so he could use his blood in baking matzah. The Beilis case attracted an international outcry, but the Russian government was determined to proceed with the case. Beilis was defended by a team of leading liberal Russian lawyers and professors. The evidence of a frame-up was so clear that Beilis was acquitted in 1913 by a jury of 12 peasants, the majority of whom were actually members of the notorious right-wing Black Hundreds society. Beilis later immigrated to the UNITED STATES. In modern times the blood libel was a popular motif in Nazi antisemitic propaganda (see ANTISEMITISM). Most recently it has appeared in Muslim countries. The Syrian minister of defense repeated it in a book he published in 1983, and in 2003 a Saudi Arabian newspaper published an article accusing Jews of using Muslim children’s blood in the making of pastry for the holiday of Purim. In addition, the Syrian ambassador to the UNITED NATIONS repeated the Damascus Affair (1840) blood libel accusation in 1991; only pressure from the UNITED STATES challenged this entry in the records of the United Nations. Further reading: R. Po-chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988); Gavin



Langmuir, “Thomas of Monmouth: Detector of Ritual Murder,” Speculum 59, 4 (October 1984); Maurice Samuel, Blood Accusations: The Strange History of the Beilis Case (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1966); Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1983).

Bnai Akiva See ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS. B’nai B’rith International B’nai B’rith (“Sons of the COVENANT”) is one of the world’s oldest and largest Jewish fraternal organizations. It was founded by Henry Jones and 11 other German-speaking Jews in New York City on October 13, 1843. It was originally named Bundes Brüder (League of Brothers), and was modeled after other secret brotherhoods of the time, such as the Freemasons. The first Englishspeaking lodge was established in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1850. At first the members of B’nai B’rith were exclusively men, but in 1920 the organization added “ladies auxiliaries,” today called B’nai B’rith Women. The structure of B’nai B’rith includes local lodges and regional and international offices. B’nai B’rith developed and grew as both a fraternal organization and a benevolent society. It established multiple community service and welfare activities, beginning with a mandatory donation to a fund to aid WIDOWS AND ORPHANS. Branches were founded in other countries, and B’nai B’rith eventually became engaged in promoting human rights around the world, assisting hospitals, and helping to rescue victims of natural disasters. Over the years B’nai B’rith has participated in drug-abuse education, volunteer services, aid to the disabled, prisoner rehabilitation, assistance to new immigrants, refugee and rescue during the HOLOCAUST, and aid to the elderly. B’nai B’rith also played an important role in the AMERICANIZATION of new Jewish immigrants to America’s shores.

B’nai B’rith is both a fraternal organization and a benevolent society. Pictured here is a membership certificate. Note the image in the bottom right corner of an ailing person receiving care and on the left center of Moses and the Decalogue, representing God’s covenant with the Jewish people. (Library of Congress)

Bolshevik Revolution

The group provides scholarships to Jewish college students. In 1923 it created the B’nai B’rith HILLEL Foundation, which is the primary college campus resource in the UNITED STATES for Jewish student activism and religious services. Until 2001, B’nai B’rith sponsored the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (see JEWISH YOUTH GROUPS), which is now BBYO. Among many other subsidiary institutions, B’nai B’rith maintains the B’nai B’rith Center for Human Rights and Public Policy. This organization focuses on concerns for the security of ISRAEL, rising Islamic militancy, Jewish renewal in eastern Europe, and new evidence of ANTISEMITISM. Fighting to protect Jews around the world has always been a major activity of B’nai B’rith. Through the establishment of the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (now independent), the organization was a pioneer in combating antisemitism and all forms of racism. B’nai B’rith has offices and lodges all over the world and it contributes to the unity of world Jewry. It remains a membership organization with members in more than 50 countries around the world. Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Boston, Mass.: Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1997); Deborah Dash Moore, B’nai B’rith and the Challenge of Ethnic Leadership (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981); Web site URL: http://www.bnaibrith.org, accessed June 26, 2004.

B’nai B’rith Youth Organization See JEWISH YOUTH GROUPS.

Bolshevik Revolution The Bolshevik Revolution in RUSSIA in 1918 began with the violent overthrow of the democratically elected Constituent Assembly, which had been elected after the overthrow of Czar Nicholas II of



RUSSIA a few months before. The Bolsheviks had originally begun as a faction of the Russian socialist movement, which was guided largely by the teachings of the German Jewish philosopher Karl MARX. Although Jews constituted less than 5 percent of the Russian population, Jewish individuals played a prominent, visible role in the early Bolshevik regime, though the large majority of Bolsheviks and their leaders were non-Jewish and most Jews actually supported democratic parties. The primary Bolshevik leader was Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), who was mostly of Russian ancestry, but whose maternal grandfather, Israel (Alexander) Blank, was possibly a Ukrainian Jew who was later baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church. Taking firm control of Russia by 1920, Lenin was supported by several Jewish colleagues: Leon TROTSKY (Lev Bronstein), who headed the Red Army, Yakov Sverdlov (Solomon), who was the Bolshevik Party’s executive secretary, Grigori Zinovyev (Ovaal Radomyslsky), who headed the central agency for spreading revolution in foreign countries, Karl Radek (Sobelsohn), who was the press commissar, and Maksim Litvinov (Meir Walach), who was the foreign affairs commissar. Many Russian Jews had been attracted to the cause of revolution because of the prevailing ANTIJUDAISM of the czarist regime. Most notorious was the czarist creation of the PALE OF SETTLEMENT. Thereafter, Jews were forbidden to reside outside this specifically defined area of Russia; also, it was probably czarist officials who created the infamous antisemitic tract, the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. Bolshevik idealism, by contrast, imagined a world without ethnic or cultural divisions between human beings. The utopian dream had drawn Jews because it was a secular vision of what had previously been the religious vision for a messianic era. When Lenin died in 1924, an internal power struggle ultimately led to the victory of Joseph Stalin over his political rivals. Subsequently, Stalin succeeded in putting to death nearly every one of the most prominent early Bolshevik leaders. A



Book of Life

rabid supporter of ANTISEMITISM, Stalin eliminated most Jews from the leadership of the Soviet state and the Communist Party by 1928. Unfortunately, the impression had already been created among millions of people around the world that Bolshevism was “Jewish,” which enabled legitimate antiCommunist views to be channeled into brutal antisemitism. The Bolshevik utopian dream turned out to be a lie. Stalinism quickly perverted the initial Marxist idealism. The Communist Soviet Union continued the Russian history of antisemitic actions; Jewish religion and culture was suppressed more thoroughly than they had been under the czars, and the Jews suffered greatly until the overthrow of the Soviet regime in the late 20th century. Further reading: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990); Edvard Radzinksy, The Last Czar (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1992); Louis Rapoport, Stalin’s War Against the Jews (New York: Free Press, 1990).

Book of Life According to Jewish tradition, God keeps track of everyone’s deeds and records them in the Book of Life. Every year on ROSH HASHANAH, the Jewish New Year, Jews pray to be written into the Book of Life for a good year. The prayers say, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on YOM KIPPUR [the Day of Atonement 10 days later] it is sealed.” Jews are supposed to be on their best behavior during the Days of Awe, between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, focusing on TESHUVAH (repentence), PRAYER, and TZEDAKAH (charity) to ensure a positive judgment. The concept of the Book of Life existed in ancient times and is most likely of BABYLONIAN origin. References to a record, a book of life, or a book of remembrance can be found in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, particularly in EXODUS, Psalms (see TEHILLIM), ISAIAH, Malachi, and Daniel. To have one’s name blotted out from the book was equivalent to death. By the time of the

PHARISEES, the concept had emerged of an annual verdict on Rosh HaShanah that was inscribed in such a book; and by the time of the MISHNAH, the RABBIS maintained that all of an individual’s deeds are recorded therein. Further reading: Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Days of Awe: Being a Treasury of Traditions, Legends and Learned Commentaries Concerning Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur and the Days Between, Culled from Three Hundred Volumes, Ancient and New (New York: Schocken Books, 1965); Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Summit Books, 1988).

Borscht Belt The Catskill Mountains of upstate New York once contained a large number of hotels that catered to the American Jewish community. Since these hotels often served the eastern European cold beet soup called borscht, the area was often referred to as “the Borscht Belt”; the term was also used to describe an era in American entertainment history centered on the region’s hotels. The history of the area begins with the Jewish philanthropist Baron de HIRSCH, who promoted Jewish farming in many areas such as ARGENTINA, South Dakota, and the Catskills. What began as a Jewish farming experiment developed into a popular vacation spot for New York Jews who wanted to escape the oppressive city summers. The heyday of the Jewish resort culture was the 1950s, when more than 1 million people would visit the Catskills bungalow colonies, summer camps, and small hotels every year. There they partook of sports, leisure, and entertainment. Many famous Jewish comedians, musicians, and performers such as Milton Berle and Henny Youngman honed their craft in the Borscht Belt. Even more numerous were the thousands of college students who funded their studies working in the resorts as busboys, waiters, and performers. The popular 1987 Hollywood movie Dirty Dancing illustrated the culture of these resorts. The film also took note of the end of the era as char-


acters talked about the new trend of vacations to Florida. Although the mid-20th century Borscht Belt provided a way for mainstream Jewish Americans to acculturate (see ACCOMMODATION), the area is now largely abandoned, with only a few larger hotels remaining. Many Jewish religious institutions use the facilities for retreats, and the Orthodox community (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM) frequents the area’s resorts and colonies that still observe KASHRUT (kosher food laws). Further reading: Joey Adams and Henry Tobias, The Borscht Belt (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966); Phil Brown, ed., In the Catskills: A Century of Jewish Experience in “The Mountains” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer, It Happened in the Catskills: An Oral History in the Words of Busboys, Bellhops, Guests, Proprietors, Comedians, Agents, and Others Who Lived It (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1991); Stefan Kanfer, A Summer World: The Attempt to Build a Jewish Eden in the Catskills, from the Days of the Ghetto to the Rise and Decline of the Borscht Belt (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992).

bracha (pl.: brachot) The Hebrew word bracha is commonly translated as blessing, but the original meaning is far more specific. For a prayer or blessing to qualify as a bracha, it must follow a legal rabbinic formula that begins with the three words “Baruch Atah Adonai,” which is commonly translated as “Blessed (or Praised) are You, My Lord.” The origin of the bracha goes back to the period of the MISHNAH. After the destruction of the second TEMPLE of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E., prayer and study in Jewish tradition replaced SACRIFICE as the primary means of communion with God. Initially prayer used simple quotes from the TANAKH, or Hebrew Bible, but eventually the TANNAIM, ancient rabbis, determined to write new prayers as a way to proclaim their theological consensus, and to have Jews affirm the principles of Jewish belief.



The first major prayer they wrote was a collection of 18 brachot that became known as the Shemoneh Esrei, “the 18”; Ha-Tefillah, “the Prayer”; or AMIDAH, “the Standing.” These brachot constituted a theological list of God’s characteristics and involvement with the world, and included language asking for Divine intervention. HALAKHAH, Jewish law, teaches that an individual who hears a bracha should answer AMEN, “it is true,” in response to the dogmatic statement of belief. For example, the bracha prior to eating a meal is “Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha-Aretz,” which means “Blessed/Praised are You, O Lord, our God, ruler of the universe, Who causes bread to come forth from the land.” This bracha signifies God’s role as Creator, and God’s power is affirmed by the listener to this prayer. Scholars have asserted that the Semitic origin of the word bracha comes from the verb root BRK, which means power. In that view a bracha is more than just a statement of appreciation or hope; it may have originally involved a dogmatic statement of belief: “The Power that is You, O Lord. . . .” Because brachot were the carefully worded products of dogmatic consensus among the ancient rabbis, it is traditionally forbidden for Jews to write brachot today. New prayers are allowed, and they may use the word baruch, but traditional Jews refrain from writing a prayer that begins with Baruch Atah Adonai. Some more liberal Jews have, however, written original brachot that relate closely to the concerns of modern life. Jewish tradition prescribes that a Jew should recite 100 brachot per day. Because the daily liturgy contains hundreds of brachot, Jews who pray at the commanded times easily fulfill this commandment. Further reading: Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Abraham Millgram, Jewish Worship (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971).


66 Brandeis, Louis Dembitz

Brandeis, Louis Dembitz (1856–1941) U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to immigrant parents from Prague. His parents were proponents of European liberalism, and his career represented the politically liberal atmosphere in which he grew up. Although Brandeis did not become a Zionist himself until after his career was well under way, he had been influenced at a young age by an uncle who had been a Zionist. Brandeis studied in Dresden, GERMANY, from 1873–75, returning to the UNITED STATES to study law at Harvard University. Upon graduation he remained in Boston and became a successful lawyer, involving himself especially in legal cases

Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court justice. He was also an American Zionist who encouraged the development of Palestine as a refuge for Jews in need while at the same time voicing his own commitment to his birthplace, the United States. (Library of Congress)

that had a political agenda. Following in his parents’ footsteps, Brandeis supported the rights of the people in business affairs and was known as “the people’s attorney.” He had a particular interest in representing smaller companies against giant corporations, and he led the fight for the universal implementation of a minimum wage for all American laborers. In addition, through frugal living and good investments, Brandeis became financially independent, enabling him to serve those he thought needed his expertise and to pursue ideas that might not be popular with his peers. Just five years before he would be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis acted as a mediator in the New York garment workers’ strike in 1911. Impressed with the intelligence of the eastern European Jewish immigrants he encountered, Brandeis became more interested in his Jewish heritage. When he met Jacob De Haas, former secretary to Theodor HERZL, the father of ZIONISM, he became excited by the Zionist writing De Haas made available to him. Thus, when the beginning of World War I brought European Zionists to the United States, Brandeis accepted the role of chairperson of the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, an American Zionist organization. Brandeis significantly impacted the American branch of the Zionist movement both philosophically and practically. He attracted numerous followers and sympathizers, and he helped improve the organizational structure and overall finances. In 1912 soon-to-be president Woodrow Wilson sought Brandeis’s advice on issues of political and social reform, and after he was elected to the presidency, he nominated Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court. After months of discussion in the Senate, in 1916 Brandeis took his seat as the first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court justice. Following his appointment, Brandeis continued to support the Zionist cause, working to secure support from President Wilson for both the BALFOUR DECLARATION and the BRITISH MANDATE in PALESTINE. After World War I, Brandeis took a trip to Paris, London, and then to Palestine, where he was

Brandeis University

impressed with the spirit of the settlers and distressed by their living conditions. In London he met Zionist leader Chaim WEIZMANN, a meeting with great potential, as both were committed to the future of Zionism and a homeland for Jews in Palestine. However, a meeting of these great minds was not to be. In 1920 Brandeis and Weizmann parted ways over disagreements concerning the financial portfolio of the Zionist Organization, and Brandeis withdrew from formal Zionist activities, though he continued to help the Jewish community in Palestine lay the economic foundation for the hoped-for Jewish state there. Brandeis helped create a special American brand of Zionism. He encouraged his compatriots to embrace Zionism out of their own American identity. He wrote that “Zionism finds in it, for the Jews, a reason to raise their heads, and, taking their stand upon the past, to gaze straightforwardly into the future.” While European Zionists saw the end result of Zionism to be the ingathering of world Jewry to the land of ISRAEL, Brandeis and most American Jews supported the idea of a Jewish state for those Jews in need, while remaining committed to their American home. Brandeis retired from the Supreme Court in 1939, and he died in Washington, D.C., in 1941. Further reading: Alberta Eiseman, Biographies of Four Jewish Americans: Uriah Phillips Levy, Ernestine L. Rose, Louis D. Brandeis, Lillian D. Wald (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1976); Arthur Hertzberg, The Jews in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998); Melvin I. Urofsky and David W. Levy, eds., Half Brother, Half Son: The Letters of Louis D. Brandeis to Felix Frankfurter (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).

Brandeis University Brandeis University was founded in 1948 as a secular university with a Jewish religious and cultural affiliation. The university was named for the first Jewish Supreme Court justice, Louis Dembitz BRANDEIS,



The Berlin Chapel at Brandeis University is one of three chapels on the campus. Its curving walls allow many students to gather together for study, prayer, or celebrations. Brandeis also houses the Bethlehem Chapel for its Catholic students, the Harlan Chapel for its Protestant students, and a Muslim Prayer Room and Resource Center. (Verner Reed/Getty Images)

and was intended to reflect his ideals of academic excellence and social justice. The Jewish leaders who established Brandeis University hoped to offer admission to students of all creeds without discrimination, and to offer posts to qualified professors and teachers based solely on merit. During that era many universities maintained numeric quotas to limit the number of Jewish students and professors. Coeducational classes began in Waltham, Massachusetts, with 107 students and 13 faculty members. The university was led for its first 20 years by its founding president, Abram L. Sachar. During this time it quickly became an important




national and international center for teaching and research. In 1985 Brandeis University was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities, which represents the 59 leading research universities in the UNITED STATES and Canada. As of 2003, the university had approximately 3,000 undergraduates, 1,300 graduate students, and 500 faculty members. Brandeis University is the only secular Jewishsponsored college or university in the United States. The university seal contains the Hebrew motto Emet (truth). Further reading: Israel Goldstein, Brandeis University, Chapter of Its Founding (New York: Bloch Publishing, 1951); Susan Pasternack, ed., From the Beginning: A Picture History of the First Four Decades of Brandeis University (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University, 1988); Abram Sachar, Brandeis University: A Host at Last (Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1995); Web site URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/ overview/index.html, accessed June 26, 2004.

Brazil Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. Like its neighbors, it is predominantly Roman Catholic, and its official language is Portuguese. The language was not the only gift PORTUGAL gave to Brazil. The first Jews who arrived in the country in the 16th century were CONVERSOS, secret Jews fleeing the Portuguese Inquisition. They found it possible to become active in Brazil’s early economic endeavors. When the Dutch ruled Brazil from 1631 to 1654, Jews were able to practice their traditions openly and the community thrived. The Kahal Zur synagogue was built in the capital city of Recife in 1636. During this time, Jews earned their livelihood from a variety of occupations including importing/exporting, teaching, and writing. They also traded in sugar and slaves, and ran sugar plantations that depended on slave labor. Although the slaves were often sold for profit, it has been said that they preferred Jewish owner-

ship, as this allotted them an extra day off on SHABBAT, the Jewish Sabbath. When the Portuguese conquered the territory, their intolerance of Judaism followed them. A large portion of the Jewish community migrated to the West Indies, back to Europe, or to New Amsterdam. In the 18th century diamond mines were discovered in Brazil, providing an opportunity for Jewish merchants to export Brazilian diamonds to the European marketplace; poor Moroccan Jewish emigrants helped create an Amazon rubber boom in the mid 19th century, centered on the city of Manaus. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, various Jewish leaders and philanthropists tried to encourage eastern European Jews to immigrate to agricultural colonies, an occupation they thought would appeal to those fleeing persecution. In 1902 the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA), funded by Baron de HIRSCH, bought land in southern Brazil, but few Jews wanted to settle there. In 1904 the crop failed and by 1907 only 17 of the original 122 Jewish families remained. The JCA continued to purchase land, but every attempt to maintain successful farms failed, and in 1935, finally beaten by new Brazilian immigration restrictions, the JCA sold the land and abandoned the plan. The Jewish agricultural colonists moved into the cities and by the beginning of World War I, around 7,000 Jews lived in Brazil. The community in Porto Alegre established a Jewish school in 1910 and a YIDDISH newspaper in 1915. The Jews of São Paolo organized philanthropic, cultural, and mutual aid societies in 1916. They were prepared when World War I refugees began to arrive. Following World War I about 30,000 SEPHARDIM arrived in Brazil from the Near East and North Africa, building a vibrant Jewish community. The growth of the Jewish community in Brazil was complex, and it proved difficult for Jewish immigrants from different cultures to merge. This process became even more complicated with the arrival of German Jewish refugees after HITLER became chancellor of GERMANY in 1933. Central and western European Jewish

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immigrants grew in number as the war progressed and after it ended. Even though Brazil had restricted immigration in 1938, almost 17,500 Jews were able to make Brazil their new home. Brazil was looking for particular types of immigrants during this period, namely skilled workers and farmers. Their reticence to accept many Jewish immigrants derived at first from a belief that Jews would not “Brazilianize,” but as Nazi Germany worked to incite ANTISEMITISM around the world, including among the large émigré German community in Brazil, prejudice against the Jews increased, and several editions of the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION were disseminated. In 1938 the Brazilian government began a program to assimilate its immigrants (see ASSIMILATION), a process not restricted to the Jewish community. All Yiddish newspapers and Jewish organizations were closed. Jewish communal culture did not revive until a new democratic government came into power in Brazil in 1945. Brazil supported the creation of a Jewish state and the PARTITION PLAN in PALESTINE in 1947. In 1949 Brazil recognized the State of ISRAEL and established an embassy there three years later. By this time, there were approximately 100,000 Jews living in the country, as Jewish immigration continued from North Africa in the 1950s. By the 1960s, the community in Brazil had gained considerable strength; Jews began to be well represented in government and commerce, and communal institutions thrived. In 1971 the Jewish population of Brazil was 150,000, where it has stabilized. Most Jewish merchants, manufacturers, and professionals live in the largest cities in Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Pôrto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Belém. Antisemitism is not a widespread problem in Brazil, although Jews there have occasionally experienced harassment, threats, and desecration of property. The Brazilian Jewish community is on the alert because of more intense antisemitism in neighboring ARGENTINA. The community has developed a medley of institutions not unlike those in most Jewish communities around the world; 200 of



these are represented by an umbrella organization called the Confederacão Israelita do Brasil (CONIB), founded in 1951. Jewish institutions include a variety of Sephardic and Ashkenazic (see ASHKENAZIM) synagogues, from liberal to Orthodox, secular and religious Jewish schools, the Center for Jewish Studies of the University of São Paulo, the Marc CHAGALL Institute in Pôrto Alegre, HADASSAH International, B’NAI B’RITH, Jewish and Israeli film festivals, CHABAD, several Jewish publications, and a weekly television program, Mosaico. The Jewish community continues to contribute to the economy of Brazil, taking an active part in publishing, banking, the jewelry industry, and politics. In 1994 Jaime Lerner became Brazil’s first Jewish governor and in 1998 distinguished professor Dr. Eva Alterman Bay became the first Jewish woman to become a member of Brazil’s senate. The challenges of Brazilian Jewry today include the slowing economy and the high rate of assimilation. The organized Jewish community works to ameliorate these conditions, and as a strong symbol of their dedication has reopened the first Jewish synagogue in Recife, closed by the Portuguese more than 300 years ago. Further reading: Avi Beker, ed., Jewish Communities of the World (Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner Publication Co., 1998); Jeff H. Lesser, “Continuity and Change Within an Immigrant Community: The Jews of São Paulo, 1924–1945,” Luso-Brazilian Review 25, 2 (Winter 1988): 45–58; Jeffrey Lesser, Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999); Jeffrey Lesser, Welcoming the Undesirables: Brazil and the Jewish Question (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Harold M. Midkiff, Royce A. Wight, and George Wythe, Brazil, An Expanding Economy (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1949).

British Mandate In July 1922, the League of Nations assigned Great Britain (see ENGLAND) a “mandate” or protectorate for PALESTINE or ERETZ YISRAEL, which


70 Brit Milah

specifically recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” Great Britain, which had conquered the area from the Ottoman Turks in 1917, was charged with helping to establish a Jewish national state in the country. In September 1922, the League and Great Britain decided that the Jewish national home would not include the areas east of the Jordan River, which constituted three-fourths of the geographic area known as Palestine. This portion of Palestine became the Emirate of Transjordan, a British protectorate. Under the British Mandate, both the Jewish and Arab communities were given the right to run their own internal affairs, although it was the British who built the foundation of a modern capitalist economy. The Jews continued to develop their internal community, called the YISHUV, and established an elected assembly and national council. The yishuv oversaw the development of the Jewish economy, established a HEBREW-based school network, encouraged cultural activities, and laid the foundation for an independent governmental system. Lacking experience with European styles of government, Palestine’s Arab population did not develop these types of governing and organizational bodies. While the British Mandate allowed the Jewish community to thus sow the seeds for a future state, the British failed to live up to the terms of the League of Nations mandate. Arab political and economic pressure led Great Britain to withdraw its support for an independent Jewish state. Great Britain severely restricted immigration of desperate refugees trying to flee Europe in the 1930s and stopped Jewish land purchases. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly resolved to end the British Mandate over Palestine and to partition the country into two independent states. Great Britain announced it would terminate control on May 15, 1948. Israel published a declaration of independence on May 14, knowing that without British military protection, the Arab nations would

immediately declare war against the new Jewish state. Further reading: Amir Ben-Porat, Between Class and Nation: The Formation of the Jewish Working Class in the Period before Israel’s Statehood (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986); Judith M. Brown, The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Michael Dumper, The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: MJF Books, 1996).

Brit Milah Brit Milah, the “covenant of circumcision,” can be traced back to Abraham, the PATRIARCH of the Jewish people. According to Genesis (17:9–14), Abraham circumcised himself and all males in his household as a sign of his COVENANT with God. In this covenant, God promised land and progeny to Abraham in exchange for a vow to be faithful and obedient. Circumcision of males at the age of eight days was to be the sign of God’s covenant with Abraham’s descendants throughout the generations. Other ancient peoples performed male circumcisions, but generally at puberty. To this day, Jewish male infants have the foreskin of their penis removed in a ritual ceremony eight days after their birth, bringing them into the covenant of Abraham. While many non-Jews are circumcised in modern America, circumcision in the past often served as a physical sign distinguishing Jewish men from non-Jews. The practice is so ingrained in Jewish tradition that when ANTIOCHUS tried to impose Hellenism on the Jews, his prohibition of circumcision was considered a key step. Traditionally circumcision (milah) is performed by a mohel (from the same Hebrew root as milah), someone specially trained in circumcision, often as part of a family tradition. In the presence of extended family and friends, the child’s godfather holds him while the mohel circumcises him and he is given his HEBREW name. It is considered a festive occasion and a reception is often held.

Buber, Martin

Over the centuries, circumcision has in some DIASPORA communities been the one practice that designated Jews as Jews; as a result, the misconception has arisen that an uncircumcised male cannot be Jewish. However, circumcision is not sacramental in Judaism; if a male has a Jewish mother, he is Jewish whether he is circumcised or not. Males who undergo CONVERSION to Judaism are also required to be circumcised. If the man has already been circumcised medically, then a symbolic drop of blood is drawn from the penis. In the 19th century, some leaders of REFORM JUDAISM began to call for the elimination of circumcision, arguing that it was a “barbaric bloody rite.” Likened to SACRIFICE, it was viewed as an element from Judaism’s primitive past that was best set aside. This position never took strong hold, however, and to this day circumcision continues to be performed on most Jewish boys. Further reading: Hayim Halevy Donin, To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 1972); Harvey E. Goldberg, Jewish Passages: Cycles of Jewish Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Ronald H. Isaacs, Rites of Passage: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing, 1992); P. C. Remondino, History of Circumcision, from the Earliest Times to the Present: Moral and Physical Reasons for Its Performance (New York: AMS Press, 1974); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985), Genesis 17:10–14, 23–27.



involved in the mail-order liquor trade. Once he acquired Seagram’s, his fortune was secured. He became an active philanthropist, funding universities, hospitals, charities, and museums, and donating his time and talents. He pioneered efforts in Jewish fund-raising and was president of the Canadian Jewish Congress for 23 years, including the World War II years. He was active in the United Jewish Appeal (see UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES). Samuel and Saidye Bronfman had four children, Minda, Phyllis, Edgar, and Charles, all of whom are active in the Jewish community. The family and its foundation seek to illustrate the belief that serving the community is instrumental in creating a well-developed society. The Bronfmans contribute to Jewish and non-Jewish social, cultural, and educational causes. The family’s Zionist leanings have led to such projects as Birthright Israel, which provides free trips to ISRAEL for Jewish young adults from around the world, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education. Edgar Bronfman served as president of the World Jewish Congress for more than 20 years. Further reading: Michael R. Marrus, Samuel Bronfman: The Life and Times of Seagram’s Mr. Sam (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1991); Ronald Weir, The History of the Distillers Company, 1877–1939: Diversification and Growth in Whisky and Chemicals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

Bronfman Foundation Active in Montreal, home of Canada’s largest Jewish community, the Bronfman family is one of the major sources of Jewish philanthropy in the contemporary world. They have been referred to as today’s version of the ROTHSCHILDS, and they have contributed to causes from medicine to ZIONISM. The parents of Samuel Bronfman (1891–1971) immigrated to CANADA in the late 19th century, opening a hotel there. Samuel worked for his father in the hotel business, but then became

Buber, Martin (1878–1965) scholar and mystic Martin Buber was a philosopher and student of Jewish mysticism who became one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the 20th century. Martin Buber was born on February 8, 1878, in Vienna, AUSTRIA. He received a traditional Jewish education from his grandfather and went on to pursue secular studies in philosophy and art history at the Universities of Vienna and Berlin. He




worked as a professor of Judaism and then of the history of religions at the University of Frankfurt in GERMANY, but he resigned in 1933 when HITLER came to power. Before his emigration to ISRAEL in 1938, Buber coauthored a new translation of the Hebrew Bible (see TANAKH) and created the Lehrhaus, a Jewish academy, in Frankfurt with his colleague Franz ROSENZWEIG. After moving to Israel, he became a professor of social philosophy at the HEBREW UNIVERSITY in Jerusalem. His participation in developing ZIONISM, his writings on the lives of the masters of HASIDISM, and his existential philosophy combined to make Buber a remarkably popular intellectual figure in his lifetime. In his twenties Buber joined the Zionist movement, identifying himself as a cultural rather than a political Zionist. Buber maintained that Jewish culture needed to experience a renaissance in the modern world. He identified several areas that the Jewish community needed to explore to improve its self-awareness—art, literature, theater, and education. Only as the Jewish community became aware of its history and culture would it be possible for the Jews to become a secure nation in the world. Buber encouraged participation in Jewish MYSTICISM, and supported the development of the modern HEBREW language. He also emphasized the need to develop feelings for the land, ERETZ YISRAEL. He envisioned Israel as a land built on the prophetic vision of righteousness and peace, and he was adamant about fairness toward Arabs in the process of developing the State of Israel. Meanwhile, Buber expressed his literary genius through his retelling of the legends of Hasidic masters, in works such as the Legend of the Baal-Shem (see BAAL SHEM TOV) and his Tales of the Hasidim. Buber’s interest in the Hasidic movement and its emphasis on mysticism, joy, and love greatly affected his own philosophy. He believed that Hasidism had succeeded in inserting spirituality into everyday life, rather than separating spirituality and mysticism from the mundane. Hasidism made everyday life sacred, rather than consecrating sacred time and space only outside

one’s daily tasks. Buber was instrumental in familiarizing modern Jews with the lifestyles, point of view, and stories of the Hasidic masters. Buber is perhaps most famous for his book I and Thou, which he considered the most successful presentation of his philosophy. In it, Buber develops his philosophy of dialogue. In an “I-It” relationship, one party is utilizing the other, whereas in an “I-Thou” relationship each party wholly values the other, opening a space for true dialogue and a true relationship. An I-Thou relationship opens the I up to the wholeness of the other. The ultimate I-Thou relationship, which human relationships can only approximate, is the one between the individual and God. Buber believed that the world of the I-It relationship was a necessary part of life, but he encouraged his readers to strive to achieve relationships that could be described as I-Thou, however elusive they might be. Buber died on June 13, 1965, at his home in JERUSALEM. Further reading: Asher D. Biemann, The Martin Buber Reader: Essential Writings (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); Martin Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man (New York: Horizon Press, 1958); Martin Buber, I and Thou (New York: Scribner, 1970); ———, Tales of the Hasidim (New York: Schocken Books, 1991); ———, The Writings of Martin Buber, with an introduction by Will Herberg (New York: Meridian Books, 1956); Maurice S. Friedman, Martin Buber’s Life and Work (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1988); Donald J. Moore, Martin Buber: Prophet of Religious Secularism (New York: Fordham University Press, 1996); Stephen M. Panko, Martin Buber (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991); Gerda Gilya Schmidt, Martin Buber’s Formative Years: From German Culture to Jewish Renewal (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995).

Bund The General Jewish Worker’s Union in Lithuania, POLAND, and RUSSIA, commonly known as the Bund (Yiddish for “union”), was born in the

burning bush

Lithuanian town of Vilna in 1897 (see VILNA GAON). Thirteen Jewish men and women met to consolidate the socialist efforts of Jews across Russia and Poland. Within two years, the group had become the largest worker’s socialist party in czarist Russia, drawing thousands of workers and intellectuals to its cause, and contributing greatly to the formation of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1898. In a time when nationalism was on the rise and ZIONISM became solidified as a Jewish movement, members of the Bund provided a counterpoint to such trends. The Bund was devoted to YIDDISH culture (and not the Hebrew language), the idea of Jewish autonomy, and secular Jewish nationalism. The Bundists were openly antiZionist. Rather than fostering hope for a Jewish homeland elsewhere, they believed it was possible to achieve equal status in eastern Europe based on the egalitarian ideas of socialism. As did all Jews at the time, the Bundists sought relief from antisemitic (see ANTISEMITISM) persecution. The Jewish labor movement received support from three groups of people in 19th-century eastern Europe: the working class, the radical intelligentsia influenced by MARX as well as their own Jewish roots, and the semi-intelligentsia, who had little secular schooling but sought a safe haven for their Jewish communities. In the early years of the 20th century, the Bund had between 25,000 and 35,000 members. On a political level, the Bund sought equal political and civil rights for Jews in eastern Europe. It also organized defense measures to combat the increasing number of POGROMS in eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Russian government considered many Bundists enemies of the state, and approximately 4,500 became political prisoners. The Bund’s influence peaked in 1905, and it began to abandon positions that no longer seemed practical. For example, recognizing the increased power of nationalism around the world, the Bund no longer advocated Jewish autonomy within a larger Russian nation, and it recognized that it would be unable to reduce the violence and dan-



ger that Jews faced in eastern Europe. Their socialist dreams of equality were not to become reality. After 1905, the Bund began to focus on a cultural rather than a political agenda, turning its attentions to the development of literature, music, and drama. The political aspirations of the Bund were transferred across the Atlantic Ocean. By 1912 the Bundist philosophy had reached American shores, and the Jewish Socialist Federation of America was formed. In the 1920s the Bund in eastern Europe was swallowed by the Communist Party, but a small fraction of its supporters in the region left to form the independent Socialist Democratic Party. Jewish activists in both groups were persecuted by the rising Communist government in Russia. Some Polish Bundists did escape to the UNITED STATES as World War II began, and helped organize the International Jewish Labor Bund. However, by then the Bund has lost its relevance, and none of its branches ever progressed beyond immigrant organizations. It would seem that the Zionist platform held a more realistic answer to the Jewish problem in eastern Europe. Further reading: Abraham Brumberg, “Anniversaries in Conflict: On the Centenary of the Jewish Socialist Labor Bund,” Jewish Social Studies 5 (1999): 3; Emanuel S. Goldsmith, Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement (New York: Fordham University Press, 1997); J. L. H. Keep, The Rise of Social Democracy in Russia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963); Henry J. Tobias, The Jewish Bund in Russia from Its Origins to 1905 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1972).

burning bush The burning bush, which served as a vehicle through which God first spoke to MOSES in the book of Exodus, later became a potent symbol of Jewish resilience and survival. In the second book of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, Moses flees EGYPT and eventually becomes a shepherd to the Midianite priest Yitro. While pasturing his flock, Moses sees an angel of God


74 burning bush

appear in the guise of a bush that was “burning but not consumed” (Ex 3:2). Through the symbolism of the miracle, God demonstrates that while the idol worshippers of the time worshipped nature, the “True God” rules over nature. This demonstration ensures that God will be able to command Moses’ ultimate obedience. God then commands Moses to return to Egypt along with his older brother AARON, and tell Pharaoh to “Let my people go.” While standing before the burning bush, Moses asks God’s name. God at first responds with the name “the God of your fathers,” but then utilizes the divine title “I am that I am” (Ex 3:13–14). This name/description of God (see GOD,


became a fundamental Jewish theological understanding. God’s essential nature is “oneness,” which is the fundamental tenet of Jewish ethical MONOTHEISM. The image of the burning bush that is not consumed remains a powerful one in the postHOLOCAUST world. The JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY uses the symbol as its logo, along with the words “. . . and the bush was not consumed.” Further reading: Martin Buber, Moses (Oxford: East and West Library, 1946); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

C AF J: calendar The Jewish year follows a modified lunar calendar with 12 months. The months, whose names come from ancient BABYLONIA, have 29 or 30 days each, totaling 354 days. As the years pass, the Jewish calendar begins to diverge from the solar year (and thus from the modern Gregorian calendar used around the world). In order to keep the spring and fall holidays in their proper seasons as prescribed by the TORAH, the RABBIS added seven “leap years” in every 19-year cycle; in these years an extra month is added. The Jewish calendar has several different “new years.” In the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, the “first month” is Nisan in the spring, which commemorates the EXODUS from EGYPT; but a new calendar year takes effect on ROSH HASHANAH, the first day of the month of Tishri in the fall. This date commemorates the CREATION of the world and initiates the High Holidays. Thus, the first day of the Jewish year 5765 was Tishri 1, which began on the evening of September 15, 2004. In the Jewish calendar, days begin at sundown and continue until the following sundown. This is particularly important in observance of SHABBAT, the final day of the week, which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.

Further reading: Nathan Bushwick, Understanding the Jewish Calendar (New York: Moznaim Publishing, 1989); Uwe Glessmer, “Calendars in the Qumran Scrolls” in Dead Sea Scrolls After Fifty Years, vol. 2 (Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1999); Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1976).

Camp David accords (framework for peace in the Middle East) Camp David, a well-utilized American presidential retreat in Maryland, was the site of two major peace negotiations between Israel and Arab powers, in 1978 and 2000. On September 10, 1978, Anwar SADAT, president of EGYPT, and Menachem BEGIN, prime minister of Israel, met with President Jimmy Carter and agreed on a framework for peace in the Middle East, inviting the other Arab nations to adhere to the agreement. The preamble of the Camp David accords declared that after “four wars during thirty years, despite intensive human efforts, the Middle East, which is the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of three great religions, does not yet enjoy the blessings of peace. The people of the Middle East yearn for peace so that the vast human and natural resources of the region can be turned to the pursuits of peace and so that this 75




area can become a model for coexistence and cooperation among nations.” These Camp David accords resulted from the historic visits of President Sadat to JERUSALEM and Prime Minister Begin to Ismailia. Egypt and Israel signed a treaty, still honored today, in which they agreed “not to resort to the threat or use of force or military blockade against each other.” Over the next several decades only Jordan among the Arab nations has followed the example of Egypt. However, in July 2000, President Clinton invited Israeli prime minister Ehud BARAK and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat (see PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION), to return to Camp David and continue negotiations for a comprehensive agreement for peace in the Middle East. With significant concessions being offered by Israel, there was great optimism for a final resolution, but ultimately this Camp David experience resulted in the Palestinian rejection of an agreement, and a new war has been waged against Israel.

Israelites began to occupy Canaan, it was populated by several tribal communities. Over several hundred years, the Israelite military leaders and kings established, to varying degrees, political cohesion and a sense of Israelite and then Jewish national identity in the country. At the same time, Canaan’s abundant natural resources and strategic political and commercial location continued to make it a prime target for other empires, leading to successive invasions over the centuries. Further reading: Meir Ben-Dov, Historical Atlas of Jerusalem (New York: Continuum, 2002); Suzanne Boorer, “The Earth/Lan (’RS) in the Priestly Manual: The Preservation of the ‘Good’ Earth and the Promised Land of Canaan Throughout the Generations,” in Australian Biblical Review 49 (2001): 19–33; Martin Gilbert, The Atlas of Jewish History (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993).

Canada Further reading: 21st Century Complete Guide to the Carter Presidential Archives: President Jimmy Carter, Carter Administration, Iran Hostage Crisis, Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, Speeches, Daily Diary, Documents, Presidential Library Material (CD-ROM) (Washington, D.C.: Progressive Management, 2003); Ziva Flamhaft, Israel on the Road to Peace: Accepting the Unacceptable (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996); Clyde Prestowitz, Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (New York: Basic Books, 2003); Richard C. Thornton, The Carter Years: Toward a New Global Order (New York: Paragon House, 1991); Web site, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, URL: http://www.mfa.gov.il/, accessed June 26, 2004.

Canaan Canaan is the term applied to the land, flanked by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Desert, occupied by the ISRAELITES after the EXODUS from EGYPT. This land was extremely fertile, and its location in the Fertile Crescent made it an important political and commercial region. When the

The story of the Jews in Canada does not drastically differ from that of the Jews in the UNITED STATES, although it has a somewhat different start: SEPHARDIM did not put down lasting roots in the early years in Canada, and a sizable Jewish community of any kind did not emerge until somewhat later than in the neighbor to the south. Although there is a record of Jews living in Halifax in 1750 under British rule, the first permanent community in Canada did not emerge until 1759. The early Jews lived mostly in Montreal, where the first synagogue was established in 1768. Interestingly, Shearith Israel was a congregation of ASHKENAZIM from ENGLAND, the NETHERLANDS, and GERMANY who adopted the Sephardic liturgy. Montreal Jews built a second synagogue called Sha’ar Hashomayim in 1846. Its members hailed from England, Germany and POLAND. In 1807 a Jew by the name of Ezekiel Hart was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Lower Canada (now Quebec), but he was unable to take office after he refused to be sworn in as a Christian. Canada granted full civil rights to its Jews in


1832, considerably earlier than many European countries where EMANCIPATION was still in progress. Thus, Jews had full rights to take part in Canada’s parliamentary government, including the ability to sit in Parliament and hold public office, by the time the assassination of Czar Alexander II, which provoked POGROMS that sent large numbers of Jewish refugees to Canadian shores. Many synagogues sprung up in the eastern cities of Canada, and Toronto’s rich Jewish history commenced. In 1883 the Goel Tzedec Congregation was established in Toronto and Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Chevrah, mostly composed of Russian members, opened its doors in 1887. The majority of 19th-century Jewish synagogues in Canada eventually affiliated with CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM. The Jewish population at first grew slowly. In 1891 there were only around 6,400 Jews in Canada, but the number swelled to 125,000 between 1900 and 1920. Jewish immigration in the 1930s was severely limited by the government, because of both anti-immigrant and anti-Jewish sentiment. In addition, Canadian policy only encouraged the immigration of farmers. Canadian Jewish communal organizations such as the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society and the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) worked to open Canada to war refugees, but with little success. It was not until 1947, after the end of World War II, that immigration laws changed in Canada. Initially, the CJC focused on bringing refugees from European displaced persons camps to Canada. Between 1945 and 1960, 40,000 Jews immigrated to Canada, including groups from HUNGARY, Morocco, North Africa, and the Middle East, further diversifying Canada’s Jewish community. As in ARGENTINA and BRAZIL, Jewish philanthropists helped to settle Jewish immigrants in farming colonies in the western province of Saskatchewan. They thought that the cold winters in Saskatchewan would be not unlike those in RUSSIA, making it a viable location for new Jewish communities. Herman Landau, an English Jew who had made his fortune in the London Stock Exchange, advocated for the idea; his support,



with some modest help from the Jewish Colonization Association, funded by Baron de HIRSCH, resulted in the establishment of a series of Jewish farming communities in the region from 1886 to 1921, when the movement reached its peak of approximately 2,500 Jewish farmers. The experiment did not survive the drought and depression of the 1930s. Most of the Jews who had owned farms moved to urban areas. Canada has a somewhat unique history of ANTISEMITISM. No organized antisemitism existed until the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, when Adrien Arcand attempted to exploit the xenophobic nature of French Canadians in that direction. In the late 20th century, several men were tried and convicted of teaching or disseminating antisemitic ideas and literature, including HOLOCAUST denial and conspiracy theories. James Keegstra, Ernst Zundel, and Malcolm Ross, in three separate cases, were convicted with the help of Canadian authorities and Jewish communal organizations such as B’NAI B’RITH and the CJC. The effort to expel Nazi war criminals living in Canada has had mixed success; some were extradited while others have been acquitted. The Canadian Jewish community supports Jewish social service agencies, synagogues, newspapers, and a Jewish education system. Synagogue schools (see SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL) are popular in Canada, but the JEWISH DAY SCHOOL MOVEMENT has been widespread too, even in the smaller cities of Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton, Calgary, and Edmonton. The Canadian Jewish Congress, established in 1919, represents the Canadian Jewish community. B’nai B’rith has lodges in Canada, although those in western Canada are affiliated with their closest geographical district in the United States. Many Zionist organizations are active in the country as well, including HADASSAH and the Zionist Organization of Canada (ZOC). Canadian Jewry has consistently held a positive and supportive attitude toward Zionism and the State of ISRAEL. At present the Canadian Jewish community stands as the sixth-largest DIASPORA community in the world. Almost 30 percent of Canada’s 356,000


78 candles

Jews live in the province of Quebec; Toronto is also a thriving center of Jewish life. Further reading: Irving M. Abella, A Coat of Many Colours: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1990); Michael Greenstein, et al., Contemporary Jewish Writing in Canada; An Anthology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004); Gerald J. J. Tulchinsky, Taking Root: The Origins of the Canadian Jewish Community (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1993).

candles Candles have played a significant role in Jewish ritual life from earliest times. Lighting candles dates back to the TEMPLE when the priests would light a seven-candle candelabra called the MENORAH every day. It is said that this menorah symbolized the mission of ISRAEL to be a light unto the nations (Is 42:6). In modern times, Jews light candles for a variety of reasons: to celebrate holidays, to mark the difference between holy times and secular times, to remember those who have died, and to preserve the Jewish way of worship. The ritual lighting of SHABBAT and holiday candles, traditionally the domain of women, is often practiced by men as well today, in a nod to EGALITARIANISM . The Shabbat candles are lit before sunset on Friday to mark the beginning of the Sabbath with all its joys and restrictions. A MIDRASH teaches that when the first human being, Adam, opened his eyes on the eve of Shabbat and found himself in the dark shadows of the GARDEN OF EDEN, he was very afraid. However, he stumbled upon two stones, picked them up and struck them, starting a fire. He felt that the light and the warmth created by the fire was a gift from God, and he then pronounced the very first blessing: “Praised are You, God, Sovereign of the Universe, who creates the light of the fire.” At the conclusion of Shabbat, Jews ritually mark the end of the day by lighting the HAVDALAH candle. Havdalah means “separation,” and this is the ceremony that marks the line between the

Sabbath and the working week. The havdalah candle is specially braided with at least two wicks. The blessing over the candle is to remind oneself of God’s first creation of light. Lighting CHANUKAH candles is a well-known Jewish ritual practice. The TALMUD teaches that to commemorate Chanukah, a candle should be lit for each day observed. There was a debate as to procedure. The school of SHAMMAI taught: “On the first day eight lights are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced”; but the school of HILLEL says: “On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased.” The views of the school of Hillel were accepted as common practice because one should desire increase in matters of sanctity and not decrease. The Chanukah lights are intended to be a reminder of the miracle of oil. When the MACCABEES rededicated the TEMPLE they found only enough sanctified oil for one day, but miraculously the oil lasted eight days. Light from the Chanukah candles is a metaphor for God’s divine light in the world. Candles in the Jewish tradition are not reserved only for times of celebration; they are also used to commemorate the life of one who has passed away. Each year on the date that a person died, his or her immediate family members light a YAHRZEIT (anniversary) candle, which is specially designed in a glass to burn safely for 24 hours. Often yahrzeit candles are also used in remembrance ceremonies for the 6 million Jews who died in the HOLOCAUST. Further reading: Isadore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1990); Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988); Ronald H. Isaacs and Kerry M. Olitzky, A Jewish Holiday Handbook (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1994).

cantillation See TROPE. cantor A cantor (hazzan in HEBREW) is a Jewish clergy person specifically trained as a vocalist. The pri-

Caro, Joseph ben-Ephraim

mary responsibility of the cantor is to lead the congregation in singing the prayers. The Babylonian TALMUD seems to use the term hazzan differently; there the hazzan’s duties in the SYNAGOGUE included bringing out the scrolls of the TORAH, opening them to the appointed readings for the week, and putting them away. The Jerusalem Talmud, however, records that the hazzan led the prayers in the synagogue. During the early medieval era, reading from the Torah, reciting (not necessarily singing) the prayers, and blowing the SHOFAR became the primary functions of the cantor. Soloists or choirs would sometimes accompany the cantor as he led the prayers. Over the centuries the role of the cantor increased in importance. Public worship began to develop extensively during the era of the GEONIM, and as Jews’ knowledge of HEBREW declined, the cantor had to carry more of the burden for the congregation. By this time a cantor had to be knowledgeable in biblical and liturgical literature, have a pleasant voice, and be a righteous individual. To a degree, the profession of cantor is a modern creation. Traditionally only a man was a cantor, but REFORM and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM train both men and women for the role. When a lay person leads public prayer, which is permissible in all streams of Judaism, he or she is called the shaliach tzibbur, or emissary (to God) of the congregation. Cantors have their own organizations through which they protect their interests, learn from one another, and continue their education. Further reading: Reuven Hammer, Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service (New York: Schocken Books, 1995); Stefan C. Reif, Judaism and Hebrew Prayer: New Perspectives on Jewish Liturgical History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Cardozo, Benjamin (1870–1938) U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin Cardozo, the second Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was known as an active



member of the Jewish community and acclaimed for his emphasis on the influence of law to support social change. Cardozo was born in 1870, the son of Judge Albert Cardozo and Rebecca Nathan. A member of a distinguished Sephardic Jewish family in New York, Cardozo’s father resigned in disgrace from his judgeship because of an impending impeachment against him due to acts of nepotism. In the wake of his father’s professional disgrace, Benjamin studied law, and excelled both in his studies and later as a litigator. Cardozo was known for superlative speaking skills and impeccable integrity. In 1932, President Herbert Hoover appointed him to the Supreme Court of the UNITED STATES. He thus became the second Jew, after Louis D. BRANDEIS, to serve on the nation’s highest court. In his personal life, Cardozo maintained many Jewish traditions, including, to a degree, KASHRUT. Cardozo was also active as a trustee of Columbia University and with various organizations in the Jewish community. He served on the board of the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE and embraced the Zionist Organization of America (see WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS). Considered to have been one of the great legal minds in American history, Cardozo was honored by YESHIVA UNIVERSITY in 1976 when it established the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Further reading: Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1946); Andrew L. Kaufman, Cardozo (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1997); Richard Polenberg, The World of Benjamin Cardozo: Personal Values and the Judicial Process (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).

Caro, Joseph ben-Ephraim (Joseph ben-Ephraim Karo) (1488–1575) medieval mystic and legal scholar Joseph Caro is best known as the author of the SHULCHAN ARUKH, the “Prepared Table,” the 16th work still regarded as the standard legal code of Judaism.


80 cave of Machpelah

Born into a rabbinical family, Caro began life in Toledo, SPAIN. He left as a child when Jews were expelled from the country in 1492, and his family moved to PORTUGAL. Eventually he settled in SAFED, PALESTINE. Caro was part of a group of Jewish scholars in Safed who claimed to have experienced mystical events frequently, often in dreams. These men reinstituted the practice of SEMIKHA, or ordination of RABBIS. They hoped that this step would attract many scholarly Jews to return to ERETZ YISRAEL, making the land once more an intellectual center for Jews. Caro himself was ordained by Rabbi Jacob Berab in 1538. Their hopes for a new intellectual center were not fulfilled, but Caro saw his own ordination as a genuine source of personal authority. Caro came to believe that a maggid, or spiritual guide, was giving him instructions on HALAKHAH in his dreams, which he then compiled into an extensive legal compendium called Bet Joseph (House of Joseph). However, this work, not unlike MAIMONIDES’ legal tome, MISHNEH TORAH, was too long for everyday use. Caro himself published an abbreviated version called the Shulchan Arukh, which quickly became popular. Since the work is largely based upon the customs of SEPHARDIM, Rabbi Moses Isserles, an Ashkenazi Jew (see ASHKENAZIM), wrote a supplement called the MAPAH, or tablecloth, which included the customs of his own community. The two works often appear together in the same volume. Like many of his contemporaries, Caro believed that there was no conflict between close legal study and mystical experience. He recorded a number of his mystical experiences in a diary, which was eventually edited and published in 1646 under the title Maggid Mesharim. Caro was the leading scholar and mystical figure in Safed until eclipsed by Isaac LURIA, but the Shulchan Arukh firmly established his reputation as a legal authority. The work, in various editions, remains the most important one-volume legal reference work in ORTHODOX JUDAISM. Further reading: Joseph Dan, Intellectual History in the Middle Ages (New York: Praeger, 1994); Yehiel Michel

Ha-Levi Epstein, Arukh Ha-Shulhan (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1992); Abraham A. Glicksberg, Educational Values in the Shulchan Aruch (New York: Shengold Publishing, 1984); Joseph Karo, The Traditional Law of Sale: Shulhan Arukh, Hosehn Mishpat, chapters 189–240, trans. Stephen M. Passamaneck (Cincinnati, Ohio: Hebrew Union College Press, 1983).

cave of Machpelah The cave of Machpelah, located in Hebron, is the burial site for the PATRIARCHS and MATRIARCHS of the Jewish people. It is thus the second holiest site for Jews, after the KOTEL. According to Genesis, Abraham bought the cave as a burial site for Sarah and insisted on paying for it. Jewish tradition holds that he refused to accept the property as a gift or take it in conquest so that its ownership would never come into question. Three pairs of foremothers and forefathers are believed to be buried in the cave: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. Rachel is buried separately. Some legends claim that Adam and Eve are buried there as well. The site is holy to Judaism, CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM, all of which revere Abraham as their progenitor. Over the centuries, the site has changed hands, alternately serving as a church or a mosque. At times access to the site has been limited, while at other times it has been open to all pilgrims. Currently the site is a mosque, known as the mosque of Abraham, though Jews also have access to pray at the cave. Because of its holy status for both Jews and Muslims, as well as its location in Hebron in the West Bank (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA; SIX-DAY WAR), the site has been a hotbed of religious violence between Palestinians and Israelis in recent years. Further reading: Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (New York: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1956); Let’s Go. Israel and the Palestinian Territories 2002 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002); Joan E. Taylor, Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of JewishChristian Origins (London: Clarendon Press, 1993).

Chafetz Chaim

Central Conference of American Rabbis See UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM.

Chabad Chabad, or Chabad Lubavitch, is a movement within ORTHODOX JUDAISM that adheres to the practices of HASIDISM but emphasizes outreach to the non-Hasidic Jewish world. Until the death of the last rebbe (spiritual leader), Rabbi Menachem SCHNEERSON (1902–94), the group was led by a succession of leaders descended from its founder, Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812). Since the last rebbe’s death Chabad has been led by the spirit of previous teachings; individual rabbis provide leadership within the internal organizational structure. The name Chabad, a HEBREW acronym for chochma (wisdom), bina (understanding), and da’at (knowledge), was chosen by Shneur Zalman to reflect the group’s emphasis on studying KABBALAH or mystical teachings (the words represent aspects of the divine in Kabbalistic teaching). Lubavitch is a small town in RUSSIA where the movement first took root—Hasidic dynasties of rebbes are typically named after the town the founders lived in. The followers of Lubavitch (“town of love” in Russian) believe their name accurately represents their inclusive attitude toward all Jews. It was Schneerson who initiated the movement’s proactive missionary work within world Jewry. Today Chabad sends rabbinic leaders throughout the world to assist Jews in need and to teach them to embrace their heritage through traditional Judaism. Chabad helped to create the BAAL TESHUVAH movement, the goal of which is to bring non-Orthodox Jews into the spiritual, ideological, and theological camp of Orthodoxy. Some followers of Lubavitch believe that the last rebbe was the Messiah, a position that has been sharply criticized by others both within and outside the movement. Chabad houses can be found on many college campuses and in many cities throughout the United States. Chabad Lubavitch runs 3,300 insti-



tutions around the world, employing tens of thousands of people in their cause to bring secular Jews back to Judaism. The worldwide headquarters of the Chabad movement is 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Further reading: Sue Fishkoff, The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Zalman I. Posner, Think Jewish: A Contemporary View of Judaism, A Jewish View of Today’s World (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, 2002); Menachem M. Schneerson, The Unbreakable Soul: A Discourse by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of ChabadLubavitch (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kehot Publication Society, 2003); Web site URL: http://www.chabad.org, accessed on June 27, 2004.

Chafetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen or Kagan) (1838–1933) revered 19th-century rabbi and leader Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen is considered one of the great rabbis of modern times. He was known for his brilliant scholarship, but more important, he is revered as an extraordinarily righteous individual. He is called the Chafetz Chaim after the title of his most popular book about the importance of avoiding gossip. The phrase Chafetz Chaim literally translates as “he who wants to live.” The Chafetz Chaim was born in Zhetl, POLAND, on February 6, 1838. Even after he was recognized as a leading rabbinic figure, he refused to accept a salaried rabbinic position. Instead, he chose to support himself through a small grocery run by his wife in the town of Radin, Poland. This business allowed him the time to pursue his study and teaching of TORAH. In fact, his home soon became a popular place to study Torah, eventually becoming known as the Radin YESHIVA. In addition to teaching those who appeared on his doorstep, the Chafetz Chaim traveled extensively, spreading his love of Torah and his desire to increase the observance of mitzvot (see MITZVAH) among the Jews of Europe. He traveled even into his 90s, and died at the age of 95.



Chagall, Marc

The Chafetz Chaim’s most notable teaching was how to avoid the sin of LASHON HARA, or evil language. It was the subject of his first book in 1873; the title Chafetz Chaim was derived from the 34th Psalm: “Who is the man who desires life (chafetz chaim)? . . . keep your tongue from evil.” He later published two more books on the subject and, as was the custom with many great rabbis, he became known by the name of his most famous book. The Chafetz Chaim eventually wrote on many other subjects in more than 20 books. His most important scholarly work is considered to be the Mishneh Berurah, a six-volume commentary dealing with the laws of daily life and holidays. Further reading: Hayim Halevy Donin, To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life (New

York: Basic Books, 1972); Israel Meir, Chafetz Chaim, and Charles Wengrov, Concise Book of Mitzvoth: The Commandments Which Can Be Observed Today (Nanuet, N.Y.: Feldheim Publications, 1990); Moses M. Yoshor, Chafetz Chaim, The Life Works of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radin (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, 1986).

Chagall, Marc (1887–1985) Russian-French modern artist Born with the family name Segal in Vitebsk, Byelorussia, in 1887, Marc Chagall was the eldest of nine children. Chagall’s family was Hasidic (see HASIDISM), and so he spent his childhood in a heder (children’s religious school). When he began attending a secular Russian school, he discovered his artistic talent. While Chagall’s father

Marc Chagall is one of the most renowned Jewish artists of the modern era. He is pictured here accepting an honorary doctorate at a ceremony held at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel. (Moshe Milner, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)


was disappointed, his mother supported his efforts in the field of art. Yet the religious nature of Chagall’s family would come through in Chagall’s art; his familiarity with Jewish customs, stories, and way of life appear often in his work. Chagall moved to St. Petersburg in 1907 to study art with Leon Bakst. He developed a distinctive childlike style that reflected his exposure to contemporary Russian painting, and his art often centered on images of his childhood, using the Jewish quarter of Vitebsk, the city of his birth, as a common theme. From 1910 to 1914, Chagall received an allowance from a lawyer who admired his talent, and he was able to live in Paris to continue developing his artistic style. During these years, Chagall produced some of his most famous paintings of the Jewish SHTETL, having studied cubism and realism, and adopting a semi-cubist quality in his work. During World War I Chagall remained in RUSSIA, where in 1917 he endorsed the BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. He was appointed commissar for fine arts in Vitebsk, and then director of the Free Academy of Art. However, the Bolshevik authorities soon came to disapprove of Chagall’s artistic style as too modern, and in 1922 Chagall left Russia for FRANCE. He stayed in France permanently, leaving only during World War II, when he was given safe harbor in the UNITED STATES. Chagall was horrified by the Nazi’s rise to power and their evil acts. His works during this time period expressed the plight of the Jewish martyrs. Chagall’s work blends fantasy and religion, using strong, bright colors and a dreamlike representation of the world; his works were replete with animals, workmen, lovers, and musicians. He actually created nostalgia; SHOLOM ALEICHEM’s “Fiddler on the Roof” as a recurring motif recalled Jewish life in eastern Europe. Chagall worked in multiple mediums, using oils, watercolors, ceramics, mosaics, and stained glass. Chagall was often inspired by themes from the Bible (see TORAH). He created more than 100 works illustrating Bible stories, many of which incorporated elements from Jewish folklore and his own religious child-



hood. Some of Chagall’s most famous works can be found on the ceiling of the Paris Opera House, the murals at the New York Metropolitan Opera, a glass window at the UNITED NATIONS, and decorations at the Vatican. Chagall also endowed ISRAEL with many of his works; the most famous on display are the 12 stained glass windows at HADASSAH Hospital and his wall decorations at the KNESSET. Further reading: Marc Chagall, My Life (Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 1994); Jean-Michel Foray and Jakov Bruk, Marc Chagall (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003); Guggenheim Museum Web site URL: http://www. guggenheimcollection.org, accessed June 30, 2004.

chai The Hebrew word chai means “life.” Since each Hebrew letter has a numerical value, and the letters of chai total 18 (8 for chet, the first letter in the word, and 10 for yud, the second and last), the number 18 has acquired symbolic meaning in Judaism. The system of assigning numerical values to letters led to the creation of an entire discipline of Jewish mysticism known as GEMATRIA, devoted to finding hidden meanings in the numerical values of words. The number 18 has consequently become very popular among Jews. In modern times, it has become a common tradition to make monetary donations to charity in multiples of 18 to invoke chai and its meaning, life. The commonly used phrase “L’chaim” also shares its root with the Hebrew word chai. Further reading: Harold S. Kushner, To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking (New York: Warner Books, 1994).

chametz The TORAH prohibits Jews from eating or possessing chametz (leaven or leavened food products including derivatives of wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt) on PASSOVER (Ex 12:39). Jews are obligated




to eat MATZAH, unleavened bread, at their Passover SEDERS as a reminder of the Jews’ quick flight from PHARAOH’s EGYPT. The ISRAELITES fled so quickly they did not even have time for the bread to rise. In memory of this, Jews do not eat leavened bread during the holiday of Passover. The prohibition of chametz serves two purposes: first, it highlights the importance of matzah; in addition, tradition teaches that chametz is a metaphor for the human being’s evil inclination, which can easily rise like leaven. One must be careful to resist this inclination and instead emphasize the inclination to do good. Prior to Passover, homes are meticulously cleaned, and all chametz is removed or destroyed. Many Jewish communities use this as an opportunity to engage in “spring cleaning.” One makes a ritual announcement after the final search, the night before Passover: “All chametz, leaven and leavened bread, that is in my possession which I have not seen, removed or is unknown to me, should be annulled and considered ownerless like the dust of the earth.” The final search, as in ancient times, is conducted by the light of a candle. There is a custom to place 10 pieces of chametz in the room so that they can be found as a reminder of the TEN PLAGUES. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York and London: Simon and Schuster, 1988); Passover Haggadah, Deluxe Edition (Northfield, Ill.: Kraft General Foods, 1994); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Chanukah Chanukah is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the victory of the MACCABEES early in the second century B.C.E. The word Chanukah means “dedication”; it refers to the rededication of the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM after it was recaptured from the Seleucid Greeks, who allegedly profaned it through idolatry. The holiday lasts for eight days, beginning on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, which usually

This kindergartener is lighting a hanukkiyah, the special eight-branched candelabra used to commemorate the holiday of Chanukah. The hanukkiyah is often called a menorah, but a menorah has only seven branches and is not connected to a Jewish holiday. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

falls in December. Jews celebrate by lighting an eight-candle Chanukah lamp or MENORAH, called a HANUKKIYAH, adding one candle each successive night. It is also customary to give money (gelt) or gifts, to eat oily foods, especially potato pancakes and doughnuts, and to play the game of DREIDEL. According to the book of Maccabees in the APOCRYPHA, the era was filled with political turmoil in Judea. When ANTIOCHUS IV first ascended to the throne of the Seleucid monarchy (one of the successor states to the empire of Alexander the Great), a conflict arose over whom he should


appoint as HIGH PRIEST of ISRAEL, one of his territories. Civil war erupted between the pietists, who supported the rightful hereditary high priest, and the Jewish leaders who had assimilated into Hellenistic culture (see HELLENISM). Antiochus IV backed the Hellenized Jews and issued edicts prohibiting Jewish practices and mandating sacrifices to Zeus in the Temple. Many pietists died as martyrs under Seleucid persecution, but others, led by the Maccabees, revolted and won independence. At the end of the revolt, which lasted from 167–164 B.C.E., the Jews purified and rededicated the Temple on the 25th of Kislev, inaugurating the first festival of Chanukah. Chanukah is marked by prayers that thank God for miracles, but the exact miracle being celebrated is unclear. Some maintain that the miracle was that the small Maccabean army defeated the larger Seleucid army, but the TALMUD recounts another miracle. When the Temple was rededicated, the priests could find only one small cruse of sanctified oil, with enough oil to keep the ETERNAL LIGHT lit for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight nights, just enough time to obtain more oil. Eating fried food commemorates this miracle of the oil. The rabbis gave an additional explanation for the eight-day duration of Chanukah. The Jews had been unable to celebrate their harvest festival SUKKOT (which lasts for eight days) in the defiled Temple. Once the Temple was rededicated, they decided to hold a late Sukkot on the eight days beginning on 25 Kislev, and they continued the tradition of an eight-day midwinter holiday ever since. Although it is a post-biblical holiday, Chanukah has gained in importance both inside and outside the land of Israel. In Israel, the struggle of the Maccabees is honored as a model for the country’s own battle for independence in 1948. In the UNITED STATES, Chanukah has gained prominence because it falls during the Christmas season, and Jewish communities have taken the opportunity to teach and gather together. In this way emphasis on a previously minor holiday has enhanced the Jewish



lives of many American Jews. Some criticize that the holiday has become commercialized as gift giving has become central to Chanukah, as it is to Christmas. Further reading: Shaye J. D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987); Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Moses Hadas, ed. and trans., The Third and Fourth Books of Maccabees (New York: Ktav Publishing House, [1976] c1953); Martin Schoenberg, The First and Second Books of Maccabees (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1966).

chavurah A chavurah is a small group that meets for prayers and religious activities. It is less organized than a SYNAGOGUE in that prayers are usually run by the members of the chavurah rather than by a RABBI or CANTOR. Also, the services generally take place in a home instead of an official synagogue, and so there is usually no official membership or dues structure. Originating in the 1960s, in an era of antiestablishment sentiments, chavurahs sought to provide a larger role to the participant in seeking spirituality by emphasizing the participation of its members in the absence of clergy. The word chavurah derives from the HEBREW word for “friend,” and the groups tend to have an informal character, while the services tend to be more spiritual or emotional than in more routine synagogues. In 1970, Rabbi Harold SCHULWEIS brought the idea of the chavurah into the synagogue. In this way, smaller groups formed within a larger institution based on commonalities among members. The goal is to create bonds and meaning in Jewish life. Further reading: Riv-Ellen Prell, Prayer and Community: The Havurah in American Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989); Bernard Reisman, The Chavurah: Contemporary Jewish Experience (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, c1977); Chava Weissler, Making Judaism Meaningful:




Ambivalence and Tradition in a Havurah Community (New York: AMS Press, 1989).

cherubim The term cherubim (chruvim in Hebrew), refers to various spirits or beings mentioned in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible that live in God’s presence or perform divine tasks. The word itself may come from the ASSYRIAN term kirubu, meaning “to be near,” a reference to those who are near to God in the heavenly court, busy praising and worshipping God’s holiness. References to cherubim occur throughout sacred literature. They are first mentioned in Genesis (3:24). Later, in accordance with God’s instructions, images of cherubim were placed on the cover of the ARK of the Covenant in the HOLY OF HOLIES, representing nearness to God’s presence. In the TALMUD, cherubim are associated with the “order of wheels” (ophanim). In the Middle Ages, they were thought to be the guardians of the heavens.

had significant success in import and export trade, assisted by their close connections in Britishoccupied territories throughout the world. The Sassoons and the Kadoories settled in Hong Kong in the mid-1800s. The Shanghai community built a synagogue, a school, and a hospital, but they were Westernized people and did not become integrated into Chinese culture. The 1917 BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION pushed another group of Jews to seek haven in China. This group of Russian Jews did not have the same international business connections as the Sephardic community. They came with little money, opened small businesses, and eventually entered the mid-

Further reading: Robert Critney, and Robert Critney, Jr. The Cherubim of the Ark (New York: Morris Publishing, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

China Since the ninth century there have been Jews living in China. Historians believe that the early Chinese Jews arrived in caravans from PERSIA, searching for a new place to settle. The bestknown Chinese Jewish community started in the 10th century in Kaifeng and participated in the silk trade. This community, however, assimilated into mainstream Chinese culture and completely disappeared by the 19th century. In the late 19th century a new Jewish community appeared in China, SEPHARDIM from Baghdad, Bombay, and Hong Kong who settled in Shanghai, Harbin, and Tianjin. Notable Jewish families such as the Sassoons, the Hardoons, and the Kadoories

Note the Asian influence in the architecture of this synagogue in Hong Kong. Today almost all Jews who live in China reside in Hong Kong. (Courtesy J. Gordon Melton)

Chmielnicki Massacres

dle class. Unlike the Sephardic Jews, this group became more involved in the social life of Harbin, the city they had adopted. World War II brought a great number of Jewish refugees to Shanghai and China. The wealthy Sephardic community provided financial support, as did American Jewish organizations such as the AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE. During the war the Jewish population swelled to between 25,000 and 35,000. Thousands arrived in Shanghai through the aid of Dr. Feng Shan Ho, the Chinese consul general to Austria from 1937–41. Ho authorized visas to all who applied, even reopening the consulate with his own funds after a reprimand from the Chinese authorities. He issued more than 12,000 visas; but most of the Jews he helped used Shanghai as a means of escape from AUSTRIA rather than as a final destination. Ho is listed as one of the “Righteous among the Nations,” a non-Jew who altruistically saved Jewish lives during the HOLOCAUST (see YAD VASHEM). The Chinese Jewish community at the end of the 1930s, the largest in the Far East, set up all the basic Jewish communal structures. These included service agencies, schools, cemeteries, synagogues, hospitals, newspapers, and Zionist organizations. A few Jews participated in the Chinese fight against the Japanese, such as Hans Shippe, a writer and reporter from GERMANY who died fighting the Japanese, and Dr. Jacob Rosenfeld, who served in the Communist-led army for 10 years, achieving the rank of commander of the Medical Corps. In 1939 Japan occupied Shanghai, putting the Jewish community behind ghetto walls in unsanitary conditions. Immigration ended completely in 1941. The Jewish community of Shanghai lost its economic and property base during this time, and most of its members left for such countries as the UNITED STATES, ENGLAND, ISRAEL, and Australia after the war ended. Even though Israel was one of the first nonCommunist countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1949, thereby damaging its relationship to Taiwan, China eventually established ties with the Arab world and became hos-



tile toward the Jewish state, condemning its Westernizing influences. Relations improved in the last decade of the 20th century, and formal ties were established in 1992. Hong Kong, now officially part of the Chinese nation, is home to approximately 3,000 Jews. The community is known as one of the world’s wealthiest Jewish communities, a mark of success for a community that expanded on the efforts of refugees from Hitler’s Holocaust. The Jewish community in Hong Kong grew in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to include bankers, lawyers, computer experts, and Israeli academics and scientists. The community has built synagogues, a Jewish Community Center, kosher restaurants, and a Jewish school. Even though the community seems rooted in Hong Kong, all of its Jewish residents hold passports from another nation, such as the United States, Britain, or Israel. It is possible to learn about Jewish culture in China firsthand. In Kaifeng there is a small Jewish museum, and in Shanghai one can visit the Jewish Refugee Hall of Shanghai, located in the Ohel Moishe Synagogue. While there are several thousand Jews living in Hong Kong, only 200 Jews live permanently in the rest of China today, mostly in Shanghai. Further reading: Avi Beker, ed., Jewish Communities of the World. 1998–1999 Edition (Jerusalem: Institute of the World Jewish Congress, 1998); Benjamin I. Schwartz, The Jews of China (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1999).

Chmielnicki Massacres Many Jews in 17th-century Ukraine occupied an unusual social niche, serving as tax collectors for the Polish Catholic landowners, creating a belief among the Ukrainian Orthodox peasants that the Jews were responsible for their poverty and for religious oppression. The landowners, recognizing their need for the Jews, protected the Jewish communities from the resulting animosity among Cossacks, soldiers, and peasants. In 1648, the Thirty Years’ War ended, leaving the Cossacks



Chosen People

with a new enemy, the Polish nobles. When Bogdan Chmielnicki led the Cossacks in their quest for an autonomous Ukraine, Polish Jewish communities were caught in the middle of the violence, without the resources to flee or defend themselves. The Chmielnicki Massacres were the result. Between 40,000 and 100,000 Jews were massacred in the years 1648 and 1649, more than a quarter of all the Jews living in Poland. A few were converted to CHRISTIANITY and some were sold into slavery to the Tatars. Most of the killing was carried out between May and November of 1648. Jewish communal institutions were incapable of dealing with the massive destruction and social dislocation. Some scholars believe that the subsequent rise of the false messiah, SHABBATAI ZVI, was a direct result of the psychological depression that pervaded the survivors of the Chmielnicki Massacres. Elie Wiesel’s novel The Trial of God is set in a Ukrainian town after all but two of the Jewish inhabitants have been butchered. While Wiesel’s book is set in the 17th century, he based it on a scene he witnessed while in AUSCHWITZ. The death and destruction experienced by the Jews of Poland at the hands of the Cossacks was the worst example of violence against Jews until the rise of the Nazis. Further reading: Nathan Hanover and Abraham J. Mesch, Abyss of Despair/Yeven Metzulah: The Famous 17th Century Chronicle Depicting Jewish Life in Russia and Poland During the Chmielnicki Massacres (Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1983); Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973); Elie Wiesel, The Trial of God (New York: Schocken Books, 1995).

Chosen People Judaism teaches the historically important notion that the Jews are God’s “Chosen People.” Many see this concept as illustrating a privileged relationship with God. However, tradition posits that

God “chose the Jews” as a means to become known to the world. Historically, this can be seen as a reflection of the actual path along which MONOTHEISM spread. The ISRAELITES introduced Western civilization to the idea of ethical monotheism. CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM first arose under the direct influence of Judaism, and through them the Israelite notion of God became pervasive. Judaism does not teach that being chosen bestows any special status beyond the obligation to serve the historical mission of God. Nor does it bestow any special rights or power over other human beings. Furthermore, Judaism teaches that non-Jews can find their own unique pathway to God. Being chosen does mean that God holds Jews to the highest standard. In the Book of Amos (3:2) God tells the people of Israel: “You alone have I singled out of all the families of the earth. That is why I call you to account for all your iniquities.” The status of being chosen can be voluntarily adopted by any individual of any group, simply by embracing Jewish beliefs and undergoing conversion. Such an act mirrors the decisions of biblical Jewish figures to accept God’s yoke, which is why some Jews refer to themselves as the “Choosing People.” The first one to choose God was Abraham (see PATRIARCHS), whom God in turn chose to engage in a special COVENANT (Hebrew brit) (see BRIT MILAH). Abraham had a specific role to play in bringing God into the world, which was passed along to Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s sons, who became the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel, and thus ultimately of the Jewish people. The 12 tribes were enslaved in EGYPT, but upon gaining their freedom, they made their way to MOUNT SINAI where they collectively experienced God’s REVELATION. MIDRASH teaches that God asked the Israelites if they wished to be God’s People, and they collectively responded: “We will do, and we will hear.” Deuteronomy (7:7) specifically acknowledges that God chose the Israelites not because they were numerous, but because they


were “the smallest of people.” There are other stories in the midrash that describe the Israelites as reluctant recipients of the covenant, but at the end of each story, the people accept God’s sovereignty and the idea that they were chosen to participate in the covenant. Because Jews have never been more than a tiny proportion of the world’s population, Judaism teaches that their success in spreading the knowledge of God is a sign of the truth and power of the monotheistic idea of a caring God. If the Jews had been numerous, then the spread of the knowledge of God could have been attributed to might alone. The Chosen People idea is powerful. Christianity has adopted the language to describe its own relationship to God. Nearly all Christians always agreed that God initially chose the Jewish people, but they have argued that 2,000 years ago a new covenant was made with those who accepted Christ. During most of Christian history, Christian chosenness meant that Christians alone would be saved and go to heaven. Islam also embraced the notion of chosenness, but declared that the covenant was passed not through Isaac, but rather through Ishmael, Isaac’s half brother. Jews believe chosenness is about living according to God’s will and setting an example for others to follow, and is not a testament to special status or privilege. As Judaism has become more diverse in the modern world, some reformers have had difficulty explaining the Jewish concept of chosenness, and some theologians and philosophers, such as Mordecai KAPLAN, rejected the idea completely. Further reading: Daniel H. Frank, A People Apart: Chosenness and Ritual in Jewish Philosophical Thought (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993); Irving Greenberg, “Covenantal Pluralism,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34, 3 (Summer 1997): 425–436; Jeffrey S. Gurock and Jacob J. Schacter, A Modern Heretic and a Traditional Community: Mordecai M. Kaplan, Orthodoxy, and American Judaism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997); Ruth Langer, “Jewish Understandings of



the Religious Other,” Theological Studies 64, 2 (2003); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Christianity Christianity traces its roots to JESUS OF NAZARETH, an itinerant healer and teacher in the early first century C.E. According to the Gospels Jesus was crucified by the Romans around 30 C.E., and a small sect of his followers, mostly Jews, began to teach that he had been resurrected and was the promised MESSIAH foretold by the prophets (see NEVI’IM). Christianity quickly developed into a religious tradition separate from Judaism, for theological and political reasons. Theologically, Christianity developed certain views that were unacceptable to mainstream JUDAISM. Beginning with PAUL (Saul of Tarsus), Christianity taught that every person was separated from God by original sin (see SIN AND REPENTANCE), and that the only means of reconciliation was atonement through the blood of Jesus Christ. Individuals were exhorted to recognize Jesus as the true son of God. Traditional Judaism rejects the doctrine of original sin. It also rejects the doctrine that Jesus was the promised Messiah, let alone that he was fully human and fully divine, another fundamental doctrine of mainstream Christianity. The rabbinic tradition developed very different interpretations for the passages in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, that Christians see as clear prophecies of Jesus. In addition to theological differences, Christianity and Judaism have enjoyed dramatically different histories as civic communities, leading to political tensions over the centuries. Under Constantine in the early fourth century, Christianity became the official religion of ROME, which effectively marginalized Judaism while elevating Christianity. In the centuries that followed, Jews often experienced severe persecution at the hands of Christians, as for example during the Crusades.



Christian-Jewish relations

POGROMS were a frequent occurrence in Europe during the Middle Ages, decimating whole communities of Jews. In modern times, Christians responded slowly and in small numbers to protest the persecution of Jews under HITLER, leading many Jewish leaders to conclude that Jews needed their own homeland. At present, Jewish and Christian communities coexist in many countries with varying degrees of cordiality, ranging from individual episodes of hate crimes at one extreme, to sustained efforts at inter-religious cooperation in many democratic countries. Further reading: Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1983); Jacob Neusner, Bruce Chilton, and William Graham, Three Faiths, One God: The Formative Faith and Practice of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2002).

Christian-Jewish relations For nearly 2,000 years most Jews have lived as a minority people amid a majority professing another religion. Although there are exceptions, they have usually lived in Muslim or Christian host societies. The experiences of Jews in Christian societies have ranged from peaceful and prosperous to uncertain and violent, but genuine dialogue has only occurred recently, when Jews began to speak with Christians at the highest levels of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. As rabbinic Judaism developed in the early centuries of the Common Era, so too did CHRISTIANITY, which spread quickly throughout the world after the Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of the Roman Empire (see ROME). Though Christianity had originally emerged from Judaism, by that time people of Jewish ethnicity constituted only a small minority of church members, and Christian teachings had moved far from

their Jewish beginnings, especially concerning the divinity of Jesus and the Triune nature of God. Once in power, Christianity suppressed pagan worship completely, but Judaism was allowed to exist. However, a pattern of persecution soon emerged that would last for centuries. In the post-Constantine era, Roman persecution of Christianity ceased, but Roman strictures against Judaism remained in force. Christianity soon became the dominant religion throughout the Roman Empire and adjacent areas. The early Christians defined themselves in part by their difference from Jews. Based on the New Testament they considered themselves the new elect of God, in place of the Jews, who, they believed, had rejected JESUS OF NAZARETH, their savior and the son of God, and contributed to his crucifixion and death. Prior to Vatican II in the 20th century, most Christian churches did not discourage the belief that the Jews had killed Jesus, and were adamant in stating that unconverted Jews could not be saved. This ANTI-JUDAISM bred violent, dangerous emotions from the start. Living as a minority religion in a Christian world, Jewish communities accepted their fate as part of the consequence of EXILE. Periods of Christian religious enthusiasm have often proved difficult for Jews. In the 11th century Christians on their way to the Crusades and back attacked and destroyed many defenseless Jewish communities in their path. In the 13th and again in the 15th century Jews were required to formally defend the TALMUD against Christian scholars in widely publicized DISPUTATIONS, which were accompanied by rioting and anti-Jewish violence. On the other hand, periods of peace for Jews living under Christian rule often depended on the benevolence of a particular king or bishop. When the Christians recaptured much of SPAIN from the Muslims in the 13th century, for example, the Jews were welcomed and encouraged to help rebuild commerce and industry. Sometimes a king would even be admonished by a pope for allowing Jews to exercise power over Christians, such as in

Christian-Jewish relations

the case of Alfonso VI in 1081. Years later, Alfonso X incorporated this idea into his law code, declaring that “No Jew may ever hold an esteemed position or public office so as to be able to oppress any Christian in any way whatsoever.” Even so, Jews did hold some positions of authority right up until the EXPULSION in 1492, but the legal ambiguity always cast a shadow on their status. After a while, a frighteningly consistent pattern emerged in Jewish life. Jews would be asked to settle in a Christian land in order to bring commerce or other needed skills, then expelled at a later date, and then asked back again (see ENGLAND; FRANCE; GERMANY; PORTUGAL). Jews were often forced to live in walled enclaves called GHETTOS. In RUSSIA, this took the form of a geographic area called the PALE OF SETTLEMENT. The Jews there did not interact with Russian culture nor learn the Russian language, instead speaking their own tongue, YIDDISH. Even this bleak picture did have some beneficial elements. The Jews were often left alone to govern themselves in a semiautonomous system, as long as they continued to pay taxes to their host society. The community was called a kahal or kehillah (see KAHAL, KEHILLAH), and it often allowed for a rich cultural and religious life. The modern period created an interesting dilemma for the Jewish communities of Europe. With the rise of nationalism and the development of the idea of equality, many Jews left their isolated communities and actively sought EMANCIPATION, using the ideals of the ENLIGHTENMENT to make their case. They did win a degree of equality in most European countries, sometimes at the price of ASSIMILATION. Nevertheless, ANTISEMITISM steadily increased, culminating in the HOLOCAUST, which decimated the European Jewish population, assimilated or not. Neither the Catholic nor the Protestant communities as a whole assisted the Jews during the Holocaust, and relations between Christians and Jews have been somewhat strained under the pressure of this reality. The Vatican II church council in 1965 drastically changed the perspective of the Catholic



Church toward the Jews, and the church has continued to work toward reconciliation and better ties. In 1970 the Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee was established to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation on common issues, such as social justice. In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited a synagogue in Rome, the first such visit in the history of the papacy. There the pope condemned antisemitism and spoke about respect between Catholics and Jews. Jewish groups also began dialogue with Protestant churches, especially those affiliated with the World Council of Churches (WCC). Progress here was slower, as the Protestant movement is divided into hundreds of separate denominations, many of which have a commitment to evangelism toward all non-Christians, including Jews. One landmark in that ongoing process of dialogue occurred at a meeting of the WCC’s Committee on the Church and the Jewish People in Sweden in November of 1988. A document was formulated that agreed on the following principles: (1) The covenant of God with the Jewish people remains valid; (2) antisemitism and all forms of contempt for Judaism are to be repudiated; (3) the living tradition of Judaism is a gift of God; (4) coercive proselytism directed toward Jews is incompatible with Christian faith; and (5) Jews and Christians bear a common responsibility as witnesses to God’s righteousness and peace in the world. The committee also recognized the State of ISRAEL, acknowledged spiritual concepts shared by Christians and Jews, clarified that the Jews should not be held responsible for the death of Jesus, and expressed sadness at Christian participation in Jewish suffering. In July 2004, however, the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) endorsed a proposed divestment of companies that operate in Israel, marking a severe rupture in the relationship between Presbyterian Protestants and world Jewry. Dialogue with evangelical Christians, those represented by the World Evangelical Alliance, has been much slower, as their dedication to world evangelism has included ministries focused primarily on the Jewish community. At the same time,




some dialogue has been possible, building on the evangelical community’s strong support for Israel. Many societies dedicated to dialogue between Jews and Christians exist in Europe, such as the German Council for Jewish-Christian Cooperation and the Jewish-Christian Brotherhood in France. In Israel there are many groups that focus on JewishChristian dialogue, including the Interfaith Committee, the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE office in JERUSALEM, the Ecumenical Institute, the Ecumenical Discussion Center for Students in Jerusalem, and the Inter-religious Group in TEL AVIV. The situation of Jews in America has always been vastly different from that in Europe. While suffering some discrimination in the early colonies, Jews soon found their niche in a pluralistic American society. Although there are strains of antisemitism among individuals in the UNITED STATES, it is not inherent in American Christian religious institutions. The United States is host to a vast number of organizations dedicated to improving the relationship between Christians and Jews, such as the National Conference of Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews), and the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University, which has many sister organizations in other Catholic schools such as Boston College. American Jews are still a minority in a larger consciously Christian culture, but that culture is far more pluralistic and secular than it has been in Europe in the past. Most Jews feel comfortable in the United States; sociologist Will Herberg published a volume entitled Protestant-Catholic-Jew in the 1950s, suggesting that Jews had become part of mainstream America. At that time, the idea of a “Judeo-Christian heritage” became popular in the United States. This idea has opened doors to discussions and dialogue between Christians and Jews that is unique to the contemporary period. Many urban and suburban American communities have active fellowships of clergy, whereby rabbis, priests, and ministers share in fellowship and cooperative values.

Further reading: Jack Bemporad and Michael Shevack, Our Age: The Historic New Era of Christian-Jewish Understanding (Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press, 1996); Jeremy Cohen, ed., Essential Papers on Judaism and Christianity in Conflict: From Late Antiquity to the Reformation (New York: New York University Press, 1991); Andrew Greeley and Jacob Neusner, Common Ground: A Priest and a Rabbi Read Scripture Together (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1996); Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (London: Oxford University Press, 1961); Ellis Rivkin, What Crucified Jesus? Messianism, Pharisaism and the Development of Christianity (New York: UAHC Press, 1997).

chuppah Jewish couples are required to get married under a wedding canopy called the chuppah. Traditionally, the chuppah is made from a TALLIT, or prayer shawl. However, in modern times, the chuppah is often a beautifully decorated piece of cloth held up by four poles. The chuppah may be free-standing or held by attendants above the bride and groom. Tradition teaches that the chuppah is a symbol of the home the new married couple will be creating. As it is open on all four sides but covered on the top, it provides shelter while at the same time remaining open to visitors. This vision is reminiscent of Abraham and Sarah and their value of round-the-clock hospitality illustrated in the TORAH in Genesis 18. The chuppah also metaphorically represents God’s “Tabernacle of Peace.” Further reading: Rita Milos Brownstein, Jewish Weddings: A Beautiful Guide to Creating the Wedding of Your Dreams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003); Anita Diamant, The New Jewish Wedding (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

chutzpah Chutzpah is the Yiddish term for “nerve” and is used to describe someone with the courage to say

codes of law

or do something that will not be well received. Depending on its use, it can have either a positive or a negative connotation. As with many Yiddish words, no English equivalent has the same meaning or emotional import. Thus, the word chutzpah has entered into the English language and can be found in English-language dictionaries, in mainstream television programs, and on the streets of New York City.



nizational leadership of CLAL. CLAL has been accused of diminishing Jewishness to “shallow behavior” in their efforts to reach Jews at all levels of observance and identity. CLAL has become increasingly sensitive to these charges, and has redoubled its efforts to reach out to synagogues and pulpit rabbis in addition to Jewish communal organizations.

Further reading: Gene Bluestein, Anglish/Yinglish: Yiddish in American Life and Literature (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); Fred Kogos, The Dictionary of Popular Yiddish Words, Phrases, and Proverbs (New York: Citadel Trade, 2000); Jackie Mason, How to Talk Jewish (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991).

Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organization Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Irving Greenberg, “Seeking the Religious Roots of Pluralism: In the Image of God and Covenant,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34, 3 (1997); Web site URL: http://www. clal.org, accessed on June 26, 2004.

circumcision See BRIT MILAH.

Code of Hammurabi

CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership CLAL was founded in 1974 as a Jewish think tank, aiming to provide religious training and resources to Jewish leaders from across the spectrum of the community. The organization describes itself as “dedicated to building a Jewish life that is spiritually vibrant and engaged with the intellectual and ethical challenges of the wider world.” CLAL was founded by Orthodox Rabbi Irving “Yitz” GREENBERG (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM). He envisioned CLAL as a model of Jewish pluralism, and a way to overcome the growing divisions among Orthodox, CONSERVATIVE, REFORM, and RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM. CLAL seeks to allow pluralism to help create a vibrant new Jewish culture. CLAL works closely with American Jewish federations (see UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES) in an attempt to infuse federation philanthropic activities with a more religious character. Because CLAL is not synagogue-based, and has specifically aligned itself with the primary American Jewish fund-raising organization, there have been periodic tensions between pulpit rabbis and the orga-

The legal code of the early Babylonian emperor Hammurabi (1728–1686 B.C.E.) was the first ancient legal code to become known to modern scholars. Like other ancient codes subsequently unearthed, the Code of Hammurabi included ritual guidelines and rules for maintaining purity, a value during ancient times, along with what modern people would consider legal clauses. This is one of the parallels with the legal codes found in the TORAH. One striking difference, however, is that Hammurabi gives great weight to social stratification; certain punishments vary according to the offender’s social standing, a concept that is completely absent from Jewish law. Further reading: S. G. Lambert, “The Laws of Hammurabi in the First Millennium” in Reflets des deux fleuves (Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 1989); Zer-Kavod Mordecai, “The Code of Hammurabi and the Laws of the Torah,” Jewish Bible Quarterly 26 (April–June 1998): 107–110.

codes of law Jewish rabbis and scholars have written many law codes over the centuries, systematic compilations



Cohen, Hermann

of rules and customs governing the full range of religious and secular behavior by individuals and communities. They were written to make the HALAKHAH (Jewish law) accessible to the wider Jewish community, and not just to the relatively few scholars who were skilled enough to interpret the TORAH and TALMUD. The most significant medieval codes are the Sefer ha-Halakhot (Book of the Laws) edited in the 11th century C.E., and the MISHNEH TORAH, written by MAIMONIDES a century later. The Mishneh Torah is an exhaustive compilation ranging over a wide variety of subjects. Two centuries later Jacob ben Asher compiled his own code, the Arba’ah Turim (Four Rows), commonly called the Tur. In the 16th century Rabbi Joseph CARO produced the SHULCHAN ARUKH (Prepared Table), based largely on the Tur. R. Moses ISSERLES produced a companion for Caro’s code, which attempted to balance Caro’s Sephardic interpretive slant with an Ashkenazic approach (see ASHKENAZIM; SEPHARDIM). These two works remain the most authoritative codes in the world of ORTHODOX JUDAISM today. Several other codes have been produced more recently, such as Abraham Danziger’s Hayye Adam, and the Mishneh Berurah by the CHAFETZ CHAIM, but none surpasses the authority of the codes developed in the 11th through 16th centuries. The phrase “codes of law” can also be understood to refer to hidden meanings buried in texts. This type of secret code is found mostly in mystical literature, such as the KABBALAH. It often involves using one letter of the alphabet in place of another, so the reader must determine the substitution rule to decipher the code. Further reading: Anne Fitzpatrick-McKinley, The Transformation of Torah from Scribal Advice to Law (Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001); Steven F. Friedell, Introduction to Jewish Law in Talmudic Times (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1999); N. S. Hecht, An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Cohen, Hermann (1842–1918) philosopher Hermann Cohen is considered the greatest Jewish philosopher of the 19th century. He is best known for coining the idea of ethical MONOTHEISM. Born the son of a CANTOR in Coswig, GERMANY, Cohen began his post-secondary studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Breslau. He originally had planned to become a rabbi, but turned instead to a lifetime study of philosophy, studying at the University of Breslau and then at the University of Berlin. In 1865 Cohen received his doctorate from the University of Halle, and in 1873 he began lecturing in philosophy at the University of Marburg, where he taught until 1912. Cohen spent the last years of his life in Berlin studying and teaching at the Hochschule für die WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS, a school that focused on the study of Judaism using literary criticism and modern methods of research. While he often wrote about Judaism, Cohen’s philosophical works were grounded in secular philosophy. His primary agenda was to build upon the genius of Immanuel Kant. Kant had posited that all humanity is obligated to live lives according to universal ethical imperatives that are clearly defined and easily understandable to any reasonable person. Cohen agreed with Kant’s philosophic embrace of universal ethics, and further stated that all ethical behavior must be defined as that which most greatly helps the broader society. Cohen asserted that humanity must infinitely strive for total social justice. While the natural world worked according to a fixed order, the human realm of ethical behavior could change. Nature worked in defined cycles, regardless of human intervention, but the individual could choose to act ethically or not, according to whim. The only choice a reasonable human being had was to impose order on the ethical realm, and the existential means to achieve this was the individual’s embrace of God. God became the philosophic idea by which human beings could pursue their ultimate goal of a world of complete social justice. Cohen called this philosophic and rational embrace of God the “religion of reason.”


After creating the philosophic paradigm for the “religion of reason,” Cohen highlighted Judaism’s belief in the uniqueness of God and the idea that God compels individual ethical behavior. Cohen, in the philosophic realm, defined the universal mission of ethical monotheism for all of humanity. Cohen’s philosophy greatly influenced German Jews of his era. His emphasis on Judaism’s universal ethics and its drive to make the world better helped encourage Jews to become involved in and influence the secular world. Jewish ASSIMILATION, Cohen believed, was acceptable when the Jew’s intention was to further develop society’s ethics and sense of justice. Thus, Cohen maintained that it was important to keep those Jewish rituals that emphasized ethics. The term ethical monotheism eventually became accepted by all streams of Judaism to describe the basic belief in one God who distinguishes right from wrong. Cohen’s ideas laid the philosophical foundation for what would later become the theology of Reform Judaism. Further reading: Samuel Hugo Bergman, Faith and Reason: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Washington, D.C.: Schocken Books, 1961); Eugene B. Borowitz, Renewing the Covenant: A Theology for the Postmodern Jew (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991); William Kluback, Hermann Cohen, The Challenge of a Religion of Reason (Providence, R.I.: Brown Judaic Studies, 1984); Jehudah Melber and Emanuel S. Goldsmith, Judaism: A Religion of Reason (Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 2003); Michael Zank, The Idea of Atonement in the Philosophy of Hermann Cohen (Providence, R.I.: Brown Judaic Studies, 2000).



its first editor, Elliot Cohen. Half its articles covered specifically Jewish material, leaving the other half for topics of general and political interest. Commentary attempted to maintain diversity, but remained mostly liberal. On domestic issues, the magazine was more conservative, and until the establishment of the State of ISRAEL, it did not take a hard Zionist stance, in order not to alienate those Jews who had yet to endorse ZIONISM. The magazine, at first a mouthpiece for American Jewish liberalism, took a more conservative stand starting in the late 1960s under the long editorship of Norman Podhoretz (1960–95). It eventually became a home for Jewish neoconservatives who had abandoned their earlier liberalism in response to domestic and international developments they considered inimical to Jews. Commentary has a circulation of around 27,000. Like other intellectual magazines, it is not for profit; it covers such topics as national security, education, religion, and art. Prominent intellectuals from the Jewish community have been represented in the magazine, including Isaac Bashevis SINGER, Primo Levi, Cynthia OZICK, Hannah ARENDT, and Robert Alter. Podhoretz was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for his 35 years as editor of Commentary and his contribution to the country’s intellectual life. Further reading: J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 1996); Web site URL: www.commentarymagazine.com, accessed on July 5, 2004.

communism commandment See MITZVAH. Commentary Commentary is a Jewish monthly magazine established in 1945 by the AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE. The magazine flourished under the leadership of

Communism is a political and economic belief system that emerged in the early 20th century. The German Jewish social philosopher Karl MARX first developed the theory of communism. Marx’s ideas were further developed by V. I. Lenin, who led the BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION in Russia in 1917. The primary appeal of communism was its claim that it could create equal economic security for all.




From a Jewish perspective, the theory of communism had great philosophical and practical influence on the Jewish people, although most rejected the communist governments and parties that emerged after Lenin’s takeover of Russia in 1917. Marxist and communist beliefs initially appealed to many Jews because they offered a worldview that posited equality for all peoples. While Marx believed that religion was an “opiate of the masses,” Marxist communism imagined a world where the Jew could be freed from ethnic, cultural, or religious bias. In addition, the economic social justice of communism appealed to Jewish messianic idealism. Early pioneers in PALESTINE attempted to live the dream of communism through the establishment of the KIBBUTZ, or collective farm, a community where members participated equally in labor and profit in the attempt to maintain economic equality among all members. The first chief rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi A. I. KOOK, while dismissing communism’s antireligious stance, legitimized its dream of a world of economic and social equality as an authentic Jewish desire. Communism never succeeded in its idealism. The Soviet Union, shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, corrupted the notion of communism, reserving power and money for the political elite, and eventually reviving official ANTISEMITISM and discrimination against the Jews. In Israel, kibbutzim failed to succeed within a pure communist environment and transformed themselves into socialist communities that had both collective and private ownership. Today the kibbutz movement has greatly declined in Israel. Further reading: Dennis K. Fischman, Political Discourse in Exile: Karl Marx and the Jewish Question (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991); Karl Marx, Capital: The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (New York: Modern Library, 1959).

community See KAHAL, KEHILLAH.

concentration and death camps Soon after Adolf HITLER rose to power in Germany, he began setting up concentration camps. The first such camp was established in Dachau, GERMANY, in March 1933. The term “concentration camp” had been used before; the British had set up “concentration camps” for Afrikaner opponents in South Africa. The Nazi camps, however, were far more brutal, as their inmates were considered enemies of the “true German” people. These prisoners included Jews, Gypsies (Roma), Communists, political prisoners, hom*osexuals, and anti-Nazi priests and ministers, along with many other groups. After World War II began in September 1939, the Nazis utilized camp inmates for slave labor. Arriving prisoners were immediately subjected to a selection process that determined whether the person would be killed immediately or kept alive for hard labor. Conditions were intolerable. Barracks were crammed with three or four times the number of people their builders intended. Food and water were scarce, and the lack of any hygiene facilities led to the spread of diseases such as typhus and spotted fever. Prison guards killed victims who spoke out; inmates lived in terror and sought only to survive. Medical experiments were carried out by German doctors (see Joseph MENGELE) and unspeakable horrors occurred on a daily basis. All of these elements combined to dehumanize the inmates of the camps in the eyes of guards and commanders, which made it psychologically easier for them to continue with killing, experimentation, and terror. During World War II, the Nazis decided to physically exterminate world Jewry. To achieve this goal, they transformed some concentration camps into death camps and built new camps with the express purpose of systematically murdering Jews. By the end of 1942, the Nazis had created six death camps, all in Nazi-occupied POLAND: AUSCHWITZ, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The massacres at these death camps were carried out with assembly-line efficiency. Sometimes Jews on the workforce were given the


responsibility of taking the dead bodies from the “showers” to the crematoriums. These squads were killed on a rotating basis so that word of what was happening would be less likely to reach the outside world. The most infamous concentration and death camp was Auschwitz. During World War II, the Nazis murdered more than 1.5 million people there. The victims of Auschwitz were primarily Jews, but many Poles, Gypsies, and Soviet prisoners of war were exterminated as well. Further reading: Eugene Aroneanu, ed., Inside the Concentration Camps: Eyewitness Accounts of Life in Hitler’s Death Camps (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996); Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980); Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985); Hermann Langbein, Against all Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps, 1938–1945 (New York: Paragon House, 1994).

confession Judaism provides its followers with a formal method of confessing sin, expressing regret, and obtaining forgiveness. In general, sinners are required to express their regret verbally, asking forgiveness from God and the person they harmed. During the High Holy Days there is an even more formal confession of sins, called the vidui, which is recited by all worshippers several times during the YOM KIPPUR service. The vidui includes two types of confessions: general trespasses and specific types of sins such as gossip and robbery. The sins are listed in the plural, using the formula “for the sins we have committed . . . ,” so that each individual includes himself in the community’s wrongdoing. Usually, penitent worshippers beat their chests with each mentioned sin. Unlike the familiar Catholic practice, the sin is confessed directly to God or the victim of the sin, and not to a priest or leader. If the sin is merely against God (for example, if a person violated SHABBAT, the Sabbath), then if the sinner confesses



honestly and regretfully, and promises to refrain in the future, Judaism presumes that God will grant forgiveness. If the sin is against another human being, then the sinner must confess to the victim as well, ask forgiveness, and provide proper reparations, before God will wipe the slate clean. The person wronged must be approached at least three times before the sinner can begin to turn the issue over to God. When the victim cannot be located, or in the case of murder, cannot be confessed to, this sin cannot be forgiven, even if confessed out loud. Even in these cases, Jews are expected to cultivate a confessional spirit. The confessional liturgy of Yom Kippur is familiar to nearly all Jews, but even the daily liturgy recited by traditional Jews includes prayers of confession. The ideal forum for confession is considered to be a MINYAN, a public quorum of at least 10 Jews. The minyan provides a context for public admission to sin, and also lets the sinners know that they are not alone in their transgressions. While a Jew is still alive, his or her sins cannot be forgiven without following the proper process of TESHUVAH, or repentance. However, Jewish tradition states that one’s own death can be an offering to help cancel out one’s lifetime of sins. Judaism provides this deathbed confessional: “If my death be fully determined by Thee, I will in love accept it at Thy hand. O may my death be atonement for all the sins, iniquities and transgressions of which I have been guilty against Thee.” Further reading: Ismar Elobgen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Abraham Millgram, Jewish Worship (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971); N. Scherman, The Complete Artscroll Siddur (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Artscroll, 1989).

confirmation One of the innovations advocated by early proponents of REFORM JUDAISM was to replace bar mitzvah (see BAR/BAT MITZVAH), the rite of passage for


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13-year-old males, with a confirmation ceremony for children between the ages of 16 and 18. The attempt to do away with bar mitzvah was ultimately rejected in Reform Judaism, but both Reform and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM have instituted a confirmation ritual as a way to encourage teens to continue their Jewish studies past the age of 13. Many Reform and Conservative rabbis perform confirmation ceremonies for teens who continue Jewish studies classes through at least the 10th grade. The ceremony is usually performed on SHAVUOT, a festival that falls in late spring near the end of the academic year and commemorates the granting of the TORAH to the Jews at Sinai—an appropriate time to encourage continued study and participation in Jewish life. Further reading: John D. Rayner, A Jewish Understanding of the World (Providence, R.I.: Berghahn Books, 1998); Joseph Reimer, Succeeding at Jewish Education: How One Synagogue Made It Work (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998); Jack Wertheimer, ed., The American Synagogue: A Sanctuary Transformed (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1987).

consecration Jews are instructed by the TORAH to bring holiness into their lives by various acts of consecration. Jewish liturgy frequently declares that God has commanded Jews to make their actions sacred or holy. For example, eating, which is a mundane activity, should be preceded by an act of consecration; the Jew makes a BRACHA, or blessing, over the food, declaring that it is holy to accept God’s bounty with gratitude. The challenge within religious Judaism is to leave sin for holiness and depart from the mundane for the sacred. The term consecration is commonly utilized within liberal Judaism for a ceremony recognizing the completion of the first full year of religious study by students. In REFORM and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, many synagogues expect students to begin intensive after-school religious study in

third grade; this is commonly the grade that includes a consecration ceremony. The occasion can be marked by giving students their own siddurim, or prayer books (see SIDDUR), or by ceremonially giving them their Hebrew name. Further reading: Barbara Binder Kadden, Teaching Jewish Life Cycle (Denver, Colo.: A.R.E. Publishers, 1997).

Conservative Judaism As the movement in the ideological center of American Judaism, Conservative Judaism seeks to “conserve” Jewish traditions while living within the modern world. Rabbi Mordecai Waxman captured the challenge of Conservative Judaism in the title of his book Tradition and Change—the Conservative Jew tries to balance the demands of modern times with a commitment to Jewish observance. Conservative Judaism also embraces the critical study of Jewish and secular texts along with traditional methods of study. The underlying assumption is that all resources are permitted in the pursuit of “truth.” Conservative Judaism finds its roots in 19thcentury GERMANY. Zachariah FRANKEL, once a more traditional voice within REFORM JUDAISM, became the leader of what would one day become the Conservative movement. He felt that the Reform movement was pushing change too fast, without reference to the community or to historical precedent. In 1854 he became the head of the first Conservative rabbinical school, The Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau. The Seminary taught and lived according to what became known as the POSITIVE-HISTORICAL SCHOOL of Judaism; the idea was to pay close attention to historical precedent and to the hearts and minds of the community whenever considering any proposed reform. By 1887 the American Conservative movement had also set up a seminary—the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF AMERICA (JTS) in New York. The school began with eight students under the leadership of Rabbis Alexander Kohut and Sabato MORAIS. Neither the seminary nor the Conserva-

Conservative Judaism

tive movement flourished until a group of Reform Jews, including Cyrus ADLER, Jacob SCHIFF, and Louis MARSHALL, came on board; they wanted to create a middle ground between Reform and ORTHODOX JUDAISM that might appeal to the millions of eastern European Jewish immigrants arriving on American shores. They believed the seminary could help in the AMERICANIZATION of the new immigrants, allowing them to find a comfortable place within American Judaism while shedding their old-country customs, which embarrassed the already acculturated German Jews in the Reform world. The JTS was able to create role models for eastern European Jews that allowed them to preserve much of their traditional Jewish lifestyle and still become part of American society. In 1902 the widely respected Solomon SCHECHTER, reader in rabbinics at Cambridge University in ENGLAND, arrived at the seminary, and the success of Conservative Judaism was assured. Conservative Jews stress that Judaism has evolved historically to meet the changing needs of the Jewish people in various eras and circ*mstances. They believe that Jewish law should continue to evolve in the present and future. Nevertheless, Conservative Judaism maintains the traditional view that Jews must obey and observe the will of God through the commandments. The movement also puts great emphasis on the Jewish people—Klal Yisrael, the totality of Israel. Schechter, who helped to firmly establish the JTS as the predominant school for Conservative rabbis, was well known for his teachings on this concept. He posited that Jewish legal decisions are largely grounded on the common practice of observant Jews of the time. To ensure conformity to these practices, the Conservatives set up a central authority for HALAKHAH, Jewish law, called the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS). It consists of scholars appointed by the JTS, the Rabbinical Assembly (RA, consisting of all affiliated Conservative rabbis), and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ, made up of lay representatives of all Conservative synagogues). The CJLS often pub-



lishes both majority and minority positions on controversial matters of Jewish law. Individual rabbis serve as the mara d’atra (Aramaic for “master of the law”) for their own communities, and are free to follow the legal rulings as they see fit. Nevertheless, Conservative rabbis are expected to support certain declared standards of the movement. These standards have been approved by votes of at least 80 percent of the membership of the CJLS, and a majority of Rabbinical Assembly members. At present, there are four standards: 1) Rabbis and cantors are prohibited from officiating at intermarriages in any way; 2) rabbis may not perform remarriages if the previous partner is alive without an acceptable GET (Jewish divorce) or haf’kaat kidushin (annulment); 3) Jewish lineage is determined by matrilineal descent only; and 4) conversions to Judaism require both circumcision (see BRIT MILAH) and MIKVAH immersion for males and mikvah immersion for females. A Conservative rabbi who willfully violates these standards may be forced to resign or be expelled by the Rabbinical Assembly. Conservative Judaism maintains that the TORAH is of divine origin; however, there is debate within the movement as to how it was authored. Some Conservative rabbis assert that God directly wrote the Torah, some that the Torah was divinely inspired, and yet others that human beings wrote the Torah based on their understanding of God’s will, and that their writings were accepted as the social contract for the Jewish people. In any case, the Conservative movement has always in principle believed that halakhah, though open to scholarly interpretation, is binding on every Jew. Many American Jews affiliate with Conservative Judaism because they desire a satisfactory home “in between” Orthodox and Reform. Often Conservative Rabbis find themselves in the distinct minority in their own congregations regarding their level of Jewish observance. Conservative rabbis, and Conservative Judaism at large, are constantly working to raise the level of Jewish education and observance among their lay membership.


100 conversion

Conservative Judaism supports many institutions. Synagogues that affiliate with the movement become members of an umbrella organization called United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (for many years known as the United Synagogue of America). The group offers guidelines and instructions to member synagogues. Rabbis who graduate from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, which has branches in New York and ARGENTINA, may join a professional group called the Rabbinical Assembly, which serves as both a professional union and a forum for study. Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, and Rela Mintz Geffen, The Conservative Movement in Judaism: Dilemmas and Opportunities (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2000); Neil Gillman, Conservative Judaism: The New Century (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House Publishing, 1993); Robert Gordis, Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism (New York: United Synagogue Book Service, 1988); Mordecai Waxman, ed., Tradition and Change (New York: Burning Bush Press, 1958); Jack Wertheimer, Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2002).

conversion Conversion to Judaism, which is open to people of any religious or ethnic background, means that the convert adopts the religious faith of Abraham and Sarah (see MATRIARCHS; PATRIARCHS) and becomes a full-fledged member of the Jewish people. Converts are called gerim, which is a biblical word that means “sojourners,” but their status in Jewish law is no different from that of any other Jew (although they can never be KOHANIM or LEVITES). Jews who convert to other faiths are called meshumadim, or “destroyers,” implying that they have destroyed their faith, and that their actions, if imitated, would destroy Judaism. Historically, Judaism since biblical days encouraged conversion to the Jewish faith, especially by people who had previously been idol-

worshippers. The biblical paradigm for conversion was RUTH, the Moabite woman whose story is recorded in the Book of Ruth in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Ruth has remained celebrated for her declaration to her widowed ISRAELITE motherin-law: “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you, for wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ru 1:16). This utterance is considered to have been her act of conversion to Judaism. Ruth demonstrates the foreigner’s ability to adopt the Jewish God, Jewish laws, and the Jewish people. Her embrace of Judaism is recounted on SHAVUOT, the holiday celebrating the moment that the Jews received the TORAH from God. The Bible also states that Ruth’s merit in converting to the Jewish faith would be rewarded. She would become the great grandmother to King DAVID, from whose seed the Messiah will come, according to Jewish tradition. While Ruth has always been beloved by Jews as the exemplar of conversion, Judaism has had an ambivalent attitude toward actively pursuing converts ever since the rise of CHRISTIANITY. Jews, often themselves victims of aggressive and sometimes violent proselytizing by other faiths, created legal provisions that discouraged non-Jews from rapid conversions. They are expected first to study their own faith, then the faith of others, and only after that to study for Jewish conversion. After this, a non-Jew who still insists of his or her own free will on becoming Jewish is accepted for Torah training and converted by a rabbinical court, after undergoing immersion in a MIKVAH, or ritual bath, and, in the case of men, BRIT MILAH, or ritual circumcision. Judaism teaches that a convert’s status is equal to one born Jewish, and in fact a Jew is forbidden to refer to another Jew as a convert. ORTHODOX JUDAISM demands that potential converts strictly observe all laws and undergo serious learning about religious practices before the conversion can take place. CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM insists on the same training and conversion rituals, but it


requires only a general commitment to Jewish traditional observance. REFORM JUDAISM varies among rabbis and congregations in their educational and ritual demands on converts; as a result, many nonReform Jews question the Jewish status of Reform converts. The status of non-Orthodox converts has sparked an ongoing debate in the State of ISRAEL, and the Orthodox political parties have tried to change Israeli law to recognize only Orthodox converts in Israel or abroad as Jews. American rabbis do not actively recruit candidates for conversion; however, when faced with a Jew who is determined to marry a non-Jew, most will agree to prepare the potential spouse to embrace Judaism to ensure that the new home remains attached to the Jewish faith. Jews who convert to another faith are still recognized as part of the Jewish people, but are considered apostates in a state of semi-excommunication from the community, and they cannot be counted in a MINYAN (prayer quorum). However, if they later reject their apostasy they resume their legal status as full Jews. Further reading: Allan L. Berkowitz and Patti Moskovitz, Embracing the Covenant: Converts to Judaism Talk About Why & How (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1996); Lydia Kukoff, Choosing Judaism (Cincinnati, Ohio: UAHC Press, 1981); Julius Lester, Lovesong: Becoming a Jew (New York: Arcade Publishing, 1988).

Conversos Conversos were Jews (mostly Spanish or Portuguese) who had converted to CHRISTIANITY under threat of death, confiscation of property, or expulsion, but who privately still considered themselves Jews and practiced some Jewish rituals in secret. The Roman Catholic Church under Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) launched the Inquisition to fight against perceived heretics within the church. The Inquisition authorities would use any means to elicit confessions from suspected heretics; those

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who recanted might be welcomed back to the church; others were turned over to the civil authorities for punishment, often execution. By 1255 the Inquisition had spread to most of central and Western Europe with the exception of ENGLAND. While the Inquisition did not technically have legal authority to persecute Judaism itself, any Jew who had converted came under their purview and could be investigated on suspicion of practicing Judaism, and any Jews who had not converted could be investigated for undermining the Christian faith of converts. The church called the secret Jews Conversos. In Spain they were popularly referred to as Marranos, or “swine.” This pejorative was used by Catholics as well as by those Jews who had refused to convert. Historians today often use a third term, Crypto-Jews. A significant Converso population lived in SPAIN. Beginning in 1481 Spain targeted both Jews and Conversos with an intense series of Inquisitions led by Tomás de Torquemada, the inquisitorgeneral. In Seville, approximately 700 Conversos were burned at the stake, though another 5,000 were allowed to openly repent and embrace the church. Additional burnings of Conversos took place in Aragon, Catalonia, Ciudad Real, Toledo, and ultimately Barcelona, which had the largest number of Conversos. More than 13,000 Conversos were tried during the Spanish Inquisition. In 1492 all Jews and Conversos were expelled from Spain. By that time, the majority of Conversos had either assimilated into the Christian communities or had returned to normative Jewish practices, usually in countries of refuge like Turkey or the Netherlands. It is not uncommon for a modern family of Spanish or Portuguese heritage in those countries or in the Americas to discover their Jewish roots after generations of practicing Christianity. Further reading: Jane S. Gerber, The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience (New York: Free Press, 1992); David M. Gitlitz, Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication


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Society, 1996); B. Netanyahu, The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain (New York: New York Review of Books, 2001); Norman Roth, Conversos, Inquisition, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995).

Cordovero, Moses (1522–1570) mystic Moses (in HEBREW, Moshe) Cordovero was a renowned practitioner of KABBALAH, Jewish MYSTICISM. He headed the Portuguese YESHIVA in SAFED, the center of Jewish mysticism in ISRAEL during his lifetime. Cordovero’s philosophical works created the primary models for later Kabbalism and HASIDISM. Cordovero was apparently born in Safed to a family of Spanish origin. He is believed to have studied with the legalist Joseph CARO. His most important work was Pardes Rimmonim (Krakow, 1592), which discusses the divine nature, theodicy, the cosmos, humanity, and the worship of God. It also illuminates the parable of fire and the spheres, later treated in his great work Or Yaqur. The primary Kabbalistic topics, such as the Ein Sof and the SEFIROT, aspects of the divine, are well detailed in Cordovero’s books. He also wrote commentaries on Jewish liturgy and a final book on his personal mystical endeavors. Cordevero believed that the study and practice of Jewish mysticism would help to speed up God’s REDEMPTION of the Jewish people. To that end, he emphasized that a Jew was to pray daily with KAVANAH, or devotion. Cordovero was ultimately concerned with how the human soul related to God; his works were all aimed at building and improving that relationship. Cordovero and his peers were probably responsible for the implementation of the Kabbalat Shabbat liturgy, which welcomes the SHABBAT queen and is still recited in most synagogues at Friday evening services. Further reading: Moses Cordovero, The Palm Tree of Deborah (New York: Hermon Press, 1974); Lawrence Fine, Safed Spirituality: Rules of Mystical Piety, the Beginning of Wisdom (New York: Paulist Press, 1984).

Council of Jewish Federations See UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES.

court Jews In the 17th and 18th centuries it became common for rulers and powerful nobles in central and eastern European states to utilize the services of Jews for administration and finance; such Jews were often referred to as court Jews. Jewish communities all across Europe and beyond often remained in contact with one another, and rulers were eager to exploit this network to obtain financing. Apart from their international trade connections, court Jews tended to have high levels of education and commercial skills, and were often personally wealthy. Thanks to these factors they tended to be good financial managers for the nobility. They would help rulers set up centralized systems to manage their property; their tasks often included administering lands, organizing agricultural production, provisioning armies, and obtaining needed grain, timber, cattle, precious metal for the mint, and luxury items. Often the court Jews would lend money to the nobility, and they were able to use their credit among other Jews to move goods and services across state boundaries with little difficulty. Many states had expelled their Jewish communities in the late Middle Ages, but exceptions were made for court Jews. The position entailed other privileges, which varied under different rulers. They could include official status, a salary, access to the ruler, freedom to travel and live anywhere, and exemption from rabbinic jurisdiction. Court Jews often chose the route of ASSIMILATION, though they often sought to marry into the families of other court Jews in an attempt to secure employment for their descendants. Court Jews generally did try to help other Jews gain settlement privileges; thus they helped prepare a path for eventual EMANCIPATION. While Isaac ben Judah ABRAVANEL was probably Europe’s most famous court Jew before the modern era, the biblical figure of JOSEPH appears to have


been an even earlier example of the role. Some say that Judah P. BENJAMIN, the American Confederacy’s vice president, took on this role, and former U.S. secretary of state Henry KISSINGER has been accused of playing the part, though he personally rejects the label. The term can sometimes take on a pejorative tone bordering on ANTISEMITISM. Further reading: Simon Noveck, Great Jewish Personalities in Modern Times (Washington, D.C.: B’nai B’rith Department of Adult Jewish Education, 1960); Selma Stern, The Court Jew (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1950).

covenant A covenant is an agreement between two parties; in the case of Judaism, the two parties tend to be humans and God. Jews regard the most important covenants to be those between God and Abraham (see PATRIARCHS), which was reaffirmed by Isaac and Jacob, and between God and the people of ISRAEL at MOUNT SINAI. The first covenant to appear in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, was between God and NOAH (Gn 9:8–13). God promises Noah never to destroy all of humankind, as nearly happened during the flood, and Noah in return commits to keeping seven commandments that forbid idolatry, incest, bloodshed, profaning God’s name, injustice, robbery, and cutting flesh from a living animal. The RAINBOW, God explains, will be an eternal reminder of this covenant. The covenant between God and Abraham is first referenced in Genesis (15:17). God promises to give Abraham progeny, and to give them possession of the holy land (converts are considered to be children of Abraham and Sarah and are thus included in the covenant). In turn, Abraham and his descendants must agree to serve only the one God, and must symbolize that promise by observing BRIT MILAH, the covenant of circumcision. The covenant of land in exchange for faithful service is reaffirmed with Isaac (Gn 26) and Jacob (Gn 28:35).

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The second covenant (Ex 19) provides that God will make the ISRAELITES a prosperous and holy people if they will follow his commandments (see MITZVAH). The first 10, known as the DECALOGUE, are explicitly part of the covenant, but the rabbis list a total of 613 TORAH commandments that must be observed. These covenants were part of what modern critics have called DEUTERONOMIC HISTORY, named for the Book of Deuteronomy. According to this worldview, when Jews obey the commandments, they prosper and are able to dwell in ERETZ YISRAEL, the land of Israel. However, when they disobey the commandments, they are punished and/or sent into EXILE. The Jewish people are never disowned by God, whose love is eternal, but they will be punished if they fail to keep their commitment as promised in the covenant. While many Jews still hold this understanding of the covenant and history, others believe that the HOLOCAUST—a severe punishment of the Jews with no apparent provocation—nullifies Deuteronomic history and makes the idea of a covenant with God problematic. Further reading: Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Lavinia CohnSherbok, A Short Introduction to Judaism (Oxford, U.K., and Rockport, Mass.: Oneword Publications, 1997); Arthur Hertzberg, Judaism: The Classic Introduction to One of the Great Religions of the Modern World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991); Peter Ochs, ed., with Eugene B. Borowitz, Reviewing the Covenant: Eugene B. Borowitz and the Postmodern Revival of Jewish Theology (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000).

Creation Creation is one of the three central concepts in Judaism, along with REVELATION and REDEMPTION. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” reads the King James Version of Genesis 1:1, the first line of the TORAH. Like Christians, Jews tend to believe in Creation ex nihilo, meaning Creation from nothing. However, some scholars believe the HEBREW should be translated


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somewhat differently; as in the following quote: “When God began to create heaven and earth— the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Gn 1:1–3) Such a translation suggests that something already existed and God gave it definite form. According to the Genesis account God created the universe in six days. Creation occurred in this order: on the first day, God created darkness and light; on the second, water and sky; on the third, land, seas, and vegetation; on the fourth, the sun, moon, and stars; on the fifth, insects, fish, and birds; and on the sixth, animals and humans. In this account, God creates the human male and female together (Gn 1:27), and grants them dominion over all the animals and vegetation. God rests on the seventh day, which Jews commemorate with SHABBAT. The second chapter of Genesis presents a somewhat different account of Creation. In this account, God creates the human male before animals and vegetation. He places the man in the Garden of Eden, and creates all sorts of vegetation for him to eat. God then creates all the types of animals and birds, which the man names, but as none can serve as a good helper, God creates a woman from the man’s rib to fill the job. Many scholars attribute the varying accounts to different strands of oral tradition, one known as the J strand, and one as the E strand. Jewish tradition, on the other hand, holds both versions to be true and reconciles them in various ways. For example, some rabbis theorized that the woman in the first version, whom they named LILITH, turned out to be too independent to be an appropriate helper to Adam, the man, and was banished; God then created Eve from Adam’s rib. Alternately, some rabbis hold that God first created a hermaphrodite, who was then split into Adam and Eve. Further reading: Jacob Neusner, Confronting Creation: How Judaism Reads Genesis: An Anthology of Genesis

Rabbah (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1991); Raphael Posner, ed., The Creation according to the Midrash Rabbah (Jerusalem and New York: Devora Publishing, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Cresques, Abraham and Judah (c. 14th century) cartographers Abraham Cresques was a 14th-century cartographer in southern Europe. Although historians believe that the Cresques family had been living in Majorca, an island off of present-day SPAIN, for several generations, whether they originally came from Catalonia or North Africa is uncertain. Abraham constructed maps and compasses for Pedro IV of Aragon and his son John. His map of the world was sent as a gift to Charles VI of France in 1381. It is believed that he prepared the Catalan atlas, possibly with the help of his son Judah. The atlas, currently held by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, is the most famous extant example of medieval cartography. Abraham’s talents won him special privileges. Both he and Judah were granted royal protection in 1381 and were exempted from wearing the Jewish badge. After the death of his father, Judah continued as a cartographer for John I and Martin of Aragon. During the anti-Jewish violence in Spain in 1391, Judah chose to convert to CHRISTIANITY. He settled in Barcelona in 1394 with the new name Jaime Ribes. Under the name Mestre Jacome de Mallorca he worked as cartographer for Prince Henry the Navigator in Portugal in the 1420s. Further reading: Abraham Cresques, Mapamundi, the Catalan Atlas of the Year 1375 (New York: Abaris Books, 1978); G. R. Crone, Maps and Their Makers: An Introduction to the History of Cartography (London: Hutchinson’s University Library, 1953).

customs See MINHAG.


Cyrus (d. 529 B.C.E.) Persian king Cyrus the Great, emperor of PERSIA in the sixth century B.C.E., rescued the Jews from Babylonian exile, and was instrumental in the survival of Judaism past the biblical era. In 586 B.C.E., the territory of Judea (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA) was conquered by BABYLONIA. The conquerors destroyed the first TEMPLE and exiled many Jews, including the leaders, to Babylonia. After Cyrus conquered Babylonia, he allowed the Jews to return to JERUSALEM and to rebuild the Temple in the year 538 B.C.E., inaugurating the second Temple period. Traditional Judaism interprets Cyrus’s victory as an act of God ending the period of punishment as foretold by the NEVI’IM, the

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Prophets. The book of ISAIAH calls the emperor “Cyrus, His anointed one—whose right hand He was grasped, Treading down nations before him, Ungirding the loins of kings” (Is 45:1). Cyrus was a master propagandist, and legend has it that he conquered Babylon “without firing a shot.” The British Museum holds an example of his propaganda in the “Cyrus Cylinder,” which states that the emperor would restore correct religious order wherever he rules, which confirms in its way the biblical account. Further reading: Andrew Robert Burn, Persia and the Greeks: The Defense of the West, c. 546–478 B.C. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1962).

D AF J: Damascus Affair The 1840 Damascus Affair, which involved BLOOD LIBEL accusations and the torture of innocent Jews, represented one of the first times that human rights abuses rose to the attention of an international public, and marked the start of organized efforts by modern Jews to help their coreligionists in other countries. The event was sparked by the disappearance of a monk, but it was based upon centuries of myths that accused Jews of using the blood of Christians to make Passover MATZAH. Such accusations are historically known as the blood libel, and they caused many massacres of Jews in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, often in conjunction with Christian celebrations of Easter. The Damascus Affair is but one example of how modern ANTISEMITISM thrived on these ancient lies. The Damascus Affair began when the elderly monk Tomaso de Camangiano disappeared along with his servant. A story began to spread that the monk had been murdered by Jews for his blood. Subsequently, a Jewish barber, Solomon Negrin, was arrested and tortured to induce him to confess to the crime and implicate Jewish communal leaders. These leaders were arrested, tortured until they too confessed to the crime that they did not commit, and imprisoned. 106

Word of the torture leaked out into the world, and Moses MONTEFIORE, Isaac-Adolphe Cremieux, and James de Rothschild tried to intervene with the French government, which occupied Syria at the time. When the French government refused to act, Rothschild released the report to the European press, and the Damascus Affair became public knowledge. Both Jews and Gentiles throughout Europe were horrified by the tales of torture and the revival of a deadly medieval myth. On July 8, 1840, a meeting took place in London at which members of Parliament and Christian clergy protested the blood libel and the torture of the accused Jews. UNITED STATES president Martin Van Buren ordered the American consul in Syria to help the Jews of Damascus. After prolonged negotiations, those who had survived the torture were freed. The Damascus Affair became a major turning point in Jewish history. World Jewry had awakened to antisemitism within the Catholic Church, and they worked together with enlightened Gentiles. Together Jews and Christians began to formally organize to combat worldwide antisemitism. Even more important, the affair resulted in increased solidarity among the Jewish communities of Europe as they began to understand the importance of acting together to combat


this revitalized threat to their lives and their hopes for EMANCIPATION. Further reading: Esther Benbassa, The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999); Norman A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979).

Daughters of Zelophehad In the Book of Numbers in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, the five daughters of Zelophehad stand out as defenders of equal property rights for women, at least in certain circ*mstances. According to the story (Nm 27:1–4), Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah come before an assembly of MOSES, Eleazar, the chieftains, and the entire ISRAELITE community to protest that no land would be given to their family, since their father had died without leaving any sons. God tells Moses that the daughters’ plea is just and that they should be given land. Thus the Hebrew Bible provided some rights of inheritance for women, a revolutionary concept for its time and for many centuries thereafter. Within rabbinic literature the daughters of Zelophehad are praised for their courage and leadership. The sages, all of them males, asserted that God treats males and females alike, quoting Psalms (145:9), “Adonai is good to all, and God’s tender mercies are over all God’s works.” While traditional Judaism remains male-centered, many feminist Bible critics cite the narrative of the daughters of Zelophehad as a seminal narrative. It represents the biblical cornerstone for a feminist embrace of equality between the genders. Further reading: David L. Lieber, Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Publication Society, 2001); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

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David (d. 962 B.C.E.) second biblical king of Israel King David is the Jewish prototype of the benevolent and legitimate monarch. Though a flawed human being, his model of leadership and piety have fed a tradition that the MESSIAH will come from his line. The story of King David is found in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. David, from the tribe of Judah and a great-grandson of NAOMI the Moabite, is still a young shepherd when God tells the prophet Samuel to anoint him as the chosen one. David proves his worth by winning a battle against Goliath, the Philistine, and wins the support and love of King Saul’s son Jonathan as well as of the general population. Sensing a threat, King Saul persecutes David, but David survives and becomes king of ISRAEL. As king, David moves the capital to JERUSALEM and brings the ARK of the Covenant there, thereby unifying the northern and southern tribes into one kingdom. According to tradition, David was exceedingly devout; he is credited with writing the Psalms, and legends say his last days were consumed with TORAH study. However, David angered God by sending Uriah the Hittite to the front lines of battle so that he would be killed, freeing David to marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. David’s punishment was the death of his and Bathsheba’s infant child. In addition, he was deemed unworthy to build the grand TEMPLE, the house of God, because he had Uriah’s blood on his hands. The honor of building the Temple passed to David and Bathsheba’s son, SOLOMON. David also suffered strife within his own family, when his son Absalom attempted to seize the throne from him. Despite ambiguities in David’s character, Jews have revered him as a great king and his rule as a model for a strong sovereign Jewish state. Additionally, it is believed that the messiah will be a member of the Davidic line, that is, a direct descendant of King David. Further reading: Robert Alter, The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel (New York:


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W. W. Norton, 1999); Ronald H. Isaacs, Legends of Biblical Heroes: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2002); Jonathan Kirsch, King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Dayan, Moshe (1915–1981) Israeli military and political leader Moshe Dayan was a world-famous military and political leader, credited with some of the most impressive Israeli accomplishments in both fields. Dayan was born on May 20, 1915 on the Deganya Alef KIBBUTZ by the Sea of Galilee. At the age of 14 Dayan joined the HAGANAH, an underground Jewish defense force dedicated to protecting Jewish settlements from Arab attacks. Dayan acquired valuable experience in how to combat guerrilla warfare both as a member of a police force in Galilee and as a member of the Haganah. In 1939 the British outlawed the Haganah, and Dayan was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, although he only served two. Released in 1941, he was allowed to join the British army in order to fight the Nazis. Dayan was wounded in battle in Lebanon and lost his left eye. This injury prompted Dayan to wear a black eye patch, which makes him easily identifiable. He continued to assist British intelligence in PALESTINE until the conclusion of the war, after which he rejoined the Haganah. In 1948, during the ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, Dayan commanded the defense of Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. He led an attack on the city of Lydda that stopped the Egyptian forces on the southern front. Promoted to chief of staff for the Israeli armed forces in 1953, he was in charge of the successful October 1956 campaign that captured the Sinai peninsula from EGYPT. Dayan left the military in 1958 to enter the Israeli political arena as a member of the KNESSET for Mapai, the Labor Party. He served as minister of

agriculture and later minister of defense, where he served during the astonishing Israeli military successes of the 1967 SIX-DAY WAR. Dayan kept his position as defense minister under Golda MEIR. On October 6, 1973, Israel was taken by surprise when Egypt and Syria attacked on the Jews’ holiest day of the year, YOM KIPPUR. Israel pushed back the Arab enemies, but Dayan resigned from office in public disgrace for allowing the surprise attack, which resulted in heavy casualties. In 1977, Dayan’s political opponent, Likud Party prime minister Menachem BEGIN, offered Dayan a chance at a new political life by becoming Begin’s minister of foreign affairs. Dayan, still a member of the Labor Party, was eager to accept the appointment and assist with Israel’s attempt to reach a comprehensive peace with the Arab states. Dayan became Begin’s lead negotiator with the Egyptians, and he led the brokering of a peace agreement, consecrated by the CAMP DAVID ACCORDS of 1978. In 1979, Dayan had a falling out with Begin over the building of settlements in the West Bank (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA) and the lack of continued peace talks with the Palestinians, and he resigned his position. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and he died on October 16, 1981. Moshe Dayan is recognized as one of the great modern-day Jewish warriors, who ultimately became a crusader for Israeli/Arab peace. Further reading: Moshe Dayan, Moshe Dayan: Story of My Life (New York: Morrow, 1976); Robert Slater, Warrior Statesman: The Life of Moshe Dayan (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991).

Day of Atonement See YOM KIPPUR. Dead Sea Scrolls The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise a set of ancient HEBREW manuscripts and fragments discovered in the 1940s, including the oldest surviving copies of nearly every book in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible.

Dead Sea Scrolls

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Today one can see the actual Dead Sea Scrolls on display. Many of the scrolls are housed in the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. (Avi Ohayon, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

The scrolls were found in clay pots in caves along the shore of the DEAD SEA. The manuscripts have been dated to the period from 200 B.C.E. to around 100 C.E., and are thus 1,000 years older than the earliest previously known biblical texts. They include portions of every book of the Tanakh except for ESTHER. Perhaps most important, the Dead Sea Scrolls helped prove that the 1,000-year-old Masoretic text of the Bible, considered authoritative by Jews, does indeed accurately preserve far more ancient versions of the Hebrew books, thus underscoring its reliability. The scrolls also include selections from the APOCRYPHA literature, as well as pseudepigraphical writings (books written in the name of biblical figures). There are also several previously unknown

books associated with the Qumran community, a radical group of pietists living in the desert near the Dead Sea. The scrolls contributed greatly to historians’ understanding of the context in which rabbinic Judaism and early CHRISTIANITY developed. A controversy has developed around the scrolls because much of the material discovered in Cave IV, the largest collection of scrolls, was unpublished and inaccessible for many years. Recently the Huntington Library in California has published a complete photographic facsimile of the scrolls, and a new editorial team has been organized to supervise full publication of all the fragments. Further reading: Frank Moore Cross, Jr., The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies (Garden


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City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958); A. Dupont-Sommer and E. Margaret Rowley, The Dead Sea Scrolls, a Preliminary Survey (Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 1952); Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library of Qumran (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1994).


Decalogue While Judaism counts 613 total commandments (see MITZVAH), only 10 were given directly by God to the people of ISRAEL. The rest MOSES obtained from God and brought back to the people at MOUNT SINAI. The Decalogue (Greek for “10 words,” an accurate translation of the traditional Hebrew phrase asseret ha-dvarim) is usually known in English as the Ten Commandments. They are recorded twice in the TORAH, once in the book of EXODUS (20:1–17) and once in Deuteronomy (5:1–21; see TORAH).

Deborah (12th century B.C.E.) biblical leader and prophet Deborah’s story is found in the book of Judges (4:4) in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. She was the only female among the judges who led the ISRAELITES in the era before the monarchy emerged. Deborah was a prophet, a leader, a warrior, and a judge. The biblical text describes her sitting beneath a palm tree while the Israelites brought questions and problems to her for decision. Deborah, following God’s will, orders Barak to attack Sisera, an enemy commander. Deborah accompanies Barak into battle, the battle is successful, and a woman named Yael slays the fleeing Sisera. The song of Deborah follows: it is a beautiful piece of poetry that praises both God and Deborah. Following the battle, led and successfully completed by a woman, the land is said to be at peace for 40 years. Biblical scholars compare Deborah to MOSES as a leader, prophet, and judge. Further reading: Cheryl Anne Brown, No Longer Be Silent: First Century Jewish Portraits of Biblical Women (Philadelphia, Pa.: Westminster Press, 1992); Naomi M. Hyman, ed., Biblical Women in the Midrash: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997); Ronald H. Isaacs, Legends of Biblical Heroes: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Many synagogues display the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, in their sanctuaries. This example shows how the Decalogue is abbreviated to artistically recreate the tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. (Getty Images)


According to the Jewish interpretation of the text (which does not clearly delineate where each commandment begins and ends), the commandments are as follows: 1) I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods besides me; 2) you shall not make for yourself a sculptured image and shall not bow down to or serve idols; 3) you shall not take in vain the name of the Lord; 4) remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy; 5) honor your father and your mother; 6) you shall not murder; 7) you shall not commit adultery; 8) you shall not steal; 9) you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; and 10) you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or possessions. Interestingly, Catholics and Protestants (see CHRISTIANITY), using the same ancient text, have a slightly different set of commandments. The lists of commandments in the two books are almost identical; however, the rationale for observing SHABBAT, the Sabbath, differs. While the Exodus version says to remember the Sabbath day because God rested on the seventh day of CREATION, the Deuteronomy version says to remember the Sabbath day because God freed the ISRAELITES from SLAVERY in EGYPT. Some point to a third rendition of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34, when Moses returns from Mount Sinai with a second set of tablets after smashing the first. This list, however, varies significantly from the other two; for example, it includes the commandment not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk, which many interpret to mean, according to the laws of KASHRUT, not to eat meat together with any dairy food. Although Judaism holds that all 613 commandments are important, the Ten Commandments hold special significance because of their REVELATION at Sinai to the entire Jewish community. This revelation is reenacted each year on the festival of SHAVUOT. The rabbis decided that Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks established in the Torah, is intended to commemorate receiving the Ten Commandments. Traditionally, Jews stay up all night on Shavuot studying Torah and recreating the anticipation of receiving the Ten Commandments; in the morning prayer service, the

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Commandments are read before the standing congregation with a special musical TROPE. In modern times, some people have argued that the Ten Commandments represent universal ethical norms and that they underpin the laws of the UNITED STATES; therefore, these people argue, they should be displayed in public places, such as courthouses and schools, to encourage society to follow biblical standards of morality. Others point out, however, that though secular law may be partly based on the Ten Commandments, the latter remains by definition a religious document; in addition, some of the commandments are specific to certain religions and thus not universal, such as the prohibition of idols and the commandment to keep the Sabbath. Further reading: Abraham Chill, The Mitzvot: The Commandments and Their Rationale (New York: Bloch, 1974); J. H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftarahs: Hebrew Text, English Translation and Commentary (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, Ltd., 1997); Jacob Neusner, ed., How Judaism Reads the Torah (New York: P. Lang, 1993); Anthony Phillips, Ancient Israel’s Criminal Law; a New Approach to the Decalogue (Oxford: Blackwell, 1970); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Denmark King Christian IV invited the first Jewish community to Denmark in 1622. He offered religious freedom and commercial privileges to SEPHARDIM from Amsterdam and Hamburg. Most of the Jews who came were financiers involved in trading or manufacturing. By 1782 there were 1,830 Jews living in Denmark, most of them in Copenhagen. In 1814 Danish Jews received citizenship, and in 1849 the Danish constitution removed the last remaining law that stood in the way of Jews participating in any element of economic, social, or political life. By the beginning of the 20th century most Jews living in Denmark were members of the middle and upper classes. The Jewish population of 4,200 had begun to decline because of


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In keeping with the good relations between Denmark and its Jewish citizens, the nation of Denmark has always had a strong relationship with the State of Israel. President Herzog (1981–83) (far left) stands here with his wife (second from right), the Prince Consort, and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark on the steps of the Fredensborg Palace in Denmark. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

and a low birthrate. In 1903 the community was augmented by immigrants fleeing POGROMS in RUSSIA; the new immigrants were able to integrate smoothly into the established Danish-Jewish society. By 1921, the population had increased to 6,000 Jewish people. Jews in Denmark participated in all spheres of life, as sculptors, literary critics, botanists, physicians, scientists, politicians, bankers, and poets. After 1969 a significant number of immigrants INTERMARRIAGE

from POLAND arrived in Denmark, fleeing an antisemitic purge. While Danish Jews actively participated in helping Soviet Jews, especially by providing educational materials, fewer than 100 Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union have been allowed to settle in Denmark. By the mid-1990s there were 8,000 people in the Danish Jewish community. The population has remained steady, with neither natural increase nor immigration. The Jewish community in Denmark primarily adheres to ORTHODOX JUDAISM. REFORM JUDAISM has had a steady influence, but it remains in the minority. The Jewish community is recognized by the state. It has the power to levy taxes, and its rabbis have the authority to perform marriages and register births and deaths. There is at least one Jewish Day School in Denmark as well as an active Zionist Federation, youth organizations, a B’NAI B’RITH lodge, and two-old age homes for the Jewish elderly. The community is active in international organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization. Denmark’s Jews show a vital interest in ISRAEL and have an active B’nai Akiba youth group (see ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS). The government of Denmark has always had a friendly and warm relationship with ISRAEL, beginning with its vote for the PARTITION PLAN in 1947 and its recognition of the Jewish state on November 29, 1947. The Danish Jewish community encourages a strong relationship with Israel and the Israeli people, believing that this tie may strengthen their community and negate the effects of ASSIMILATION. Historically the Danish people have embraced the country’s Jewish community, and the Nazi occupiers in World War II were unable to instill ANTISEMITISM. GERMANY did not seek to molest the Jews of Denmark until 1943 when relations between Germany and occupied Denmark deteriorated. In September that year it became clear that the Jewish community was no longer safe; a rescue operation was launched, involving a broad range of people, from politicians to fisherman. In three weeks’ time, almost the entire Jewish community of Denmark, including approximately 1,400 refugees

Dershowitz, Alan M.

from Germany, AUSTRIA, and Czechoslovakia, were ferried to Sweden in safety. The operation cost 12 million Danish crowns, and the price was split between the Jewish community and private and public Danish contributions. By the time the Germans came for the Danish Jews in October of 1943, they found fewer than 500 victims. These were transferred to the CONCENTRATION CAMP of Theresienstadt, where some 50 of them later died. After the successful escape, Danish and Swedish Jews organized a flow of illegal traffic between the two countries, keeping Denmark in touch with the Allies as the war drew to a close. The Jewish community returned to Denmark after the war ended, where they found most of their property intact. Only about 120 Danish Jews died in the Holocaust, less than 2 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population. Denmark’s positive relationship with its Jewish community remained intact even during an outburst of Danish nationalist feeling against immigrants in the 1980s; the Jews were not seen as strangers but countrymen. Many of the newcomers are Muslims. An office of the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO) was opened in Denmark, but when plans were uncovered to assassinate Danish Jews visiting Israel, as well as the chief rabbi of the country, the office lost its support. Denmark continues to celebrate its successful rescue of the Danish Jewish community, and the community remains an integrated part of Danish society. Further reading: Herbert Pundik, In Denmark It Could Not Happen: The Flight of the Jews to Sweden in 1943 (Jerusalem: Gefen Publishing House, Ltd., 1998); Emmy E. Werner, A Conspiracy of Decency: The Rescue of the Danish Jews During World War II (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2002); Nechama Tec, When Light Pierced the Darkness: Christian Rescue of Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

Dershowitz, Alan M. (b. 1938) legal scholar, defense attorney, and human rights advocate Born in Brooklyn, New York, Alan M. Dershowitz attended YESHIVA UNIVERSITY high school and gradu-

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ated from Brooklyn College. He received his law degree from Yale University, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After becoming a member of the Harvard University Law faculty at the age of 25, Dershowitz achieved the rank of full professor three years later at the age of 28, the youngest person to do so at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz has won wide acclaim, and some notoriety, as a lecturer, newspaper columnist, author of several books, and, especially, criminal defense attorney. Among his controversial clients have been Patty Hearst, Michael Milken, Jimmy Bakker, O. J. Simpson, and Claus von Bulow, whose murder trial Dershowitz chronicled in Reversal of Fortune, later made into a successful movie. His wide interests are reflected in the courses he has taught, which include criminal law, psychiatry and law, constitutional litigation, civil liberties and violence, comparative criminal law, legal ethics, and human rights. Dershowitz has been a vocal defender of Jewish interests. He authored the best seller Chutzpah: Candid Reflections on Being Jewish in America (1992). In another book, The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century (1997), he makes the controversial argument that mainstream American Jews are in danger of disappearing through INTERMARRIAGE, ASSIMILATION, and a relatively low birthrate. Dershowitz’s commitment to civil rights has earned him recognition by several national oraganizations. In 1983 the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE honored him with its William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.” He has received honorary doctorates of law from Yeshiva University, the HEBREW UNION COLLEGE, Monmouth College, and HAIFA UNIVERSITY. Throughout his career, Dershowitz has exhibited commitment both to the practice and teaching of law and to the worldwide Jewish community. Further reading: Alan M. Dershowitz, The Case for Israel (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003); ———,


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Chutzpah (Little Brown, 1991); ———, The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century (New York: Touchstone, 1997).

Dessler, Elijah Eliezer (1891–1954) Talmudic scholar E. E. Dessler was an important religious thinker and leader in the Musar movement. He was a great-grandson of Israel SALANTER, the founder of the Musar movement, which encouraged study of ethics and right conduct as a necessary companion to TALMUD study. Like his great-grandfather, Dessler became a renowned Talmud scholar. Born and raised in Homel, RUSSIA, Dessler received a traditional Jewish education and eventually became a RABBI. After an early attempt in the business world failed, Dessler sought a rabbinic appointment in the East End of London. He went on to establish the first formal YESHIVA in ENGLAND, the Gateshead Kollel near Newcastle, where Jewish men can study Talmud full time. Later in his life, Dessler became the head of the yeshiva of Ponivezh in ISRAEL. Among the thousands of students Dressler influenced at both schools were L. Carmel and A. Halpern, who eventually published their rabbi’s discourses in the four-volume Mikhtav me-Eliyahu, or Writing of Elijah, which has become a standard text for those who study in the Musar tradition. Dessler, while devoted to Musar, was also an expert in KABBALAH and HASIDISM, as well as in modern psychological theories. His secular knowledge won him high regard among a nontraditional Jewish audience, although he remained devoted to ORTHODOX JUDAISM his entire life. Dessler believed that the primary purpose of Judaism was to help the Jew come closer to God in this world and the next. The only way to do this was through complete dedication to the study of TORAH. Dessler lectured on the subconscious mind, and taught that only the Torah can prevent the human being from becoming completely selfserving and destructive.

Unique within his movement, Dessler tried to combine the austere milieu of Musar with the more joyful celebration of Hasidic masters. In fact, Dessler’s special contributions to Jewish thought stemmed from his thought-provoking combination of rabbinic texts, Musar, Hasidic thought, and Freudian analysis. Further reading: Eliyahu Dessler, Strive for Truth (New York: Feldheim, 1988); Lewis Glinert, The Joys of Hebrew (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Yonason Rosenblum, Rav Dessler: The Life and Impact of Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, the Michtav m’Eliyahu (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah, 2000).

Deuteronomic history Modern historians have coined the term Deuteronomic history to describe the point of view expressed in Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the TORAH, and other parts of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, concerning the covenantal relationship between God and the Jewish people. In 2 Kings (22:3–8) the HIGH PRIEST Hilkiah discovers a lost scroll written by MOSES. The scroll records Moses’ final speeches to the ISRAELITES prior to his death and their own entry into the Promised Land. King Josiah is overwhelmed by the discovery, and decides to enforce the scroll’s commandments. He institutes what historians call the “Josianic religious reforms,” extinguishing all idolatrous influences within the Israelite community. These events have been dated to 622 B.C.E. Both traditional and critical scholars agree that the “newfound scroll” was the book of Deuteronomy, or the Deuteronomic Code. The book consists primarily of Moses’ reminders to the people of Israel of their special COVENANT with God, and their responsibility to live up to its demands. Moses spells out the rewards or punishments that await Israel, depending upon their actions once they enter the land. ORTHODOX JUDAISM accepts the narrative of 2 Kings literally, and teaches that Deuteronomy was


part of the five books authored by Moses himself. Many modern biblical scholars believe that the Deuteronomic Code was actually newly written in Josiah’s day by the “Deuteronomists” as a reinterpretation of the existing biblical narrative, to provide textual support for Josiah’s religious reforms. In any case, the reforms took hold and became the cornerstone for future rabbinic Judaism. The presumed writers or editors are often referred to as Deuteronomic Historians; their initial intention was most likely to depict Josiah as the MESSIAH, the king who would restore the glory to Israel that had once existed in the time of King David. Such glory was only possible if Israel was united in religious piety. When Josiah died unexpectedly in battle, the messianic movement lost momentum, but the new Deuteronomic Code continued to inspire the future religious leaders of Israel. Several generations of Deuteronomists, it is believed, continued to refine the book in light of new circ*mstances. They also edited the previous four books of the Torah to reflect the new theological perspective, and may have influenced some of NEVI’IM (Prophets) as well. The 20th-century German scholar Martin Noth (1902–68) is credited with uncovering the Deuteronomic strand of the Bible and the methods with which the Deuteronomic historians edited the Tanakh. Noth recognized the common language and ideology reflected in Deuteronomy and the subsequent historical books through 2 Kings. His basic thesis has been adopted by almost all critical biblical scholars today. Many scholars, continuing the work of Noth, have found Deuteronomic language throughout the Tanakh, in original and edited sections. A primary theological agenda of the Deuteronomic editors was to shift Israelite theology from a physical to a nonphysical understanding of God. They rewrote earlier texts to downplay or replace anthropomorphic descriptions of God. This theological understanding became a core belief within Judaism, and explains Jewish resistance to any notion that God can assume a physical form.

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Further reading: Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, The Literary Guide to the Bible (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987); Lawrence Boadt, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1985); Richard E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Diaspora For Jews, to live in the Diaspora means to live outside ISRAEL. The word diaspora (from Greek) literally means to scatter or spread out. The first large spreading out occurred with the EXILE of the Jews from Israel to BABYLONIA in 586 B.C.E. after the destruction of the TEMPLE by the Babylonians. While many of the exiles returned to Israel in 539 B.C.E., others stayed behind. Eventually this Diaspora spread throughout the region, although most Jews outside Israel remained concentrated in Babylonia or EGYPT. After the second Exile in 70 C.E., when the second Temple was destroyed, the Diaspora continued to grow, and Jewish communities sprang up throughout the known world. Large communities existed in western Europe, especially the Iberian Peninsula, eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Some Jews even settled as far away as INDIA and CHINA. With the discovery of the New World, many Jews left Europe and settled in North and South America, beginning with Spanish Jews banished from SPAIN by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Central and eastern European Jews moved to the New World (including Australia and SOUTH AFRICA) in two waves of emigration in the 1840s and from 1881 to 1914 (see RUSSIA). Thus, Jews came to live in hundreds of countries and thousands of cities and towns in every part of the world. In all of these communities, the Jews adapted to the culture and law of the land in which they lived. Today it is often said that the success of the Jews is a result of their ability to take from the surrounding


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culture while retaining Jewish customs, traditions, and memories. Religious Jews in the medieval world interpreted the continuing Jewish Diaspora in two very different ways: 1) The Diaspora and exile from the Land of Israel was a punishment from God for not following God’s law, and 2) the Diaspora was God’s way of scattering the Jews so that they would spread the divine light to cultures and peoples around the world (see KABBALAH; LURIA, ISAAC). In present times, the number of Jews in the Diaspora still exceeds the number of Jews in Israel, though the gap has been narrowing. There are some differences between Diaspora Jews and Israeli Jews in terms of religious practices as well as Jewish identity. For example, Jews in Israel celebrate many of the Jewish holidays for one day, while Diaspora Jews celebrate two-day holidays. The original reason was probably to ensure that Jews abroad were marking the correct day, as determined by sightings of the new moon in Jerusalem. The holiday of CHANUKAH has taken on added importance among American Jews, while SUKKOT, because of its agricultural roots, is celebrated in Israel even among many secular Jews. Moreover, in Israel there has been a conscious effort to interpret Judaism from a nationalist perspective, as the faith of a people with a strong history of sovereignty and military prowess dating back to biblical times. Thus Israelis may admire the image of strong, militarily efficient Jews. In the Diaspora, however, where concerns about ANTISEMITISM still persist, some teachers of Jewish history and identity continue to present the Jews as a victimized, persecuted people.

Row, 1985); Howard Wettstein, ed., Diasporas and Exiles: Varieties of Jewish Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

Further reading: Frédéric Brenner, Diaspora: Homelands in Exile (New York: HarperCollins, 2003); Allan Levine, Scattered Among the Peoples: The Jewish Diaspora in Twelve Portraits (Woodstock, N.Y.: Overlook Duckworth, 2003); Charles Liebman and Steven M. Cohen, Two Worlds of Judaism: The Israeli and American Experiences (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1990); Howard Morley Sachar, Diaspora: An Inquiry into the Contemporary Jewish World (New York: Harper &

Further reading: Beth Ha-Tefutsoth Web site URL: http://www.bh.org.il; Nahum Goldmann, Beth Hatefutsoth: The First Ten Years (Tel Aviv: Beth Hatefutsoth, the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, 1988); Let’s Go Israel and the Palestinian Territories (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

Diaspora Museum The Diaspora Museum, or Beth Ha-Tefutsoth, opened in TEL AVIV in 1978. Its exhibits tell the story of the Jews of the DIASPORA from the first EXILE up to the present day, highlighting various communities from different regions and eras. The museum spans 2,500 years of Jewish history, with a focus on both the unity and the diversity of the Jewish people. The museum strives to emphasize the idea of continuity even in the face of the vast distances that sometimes existed between Jewish communities. The museum has succeeded in attracting visitors from across the spectrum: young, old, religious, secular, Israelis, and tourists. Many visit the museum online, where they can research a variety of topics. The hope of the curators is that new generations may learn from the success of Diaspora communities in preserving Jewish continuity The museum includes permanent, temporary, and traveling exhibitions, a database of Jewish family names, a Jewish genealogy center, a music center and collection, a visual documentation (photographs) center, and a database of Jewish communities. The museum also produces a variety of educational programs. Membership is available to the general public, and there is a rich schedule of events and programs offered at the museum each month.

dietary laws See KASHRUT.


Dinah biblical daughter of Jacob According to Genesis (32–36) Dinah was the only daughter among Jacob’s 13 offspring (see PATRIARCHS). After her birth, the text does not mention her until she has sexual relations with Shechem, a prince of CANAAN, after going out to the fields alone. Shechem takes her to his city and asks Jacob for her hand in marriage. Many commentators insist she was raped, while others maintain that the relations were consensual. In either case, Shechem’s behavior was wrong in contemporary eyes, and Dinah’s brothers consider their family dishonored. The brothers decide to take revenge. They convince Shechem and his townsmen to become circumcised as a condition of marriage (see BRIT MILAH). While the men are recuperating, Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi slaughter Shechem and his followers and despoil the town. Jewish tradition generally considers the brothers’ violent behavior problematic; the fact that an entire community received severe punishment for the sin of one individual is also disturbing to many biblical commentators. Dinah’s own silence throughout her ordeal has been highlighted by modern commentators. A literature has appeared expressing the story from her perspective, to better understand how she may have felt after being raped. One novel, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, fleshes out the suggestion that Dinah had consented to relations with Shechem and wished to marry him. The novel gives voice to Dinah and her mother and aunts; it is a story about the MATRIARCHS that provides a good example of modern MIDRASH. Rape, although treated somewhat differently in biblical times, remains an unacceptable violent crime. Many modern Jews use the story of Dinah as a means to teach against rape, date rape, and abusive relationships. Further reading: Anita Diamant, The Red Tent (New York: Picador, U.S.A., 1998); Ellen Frankel, Five Books of Miriam: A Woman’s Commentary on the Torah (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998); Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism From A Feminist Per-

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spective (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

disputations Disputations were public debates between Christian and Jewish scholars in the Middle Ages. The Jews were always coerced to participate in these debates, which were aimed at demonstrating that Christianity was the “true religion.” Three famous disputations recorded by the church each pitted a Jewish convert to CHRISTIANITY against a Jewish scholar, who had to demonstrate why a Jew should not depart from his faith. In effect, the Jewish participant had no choice but to endanger his own life by philosophically attacking Christianity. The first of these three disputations occurred in Paris, FRANCE, in 1240. Rabbi Jehiel of Paris and other rabbis defended the TALMUD against the accusations of Nicholas Donin, who asserted that the work denigrated the character of JESUS OF NAZARETH. Rabbi Jehiel, while defending the authenticity of Judaism, was not able to cast Jesus in a positive light. As a result 24 cartloads of Talmud scrolls were burned, resulting in a severe shortage of Talmudic texts in Europe. The second disputation took place in Barcelona in 1263, between Pablo Christiani and the Talmudic scholar NACHMONIDES. King James I of Aragon oversaw this debate and ensured that Nachmonides received fair treatment, so he could fully express the Jewish perspective. The debate focused on the Christian assertion that Jesus was divine and was the MESSIAH predicted in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Nachmonides was able to control the conflict by showing that Judaism placed significantly less emphasis on the messianic notion. He later wrote that King James rewarded him with 300 gold coins for his debating skill; nevertheless, he was pressured to leave SPAIN for PALESTINE soon after the disputation concluded. The third disputation was held in Tortosa from 1413 to 1415. This time the disputants were the


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Christian Gerónimo de Santa Fe and Rabbi Astruk Halevi, Rabbi Joseph Albo, and other Jewish scholars, including a descendant of Nachmonides. Rabbi Albo’s views on Christianity became the foundation for his later work Sefer Ha-Ikkarim. The Tortosa disputations lasted 20 months, fanning anti-Jewish sentiment that forced many Jews to convert (see ANTI-JUDAISM). Further reading: Jane S. Gerber, The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience (New York: The Free Press, 1992); Hyam Maccoby, ed. Judaism on Trial: Jewish Christian Disputations in the Middle Ages (Portland, Ore.: Vallentine Mitchell, 1993).

Disraeli, Benjamin (1804–1881) British prime minister Born in London on December 21, 1804, Benjamin Disraeli was the son of a scholar of history and literature. His father, Isaac Disraeli, had his son privately educated and then trained as a solicitor. Born Jewish, Benjamin Disraeli is considered to be Britain’s first Jewish prime minister, although he was a practicing Anglican, having been baptized by his father at age 13 following the death of Isaac Disraeli’s father. Isaac had never been attached to Judaism, and Benjamin himself viewed Christianity as the highest development of Judaism. His baptism allowed him to serve in the British parliament early in his career, though practicing Jews were forbidden to do so until 1858. In 1839 he married Wyndham Lewis, a wealthy widow. Though never a practicing Jew, Disraeli’s membership in an often despised minority group influenced his politics throughout his life. He occasionally acknowledged his membership among the Jewish people, especially in response to antisemitic taunts. Disraeli, like his father, was a scholar of literature, and he published several novels: Vivian Grey (1826), The Young Duke (1831), Contarini Fleming (1832), Alroy (1833), Henrietta Temple (1837), and Venetia (1837). These novels reflect Disraeli’s personal ambition and his desire to be a “great man.” In the early 1830s Disraeli took an interest in pol-

itics, and in 1837 he was elected to the House of Commons. Disraeli became a progressive Tory, very sympathetic to the rights of laborers. In 1842 Disraeli helped to create the Young England group, which held the political aim of aligning the aristocracy and the working class. He wanted the aristocracy to use its economic and political power to help protect the poor; his novels Coningsby (1844), Sybil (1845), and Tancred (1847) reflected this consistent Disraeli theme. Disraeli continued to climb in stature and position in Parliament. In 1867 he proposed and managed to pass a new Reform Act that gave the right to vote to all male adult householders living in a borough constituency. This politically empowered 1.5 million new voters. The Reform Act also redrew the constituencies and boroughs, in a way that helped Disraeli become prime minister for a brief period in 1868, until the liberals regained control after a new general election. Disraeli led the Conservative Party in opposition for six years. In 1874 he led the Tories to their first General Election victory in over 36 years. During his tenure as prime minister, Disraeli managed to pass many social reforms, including the Artisans Dwellings Act (1875), the Public Health Act (1875), the Pure Food and Drugs Act (1875), the Climbing Boys Act (1875), and the Education Act (1876). He also succeeded in passing measures to protect workers and improve the legal status of trade unions. When the Liberals defeated the Conservatives in 1880, Disraeli was replaced as prime minister by William Gladstone. Disraeli retired to continue publishing novels, but after Endymion appeared in 1880, he took ill, dying on April 19, 1881. Further reading: Bernard Glassman, Benjamin Disraeli: The Fabricated Jew in Myth and Memory (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); B. R. Jerman, The Young Disraeli (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960); Paul Smith, Disraeli: A Brief Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); M. G. Wiebe, Mary S. Millar, and Ann P. Robson, Benjamin Disraeli Letters: 1852–1856 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998).


divination The word divination means the attempt to predict, or divine, the future by consulting spirits or the souls of departed people, or by any other occult means. The practice is explicitly prohibited in the TORAH and RABBINIC LAW. Deuteronomy reads (18:10–12): “There shall not be found among you one that uses divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or one that consults a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer. For whosoever does these things is an abomination unto God.” Several different pagan methods for divining are mentioned in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. These include using a goblet, using arrows, inspection of a liver, and astrology. MAIMONIDES lists the prohibition against divination as the 31st negative commandment in his work The 613 Commandments (see MITZVAH). Rabbinic dogma prohibits divination, in the belief that the false actions of those who practice divination may lead the religious person away from God. However, even Maimonides permits the use of the Hebrew Bible to predict the future, a practice that seems to fall into the category of divination. Further reading: Cristiano Grottanelli, Kings & Prophets: Monarchic Power, Inspired Leadership, & Sacred Text in Biblical Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Ronald H. Isaacs, Divination, Magic, and Healing: The Book of Jewish Folklore (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1998); Michael D. Swartz, Scholastic Magic (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996); Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

divorce Judaism has recognized the concept of divorce for thousands of years. While considering divorce a disappointment, the ancient RABBIS maintained that it was better for a couple to divorce than to remain together in a state of constant bitterness and strife. While divorce is an acceptable way to end a MARRIAGE, Jewish law discourages it through

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numerous and complex procedural details, as well as financial burdens in the form of alimony and child support. On the other hand, there are cases where divorce is ritually required, as when there has been a violation of marital fidelity. Under traditional Jewish law, a man need not provide a reason to divorce his wife. However, Jewish society frowned upon divorces executed without merit. According to the TORAH, divorce is accomplished simply by writing a bill of divorce called a GET, handing it to the wife, and sending her away. The rabbis instituted rules regarding the process: writing the document, delivery, and obtaining the wife’s acceptance. An entire tractate of the TALMUD is dedicated to this subject. Civil divorce is not sufficient to dissolve a Jewish marriage. The husband must also give his exwife a get. If a husband refuses to give a get to his wife, the BET DIN (rabbinic court) is empowered to fine him and/or excommunicate him. Excommunication was a far more powerful tool in earlier historical periods, when a man depended almost exclusively on the Jewish community for his livelihood and his ability to pray to God, than it is now. In ancient times a man who refused the bet din’s order to grant a divorce would be flogged until he relented. In Israel today, men are sometimes imprisoned if they do not provide their exwife with a get. Yet there are still many women who live in our modern world as AGUNAHs, or “chained women.” A woman finds herself in that status if she has obtained a civil divorce or her husband has left her, but her husband is either unwilling or unable to give her a get to complete the religious divorce. She is recognized as divorced by the civil authorities, but she is not able to marry again in a religious ceremony. In the case of a husband missing in action during a war, a woman is considered an agunah until his body is found. Many women and Jewish courts have tried to find ways of helping to free agunahs, but there is still no overall solution. However, sometimes men going to war may leave a get for use if they do not return.


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In liberal Judaism, rabbis may sometimes annul a marriage if the husband refuses to give his wife a get. They often use what is known as the “Lieberman Clause” in the KETUBAH (wedding contract), a prenuptial agreement that grants a get automatically if there is a civil divorce. Those who do not subscribe to the use of 20th-century conservative rabbi Saul LIEBERMAN’s (1898–1983) solution rely on a Talmudic dictate that “all betrothals receive the approval of the rabbis, and therefore the rabbis have the power to rescind their approval.” Further reading: Irving A. Breitowitz, The Plight of the Agunah in American Society (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993); Celebration & Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Blu Greenberg, On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998).

Doctorow, E. L. (b. 1931) novelist Edgar Laurence Doctorow was born in New York City on January 6, 1931, to Russian-Jewish parents who were liberal intellectuals and political idealists. He was named after the renowned American writer Edgar Allan Poe. Doctorow attended the Bronx High School of Science and Kenyon College. He did graduate work at Columbia University before joining the U.S. Army and serving in GERMANY. Doctorow holds the Glucksman Chair in American Letters at New York University. He has taught at the Yale University Drama School, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of California, Irvine. During his career he has held many positions, including editor-in-chief of a newspaper, but he is best known for his forte—historical novels, which blend historical fact with fictional characters. His first novel, Welcome to Hard Times (1960), was set in the 19th century. One of his best-known works, The Book of Daniel (1971) was based on the Rosenbergs, who conveyed American nuclear secrets to

the Soviet Union during the cold war. The couple was tried, found guilty, and executed. Doctorow portrays an America gripped with cold war hysteria, and highlights latent, but sometimes blatant, anti-Jewish and anti-black attitudes that sometimes complicated American fears about communism. The Book of Daniel was turned into a movie called Daniel nearly a decade after publication. Doctorow’s other novels include Ragtime (1975), set in pre–World War I America and later transformed into a hit Broadway musical and movie; Loon Lake (1980), set during the Great Depression; World’s Fair (1985), a semiautobiographical work set in the Bronx, New York, of the 1930s; Billy Bathgate (1989), about the gangsters of the Prohibition era; The Waterworks (1994), set in 1870s New York; and City of God (2000), which explored ideas about faith at the end of the 20th century. Doctorow has also published nonfiction essays, collected in Reporting the Universe (2003). Doctorow has received many awards for his work, including the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. Doctorow and his wife have three children. Further reading: E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime (New York: Plume Books, 1997); Desmond F. McCarthy, Reconstructing the Family in Contemporary American Fiction (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1997); John Williams, Fiction as False Document: The Reception of E. L. Doctorow in the Postmodern Age (Rochester, N.Y.: Camden House, 1996).

Dov Baer of Lubavitch (1773–1827) Hasidic rebbe Rebbe Dov Baer of Lubavitch was the successor to his father, Shneur Zalman of Liady, one of the founders of HASIDISM. His leadership helped to establish the CHABAD stream, perhaps the most influential group within Hasidim. He gave the


movement its more familiar name, Lubavitch, by settling in that town in RUSSIA. Dov Baer was a mystic, but also a very strong organizer, who successfully encouraged his followers to engage in farming while saving enough time for proper TORAH study. Dov Baer expanded upon his father’s intellectual work, writing the well-known tracts On Contemplation and On Ecstasy. The latter is held in especially high regard. In it, Dov Baer explores the history of Jewish spirituality, and creates a template by which to mystically but rationally pursue God. He also warns against charlatans who joined the Hasidic movement for mere pleasure and as an excuse to drink alcoholic beverages, which Lubavitch Hasidim used to help enhance spirituality. Dov Baer embraced the teachings of the KABBALAH, but tried to approach them through rational study. Many other Hasidic groups ridiculed this approach; they approached mysticism as a belief and practice, not as an intellectual exercise. Upon his death, the leadership of Chabad passed to Dov Baer’s son-in-law and nephew, Manachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1787–1866). Further reading: Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994); Naftali Lowenthal, Communicating the Infinite: The Emergence of the Habad School (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990); Zalman Schachter Shalomi and Nataniel M. Miles-Yepez, eds., Wrapped in a Holy Flame: Teachings and Tales of the Hasidic Masters (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003); Dov Baer, Schneersohn, On Ecstasy: A Tract, trans. by Louis Jacobs (Chappagua, N.Y.: Rossel Books, 1983).

drash Rabbinic tradition provides for several different ways of interpreting the text of the TORAH and the ancient commentaries. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher (1255–1340) popularized a fourfold categorization of these methods, which he called by the Hebrew word pardes (“orchard”). The word is an acronym for PSHAT, the simple, direct meaning of the text;

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remez, philosophical interpretation; drash, homiletical treatment; and sod, mystical probing. While pshat is relatively straightforward, drash requires more of an interpretative perspective. The reader must ask: what was the meaning the rabbis derived from the text over time? What is the deeper meaning of the text? What practical or moral lessons can we derive from it? Drash was of paramount importance in the rabbinic study of the Torah and its implications for Jewish life. The ORAL LAW, comprising the MISHNAH and the TALMUD, is grounded on the method of drash. One can “do drash” by explaining inconsistencies or blanks in the text, thereby creating MIDRASH, detailed stories or interpretations of biblical texts. Thus the term drash serves as a verb to the noun midrash (they come from the same Hebrew root). Most midrash is rabbinic by nature; the ancient rabbis spent their lives providing explanations for questions, practical or not, that might arise from the study of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Some of their explanations became so widely known that amateur Bible scholars often take midrashim to be quotes from the Torah itself. For example, Genesis, the first book of the Tanakh, says little about Terach, Abraham’s father, or about Abraham’s path toward MONOTHEISM. The rabbis fill in the details. They tell us that Terach owned an idol shop; one day the child Abraham smashed most of the idols and mischievously placed a big stick in the hands of the largest one. When told that one idol had destroyed the others, Terach angrily denied that idols could move, thereby confirming his son’s growing skepticism and undermining idol worship for all time. Further reading: Bachya Asher and Eliyahu Munk, Torah Commentary: Midrash Rabbeinu Bachya (Philadelphia: Coronet Books, 2003); H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, eds., Soncino Midrash Rabbah (CD-ROM), 3rd ed. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1983); David F. Sandmel, Irreconcilable Differences?: A Learning Resource for Jews and Christians (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001); Howard Schwartz, Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).


122 dreidel According to legend, during the Hellenistic persecutions of the Jews that led to the revolt commemorated by Chanukah, Jews were not allowed to study TORAH. When a raid would occur, the Jews would pretend to be gambling—another fact relating the game of dreidel to Chanukah. The rules of the most traditional dreidel game played today are as follows: each participant antes a set number of coins, usually chocolate gelt (money). If the dreidel lands on nun, nothing happens; if it lands on gimel, the player takes the whole pot of coins; if it lands on he, the player receives half the pot; and if it lands on shin, the player adds a set number of coins to the pot. The varying rules are limited only by imagination.

This wooden spinning top is called a dreidel. Each of its four sides is inscribed with a Hebrew letter that begins one of the Hebrew words in the saying “A great miracle happened there.” In Israel, the saying is “A great miracle happened here.” The game is played during the festival of Chanukah, and the miracle refers to the last bit of oil found in the desecrated Temple when the ancient Maccabees took it back in battle. The oil was only enough to last one day, but it lasted eight. Thus, the dreidel reminds us of the miracle of Chanukah. (Getty Images)

dreidel A dreidel is a spinning top used to play a children’s game during the festival of CHANUKAH. Each of its four sides contains a HEBREW letter. In ISRAEL, the four letters are nun, gimel, he, and pe, standing for the four words nes gadol haya poh, or “A great miracle happened here.” Outside Israel, the fourth letter is a shin for sham, “there,” meaning ERETZ YISRAEL. The miracle of Chanukah is variously interpreted as the military victory of a small band of Jewish pietists against a large Seleucid army, and/or that a small cruse with only enough oil to last one night lasted eight nights.

Further reading: Ronald H. Isaacs, Every Person’s Guide to Hanukkah (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2000); Jeffrey A. O’Hare, Hanukkah, Festival of Lights: Celebrate with Songs, Decorations, Food Games, Prayers, and Traditions (Honesdale, Pa.: Boyds Mills Press, 2000); Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre, A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration (New York: Pitspopany Press, 2000).

Dreyfus Affair In 1894, after FRANCE’s defeat at the hands of Prussia, Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935), an assimilated Jewish captain in the French military, was tried for selling military secrets to GERMANY. Found guilty based on forged evidence, he was sentenced to imprisonment at Devil’s Island, a French penal colony off the coast of Guiana. An 1899 retrial freed Dreyfus with a pardon, and he was completely exonerated in 1906. However, the prolonged case provoked bitter political struggles in France, and fed both ANTISEMITISM and Jewish support for ZIONISM as the only hope for European Jewry. During the trial antisemitic riots broke out in many French cities. French leaders knew that Dreyfus was innocent; he was being used as a scapegoat for France’s military defeat. The Dreyfus Affair shocked the world Jewish community. Modern Jews could hardly believe

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that France, the home of the ENLIGHTENMENT, would act in such an obviously antisemitic manner. Many Jews realized that even assimilation would not make them immune from latent antisemitic attitudes. French Jews even began to question their security, prompting some to turn toward the nascent Zionist movement, and others to push toward further ASSIMILATION into non-Jewish French culture. Theodor HERZL covered the trial as a newspaper reporter. The blatant antisemitism unveiled during the trial prompted the previously assimilationist Jew to become the founder of the modern political Zionist movement, and thereby the prophet of the State of ISRAEL. Further reading: Guy Chapman, The Dreyfus Case: A Reassessment (New York: Reynal, 1955); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Jeremy D. Popkin, A History of Modern France (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2001 (1994).

Dubinsky, David (1892–1982) union leader David Dubinsky was born in 1892 in BrestLitovsk, RUSSIA the sixth and youngest child of a poor Jewish family. As a 14-year-old working in his father’s bakery, Dubinsky joined a union of bakers affiliated with the General Jewish Workers’ Union, the BUND. His labor activism led to several years in jail while the Russians waited for him to be old enough to do hard labor in Siberia. A few years later, when the authorities began the process, he charmed his way out of jail and in 1911 made his way to the UNITED STATES. There he became a cloak cutter and joined the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). Some of Dubinsky’s relatives urged him to go into medicine and become a doctor, but he felt his calling to change the world. And change it he did. Dubinsky rose through the union ranks, serving as president from 1932 until his retirement in 1966. Early in his presidency he oversaw a significant increase in membership for his union. Dubinsky

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wanted younger people in leadership in order to attract younger American-born workers. He considered foreign-born organizers and leaders to be dinosaurs, and he ousted many notable labor leaders, like Fania Cohn. Dubinsky became a major leader in the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), both as separate entities and after they merged in 1955. Dubinsky was effective at ridding the unions of corrupt leaders, and he helped to draw up the antiracket codes adopted by the AFL-CIO in 1957. He was anticommunist, and he led the unions to a moderate political position, supportive of the labor policies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After Dubinsky’s retirement, a $1 million Dubinsky Foundation was established in his honor by the labor unions he had worked with. Dubinsky himself sums up his contribution to the world: “Yes, we were dreamers when we advocated legislation for unemployment insurance, for social security, for minimum wages. They laughed at our crazy ideas. Although we have not reached perfection, many of our ‘wild dreams’ have now become realities of everyday life.” Further reading: Max Danish, The World of David Dubinsky (Cleveland and New York: World Publishing Co., 1957); David Dubinsky and A. H. Raskin, David Dubinsky: A Life with Labor (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997); Gus Tyler, Look for the Union Label: A History of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1995); Gus Tyler, “David Dubinsky: A Life with Social Signficance,” Monthly Labor Review 117, 10 (1994).

Dubnow, Simon (1860–1941) historian Simon Dubnow, a self-taught scholar, was one of the founders of modern Jewish history. Dubnow’s Jewish heritage made it impossible for him to obtain a teaching position in a university in RUSSIA, so he dedicated his life to independent scholar ship and teaching. He wrote several studies of Jewish life in Russia and


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POLAND, but his greatest achievement was a 10volume work on the entirety of Jewish history. This monumental opus was published first in German, and then in Russian and HEBREW. Dubnow’s work is considered seminal to the contemporary study of Jewish history. Dubnow was concerned with the future of the Jewish people. He maintained that the Jews had survived as a people by establishing a system of law and a way of life that allowed them to keep themselves apart while living in foreign lands. They could only continue to survive, he believed, if they developed new centers of spiritual strength. He disagreed with the view of contemporary ZIONISM that Jewish life could only endure in a Jewish homeland. Dubnow preached “Jewish autonomism”: A viable Jewish life was still possible in the DIASPORA if Jews continued to maintain a measure of selfrule through community organization, and kept up support for educational and mutual-assistance institutions. In other words, the Jews could thrive in the Diaspora so long as they sustained the “spiritual nationhood” of Jewry. Dubnow’s ideas for a flourishing Diaspora Jewish community were borne out in North America; however, his ideas of autonomism could not survive in Russia after the rise of the Soviet Union, or anywhere in Europe with the advent of Nazism and the massive slaughter of European Jewry during the HOLOCAUST. On December 8, 1941, the Nazis murdered the 81year-old scholar for being a Jew. Further reading: Sophie Dubnov-Erlich, Life and Work of S. M. Dubnov: Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish History, ed. Jeffrey Shandler (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991); Simon M. Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, from the Earliest Times until the Present Day, vols. 1–3 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1916); David H. Weinberg, Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowski, Simon Dubnow, Ahad HaAm, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity (New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1996).

dvar Torah (pl.: divrei Torah) Dvar Torah, literally “TORAH word or matter,” is the common term used for any discourse on a Torah topic, from a brief comment to an extended sermon. Any individual who has studied a particular Jewish text may share a dvar Torah with others in order to further everyone’s learning of the TANAKH, the Hebrew bible. To deliver divrei Torah is considered one of the most important functions of rabbis. They are carefully trained as to how to study and explicate the text on a scholarly level, and how to explain it at whatever level a particular student or group might best understand. Any Jew, student or adult, can and often does give divrei Torah, in schools, SYNAGOGUES, or other Jewish settings, in part as a way to motivate them to learn more. It is commonplace at meals or gatherings in more observant communities for the host to ask a guest to enrich the event with words of Torah. JEWISH YOUTH GROUPS also use this technique to empower their members, as does the JEWISH DAY SCHOOL MOVEMENT. The fact that any Jew is entitled to read the text and derive meanings from it makes the dvar Torah an important feature of Jewish life. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York and London: Simon & Schuster, 1988); Daniel B. Kohn, Practical Pedagogy for the Jewish Classroom: Classroom Management, Instruction, and Curriculum Development (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999).

dybbuk In Jewish lore a dybbuk is an evil spirit. Such spirits were commonly referred to in early Jewish literature, but among 17th-century Polish and German Jews the word acquired a more specific meaning; a dybbuk was an evil spirit who possessed an individual’s body. Jewish literature of the period also contains many stories of people possessed by the spirit of a dead person, the spirit being the dybbuk.


The word dybbuk comes from the HEBREW root davak, which means “to cleave.” The dybbuk or evil spirit would cleave to the body. The mystical literature of the KABBALAH describes how evil spirits can make the possessed individual commit sins. The dybbuk originally gained entry through illness, or because of a secret sin the possessed person committed. Some stories portray dybbuks as souls with unfinished business in this world. The mystics created an exorcism ceremony by means of which a holy man could order a dybbuk to leave the body it was possessing. In more modern times, the term dybbuk is often used ironically, for instance to describe a child’s poor behavior. The subject of dybbuks was popularized once again in the 20th century, thanks to S. Ansky’s play, The Dybbuk. Written in Yiddish in 1912–19, it was originally called Tsvishn Tsvey Veltn (Between two worlds) and performed by the Vilna troupe in 1920. The play was translated into Russian, and then into modern HEBREW by the great

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poet Chaim Nachman BIALIK. Bialik combined elements of the different Yiddish and Russian versions, and incorporated echoes and idiomatic expressions from his own Hebrew poetry. Many credit Bialik with significantly improving the play; it became a standard in the Israeli theater repertoire, the celebrated classic of the Habimah theater company of Israel. The play has been performed in numerous productions in several languages. A movie version filmed in Poland in the 1930s is considered one of the finest Yiddish films ever made. Further reading: Howard Schwartz, Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Shmuel Werses, “S. An-ski’s ‘Between Two Worlds’ (The Dybbuk): A Textual History,” in Studies in Yiddish Literature and Folklore (Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1986); Gershon Winkler, Dybbuk (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Judaica Press, 1981).

E AF J: Eban, Abba (1915–2002) Israeli political leader Abba Eban was born in Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA in 1915 to Lithuanian Jewish parents. Born as Aubrey Eban, he was raised in London, receiving a classical education at St. Olave’s School while obtaining his Jewish education from his grandfather on the weekends. Eban became a worldrenowned diplomat, who was able to balance his fervent love for ISRAEL with an ability to see the need for compromise with his country’s Arab neighbors, specifically with the Palestinians (see ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT; PALESTINE). Eban’s personal history was eclectic, though most of his life was consistently dedicated to ZIONISM. He worked with Chaim WEIZMANN at the Zionist headquarters in London before joining the British military as an intelligence officer. After the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, Eban became active in Israeli politics, serving in a variety of national posts in the government, including representative to the UNITED NATIONS in the crucial year 1949. He was foreign minister from 1966–74, serving during both the SIX-DAY WAR (1967) and the YOM KIPPUR WAR (1973). He was forced to resign as foreign minister in 1974 when Yitzhak RABIN became prime minister, but he continued to serve as a member of the KNESSET until 1988. As a 126

politician Eban worked to secure relations with the United States and the European countries. Eban wrote several books, including Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes (1992). He also authored a popular history of the Jews for schoolchildren, often utilized in supplementary religious schools across the UNITED STATES, entitled My People. Eban’s collections of books and other media have been made available to the public at the Abba Eban Centre for Israeli Diplomacy, housed within the Truman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. This center speaks to Eban’s belief that diplomacy was the way to ensure the survival of the State of Israel. Further reading: David Bamberger and Abba Eban, My People: Abba Eban’s History of the Jews (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1996); Abba Eban, Abba Eban: An Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1977); ———, Personal Witness: Israel Through My Eyes (Putnam, 1992); ———, Diplomacy for the Next Century (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998); Rafael Medoff, Abba Eban Reconsidered (Montreal: Dawn Publishing Company Ltd., 1985).

egalitarianism In the Jewish context, especially in liberal Judaism, egalitarianism usually implies the active


removal of ritual inequalities between men and women. Egalitarianism can also refer to the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups, such as women and hom*osexuals, in ritual practice. It also reflects equality among all members of a community. Reform Judaism quickly embraced egalitarianism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1972 HEBREW UNION COLLEGE (HUC) ordained Sally PRIESAND as its first RABBI, removing the last important gender difference between Reform Jewish men and women. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia (see RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM) soon followed the example of HUC, but CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM did not ordain a woman rabbi until 1983. The decision was highly controversial; it provoked some of the more conservative leaders of the movement to leave Conservative Judaism for a MODERN ORTHODOX setting. Today, half of the students being trained for the clergy in the seminaries of liberal Judaism are women. Outside of Orthodox Judaism, synagogues in the UNITED STATES provide full opportunities for women to participate equally in all aspects of ritual, religious, and educational programming, and to take leadership roles in the community. Women read TORAH and HAFTARAH portions, receive aliyot (see ALIYAH), lead public PRAYER, can be counted as one of the 10 people required for a MINYAN, and serve as gabbai, the person who ensures the correct chanting of the texts during services. This equal access did not come overnight. For many years, some synagogues allowed women to chant Torah and haftarah but did not count them in a minyan or allow them to lead prayer services. Such congregations sometimes called themselves Torah Egalitarian, since they were egalitarian during the Torah service only. Some liberal synagogues practice what they call Traditional Egalitarianism. Men in these congregations are required to observe all ritual requirements, while women have the option to assume the rituals they wish to perform. This may include wearing a KIPPAH (head covering) or TALLIT

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(prayer shawl), ritual garments usually worn by men. Many liberal rabbis consider this policy to be a concession to those who did not grow up with egalitarian practices and to women who simply do not feel comfortable with the new roles. They may require children to follow these egalitarian practices, in order to acculturate them to these egalitarian norms. Jewish egalitarianism has also extended to the liturgy in many liberal synagogues. Englishlanguage prayers that use masculine pronouns to refer to God are almost always modified to be gender-neutral. In HEBREW, the AMIDAH prayer is altered to include the MATRIARCHS as well as the PATRIARCHS. Liberal synagogues often make a conscious effort to engage both male and female scholars and teachers, to accustom children to see adults of both sexes in a variety of nurturing and leadership roles. Further reading: Rachel Adler, Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998); Beryl Lieff Benderly and Hasia R. Diner, Her Worlds Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 2002); Jack Wertheimer, A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America (New York: Basic Books, 1993).

Egypt A country in Northeast Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the most important events in ancient Jewish history took place in Egypt. Many scholars believe that the EXODUS of the ISRAELITES from Egypt described in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, took place during the reign of Ramses II, sometime between 1290 and 1223 B.C.E. Though the liberation from Egyptian SLAVERY was a key factor in the self-definition of the Jews, the subsequent relationship between ISRAEL and Egypt was not entirely negative. It is said that King SOLOMON married a princess of Egypt. During the first EXILE, a DIASPORA community


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emerged there, and the remains of a Jewish military colony have been uncovered in ELEPHANTINE in the south. After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 333 B.C.E. many Jews migrated to Alexandria, the new capital, and a strong Hellenistic Jewish community grew up there (see HELLENISM). Evidence of ancient Jewish synagogues in Egypt has been found dating back to the third century B.C.E. The Jewish population may have reached 1 million. The huge size of the community sometimes provoked a certain amount of violent ANTI-JUDAISM. Yet conditions for the Jews in Egypt were relatively good, at least until the rise to power of CHRISTIANITY in the Roman Empire, when strong anti-Jewish sentiments made Jewish life more precarious.

Under early Muslim rule the Jewish community, centered in Cairo, began to accommodate to its Arab surroundings. Apart from a period of persecution under Caliph Hakim between 996 and 1021 C.E., conditions for the Egyptian Jewish community were generally favorable. The Jews maintained ties with the rabbinic academies in Babylonia, and the sage Saadiah Gaon received much of his rich Jewish education in Egypt. When the Fatimid dynasty took power in 969, the situation of the Jews improved even more. The Fatimids were liberal toward religious minority groups. Egyptian Jews prospered as new opportunities for industry and commerce emerged, thanks to the unification of almost all of North Africa, Syria, and Palestine. The Fatimid rulers allowed

Ezer Weizman (center), seventh president of Israel (1993–2000), makes an official visit to Egypt. To his right is Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Weizman was known for his charm and dedication to the peace process. (Avi Ohayan, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)


the Jews to rebuild some of their synagogues as well. Even after the Fatimid dynasty was replaced, the Egyptian Jewish community prospered. Fleeing persecution in SPAIN, for example, Moses MAIMONIDES settled in Egypt around 1165 C.E. It was not until the middle of the 13th century, when the Mamluks came to power, that the Egyptian Jewish community experienced significant persecution, though such persecution was not limited to Jews. In 1517 Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and the condition of the Egyptian Jewish community improved dramatically for a while, although in 1545 the central synagogue in Cairo was closed by order of the governor, remaining closed until 1584. Many Jews held important positions as financial administrators under the Ottomans. However, as the Ottoman Empire declined, so too did the status of Egyptian Jewry. Its members became impoverished, victims of the high levels of corruption that were endemic in a declining power. During this time, the Jews of Cairo and Alexandria fell into three different groups: Arabicspeaking Jews, Spanish immigrants, and settlers from other areas of North Africa. The Turkish government became tyrannical during the 17th and 18th centuries; wealthier Jews suffered the most, as they were employed and exploited by governors and ministers. The rich, long-established Jewish culture declined as well. The fate of the Egyptian Jewish community paralleled the social and economic conditions of the country as a whole. When Egypt became an autonomous state in the 19th century, the Jews at first felt some pains of transition, but prosperity and commerce returned with the opening of the Suez Canal. Jews from Europe settled in Cairo and Alexandria, opening modern schools and maintaining good relations with their Arab neighbors, apart from a few cases of BLOOD LIBEL in Cairo in 1844, 1881, 1901, and 1902. Some SEPHARDIM from elsewhere in the Middle East migrated to Egypt after World War I. There were approximately 60,000 Jews in Egypt in 1917, half of them in Cairo, and 64,000

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by 1937, split between Cairo and Alexandria. In 1915 a Jew became a member of Egypt’s parliament, and another was a member of the Senate in the 1930s. Zionist organizations appeared in Egypt in the late 19th century, and the Egyptian Jewish community developed ties with the large number of Palestinian Jews who fled to Egypt during World War I. The first anti-Jewish disturbance in modern Egypt occurred in 1945, when a synagogue, a hospital, and an old-age home were burned down by the “Young Egypt” group led by Ahmad Husayn. Intermittent violence directed at the Jewish quarters was an ominous sign for the future. In 1947 Egypt instituted the Companies’ Law, stating that at least 75 percent of a company’s employees must be Egyptian citizens. Since only 20 percent of the Egyptian Jews were citizens, the law marked the end of prosperity for the Egyptian Jews. Persecution began in earnest after the birth of the state of ISRAEL in 1948. Hundreds of Jews were arrested, property was confiscated, bombs were planted in Jewish neighborhoods, and Jewish businesses were looted. Conditions improved slightly with a change in government in 1950, but when dictator Gamal Nasser seized power, conditions once more worsened. Many Jews left Egypt after each of the wars with Israel, in 1948, 1956, and 1967. Some were encouraged to emigrate after being imprisoned. Some 35,000 immigrated to Israel, 10,000 to FRANCE, 9,000 to the UNITED STATES, 9,000 to ARGENTINA, and 4,000 to ENGLAND. Approximately 400 Jews, mostly elderly, remained in Egypt after 1967, served by only one synagogue in Cairo and one in Alexandria. It was not until 1979 that the remnant of a once vibrant Egyptian Jewish community was able to reestablish ties with Israel and world Jewry. In 1978 Egyptian president Anwar SADAT and Israeli prime minister Menachem BEGIN signed a peace treaty establishing peaceful relations between their two countries. Israel returned the Sinai peninsula, and the two countries have not been at war since. Israel maintains an embassy in Cairo


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and a consulate general in Alexandria. The small Jewish community is allowed to practice Judaism freely. In more recent years, however, ANTISEMITISM has become common in the governmentcontrolled press, especially after the start of the two INTIFADAs and the continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. There have not been any reports of antisemitic incidents against the 100 Jews remaining in Egypt. Further reading: Elias J. Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1988); Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, eds., Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society (New York: Homes & Meier Publishers, 1982); Joseph Meleze Modrzeiewski, From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Norman A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979).

Eichmann, Adolf (1906–1962) Nazi leader in charge of the Holocaust Adolf Eichmann was the architect responsible for planning and implementing the HOLOCAUST, the Nazi “FINAL SOLUTION” that tried to exterminate all of European Jewry. Eichmann was executed in Israel in 1962, after having been prosecuted and found guilty of war crimes in an Israeli court. Adolf Eichmann was born in Solingen, GERMANY on March 19, 1906, but he grew up in AUSTRIA. Before joining the Austrian Nazi Party in 1932, Eichmann studied engineering. Instead of completing the engineering program, Eichmann attempted to work for his father’s mining company and then as a salesman. But only after joining the Nazis did he find success. In September 1934, Eichmann took a position in Himmler’s Security Service (SD), and he demonstrated a keen ability at managing the organizational needs of the growing SS bureaucracy. In 1935, Eichmann became responsible for the Jewish section of the SD, and he subsequently studied both HEBREW and YIDDISH. He visited PALESTINE to

discuss the idea of large-scale Jewish emigration with Arabs leaders in the region. From August 1938, he was given responsibility for the forced emigration of Jews from Nazi-controlled land. In 18 months, he expelled about 150,000 of them. His expertise in Jewish relocation provided the template for the assembly and deportation of Jews to the Nazi death camps (see CONCENTRATION AND DEATH CAMPS). In December 1939, Eichmann took over the SS office responsible for all Jewish affairs, and it was in this role that he directed the implementation of the “Final Solution,” which began in the summer of 1941. Eichmann’s office built the death camps and developed the gas chambers for the efficient extermination of the Jews. Eichmann also organized the transportation system that made the Holocaust possible. For his efforts, he was promoted to SS lieutenant-colonel in 1941. By the time of the WANNSEE CONFERENCE of January 20, 1942, which made the final decision to kill all of European Jewry, the infrastructure was already in place. Eichmann was the Nazi “Jewish specialist,” enjoying the full faith of his Nazi superiors in his work to ensure the success of the Final Solution. Though he claimed to harbor no fanatical ANTISEMITISM, he was a zealot to succeed in his mission with factory-like efficiency. Even when in 1944 his SS boss, Himmler, became less passionate in his pursuit of the war against the Jews, Eichmann refused to slow the murder down. In August that year, he reported with pride that he had led the successful extermination of approximately 4 million Jews in the death camps and another 1.5 million by the EINSATZGRUPPEN, mobile extermination units. Eichmann was arrested at the end of the war, but his name was not recognized and he escaped from an American internment camp in 1946. He moved to ARGENTINA, where he lived with a new identity. Israeli secret agents located him there on May 2, 1960. Nine days later they captured him, brought him to ISRAEL, and he stood trial in the spring of 1961. The EICHMANN TRIAL generated intense international interest and helped educate many people about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Einhorn, David

In addition, it awakened many Israelis who had tried to ignore the pain of the Holocaust, and was instrumental in incorporating this piece of the Jewish past into the culture of the new state. On December 2, 1961, Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death for crimes against the Jewish people and crimes against humanity. On May 31, 1962, he became the only person ever executed in Israel. Further reading: Zvi Aharoni and Wilhelm Dietl, Operation Eichmann: The Truth about the Pursuit, Capture and Trial (New York: John Wiley, 1997); Robert P. Archer, et al., The Quest for the Nazi Personality: A Psychological Investigation of Nazi War Criminals (Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995); Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin Books, 1977).

Eichmann trial Adolph EICHMANN (1906–62) was the SS lieutenantcolonel in charge of the Gestapo’s “Jewish section,” and as such was a chief architect for the Nazi “FINAL SOLUTION.” He participated at the WANNSEE CONFERENCE (January 20, 1942), which concretized the Nazi plan to eliminate world Jewry, and went on to organize the systematic transportation of Jews from all over Europe to their murder in the CONCENTRATION AND DEATH CAMPS. At the conclusion of World War II Eichmann was arrested in the American zone of occupied Germany, but he managed to escape to ARGENTINA. Ultimately the Israeli Secret Service (MOSSAD) found him, and on May 11, 1960, smuggled him to ISRAEL to stand trial for his crimes. The Eichmann trial took place in JERUSALEM from April until December 1961. Eichmann was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed on May 31, 1962, the only individual ever executed by the Israeli judicial system. The significance of the Eichmann trial goes far beyond justice for an individual. The trial was televised around the world, bringing the brutal truth about the HOLOCAUST to the attention of millions

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of people, including Israelis. The details revealed at the trial about the factory-like workings of the Final Solution reminded the world of the evil potential that lies within ordinary people, and reinforced the sense among Jews around the world of the importance of a Jewish state. Israelis had previously worked hard to build a sense of strength and heroism to counter the historical reality of Jewish victimization and weakness, but as a result of the Eichmann trial, a full discussion of the horrifying events and circ*mstances of the Holocaust could no longer be avoided. The trial and execution of Eichmann signified the end of Israeli avoidance of the Holocaust and allowed for a period of mourning and integration of the tragedy into Israeli culture. Further reading: Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Penguin, 1994); Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985); Anita Shapira, “The Holocaust: Private Memories, Public Memory,” in Jewish Social Studies, 4, 2 (1998).

Eighteen Benedictions See AMIDAH. Einhorn, David (1809–1879) German and American Reform rabbi Born in Bavaria, GERMANY in 1809, David Einhorn was a rabbi and leader in the German movement to reform and modernize Judaism (see REFORM JUDAISM). Einhorn was raised in a household committed to ORTHODOX JUDAISM, and he was given a strong background in Jewish learning. At the age of 17 he was ordained as a RABBI, but his education did not end there. He studied secular philosophy and classics at German universities in Erlagen, Wurzburg, and Munich. His Judaica background coupled with his classical education made Einhorn the consummate reformer for Judaism. He took a radical view of the process of reform, and helped change the face of Jewish life irrevocably.


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The path to reform was not easy. Not only did Einhorn have to work against more traditionalminded Jews, but he also had to struggle against governments uncomfortable with any type of radical change. In 1838 he was asked to become rabbi of a community in Wellhausen, but confirmation of his appointment by the Bavarian government never came because of his liberal views on Judaism. The Bavarian government allowed the Reform Jews to worship, but they were fickle concerning the amount of reform they would allow. Supporting the positions of his mentors Abraham GEIGER (1810–74) and Samuel HOLDHEIM (1806–60), Einhorn rejected the authority of the TALMUD and advocated the right to alter or drop Jewish rituals. He expressed his own beliefs quite clearly; at the Frankfurt Rabbinical Conference of 1845, he supported introduction of the vernacular into the prayer service and he favored the elimination of prayers that sought restoration of sacrifice and longings for a Jewish state. Einhorn finally received an official rabbinical appointment in 1847 when he succeeded Samuel Holdheim as chief rabbi of MecklenburgSchwerin. Again, the government’s fluctuating attitude about Jewish reform made it difficult for him to preach and teach his views, and he became involved in several controversies. One time, for example, he was reprimanded for giving a blessing to an uncircumcised child in the synagogue. Finally, Einhorn realized that the future of Jewish reform and his own rabbinical career lay across the ocean in the UNITED STATES. Accepting a position with the Har Sinai Congregation of Baltimore in 1855, Einhorn arrived in the United States in time for the Cleveland Rabbinical Conference, where he immediately entered into a bitter feud with Isaac Mayer WISE (1819–1900), whose perspective on Reform Judaism included compromise in order to preserve unity with the rest of the Jewish community. Einhorn felt that such compromises would endanger the efforts of reformers, and he began to publish a monthly magazine called Sinai (1856–62) to promote his views. Einhorn also wrote his own

prayer book, Olat Tamid in 1856. Unlike Wise’s Minhag America, Olat Tamid was not merely a shorter version of a more conservative prayer book, but a wholly new service that removed references to a personal messiah, a return to Israel, and the renewal of the sacrificial cult. It did not include blessings for the SHOFAR or the CHANUKAH lights, and it deemphasized the idea of the CHOSEN PEOPLE. Olat Tamid expressed Einhorn’s beliefs in Judaism as a universal tradition, without the particularistic strains that seemed antiquated to Einhorn in the new world, but it did include some Sephardic religious poetry. Olat Tamid eventually became the model for the first official Reform prayer book (see SIDDUR), the Union Prayer Book. Einhorn’s perspective was not confined to the Jewish community. Finding his place within American culture, Einhorn did not hesitate to speak about political and social issues such as SLAVERY. He spoke out against slavery from the pulpit and in the pages of Sinai. He explained that the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, had to be read with a modern perspective. He claimed that the spirit of Judaism required the abolition of slavery, and explained that the TORAH laws on slavery were only meant to control the institution, not to make it eternal. Einhorn’s writings were published in several New York newspapers, and he and his family were clearly in danger from Baltimore mobs who disagreed with his views. In 1861 the Einhorn family fled to Philadelphia. When the pro-slavery rioting ended in Baltimore, Har Sinai sent him a message asking for his return. However, when Einhorn inquired about his right to express his views on the pulpit, the congregation cautioned against it, asking him to avoid the more “exciting” topics of the day. Einhorn did not return to Baltimore. Remaining in Philadelphia, Einhorn became rabbi of Congregation Kenesseth Israel; he later took a pulpit at Congregation Adath Israel in New York, later known as Temple Beth El. In 1869 Einhorn continued his quest for a radical Reform platform, leaving his mark at the Philadelphia Rabbinical Conference, where his views alienated

Einstein, Albert

the more traditional attendants. While it did not become clear for many years, David Einhorn’s theology and thought influenced the development of Reform Judaism and its rabbinical school, HEBREW UNION COLLEGE. It was Einhorn’s son-in-law and student Kaufman Kohler who formulated the PITTSBURGH PLATFORM of 1885, laying the foundation for American Reform Judaism. Further reading: Isaac M. Fein, The Making of an American Jewish Community: The History of Baltimore Jewry from 1773 to 1920 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1971); Norman H. Finkelstein, Heeding the Call: Jewish Voices in America’s Civil Rights Struggle (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Aaron M. Petuchowski, Elizabeth R. Petuchowski, and Jakob J. Petuchowski, eds., Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998).

Einsatzgruppen On June 22, 1941, Nazi GERMANY invaded the Soviet Union. This marked a significant turning point in Nazi policy towards the Jews. Prior to this date the Nazis had already murdered some 30,000 Jews, but they had mostly focused on expelling or confining those Jews who fell under their control. With the occupation of eastern Europe, with its millions of Jews, Nazi ANTISEMITISM reached its logical conclusion—extermination. As the German armies moved toward the east, SS (Schutzstaffel, the Nazi elite guard) leader Heinrich Himmler organized special mobile killing units called Einsatzgruppen, whose sole purpose was to massacre Jewish communities. These units, under the overall command of Reinhard Heydrich, and with the cooperation of local antisemitic forces in the Ukraine and POLAND, went from town to town, rounding up Jewish men, women, and children. They would force their captives to dig mass graves in the fields and forests, and then shoot them all. In 1942, some

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Einstazgruppen switched to using vans that asphyxiated their victims as they were driven along. In all, the Einsatzgruppen were responsible for the murder of more than 1.5 million Jews between 1941 and 1944. Further reading: Christopher R. Browning, Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1991); Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War against the Jews, 1933–1945 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1991).

Einstein, Albert (1879–1955) noted physicist Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, GERMANY, in 1879 and raised in Munich. A poor student in his younger years, he failed his first entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was eventually admitted in 1896, graduated, and became a technical assistant at a Swiss patent office in Bern. In 1905 he published an article, “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions,” which earned him a doctorate from the University of Zurich, where he went on to teach. He published his most famous work, on the special theory of relativity, that same year. It won him instant acclaim among physicists, as it seemed to revolutionize the field. Research conducted at the Royal Society of London later confirmed his theories, and brought him international attention, though not all physicists accepted his views; his name became a household word and a symbol of genius. In 1921 Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. Notably, this award focused on his research in theoretical physics—not his stillcontroversial work with relativity. While continuing to defend and develop his theories, Einstein became involved in social issues. As a pacifist, he opposed World War I; following the war, he publicly endorsed ZIONISM. His first tour of the UNITED STATES was in 1921 to raise funds for the PALESTINE Foundation Fund. He became increasingly distressed over events in Europe, and in 1933, just after HITLER became


134 Elephantine Einstein is remembered primarily for this research and for his connection with the development of atomic power in the modern age. Further reading: Albert Einstein, Autobiographical Notes, trans. Paul Arthur Schlipp (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1979); ———, Relativity, the Special and the General Theory: A Popular Exposition by Albert Einstein, trans. Robert W. Lawson (New York: Crown Publishers, c1961); ———, The World as I See It (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Trade, 1993); Don Howard and John Stachel, eds. Einstein: The Formative Years, 1879–1909 (Boston: Birkhauser, 2000); Paul Arthur Schilpp, Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (La Salle, Ill.: Open Court, 1970); Carl Seelig, ed., Ideas and Opinions, trans. Sonja Bargmann (New York: Crown Publishers, 1982).


Famous Jewish scientist Albert Einstein was a supporter of Zionism. In addition, he recognized the danger Hitler posed to the Jews early and immigrated to the United States to continue his career in science. (Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

chancellor of Germany, he renounced his German citizenship and immigrated to the United States. There he became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Despite his commitment to pacifism, Einstein became convinced that Hitler had to be stopped, and he encouraged President Roosevelt to develop research on nuclear fission, thus indirectly contributing to the use of the atomic bomb in 1945. His earlier work relating mass and energy (with the famous formula E = mc2) laid the theoretical groundwork for the effort.

Elephantine was a small military community established in southern EGYPT in the sixth century B.C.E. Papyri and scrolls found there, dating from the fifth and early fourth centuries, indicate that a “Jewish Force” was settled there, which included families organized into military units. The community had a temple similar to the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM, where they offered sacrifices to “Yahu,” the God of ISRAEL. The community deferred to the Jerusalem Temple on matters of religious practice. The regular communication between the two communities has been seen as evidence of ongoing connections between Jerusalem and the DIASPORA as far back as the Persian Empire. Further reading: E. C. B. MacLaurin, “Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony at Elephantine,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies 27, 2 (April 1968): 89–96; Joseph Meleze Modrzejewski, The Jews of Egypt: From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian, trans. Robert Cornman (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Michael H. Silverman, “The Religion of the Elephantine Jews: A New Approach,” in Proceedings of the Sixth World Congress of Jewish Studies, vol. 1, Hebrew University of

Ellis Island Jerusalem, 1973 (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1977): 377–388.

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1998); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Elijah (ninth century B.C.E.) biblical prophet An important biblical figure, Elijah has also been a familiar figure in Jewish folklore throughout the ages, a symbol of human charity and divine salvation. Elijah’s career is chronicled in 1 and 2 Kings (see TANAKH). He appears as a prophet of the God of Israel who sternly denounces IDOLATRY and its supporters, especially the wicked King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. In the end, he defeats and annihilates the prophets of BAAL with divine help. After appointing the prophet Elisha as his successor, Elijah is carried up to heaven by a fiery chariot; he apparently never physically dies. Because of this special distinction, numerous legends grew up about Elijah. He is said to reside in heaven, where he records everyone’s deeds and guides the dead to paradise. He also ventures down to earth periodically, in disguise, as God’s messenger to help the needy, as attested in many tales from the rabbinic and medieval eras. Children are told to give help to beggars, any one of whom might be the prophet Elijah. To this day, a chair is set aside at every BRIT MILAH (circumcision ceremony) so that Elijah may attend, and a cup of wine is placed on every SEDER table at PASSOVER so that Elijah may stop by and take a sip. Elijah’s cup is the fifth cup of wine at the seder; it is not consumed by the guests but saved for Elijah. At a certain point in the seder, the door is opened and Elijah is welcomed in, amid song and prayers for REDEMPTION. According to Jewish tradition, Elijah will announce the coming of the MESSIAH. He will blow the SHOFAR and inaugurate the ingathering of the exiles as well as the resurrection of the dead. Further reading: Robert B. Coote, ed., Elijah and Elisha in Socioliterary Perspective (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1992); Ronald H. Isaacs, Messengers of God: A Jewish Prophets Who’s Who (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson,

Ellis Island For centuries the port of New York was the primary portal for immigrants entering the British colonies and later the UNITED STATES. It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans, including the majority of American Jews, are directly related to immigrants who passed through Ellis Island in New York harbor during its tenure as a federal immigration station. The Ellis Island Immigration Center was opened on January 1, 1892. More than 17 million immigrants passed through its rooms between that year and 1924. Some 2.5 million Jews immigrated to the United States between 1881 and 1924; most of those who arrived after 1892 did so through Ellis Island. When immigrants arrived in the Great Hall of Ellis Island they were exhausted from their journey, but nevertheless they were immediately led to governmental inspections. In order to gain access to the United States, immigrants needed to be free of disease, and they had to demonstrate that they could make a living in America or had family who would sponsor them. About 2 percent of would-be immigrants were returned to their home country. Ellis Island came to be known as the “Island of Hope, Island of Tears.” Those who passed inspection were released, and no records were kept of their arrivals. While government authorities did not create and maintain lists of the millions of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island, the ship companies who brought the passengers did. Today one can electronically search for names of Ellis Island arrivals at the site itself or on the Internet. The National Origins Act of 1924 severely reduced immigration, especially from southern and eastern Europe. All immigrants had to obtain visas before leaving their country of origin; quotas for each country were established based on the


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Exhausted from their journey, these immigrants wait to have their physical examination before they will be allowed to enter the United States. The exams were very important, for those who did not pass, about 2 percent, were sent back to their country of origin. (Library of Congress)

ethnic makeup of the United States before the era of mass immigration. The quota restrictions became even more severe with the National Origins Act in 1929. The Ellis Island Immigration Center closed in 1954 after millions of immigrants had entered America through its doors. In 1982, the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation was founded to raise money to restore and preserve both sites as national landmarks. In 1986 the foundation restored the main building at Ellis Island, in what was the largest historic restoration project in the United States. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum was opened in September 1990, and a project was created to document an American Immigrant Wall of Honor to list the names of all family members who passed through Ellis Island. Further reading: Edward Corsi, In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island (New York: Macmillan

Company, 1935); Irving Howe, How We Lived: A Documentary History of Immigrant Jews in America, 1880–1930 (New York: R. Marek, 1979); ———, World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made (New York: Random House, 1997).

emancipation Emancipation was the process by which European Jews emerged from their status as an isolated and oppressed minority community and became equal citizens of the various modern states. In the Middle Ages, Jewish communities in Europe and the Middle East existed as autonomous self-governing entities within their host lands. Most Jews lived in GHETTOs and SHTETLs. The Jews as a community were granted certain privileges by the ruling powers, and as individuals they enjoyed the protection of Jewish


law as administered by rabbis and elders within their own community. But they were not considered citizens of the wider community, where they suffered from many more restrictions than rights. This situation ended with the birth of the concept of nationhood and the spread of the ENLIGHTENMENT, which upheld a belief in the equality of all people. Gradually, Jews were granted full rights as citizens, which included the eligibility for public office and the right to vote. Sometimes the emancipation of the Jews came with a sudden proclamation, as in 1787 when the UNITED STATES Constitution guaranteed the rights of citizenship in the new country irrespective of religion or national origin (though slaves were excluded). In FRANCE, Jewish emancipation began with the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1787, although with the rise of Napoleon, the Jews had to once again prove their worth and loyalty as citizens (see NAPOLEON’S SANHEDRIN). ENGLAND emancipated its Jews in 1858 by an act of Parliament, although Jews had already achieved partial emancipation and were allowed to serve in municipal offices starting in the 1830s. In GERMANY the emancipation of the Jews was a gradual process that was finally completed in 1870, only to be revoked in 1933 by the Nazis and reinstated after World War II in 1945. In AustriaHungary (see AUSTRIA) emancipation came in 1867 and in SWITZERLAND in 1877. Emancipation did not reach Eastern Europe until after World War I. Thus eastern European Jews remained in their autonomous communities far longer than those living in Western Europe and the United States. While emancipation has been a positive experience for the Jews, it also has had negative results. Once Jews were emancipated by a nation, and could participate fully in public and secular society, in many cases the preexisting Jewish communal structures were weakened. After emancipation, individual Jews could more easily than ever before choose to leave the Jewish community. In addition, Judaism could now be interpreted in a variety of ways, and in Europe it became more secularized, allowing Jews to abandon religious

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practice and traditional customs and still retain a Jewish identity. This led to considerable ACCOMMODATION, and even ASSIMILATION, within the various Jewish communities. Eventually this helped lead to the development of REFORM JUDAISM, which stripped Judaism of its national character and its hopes to return to the land of Israel. In the early Reform view, Judaism became more an enlightened ethical system within European and American culture than a culture unto itself. Further reading: Jacob Katz, Jewish Emancipation and Self-Emancipation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986); ———, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770–1870 (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1998); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995); David Weinberg, The Challenge of Modern Jewish Emancipation (St. Louis: Forum Press, 1979).

England Individual Jews may have lived in England from the Roman conquest, but it was the Norman Conquest of William the Conqueror in 1066 C.E. that brought the first notable Jewish community to the island. A significant number of Jews migrated from FRANCE, along with smaller numbers from GERMANY, Italy, SPAIN, RUSSIA, and Muslim areas. They built a Jewish community that by the mid 12th century had spread throughout England’s cities, including York, Lincoln, Oxford, Winchester, Norwich, Bristol, and most important, London, which had the only Jewish cemetery. A larger Jewish population brought with it unprecedented levels of anti-Jewish sentiment (see ANTI-JUDAISM). Violent incidents of BLOOD LIBEL, in which Jews were accused of using the blood of Christians to bake their MATZAH for PASSOVER, cropped up in Norwich in 1144, Gloucester in 1168, Bury St. Edmunds in 1181, Bristol in 1183, and Winchester in 1192. English Jewry also suffered violence at the hands of the crusaders. Many survived only by the protection of the Crown, conversion, or good luck.


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The Jews prospered when the ruler at any given time was friendly to them, and they suffered when the political situation shifted. By 1253, the Jews of England were restricted to towns that already had organized Jewish communities. They were allowed to trade, but could not charge interest on loans. They were not allowed to own land. By 1272, the Jews of England had become so impoverished that they could no longer function as moneylenders. Since they were no longer useful to the Crown, Edward I had no problem expelling every Jew from England in 1290. They were given until November 1 to leave the country, and they did so, moving to France, Flanders, and Germany. The Jews did not return until the 16th century, when the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and the Inquisition ignited new waves of Jewish migration throughout Europe. Isolated communities of CONVERSOS settled in England, but they had no charter and thus no protection from the rulers themselves. In the 17th century, an Amsterdam rabbi, Manasseh ben Israel, began negotiations with Oliver Cromwell to admit the Jews into England officially. No official proclamation was issued, but Cromwell provided an oral guarantee in 1656; thereafter the Conversos were able to practice Judaism openly. Once the door was open, Jewish immigrants arrived from the NETHERLANDS, Spain, and PORTUGAL, opening a synagogue in 1657. Charles II officially sanctioned the existence of the English Jewish community in 1664 with a written promise of protection. A group of German Jews established a synagogue in 1690, bringing the total number of Jews in England to 400 souls. The Act for Suppressing Blasphemy recognized the legality of practicing Judaism in England in 1698, and in 1700, William III knighted the first Jew, a man named Solomon de Medina. The community grew. By 1734, there were 6,000 Jews living in England. Jews entered all spheres of English life, although the Jewish upper class maintained their classic interests in banking and foreign trade. While the first Jewish settlers were SEPHARDIM, ASHKENAZIM soon established

synagogues and communities throughout the country. In England, the process of EMANCIPATION of the Jews began early and ended late. The Jewish Naturalization Bill, also referred to as the Jew Bill, was issued in 1753, finally giving foreignborn Jews the privileges of Jews born in England, but it had to be rescinded because of anti-Jewish tension. Although the Jewish community was not politically emancipated until 1858, individual Jews found their way into English politics and high society. The first Jew was admitted to the bar in 1833, and the first Jewish sheriff was appointed in 1835. Queen Victoria knighted Moses MONTEFIORE in 1837, and in 1841, the first Jew in history was given a hereditary title. In 1855 the first Jewish lord mayor of London took office, and in 1858 the Jewish baron Lionel de Rothschild was able to take his seat in the House of Commons after the removal of the obligatory Christian oath of office. In 1871 Jews were granted the right to receive degrees in English universities. In 1874 Benjamin DISRAELI, a practicing Christian of Jewish birth, became England’s first and only Jewish prime minister. Parliament has had Jewish members ever since 1858; and in recent years that number has reached more than 40. As Jews fled the POGROMS of eastern Europe, many settled in England’s urban areas; they recreated the clothing industry in England. Immigrants set up a multitude of organizations and associations to support Jewish interests and culture. Eventually the new immigrants successfully integrated into English society. There were approximately 250,000 Jews living in England in 1914. Some 50,000 of them fought in World War I, 10,000 dying for the freedom they had so recently won. World War I ended further immigration until the onset of World War II; some antisemitism did appear, but it never reached politically significant levels. In the 1920s, at a time when Britain was supporting ZIONISM through the BRITISH MANDATE of 1922, many English Jews found their place in pro-


fessional society, taking positions as doctors, lawyers, and accountants. They entered the universities and moved to the suburbs. When World War II began, Jewish refugees came to England, fleeing the Nazi threat. Many of them left when the war ended, but approximately 50,000 remained and integrated into British REFORM JUDAISM or ORTHODOX JUDAISM. Before the war the English Jewish community supported a variety of different Jewish causes, including the settlement of Jews in Palestine, although the community was split over the issue of a possible state of Israel, especially whenever Jewish forces in Palestine fought against British soldiers, which caused a short-term increase in antisemitism. However, when Britain issued the WHITE PAPER of 1939, which sharply restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine on the eve of the HOLOCAUST, the entire community united against the measure. Once the State of Israel was declared in 1948, tensions eased. With the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, English Jewry no longer had to look for ways to reconcile their Jewish heritage with their English citizenship. England is rich with Jewish organizations, such as the United Synagogue, which unifies nearly all the Ashkenazi synagogues in the country. There are numerous Zionist organizations as well. There are Jewish schools, associations, organizations, and social service agencies. One can walk through downtown London and see evidence of medieval English Jewry before the expulsion in the street name “Old Jewry.” The Jewish community in England is organized through the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which has 500 members representing synagogues throughout the country. This organization has successfully monitored antisemitism in England for years, and it also serves to safeguard minority rights. The religious life of English Jews is split between the Orthodox and the Reform movements. Each group has schools to train rabbis. The Reform rabbinical seminary, the Leo Baeck College, attracts students from all over Europe. The Central Synagogue on Great

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Portland Street is a modern building that complements the other older synagogues in London. England has truly welcomed its Jews, and the variety of Jewish museums, schools, synagogues, and active Jewish cultural life represent the freedom that contemporary Jews have, to worship and live their lives as both Jews and English citizens. Further reading: Leonard B. Glick, Abraham’s Heirs: Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1999); Albert M. Hyamson, A History of the Jews in England (London: Published for the Jewish Historical Society of England by Chatto & Windus, 1908); Robin R. Mundill, et al. England’s Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion, 1262–1290 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Cecil Roth, A History of Jews in England (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1941); Goldwin Smith, A History of England (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957).

This street sign in London, England, marks the area where medieval Jews lived before they were expelled in 1290. The street is called Old Jewry. (Courtesy J. Gordon Melton)


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Enlightenment The Enlightenment was an intellectual and political movement in Europe that took place during the 17th and 18th centuries, and that eventually exercised a powerful influence on European Jews. Taking their cue from the humanist movement of the Renaissance, thinkers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant assigned greater value to human reason than to traditional beliefs and practices. They used logic and analysis to develop treatises on ethics, political systems, and individual rights. The Western world had entered an era when empiricism, science, reason, liberty, and equality dominated intellectual thought, which trickled down to the middle and lower classes as well. The Enlightenment in Europe contributed to the EMANCIPATION of the Jews. It also sparked a specifically Jewish enlightenment, known as the HASKALAH, in which Jewish philosophers developed new and more liberal interpretations of Judaism and Jewish tradition. The writers of the Haskalah also emphasized reason and history over faith and tradition. Ultimately these new ideas led to the emergence of REFORM JUDAISM. This represented a radical break from Jewish tradition, which had always expected individual submission to tradition and rabbinical leadership. An important aspect of the Enlightenment that had a big impact on Jewish life was its emphasis on the individual’s ability to make choices based on conscience. If individuals were equal and each capable of using reason and logic, then they were also capable of thinking through their actions and activities, including religious ones. The issue of authority rose to the fore, where it has remained throughout the contemporary period. The most famous example of Jewish Enlightenment thought appears in Moses MENDELSSOHN’s (1729–86) work Jerusalem. In this volume, Mendelssohn, the first Maskil, or practitioner of the Haskalah, explains that there are two paths to understanding Torah and Judaism: one is faith and the other is reason. Mendelssohn tailored his

work to the modern reader, combining religious thought with contemporary Enlightenment ideas. Further reading: Allan Arkush, Moses Mendelssohn and the Enlightenment (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994); Shmuel Feiner, Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness (Portland, Oreg.: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2002); ———, The Jewish Enlightenment (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003); Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem (Hanover, N.H.: Brandeis University Press, 1983); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1995).

Entebbe On June 27, 1976, anti-Israel terrorists hijacked an Air France airplane and forced it to land at Entebbe in UGANDA. The terrorists demanded that ISRAEL release 53 convicted terrorists in exchange for their hostages. To demonstrate their intentions, they freed the French crew and non-Jewish passengers, but held the 105 Jewish and Israeli hostages. The terrorists gave Israel a 48-hour deadline to meet their demands, after which the Jewish hostages would be executed. The Israeli government entered negotiations to stall for time, while it arranged a seemingly impossible military mission. Before the final deadline was reached, on Sunday, July 4, the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (IDF) managed to dispatch 200 of their best soldiers to raid the airport of Entebbe and secure the safety of the Jewish hostages. Under Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the soldiers freed the hostages in a lightning attack, killing all eight terrorists in the process. Unfortunately, two hostages died and Netanyahu was killed while leading the hostages toward safety. The incredible success of this mission demonstrated to the world the powerful military remedy of counterterrorism when facing senseless terror. It garnered worldwide respect for Israeli skill in the fields of intelligence and defense.


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After the Jewish hostages held by terrorists at Entebbe airport were freed by Israeli soldiers, they were reunited with their families. (Ya’acov Sa’ar Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

Further reading: Francis Anthony Boyle, World Politics and International Law (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1985); Iddo Netanyahu, Yoni’s Last Battle: The Rescue at Entebbe, 1976 (Jerusalem: Gefen Books, 2001).

entertainment In the years around the start of the 20th century, a large number of Jews in several different countries used the entertainment industry to rise from immigrant poverty and achieve the fame and fortune that the new countries had promised. In America, from VAUDEVILLE and the BORSHT BELT, and from Times Square to Hollywood, Jews have participated in America’s developing enter-

tainment industries as performers and business pioneers. In the process, they have left a special Jewish imprint on their fields, and helped win acceptance for Jews as an integral part of American life. Many of the theaters in New York City’s theater district were built by Oscar Hammerstein (1847–1919), a German Jew who began by building opera houses but is now known as the “Father of Times Square.” Included on the long list of famous Jewish actors, singers, and comedians that have graced the stage, screen, and television are Tony Martin, Danny Kaye, Eddie Fisher, Milton Berle, Molly Berg, Sid Caesar, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Mason, Buddy Hackett, George Burns, Fanny


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Brice, Woody Allen, Barbara STREISAND, Sophie Tucker, and Gilda Radner. Many Jews also became famous playwrights and composers in the Broadway theater, including Leonard BERNSTEIN, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Sondheim, George S. Kaufman, Lillian Hellman, and ARTHUR MILLER. Jewish entrepreneurs left an indelible mark on the motion picture industry. Most of Hollywood’s first generation of studio executives were Jews: William Fox, Samuel Goldwyn, Carl Laemmle, Jesse Lasky, Marcus Loew, Louis B. Mayer, and Adolph Zukor. The next generation of moviemakers was also mostly Jewish, including men such as Jack and Harry Warner, Harry Cohn, Irving Thalberg, and David Selznick. These men had seen the popularity of the nickelodeon and were ready to take full advantage of such a business opportunity. From the early 1920s to the present day, it is not uncommon to hear spectators remark on the ruthless ambition and shrewd business sense of these men, which often, surprisingly, went along with a keen judgment about art and entertainment. Jewish influence in America continued to be felt through the end of the 20th century. During the 1990s network television shows boasted an unprecedented number of Jewish actors, especially comedians, such as Jerry SEINFELD. The hit sitcom Seinfeld represents the Jewish move into the American mainstream. His Jewishness was subtly layered into the life of a New Yorker and his friends. Other situation comedies with clearly Jewish characters were Mad About You, The Nanny, Friends, and Will and Grace. The disproportional success of Jewish people in show business, on the stage, on the small screen, and on the silver screen has produced positive and negative attention toward the Jewish community. While some antisemites (see ANTISEMITISM) have suggested that the power of many Jews in Hollywood is part of a larger Jewish conspiracy (see PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION), the presence of Jewish performers in all mediums of entertainment shows that Jewish life has found a place in the fabric of American life. Whether this fact can be

attributed mostly to ASSIMILATION or ACCOMMODAremains to be seen. However, at least one Jewish moviemaker has used his success to bring important Jewish issues to the general public. Steven Spielberg, one of the most successful moviemakers in American history, used his position in Hollywood to produce an unflinching movie about the HOLOCAUST called Schindler’s List; without downplaying its horrific setting, the film highlights the altruistic acts of one man who saved many Jewish lives. In this way, perhaps the film reflects Jewish and American values of faith and optimism that have informed so many Hollywood movies and made them successful around the world. TION

Further reading: Vincent Brook, Something Ain’t Kosher Here (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003); Neal Gabler, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1989); J. Hoberman and Jeffrey Shandler, Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003).

epikoris An epikoris (derived from Epicurus, the Greek philospher’s name) is a heretic, someone who deliberately rejects or rebels against God’s commandments (see MITZVAH). In Jewish tradition, an ignorant person cannot be an epikoris, since he or she may not be fully aware of God’s teachings. Traditionally, an epikoris was to be shunned or even, theoretically, executed. Milton STEINBERG’s widely read novel As a Driven Leaf tells the story of an epikoris named Elisha BEN ABAYA, an ancient rabbi mentioned in the TALMUD who rejected Judaism for the study of Greek thought and mathematics, only to find that what he sought was within Jewish tradition all along. Further reading: David Biale, “Historical Heresies and Modern Jewish Identity” in Jewish Social Studies 8: 2/3 (Winter/Spring 2002): 112–133; Todd M. Endelman, Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World (New York: Holmes

eschatology & Meier, 1987); Milton Steinberg, As a Driven Leaf. (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1996).

Eretz Yisrael Eretz Yisrael is literally the land of ISRAEL, but symbolically it denotes more than a parcel of land. Eretz Yisrael is the Promised Land, the fulfillment of the COVENANT between God and the PATRIARCHS. The TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible describes it as a land flowing with milk and honey, a fertile earthly paradise. After the TEMPLE was built in JERUSALEM, the land became further sanctified as the dwelling place of God. In the future, it was believed, the land of Israel, also known as Zion, will expand its borders to accommodate the returning Jews who will dwell there in the MESSIANIC AGE. The ancient rabbis glorified the land of Israel, declaring it the navel of the universe, insisting that those who live there must lead a sinless life, and maintaining that any life inside Eretz Yisrael is holier than a life outside it. Through the Middle Ages poems and prayers yearned for the land and extolled its virtues. In modern times ZIONISM has pushed for a return of the Jews to Eretz Yisrael. The dreams of a Jewish state within the land of Israel were realized in 1948. Further reading: Jean-Christophe Attias and Esther Benbassa, Israel: The Impossible Land (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003); Martin Buber, On Zion: The History of an Idea (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1997); Lawrence A. Hoffman, ed., The Land of Israel: Jewish Perspectives (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986); Tzvia EhrlichKlein, To Dwell in the Palace (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1991).

eruv An eruv is a ritual enclosure around a town or neighborhood that creates a common area, within which observant Jews may carry objects on SHABBAT, the Sabbath day. Talmudic law prohibits Jews

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from carrying items on Shabbat outside the area of their home or yard. According to the ancient RABBIS, one cannot carry any object more than is useful, such as two sips of milk, because any amounts more than these would be functional and thus constitute melachah (work). This prohibition can cause great inconvenience to observant Jews. For example, religious Jews, who do not ride in vehicles on the Sabbath and therefore walk to SYNAGOGUE, at times need to carry items such as keys or a baby stroller. To get around the prohibition, rabbis permit carrying within an area enclosed by an eruv. Technically, an eruv can be set by stringing nearly invisible wire between poles or buildings. It creates an invisible shield within which one’s “home” boundaries are extended and one is permitted to carry items. The area may enclose a few homes, or a few streets, an entire neighborhood, or even a city. It can also be an island, as long as its population does not exceed a certain number of people. Further reading: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer, The Contemporary Eruv: Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1998); Herbert Danby, ed., The Mishnah: Translated from the Hebrew with an Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933, 1977); Alan Dundes, The Shabbat Elevator and other Sabbath Subterfuges: An Unorthodox Essay on Circumventing Custom and Jewish Character (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002); Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1988).

eschatology The term eschatology refers to the study of the end times as predicted in various religions, and derives from the Greek word eschaton, meaning “last” or “final.” The term itself is found in Christian rather than Jewish texts, but the questions addressed in eschatological writings have been explored extensively by Jewish thinkers as well.


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Scholars of eschatology often ask questions concerning the sequence of events and the nature of the MESSIANIC AGE to come, and often try to find answers by exploring the symbolism used in eschatological texts. For Jews, the best example of eschatological literature is found in the biblical book of Daniel, although certain passages in ISAIAH and EZEKIEL are important as well. Eschatological views vary within Judaism. The most common understanding is that wars and catastrophes will precede the coming of the MESSIAH, who will be announced by the prophet ELIJAH. The Messiah will rebuild JERUSALEM, and the sacrificial system will be reinstituted in the TEMPLE. Suffering will cease and all humanity will acknowledge that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see PATRIARCHS) is the one true god. After the Messianic Age ends, the Day of Judgment will occurs, during which the righteous will be rewarded with everlasting life and joy, while the wicked will be punished. Further reading: Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud. (London: J. M. Dent, 1949); David Novak, “Law and Eschatology: A Jewish-Christian Intersection” in Last Things (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002).

Eshkol, Levi (1895–1969) Zionist leader Levi Eshkol was a Labor Zionist leader and the third prime minister of the State of ISRAEL. Eshkol was born Levi Shkolnik in the Ukraine in 1895. He received a traditional Jewish education, as he was part of a wealthy Hasidic (see HASIDISM) family. In 1914 he immigrated to PALESTINE. He volunteered for the Jewish Legion of the British Army during World War I, founded the agricultural community Detah Tikvah, and then became a founding member of KIBBUTZ Degania Bet. Eshkol combined manual labor with political activism. He was among the founders of the HISTADRUT (General Federation of Labor), where he became involved in labor issues and later in the promotion of cooperative agricultural development. In 1937 Levi Eshkol played a central role in the establishment of the Mekorot Water Company.

Eshkol served as Mekorot’s managing director until 1951, introducing a system of countrywide water management that made intensive irrigated farming possible, and turned the desert into an oasis. On the political front, he was able to persuade the German government to allow Jews immigrating to Palestine to take some of their assets with them. Like most Israelis Eshkol also participated in the defense of the state. He served in the HAGANAH high command. As director-general of the Ministry of Defense in 1950–51 he helped lay the foundation for Israel’s defense industries. From 1951 to 1963 Eshkol was minister of agriculture and development, while also serving as head of the settlement division of the JEWISH AGENCY. In 1963, Levi Eshkol became prime minister of Israel, the highest office in the state. In 1964, he made the first state visit of an Israeli prime minister to Washington, D.C., laying the foundation for the close rapport that has existed between the two countries ever since. And in 1965, Eshkol oversaw the establishment of formal relations between West Germany and Israel. As a conciliatory gesture to the political opposition, he ordered that the remains of Labor’s fiercest political rival, Ze’ev JABOTINSKY, founder and ideological leader of the Revisionist movement, be brought to Israel and reinterred in a state funeral on Mount HERZL in JERUSALEM. Thus, Eshkol honored Jabotinsky’s last will, written in 1935, requesting that his remains be transferred to Israel “only on the instruction of a future Jewish government.” Levi Eshkol died in office in February 1969 of a heart attack at the age of 73. Though his establishment of good relations with the UNITED STATES was important, the 1967 SIX-DAY WAR, with its stunning military victory, was undoubtedly the highlight of Eshkol’s six years as prime minister. Further reading: Theodore Draper, Israel and World Politics: Roots of the Third Arab-Israeli War (New York: Viking Press, 1968); Adam Garfinkle, Politics and Society in Modern Israel: Myths and Realities (Armonk, N.Y.:

Esther M. E. Sharpe, 2000); Colbert C. Held and Mildred McDonald Held, Middle East Patterns: Places, Peoples, and Politics (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1989).

Essenes The Essenes were one of the three primary sects or religious factions within Judaism during the late second TEMPLE period (150 B.C.E–70 C.E.), alongside the PHARISEES and the SADDUCEES. While the Jewish philosopher PHILO JUDAEUS and the Roman Jewish historian JOSEPHUS both mention the Essenes, there is no direct reference to them in the TALMUD. However, many scholars believe that Talmudic passages about the Hasidim ha-rishonim, “the first pious ones,” may have been referring to the Essenes. According to Philo and Josephus, the Essenes numbered approximately 4,000 followers, most of them living in secluded areas within Judea (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA). The sect arose in about 150 B.C.E. and disappeared some 250 years later. The Essenes adhered to MONOTHEISM, stressing the omnipotence and omniscience of the One God. They were extremely concerned with ritual purity, and had a heightened awareness of the need for a virtuous lifestyle, including truthfulness and obedience to God’s will. They led a monastic, ascetic lifestyle and many chose to remain unmarried or to become celibate after having children. The Essenes emphasized the rituals of daily immersion in water and eating meals communally. They had a socialist economy, interpreted the Bible allegorically, stringently observed SHABBAT, the Sabbath, and believed that an individual’s destiny could not be changed. Many modern scholars consider the DEAD SEA SCROLLS to have been the property of the Essenes, although this has not been proven beyond a doubt. However, unlike the Pharisees, the Essenes had little impact on the development of NORMATIVE JUDAISM. Further reading: Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways Between Qumran and

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Enochic Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998); Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1991); James C. Vanderkam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000).

Esther (fifth century B.C.E.) biblical figure, Jewish queen of Persia Esther is one of only two women to have a book of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, named for her (RUTH is the other). She remains one of the great heroes of Jewish history. Esther, in the biblical account, was an orphaned Jewish girl raised by her uncle and foster father Mordechai. When Persian king Ahashverous banishes his queen, Mordechai enters Esther in a beauty contest to win the king’s favor, but directs her not to reveal her identity as a Jew. The king then chooses Esther as his new queen. Meanwhile, the king’s minister Haman issues a decree that everyone in the kingdom should bow down to him. Mordechai refuses to do so because he is Jewish and will only bow down before God. Angered, Haman asks the king to issue a decree ordering the death of all the Jews in the kingdom, and the king agrees. In the end, Esther successfully beseeches the king to spare her life and the life of her people and thus saves the Jews. The events are commemorated in the holiday of PURIM, which is specifically established in the book of Esther. The book is written with literary flair, and has attributes of hyperbole, satire, and farce. Thus, scholars question the accuracy of the details, although the character of King Ahashverous may be accurately based on an actual Persian ruler, one of the emperors named Xerxes, and the story may very well represent incidents that occurred to Jewish communities in the ancient DIASPORA. The ancient rabbis debated whether to include the Book of Esther in the Tanakh, because of its questionable religious status. There is no mention


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of God, and the Jewish people seem to be saved entirely by human actions, although a period of fasting indicates that prayer is involved. Moreover, when Esther conceals her Jewish identity, she presumably did not observe KASHRUT, the laws of kosher food, nor SHABBAT; heralding her as a true heroine is therefore problematic. Nevertheless, Esther has become one of the most popular books of the Tanakh; it is read in the synagogue twice during Purim, when congregants are permitted to try to drown out every mention of Haman’s name. Purimspiels, or dramatic reenactments of the story, became very widespread from the medieval period; they were often improved with topical additions relating to the issues facing particular Jewish communities, especially from their local “Hamans.” Finally, the story of Esther provides a model for managing dual loyalties and the pressures of ASSIMILATION and ACCOMMODATION on minority Jewish communities in the Diaspora. Further reading: Leila Leah Bronner, From Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994); Naomi M. Hyman, ed., Biblical Women in the Midrash: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997); Ronald H. Isaacs, Legends of Biblical Heroes: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

eternal light The eternal light, or ner tamid, is a standard fixture in SYNAGOGUES; it is the lamp that hangs above the ARK where the TORAH scrolls are kept. Several traditions have helped continue this custom into modern times. In ancient days, such a lamp stood in the tabernacle (see MISHKAN) in the desert, remaining lit at all times (Ex 27:20–21). The TEMPLE in Jerusalem also contained a MENORAH with seven branches; according to tradition, one of the seven lamps was always lit,

even when the others were being cleaned. Finally, a flame burned above the sacrificial altar in the Temple that was never extinguished (Lv 6:6). Today, synagogues keep the eternal light lit even when the synagogue is closed. The light represents the idea that God is always present in the world. Further reading: Rudolph Brasch, The Unknown Sanctuary: The Story of Judaism, Its Teachings, Philosophy and Symbols (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1969); Hayim Halevy Donin, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988).

Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) Of the 63 books of the MISHNAH, all except one deal primarily with HALAKHAH, or legal matters. The one exception is Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers, which deals primarily with ethical behavior. It is a collection of philosophical and ethical sayings of the TANNAIM, the first generation of ancient rabbis whose discussions and rulings are still considered authoritative. Jewish tradition dictates that SHABBAT (Sabbath) afternoons during spring and summer be spent reviewing this work, which has remained immensely popular, as one of the most accessible volumes in the Talmudic literature. Some of the more famous aphorisms from this work include, “Say little and do much”; “Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has”; and “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” Further reading: Herbert Danby, ed., The Mishnah: Translated from the Hebrew with an Introduction and Brief Explanatory Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933, 1977); Leonard Kravitz and Kerry M. Olitzky, Pirke Avot: A Modern Commentary on Jewish Ethics (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1993); Morris Schatz, Ethics of the Fathers in the Light of Jewish History (New York: Bloch Publishing, 1971).


Ethiopia The northeast African nation of Ethiopia is referenced several times in the Hebrew Bible (see TORAH), for example, when the prophet ISAIAH warns of its doom alongside that of EGYPT. In the second century B.C.E., Ethiopia was ruled by an Arabian dynasty that traced its heritage back to King SOLOMON and Queen Sheba. Some stories in Ethiopian lore explain that the son of Solomon and Sheba brought Judaic customs to the land. Other stories blend together Christian lore and Jewish legends. Around the fifth century C.E., Ethiopia became a Christian nation, but it retained some Jewish traits, such as identification with the LION OF JUDAH, the symbol of the emperor of Ethiopia down to the 20th century. Scholars estimate that the Ethiopian Jewish community has existed since the second and third centuries. The name of the community was Beta Israel. In modern times, Ethiopian Jews have been called Falashas, meaning strangers or immigrants in the language of the land. The term falasha took on a pejorative tone in the late 20th century. There are four main theories concerning the origins of the Ethiopian Jewish community. Some argue that the Beta Israel are the descendants of the lost Israelite tribe of Dan, exiled from Israel after the destruction of the first Temple in 586 B.C.E. (see TEN LOST TRIBES); some say they may be the descendents of Menelik I, who is claimed to be a son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba; others propose that they may be descendants of Ethiopian Christians and pagans who converted to Judaism long ago; and still others theorize that they may be descendants of the Jewish tribes who lived in nearby Yemen since ancient times. Ethiopian Jewish tradition differs significantly from the rabbinic Judaism practiced in most Jewish communities in the modern world. Its laws were based on Torah, rather than on the rabbinic law of the TALMUD, which was not part of their heritage. In that way, they are similar to the KARAITES; the latter were familiar with rabbinic law, but rejected it. In the 16th century an Egyptian rabbi recognized the Ethiopian community as genuine Jews.

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Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Israel were relatively positive until 1973, when 28 African nations, Ethiopia included, broke diplomatic ties with Israel under the threat of an Arab oil embargo. Soon after, the situation of Ethiopian Jewry became critical. Civil war brought death to 2,500 Ethiopian Jews and left another 7,000 homeless. The new government forced the Jewish community to share its farms with non-Jews, and instigated ANTISEMITISM. By the early 1980s, the Jews were no longer allowed to practice Jewish rituals or to teach the HEBREW language. Various Israeli and Jewish organizations had consistently provided education and welfare to the Ethiopian Jewish community for many years, and small numbers of Ethiopian Jews were brought to live in Israel, some to be trained as teachers for their community. For many years the groups waged a campaign to win Ethiopian Jews the right to immigrate to Israel, despite lack of support from either the Ethiopian or the Israeli government. In 1975, the official Israeli rabbinate approved the legitimate Jewish status of Ethiopian Jews. This opened the door for them to enter Israel under the LAW OF RETURN, which grants Israeli citizenship to any person with at least one Jewish grandparent. However, the Ethiopian government did not allow significant emigration until 1984, when civil war raged in Ethiopia. Israel was allowed to airlift the Ethiopian Jews to Israel via Sudan. Approximately 10,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel, in a program called Operation Moses. The Sudanese withdrew their cooperation earlier than was expected, leaving another 15,000 Ethiopian Jews stranded. In 1991, the remaining Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Solomon. The Ethiopians were taken in by Israeli absorption centers, where they were taught Hebrew and other skills useful in the modern world. Many Ethiopian Jews have successfully integrated into Israeli society, joining the army and participating in Israeli culture; they have also created organizations that advocate for the remaining Jews in Ethiopia.


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Further reading: Esther Hertzog, Immigrants and Bureaucrats: Ethiopians in an Israeli Absorption Center (New York: Berghahn Books, 1999); David Kessler, The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews (London and Portland, Oreg.: Frank Cass Publishers, 1996); I. M. Lews, “The Hyena People: Ethiopian Jews in Christian Ethiopia,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 9, 2 (2003); Asher Naim, Saving the Lost Tribe: The Rescue and Redemption of the Ethiopian Jews (New York: Ballantine Books, 2003).

evil eye The concept of the evil eye does not appear in Jewish literature until the third century C.E. The belief was strongest in Babylonia, whose culture contained many similar images and concepts. By the Middle Ages, when many Jews were living in Europe, Christian conceptions of the evil eye found their way into Jewish custom and thought as well. Many thought a person could cast an evil glance at someone, calling upon a malicious force that some associate with a bad angel. Therefore, it was considered unwise to call attention to oneself, especially by being ostentatious or behaving in a way that might arouse jealousy in others. Healthy or good-looking children were considered magnets for the evil eye, and were often shielded from the view of strangers as a protective measure. A demon named LILITH, referred to in MIDRASH as Adam’s first wife, was commonly thought to cast the evil eye upon newborn babies in her bitterness about losing her place in the Garden of Eden. The evil eye could manifest itself as an illness, and Jewish children sometimes wore amulets and charms to ward it off. Amulets were often hung above newborn babies to achieve the same goal, sometimes in the form of a hand. Wearing TALLIT or TZITZIT can protect a person, according to some traditions, as can wearing red, or carrying salt. To remove the evil eye after it has taken effect, one can recite special verses and spit three times.

tin’s Press, 1985); Hayim Shoys, The Lifetime of a Jew throughout the Ages of Jewish History (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1998); Rivka Ulmer, The Evil Eye in the Bible and in Rabbinic Literature (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1994).

exegesis In the Jewish context, exegesis is the process of explaining or interpreting texts, especially from the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. The ancient rabbis were experts in exegesis; much of the MISHNAH and TALMUD consists of exegesis, as does a great deal of rabbinic MIDRASH. Midrash can be divided into two categories: homiletical and exegetical (see HOMILETICS). Homiletical midrash are essentially sermons deriving lessons from the actions described in the text, while exegetical midrash, such as in Genesis Rabbah or Exodus Rabbah, proceed line by line through the biblical text to elucidate every word or concept. Numerous rules were followed to determine the authoritative interpretation of each verse. In later times, many philosophers were known for their allegorical interpretations of Scripture, while scholars of the KABBALAH favored more mystical or obscure exegesis. In all, tradition talks of four styles of exegesis, whose initials make up the word pardes (“orchard” or “paradise”): PSHAT (literal meaning), remez (allegorical meaning), DRASH (interpretative meaning), and sod (secret meaning). Further reading: Michael A. Fishbane, The Garments of Torah: Essays in Biblical Hermeneutics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992); Jacob Neusner, Introduction to Rabbinic Literature (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1999); Nahum M. Sarna, Studies in Biblical Interpretation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2000); H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midreash (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

exilarch Further reading: Brenda Z. Rosenbaum and Stuart Copans, How to Avoid the Evil Eye (New York: St. Mar-

During the early rabbinic period after the loss of Jewish independence, the political leader of the


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Jews in PALESTINE was known as the NASI, while the political leader of the Jews in BABYLONIA was known as the exilarch. The exilarch was a hereditary position; the family was commonly thought to be descended from King David. Just as the gaon (see GEONIM) was the religious authority of the Jewish community in Babylonia, the exilarch wielded the political power. After the redaction of the two TALMUDS and the decline of the Palestinian community, the exilarch was recognized as the political leader of all the Jews in the DIASPORA. For centuries he was in effect the royalty within the Jewish world. He lived and was treated like a prince, supported by taxes. As long as Babylonian Jews exercised self-government, the exilarch supervised criminal law, collected taxes, and appointed officers and judges. The post of exilarch existed from the first to the 12th centuries C.E.

Jews: God sent the Babylonians and Romans to punish the Jews and exile them for their sins. As the second Exile grew longer, new theories emerged. In response to early Christian accusations blaming the Exile on the Jews’ rejection of CHRISTIANITY, some Jewish theologians countered that Jews had been exiled to atone for the sins of the entire world. Meanwhile, rabbis of the KABBALAH maintained that the Exile provided an opportunity for Jews living all over the world to “gather divine sparks” and repair the world; they believe that God went into exile along with the Jews. There is a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not recognize 1948 as the end of the Exile. They maintain that only God can end the Exile, while the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a human event, not a divine one. Thus, this group believes the Great Exile has not yet come to an end.

Further reading: Jacob Neusner, A History of the Jews in Babylonia (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997); Jacob Neusner, Talmudic Judaism in Sasnian Babylonia: Essays and Studies (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 1976); Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, vol. 3 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1949).

Further reading: Yitzhak Baer, Galut (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1988); David Biale, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History (New York: Schocken Books, 1986); Franz Kobler, ed., A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953); “Lamentations,” in Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985); Etan Levine, ed., Diaspora: Exile and the Contemporary Jewish Condition (New York: Steimatzky/Shapolsky, 1986).

exile (galut) Exile, or galut in Hebrew, can refer to the act of expulsion from ERETZ YISRAEL, or to the life the Jews lived after being exiled from their sacred homeland. The first Exile occurred in 586 B.C.E. when the Babylonians destroyed the TEMPLE, conquered JERUSALEM, and removed its inhabitants to BABYLONIA. The second or Great Exile occurred in 70 C.E. when the Romans destroyed the second Temple, laid waste to the land and took many prisoners into foreign slavery. While the first Exile lasted only until the Jews’ return in 539 B.C.E., the second is considered to have lasted almost 2,000 years, ending only when ISRAEL emerged as a Jewish state in 1948. Numerous theological approaches have been taken toward exile. The earliest traditions suggested that exile is the result of the behavior of the

Exodus The term exodus refers to the mass liberation of ISRAELITES from slavery in Egypt as recorded in the TORAH and commemorated in the PASSOVER celebration. Exodus is also the title of the second book of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, which describes this event. According to the biblical story, God called upon MOSES (Ex 3), an Israelite who had been raised in PHARAOH’s court, to return to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let the Israelite slaves go. After suffering through TEN PLAGUES, culminating in the death of every Egyptian first-born male, Pharaoh finally


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relented and released the Israelite slaves to freedom (Ex 7–12). The slaves left hurriedly, but were soon pursued by Pharaoh’s army when the ruler changed his mind. In a miraculous event, God parted the waters of the Red Sea to allow the slaves to pass through, and then closed the waters upon the Egyptian army, drowning them (Ex 14). The Exodus of Israelite slaves to freedom has come to be a symbol for spiritual liberation as well as political and historical liberation for peoples of many religions and nationalities around the world. In modern time, the Exodus was the name of a boat carrying 4,500 Jewish refugees from FRANCE to PALESTINE in 1947. The boat was seized by six British destroyers who fired on the ship, killing several passengers. The British foreign minister, Ernest Bevin, decided to make an example of the ship once it had docked in HAIFA, and he sent the passengers back to Europe. Refusing to disembark in France, they were sent on to GERMANY, where British troops forced the people to disembark. The story spread like wildfire around the world, and prompted the UNITED NATIONS committee responsible for considering a Jewish homeland to approve the establishment of the nation of ISRAEL. Eleven years later, Leon URIS published a fictional version of the story in his novel Exodus, which became a powerful force creating pro-Israel sentiment among Jews and gentiles alike, and helped spark a revival of Jewish identity among SOVIET JEWRY.

to return some years later when it was economically, politically, or socially advantageous to do so. The first official expulsion occurred in Mainz, GERMANY, in 1012. In 1290, ENGLAND expelled its Jews, and FRANCE followed suit in 1306. The year 1483 saw a multiplicity of expulsions, in Warsaw, Sicily, Lithuania, and PORTUGAL. The most famous, and probably the largest, such expulsion took place in SPAIN in 1492, at the instigation of the Inquisition. In 1510 another Jewish community in Germany was expelled, this time in Brandenburg, and in 1593 both Italy and Bavaria expelled their Jews. In RUSSIA in 1881 Jews were expelled from 10 percent of the former area of the PALE OF SETTLEMENT. The POGROMS that occurred in Russia at the time were akin to expulsions, as thousands of Jews felt no option but flight. During World War II, vast numbers of Jews were pushed around the map in Europe between the Nazi-occupied countries both before and during the HOLOCAUST.

Further reading: Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy, eds., “Exodus” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Ronald S. Hendel, “The Exodus in Biblical Memory” in Journal of Biblical Literature 120, 4 (Winter 2001): 601–622; Leon Uris, Exodus (Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1958).

Ezekiel (sixth century B.C.E.) biblical figure,

expulsion Jewish communities have suffered many expulsions over the centuries, in particular from various Christian lands during the Middle Ages. Often, a ruler would expel the Jews to gain favor from the general population, and then invite them

Further reading: John Edwards, The Jews in Western Eupore, 1400–1600 (New York: Manchester University Press, 1995); Franz Kobler, ed., A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953); Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996).

prophet and mystic The prophet Ezekiel was active during the Babylonian attack on JERUSALEM and the subsequent exile to BABYLONIA after the destruction of the first TEMPLE in 586 B.C.E. Ezekiel preached and prophesized to the Jerusalemites about the impending fall of their holy city; his prophecies comprise the Book of Ezekiel, in the NEVI’IM section of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Ezekiel was a member of the priestly house of Zadok. His language is sophisticated and riveting, full of visionary images while still informed by the priestly tradition of the TORAH. His main message was the sovereignty of God, who would punish


the Jews for being sinful and rebellious (see SIN AND REPENTANCE). The Book of Ezekiel begins with the image of a chariot leading God away from the sinful nation that would not listen to the prophets’ warnings. The book ends with Ezekiel returning to Jerusalem and describing the horror and desolation of the city and the Temple. While Ezekiel’s warnings of destruction came true, he also reassured the people that God has promised to restore them to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, in keeping with his reputation for mercy. Ezekiel comforts the mourners with the image of the dry bones that come back to life and return to the land. Ezekiel’s rich otherworldly imagery plays a central role in subsequent Jewish mysticism. The mystical tradition of the KABBALAH is often traced back to this long-beloved book. The imagery of God’s chariot and of the dry bones are traditionally read during the festivals of PASSOVER and SHAVUOT. These holidays celebrate the promise of REDEMPTION and the restoration of God’s law among the Jews. Further reading: Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Moshe Greenberg, Ezekiel 1–20 (New York: Anchor Bible Commentary, 1995); Moshe Greenberg, Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Ezra (fifth century B.C.E.) biblical figure, Jewish leader who helped rebuild Jerusalem Ezra, the chief character in the book bearing his name in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, is credited

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with the reestablishment of Judaism in JERUSALEM in the 5th century B.C.E. Ezra was the spiritual as well as political leader of the small Jewish community that had returned to Judea from exile in BABYLONIA. To stem a rising tide of ASSIMILATION to the surrounding pagan culture, he instituted a decree against INTERMARRIAGE . His greatest accomplishment, according to rabbinic tradition, was to restore the central place of the TORAH within ISRAELITE culture. Aware that the people were no longer familiar with the original HEBREW alphabet, Ezra ordained that the ancient Hebrew letters be replaced by the square ARAMAIC letters that are still used for Hebrew today. This allowed the people to reaccess their holy books. Ezra fixed times for public readings of the Torah, settling on the morning of market days, Monday and Thursday, when the Jews would naturally gather, and the morning and afternoon of SHABBAT, the Sabbath, when Jews refrained from work and would have the time and leisure to learn. These times are still in effect today. It was also Ezra, tradition says, who divided the Torah into 54 portions, to be read in a cycle over the course of a year. Many rabbis believe that Ezra also fixed certain Torah readings to be read at every public gathering. He is also credited with originating the SYNAGOGUE and Jewish prayer services outside the Temple precincts. Further reading: Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition: A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing House, 1991); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

F AF J: Fackenheim, Emil (1916–2003) postHolocaust theologian/philosopher Born in Halle, GERMANY, in 1916, Emil Fackenheim studied progressive Judaism in Germany with Leo BAECK at the Hochschule für die WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS (Academy of Jewish Studies) in Berlin. After KRISTALLNACHT in November of 1938, he was imprisoned in a CONCENTRATION CAMP. Released from the camp in March of 1939, Fackenheim immigrated to CANADA, becoming rabbi of the Reform Temple Anshe Sholom in Hamilton, Ontario, for five years (see REFORM JUDAISM), and then taking on his well-known role as professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. Fackenheim eventually made ALIYAH to ISRAEL, becoming a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the HEBREW UNIVERSITY in JERUSALEM. He died in Jerusalem on February 19, 2003. Fackenheim was a leading scholar of postHolocaust Jewish theology and PHILOSOPHY. His life work was an attempt to help modern Jews understand the cataclysmic events of the HOLOCAUST, the murder of 6 million European Jews. Fackenheim believed that Hegel was the greatest modern philosopher; when he began to develop his own theological response to the Holocaust, he drew on the Hegelian view of his152

tory, especially on the concept of myth. He argued that people need a “countermyth” to the Holocaust. For Fackenheim the Holocaust represents an extreme case of the modern desacralization of humanity. Jews need an equally powerful myth to counter this, and the best option rests with the experience of receiving the law at MOUNT SINAI. Fackenheim notes that God gave 613 commandments at Mount Sinai, and he argues that the post-Holocaust world needs a new commandment, the 614th (see 614TH COMMANDMENT). This commandment is, “Do not give Hitler a posthumous victory by allowing Judaism to disappear.” Judaism must survive and flourish in the modern world. For Fackenheim this is an existential crisis: the Holocaust indicates that evil is in the world. The only way for good to triumph is for Jews to assert their faith in God, especially in the face of this evil, and to live life fully. The most telling symbol of embracing life is the State of Israel. Fackenheim asserts that the State of Israel is necessary, not just for the practical survival of the Jewish people, but as a visible symbol of life triumphing over death, of good triumphing over evil. In addition, the victims of the Holocaust must be remembered: “If we forget Judaism, the victims will have died in vain; if we


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forget the martyrs and what they stood for, their pain will be for naught; if we despair and give up the fight, then AUSCHWITZ will have the last word.”

the passage differently and do not understand it to imply that Jews should literally have “faith” in any human being.

Further reading: Emil Fackenheim, God’s Presence in History: Jewish Affirmations and Philosophical Reflections (New York: New York University Press, 1970); ———, The Jewish Bible after the Holocaust: A Re-reading. (Blooming: Indiana University Press, 1990); ———, The Jewish Return into History: Reflections in the Age of Auschwitz and a New Jerusalem. (New York: Schocken Books, 1978); ———, To Mend the World: Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (New York: Schocken Books, 1982); Peter J. Haas, Morality After Auschwitz: The Radical Challenge of the Nazi Ethic (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988).

Further reading: Samuel Huga Bergman and Alfred Jospe, Faith and Reason: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (New York: Schocken Books, 1961); Louis Jacobs, Principles of the Jewish Faith (Northvale, N.J.: J. Aronson, 1964); Lawrence Kushner, God Was in This Place and I, I Did Not Know: Finding Self, Spirituality and Ultimate Meaning (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1993).

faith The HEBREW word for faith is emunah, which is best understood as “trust.” In Judaism, faith is understood not as intellectual assent or blind allegiance, but as living a life that trusts in God. The key verse is in Habakkuk (2:4): “But the righteous shall live by faith.” Biblical and rabbinic writers encouraged the Jews to maintain faith in God, even in the face of persecution, EXILE, and suffering. These writers presumed belief in the existence of God. It was only in the medieval period that Jewish writers began to present proofs of God’s existence. Within Judaism faith is transmitted through the community and family, through ritual practice and repetition of stories. The stories emphasize God’s own faithfulness throughout history, and present examples of Jews who remained faithful even in the midst of great suffering and loss. Recently the term faith has also been used in a more human context. In the Agudat Israel movement, an umbrella group for traditional followers of ORTHODOX JUDAISM, faith also connotes trust in certain contemporary rabbis as authoritative teachers of TORAH. In support of this view they point to the phrase “faith of the sages,” found in the ETHICS OF THE FATHERS. Most other Jews read

family In Judaism, the family is a crucial unit of religious and educational life. While attending SYNAGOGUE and receiving a formal Jewish education are important, traditionally much of Jewish prayer and education takes place in the home. So important is the family unit that even Jews unfamiliar with HEBREW will often use the word mishpachah (Hebrew for “family”) in their ordinary speech. Women have typically carried the primary responsibility for maintaining this central focus of Jewish life. It is in their purview to keep a kosher home (see KASHRUT), and prepare the home for SHABBAT (the Sabbath) and the many holidays. Traditionally, these practices were passed from mother to daughter within each family, though sons also learn a great deal in the process. Some formal education occurs in the home setting too. TORAH portions are discussed during Sabbath meals; the PASSOVER SEDERS, which are also held in the home, are used as another opportunity to pass along Jewish knowledge and a sense of JEWISH IDENTITY. One gets one’s formal status as a Jew through one’s mother and one’s tribal lineage—kohen (see KOHANIM), LEVITE, or ordinary Jew—through one’s father. One’s Hebrew name includes the names of one’s parents (e.g., “Abraham the son of Joseph,” or “Abraham the son of Rachel,” depending on the context). Children are seen as blessings from God.


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Further reading: Gluckel, The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln (New York: Schocken Books, 1987); Michael Kaufman, Love, Marriage, and Family in Jewish Law and Tradition (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1992); Steven Carr Reuben, Raising Jewish Children in a Contemporary World: The Modern Parent’s Guide to Creating a Jewish Home (Rocklin, Calif.: Prima Pub., 1992); Daniel B. Syme, The Jewish Home: A Guide for Jewish Living (New York: UAHC Press, 1988).

ing prayers by participating in a communal meal with TORAH study. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Naphtali Winter, ed., Fasting and Fast Days (Jerusalem: Keter Books, 1975).

fear of the eye (marit ayin) fast days In the Jewish CALENDAR there are two major and five minor fast days. The two major fast days are YOM KIPPUR and TISHA B’AV. Yom Kippur is the only biblically prescribed fast; it falls on the 10th day of the month of Tishri, and is required as a day of atonement. Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the month of Av, is observed as a day of mourning for the destruction of the TEMPLEs in ancient times and for other Jewish national calamities. These two major fast days include prohibitions against eating, drinking, washing, sex, and wearing leather; they last from sunset to sunset. Minor fast days are more lenient; they last from sunrise to sunset and allow washing and the wearing of leather. Of the five minor fast days, three commemorate events related to the destruction of the Temple. The 10th of Tevet commemorates the day the siege began, the 17th of that month marks the day the city walls were breached, and the fast of Gedaliah on the third day of Tishri commemorates the death of Gedaliah, governor of Judea at the time. The fast of ESTHER occurs on the 13th of Adar. According to the Book of Esther, she fasted three days before approaching the king on behalf of the Jews, and bid the Jews of the capital to fast as well in her support; the fast of Esther commemorates that event, and precedes the joyous holiday of PURIM. Finally, the fast of the firstborn occurs on the 14th of Nissan, the day before PASSOVER; firstborn sons are expected to fast in gratitude for being spared from the 10th plague in EGYPT, though they may break the fast right after morn-

Marit ayin (literally, “fear of the eye”) is a legal principle that requires an observant Jew to refrain from any activity, even if permitted by HALAKHAH, Jewish Law, that might appear or imply to an observer that the person has done something forbidden. An example of marit ayin would be walking into a nonkosher restaurant to use a bathroom. An observer who sees this might naturally assume the person was entering the restaurant to eat, and strict kosher laws (see KASHRUT) prohibit eating anywhere nonkosher food is served. This might encourage Jewish onlookers to disrespect Jewish law, or it might mislead them into thinking that the restaurant was in fact kosher. The principle of marit ayin is also designed to prevent non-Jewish observers from thinking that Jews are hypocritical in their practice of halakhah. The many gradations of observance within ORTHODOX JUDAISM have led to a particular emphasis on the concept of marit ayin. Liberal Judaism tends to put less emphasis on halakhah, or interprets it more permissively; consequently those Jews who see themselves as liberal are less concerned about violating marit ayin. For example, many adherents of CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM consider it permissible to eat in nonkosher restaurants, as long as they avoid specifically nonkosher foods; they believe that an observer who saw them entering such a restaurant would have no reason to assume they would be eating nonkosher food there. Further reading: Solomon B. Freehof, A Treasury of Responsa (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1963); Blu Greenberg, How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983).

Feinstein, Moshe

Feinstein, Dianne (b. 1933) American politician Dianne Feinstein was born in San Francisco, California, in 1933. Although her mother was Catholic, and Feinstein attended Catholic school, her father, whose parents had emigrated from POLAND, sent her to a SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL to get a Jewish education, and she was confirmed at the age of 13 (it was not yet possible for girls to become a bat mitzvah in those days). Feinstein chose to identify as a Jewish woman, and she has been married to three Jewish men. Feinstein graduated with a B.A. in history and political science from Stanford University in 1955 and entered San Francisco politics as a Coro Foundation public affairs intern. Feinstein has had a remarkable political career in California for a woman of her generation. She was appointed to the women’s parole board at the age of 27. In 1969 she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In November 1978 she became mayor of San Francisco, calming the city after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk by an angry former employee. She was subsequently elected to two four-year terms as mayor, and in 1987 was named the nation’s “Most Effective Mayor” by City and State Magazine. In 1992 Feinstein was elected to the Senate for California, and she has been reelected to two full terms since then. Feinstein was the first woman on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first woman mayor of San Francisco, the first woman elected to the Senate from California, and the first woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein also holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Manila, Golden Gate University, and the Philippine Women’s University. In 1984 Feinstein became the first woman and the first Jew to be considered as a vice presidential candidate, when Walter Mondale was searching for a suitable ticket mate. As a Jewish woman in the public spotlight, Feinstein explains that Judaism “increased my sensitivity with respect to issues of discrimination and human rights in general.”

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Further reading: Maria Braden, Women Politicians and the Media (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996); Feinstein’s official Web site: http://www.senate.gov/ ~feinstein/index.html; Frank P. Le Veness and Jane P. Sweeney, Women Leaders in Contemporary U.S. Politics (Boulder, Colo.: L. Rienner, 1987); Jerry Roberts, Dianne Feinstein: Never Let Them See You Cry (San Francisco: HarperCollins West, 1994); Elinor Slater and Robert Slater, Great Jewish Women (Middle Village, N.Y.: Jonathan David Publishers, 1994).

Feinstein, Moshe (1895–1986) leading 20thcentury Orthodox rabbinic authority Moshe Feinstein, affectionately called Reb Moshe, was born in Uzda, RUSSIA, a small village near Minsk. After studying in Lithuanian yeshivot (see YESHIVA), he was ordained as a RABBI at the age of 21. He immigrated to the UNITED STATES in 1937 when it became unsafe to remain. Feinstein was dean of Mesifta Tifereth Jerusalem in New York from 1938 to 1986. During that period the school became a leading yeshiva in the world of ORTHODOX JUDAISM. Feinstein was known for seeking lenient interpretations of HALAKHAH in matters where individuals would suffer hardships, such as in cases of terminal illness. He also supported the use of artificial insemination even while his Orthodox peers did not, and he thought it acceptable to consider milk produced in the United States by ordinary commercial companies as kosher. He also contributed to Jewish law concerning issues that revolve around science, medicine, and technology. On the other hand, in nonemergency situations Feinstein took a strict approach, such as forbidding Orthodox Jews to say “amen” to a prayer recited by a Reform rabbi (see REFORM JUDAISM). He is perhaps best known for his argument that marriages performed by Reform and most Conservative rabbis (see CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM) are not religiously valid, and thus do not need a religious DIVORCE if they are dissolved. Feinstein served as president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States of America


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and CANADA from 1968 to 1986. He is viewed as the most outstanding scholar of halakhah in the last 50 years, a leading TALMUD scholar and one of the most respected halakhic authorities in America. Feinstein was so beloved that approximately 60,000 Jews walked alongside his coffin in New York City when he died. His body was buried in ISRAEL, although he had never lived there.

1987); Richard Altman and Mervyn Kaufman, The Making of a Musical: Fiddler on the Roof (New York: Crown Publishers, 1971); Jerry Bock, Fiddler on the Roof [sound recording, original Broadway cast] (New York: RCA Red Seal, 1986); Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof, libretto. Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (New York: Crown Publishers, 1964).

Further reading: Shimon Finkelman, Reb Moshe: The Life and Ideals of haGaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, 1986); Bela M. Geffen, ed., Celebration & Renewal; Rites of Passage in Judaism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993); Emanuel Rackman, “Halachic Progress: Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s Igrot Moshe on Even ha-Ezer,” in One Man’s Judaism (New York: Philosophical Library, 1970), 238–252.

Final Solution

Fiddler on the Roof The musical Fiddler on the Roof premiered on Broadway in 1964. Based on the short stories of SHOLOM ALEICHEM, the musical examines the life of a Jewish milkman, Tevye, and his family in late19th-century RUSSIA. As Tevye reacts to the unconventional marriages of three of his five daughters, he expresses the difficulties of adjusting traditional ways of life to the changing world around him. At the end of the musical, the entire village is forced to evacuate, and Tevye’s family moves on to an uncertain future in America. Fiddler on the Roof (later made into a hit movie) was written and produced by some of the leading figures in American theater in the 1960s: Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, Hal Prince, and Jerome Robbins. The musical opened to immediate success, both with Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. Productions of Fiddler on the Roof continue all around the world to this day, and songs such as “Tradition,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Sunrise, Sunset” have become Jewish classics. Further reading: Sholom Aleichem, Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories (New York: Schocken Books,

The term Final Solution refers to the systematic plan by the German Nazis (see GERMANY; HOLOCAUST) to exterminate all Jews. In September 1939 Reinhard Heydrich, the Third Reich chief of security, ordered all Polish Jews to be moved into GHETTOs in cities near major railways. In June 1941, after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, large-scale massacres of Jews were carried out by the EINSATZGRUPPEN, special forces under Heydrich’s control. In January 1942, Heydrich convened a meeting of top leaders in Berlin, known as the WANNSEE CONFERENCE. This conference is considered a turning point in the development of the Final Solution. At the Wannsee Conference, Heydrich laid out a systematic plan for the extermination of up to 11 million Jews, the entire Jewish population of Europe. This was simply a formalization and expansion of practices that were already in effect. At the time of the conference, a death camp (see CONCENTRATION AND DEATH CAMPS) was already operating at Chelmno in POLAND, and AUSCHWITZ, which had been established as a work camp, had already been equipped with gas chambers in the fall of 1941. After the conference, however, the institutionalization of mass murder was taken to a new level. Heydrich called for a systematic worsening of ghetto conditions and an increase in the number of death camps. Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were set up for “Operation Reinhard,” the mass extermination of Jews. From this time forward, Jews in ghettos were refused permission to work, and mass deportation from ghettos were carried out. By 1944 Jews were left only in the Lodz and

Five Disciples of Yochanan ben Zakkai

Kovno ghettos; the rest had been moved to camps or forced on long death marches toward the goal of their extermination. Further reading: Götz Aly, “Final Solution”: Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews. Trans. Belinda Cooper and Allison Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); David Cesarani, ed., The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (New York: Routledge, 1994); Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939–1945 (London: Vallentine, Mitchel, 1953).

Finkelstein, Louis (1895–1991) prominent Conservative rabbi, educator, and writer Louis Finkelstein was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from the City College of New York, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1918, and was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi (see CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM) in 1919. Finkelstein taught TALMUD and theology at the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF AMERICA (JTS) beginning in 1920. He served as JTS president from 1940 to 1951 and chancellor from 1951 to 1972, when he retired. Finkelstein led the seminary as a charismatic figure, skilled in both diplomacy and fundraising. He was a traditionalist, whose main passion was the study of Jewish texts. As his personal goals, he worked to ensure the continuation of Jewish scholarship, and to promote Jewish studies as part of the curriculum at mainstream universities. He achieved the latter goal, at least in part, when Louis Ginzberg, a Talmud scholar, received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 1936. Finkelstein helped to strengthen the role of Judaism in modern society by showing the Jewish and American public that it was still a living tradition. In 1938 he founded the Institute for Religious and Social Studies, pioneering interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews, and in 1938 he founded the Conference on Science, Religion and Philosophy. In 1944 he created a prize-

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winning radio show called Eternal Light that showcased the ethical teachings of real-life Judaism, bringing these ideas into millions of American homes. A member of many Jewish religious and cultural organizations, Finkelstein was the author of countless articles and books, including popular as well as scholarly works on Jewish history and theology. He coedited the Cambridge History of Judaism. Some of his best-known works include The Jews: Their History and The Jews: Their Religion and Culture. The Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, established in 1938, reflects Finkelstein’s legacy as a scholar of Judaism and of religion. Today the Finkelstein Institute works on interpreting issues of bioethics from a Jewish perspective. Further reading: W. D. Davies and Louis Finkelstein, eds., The Cambridge History of Judaism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984); Louis Finkelstein, The Jews: Their History (New York: Schocken Books, 1970); Neil Gillman, Conservative Judaism (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1996); Michael Greenbaum, Louis Finkelstein and the Conservative Movement: Conflict and Growth (New York: Global Publications at SUNY Binghamton, 2001).

Five Disciples of Yochanan ben Zakkai Yochanan BEN ZAKKAI was a disciple of the great sage HILLEL (first century B.C.E.), and the founder of the first great rabbinic academy at YAVNEH, called the SANHEDRIN. Tradition teaches that ben Zakkai had five outstanding disciples: Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus; Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah; Rabbi Yosse ha-Cohen; Rabbi Simeon ben Nathaniel; and Rabbi Eliezer ben Erekh. These figures contributed significantly to the development of the rabbinic legal tradition. The disciples’ title of RABBI, signifying their belonging to the Sanhedrin, marks the beginning of true rabbinic Judaism, when Jewish life and religion began to be defined by the traditions and rulings of leading rabbis. Rabbi was a title of respect that can be literally


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translated as “teacher,” but the rabbis’ primary role became the development and interpretation of HALAKHAH, Jewish law. Further reading: Jacob Neusner, A Life of Yohanan Ben Zakkai, Ca. 1–80 C.E. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970); Solomon Schechter, Studies in Judaism: Second Series (New York: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1908).

40,000 Jews living in France, mostly ASHKENAZIM in Alsace-Lorraine and Paris and SEPHARDIM in the south of France. The first kosher inn in Paris opened in 1721 (see KASHRUT), and the first Parisian synagogue opened in 1788. In 1790 the Sephardic Jews became French citizens, followed by the Ashkenazim in 1791, marking the earliest EMANCIPATION of Jews in Europe. The law that

France Individual Jews have lived in the geographic area that is now the republic of France since the first century C.E. However, it was not until the fifth century that a significant community appeared. Although the church produced anti-Jewish legislation (see ANTI-JUDAISM), it was somewhat ineffective, and the Jews were able to participate in the economy and even to pursue agriculture. In the sixth century a SYNAGOGUE was built on the Île de la Cité, in what is now Paris, and a Jewish community thrived there. By the 11th century the Jewish community was producing important Jewish scholarship. The most outstanding figure was RASHI, whose biblical commentary is often the first source consulted when studying TORAH, and whose frequent use of Old French words has made him an important linguistic source for students of that language. The 11th century also marked the beginning of widespread persecution of the Jews in France. Massacres, forced conversions, and expulsions ravaged the French Jewish community between 1007 and 1394, by which time almost all Jews had been expelled from France, dismantling several major medieval centers of Jewish scholarship. The rabbis of France, who included the TOSAFOT, the Kabbalists (see KABBALAH), and the scholars of Provence, were scattered. In the mid-16th century, CONVERSOS, or secret Jews, began to migrate to France from SPAIN and PORTUGAL, followed by Jews from eastern Europe beginning in the mid-17th century. By the time of the French Revolution there were approximately

During an official visit to France, David Ben-Gurion (left), the first prime minister of Israel, meets with General Charles de Gaulle, president of France, in Paris at the Palais de l’Elysée. (Fritz Cohen, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)


granted Jews citizenship in 1791 also abolished the religious-legal autonomy that the Jewish communities had previously enjoyed. During the Reign of Terror from 1793 to 1794 the Jews suffered alongside others with ties to religious institutions. Synagogues and communal organizations were closed, and by the time they were reconstituted many French Jews had already taken advantage of an open society and begun the process of ACCOMMODATION and ASSIMILATION. Napoleon Bonaparte revived the idea of Jewish autonomy in France. Napoleon believed that the emancipation of the Jews had not been successful and that the community needed to be regenerated. In 1806 he called together an Assembly of Jewish Notables, a committee of 112, to report on the compatibility of Jewish religious law and French civil law. He then organized a Sanhedrin (see NAPOLEON’S SANHEDRIN), consisting of 45 rabbis and 26 laymen, to codify the religious law as summarized by the Assembly of Jewish Notables. Two months later, having completed the task of writing the code, the Sanhedrin dispersed and the consistorial system took control. The consistory was responsible for monitoring the activities of the Jewish community, keeping track of the occupations and residences of Jews throughout France. These events were seen by many as a step backward in the process of emancipation. In 1829 the French Ministry of Religions authorized the opening of a rabbinical school in Metz, a town that had historically housed the YESHIVA where most French RABBIS were trained before the French Revolution. In 1859, the rabbinical school relocated to Paris, where it continues to train rabbis today. By 1831 almost all anti-Jewish legislation had disappeared from France, and in 1846 the Jewish Oath, a special oath a Jew had to take when testifying in a Christian court against a Christian, was abolished by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Many Jews became prominent in the social, cultural, financial, and intellectual spheres, including actress Sarah Bernhardt, Isaac Cremieux in the Chamber of Deputies, the Rothschild and Pereires families in

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finance, the scholar Emil Durkheim, and the novelist Marcel Proust. However, as the living conditions of Jews in France improved in the 19th century, ANTISEMITISM grew. The DAMASCUS AFFAIR, which occurred in Syria (then under French control), evoked hostility toward Jews in France. Communal leaders such as Adolphe Cremieux and the English Moses MONTEFIORE worked to balance the rising antisemitism by appealing to the French government, and by creating new organizations dedicated to the rights of Jews around the world, such as the ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE (1860). The second half of the century saw the emergence of antisemitic newspapers. In 1894 the DREYFUS AFFAIR, in which a French Jewish captain was charged with treason, brought French antisemitism to the forefront, though in the end Dreyfus was exonerated and his enemies defeated. Since the late 18th century, two-thirds of French Jews have consistently lived in Paris. Several waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in France after 1881, in the wake of POGROMS in RUSSIA. Baron Edmond James de ROTHSCHILD, born in Paris, began to fund many settlements in PALESTINE as news of the pogroms in RUSSIA found its way to France. Over 25,000 Jews immigrated to France between 1881 and 1914, while many other Jewish migrants passed through France for other destinations. Antisemitism in France declined during World War I, when a patriotic spirit of unification prevailed. After the war, Jews from eastern Europe traveled through France, but did not stay; however, many Jews from Turkey and Greece did make Paris their home. In 1923 the Fédération des Societés Juives de France was created, uniting many Jewish groups under its aegis. An estimated 300,000 Jews lived in France at the time of the German invasion of 1940. The Nazi FINAL SOLUTION, in concert with traditional French antisemitism, resulted in the deportation of an estimated 85,000–90,000 Jews during the HOLOCAUST. There were several CONCENTRATION CAMPS in France, such as Gurs, but most of the Jews were deported to death camps in Poland.

K 160 Frank, Anne Perhaps 3,000 of these people survived the war. French Jews played a well-known and significant role in the resistance movements during the war, and despite some antisemitism, many French people played a positive role in helping Jews escape. Many children were successfully hidden on French farms. The church denounced deportations, and some Catholic and Protestant clergy were involved in rescue efforts. Since World War II France has maintained the largest Jewish community in Europe, numbering between 550,000 and 600,000 by the 1970s. The community has become largely Sephardic, as it welcomed many North African and Middle Eastern Jews. The consistories created by Napoleon still manage some internal affairs of the French Jewish community, but without any of the restrictions that were originally imposed. In the contemporary world this organization is called the Consistoire Central Israelite de France et d’Algérie and represents mostly Orthodox Jews; it supervises kashrut standards and rabbinical training. There are some liberal synagogues that fall outside of the consistory’s jurisdiction. Most Jews in France are highly assimilated, and barely practice Judaism, although ORTHODOX JUDAISM has remained strong. There are a variety of Jewish publications and communal organizations, such as the Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France, which coordinates 50 separate institutions. The Fonds Social Juif Unifié had its 40th anniversary in 1991, and it continues to organize social, educational, and cultural activities within the Jewish community, aiding in the absorption of new immigrants. The Alliance Israelite Universelle still plays an important cultural role in the French Jewish community, which is extraordinarily diverse and includes Jews from Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, EGYPT and Europe. In the 1970s and 1980s there was a significant increase in Jewish day schools and Jewish education in general in France. Synagogues at Carpentras and Cavaillon, which date back hundreds of years, are considered national monuments. Another in Avignon

did not survive, but was rebuilt in 1846. Generally, the Jewish community in France is divided along the lines of religion, culture, and whether or not one supports ISRAEL. France had close relations with Israel early in its history, and more recently has offered Paris as a meeting site for Israeli, Palestinian, other Arab, and European negotiators. However, since the SIX-DAY WAR in 1967 diplomatic relations with Israel have been more difficult. Many French Jews have made ALIYAH to Israel. Antisemitism, in part based in the North African Muslim community, has become much more evident in recent years. Further reading: Esther Benbassa, The Jews of France: A History from Antiquity to the Present (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999); Paula E. Hyman, The Jews of Modern France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Michael R. Marrus and Robert O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981); Renee Poznanski, “Reflections on Jewish Resistance and Jewish Resistants in France,” Jewish Social Studies 2, 1 (1995); Emily Taitz, The Jews of Medieval France: The Community of Champagne (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1994); Alan M. Tigay, ed., The Jewish Traveler (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1994).

Frank, Anne (1929–1945) diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank is known around the world for her diary, which tells of her experiences hiding from the Nazis during the HOLOCAUST. Although her diary did survive, Anne died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen CONCENTRATION CAMP. Anne was born in Frankfurt, GERMANY, in 1929 to an assimilated Jewish family. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, her parents, Edith and Otto, understood the threat and fled to the NETHERLANDS, where the Frank family was safe in until 1940, when the Netherlands was defeated and occupied by Germany. Anti-Jewish decrees were passed that imposed restrictions on all Jews in Holland, and in 1942 many Jews were being

Frank, Leo

captured and sent to slave camps, and then to the new death camps. The Frank family, hoping to avoid deportation, hid for two years, beginning on July 6, 1942, in the annex of the building that housed Otto’s business, along with several other Jews. Anne’s diary recorded their experiences. In the beginning, she expressed a sense of adventure, but she soon focused on the inconveniences and hardships that hiding from the Nazis was placing on her and her family. Her diary describes her emotions, thoughts, and activities, providing a unique account of what it was like to hide from the Nazis during World War II. On August 4, 1944, the Frank family were discovered and arrested. They were sent to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen, where Anne died weeks before the liberation in March of 1945. Of the Frank family, only Otto survived. Anne Frank’s diary was discovered and published by her father. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl has become a remarkable cultural phenomenon. It is read by many Jewish teens, serving as a lesson in the history of the Holocaust as well as an example of the indomitable spirit of Jews. The book is found on the reading lists of many schools. It was transformed into a successful play, and there have been several movie versions. Many readers have been inspired by Anne Frank’s ideals, as expressed in her own words. In her diary she writes: “That’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered. It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank’s home in Holland has been turned into a museum, and a traveling exhibit has been created on her life. The exhibit includes 225 photographs that portray Anne’s life and the horrors of Nazism. Some have said that Anne’s diary is the most widely read book in the world after the Bible.

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The Diary of Anne Frank, whose author is pictured here, is read by Jewish and non-Jewish teenagers around the world. The diary tells the poignant and true story of Anne and her family’s years in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Anne Frank died in a concentration camp weeks before the liberation in March of 1945. Her spirit lives on as those who read her words gain insight and hope for the future despite Anne’s fate. (Getty Images)

Further reading: Anne Frank, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (Bantam, 1993); Miep Gies, Anne Frank Remembered (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988); Dick Van Galen Last and Rolf Wolfswinkel, Anne Frank and After (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1996).

Frank, Leo (1884–1915) victim of antisemitism in the southern United States Leo Frank was the only Jew ever to be killed by a lynch mob in the UNITED STATES. His death united the Jewish community to new efforts to fight ANTISEMITISM. On April 27, 1913, 14-year-old Mary Phagan was found murdered in the basem*nt of the pencil factory in which she worked. Leo Frank, her


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supervisor and a Jew, was quickly arrested for the crime. While certain circ*mstances made him an obvious suspect (he was one of the few in the factory the day of the murder, a Saturday), there was never any conclusive proof. Current evidence suggests that Phagan’s murderer was Jim Conley, another employee at the factory. It is clear that local authorities were under pressure to arrest a suspect quickly, and when Frank was arrested an emotional frenzy developed around the case. Widespread jubilation spread throughout Atlanta when a guilty verdict was handed down in 1914. Pressure began to mount, for a speedy execution by some and for a new trial by others. Ultimately, Frank was dragged from his prison and lynched on the night of August 16/17, 1915. None of the men who lynched him were ever arrested or even identified. Frank himself was born in Texas and graduated from Cornell University. He married the daughter of a wealthy Atlanta man, and he became a young leader in the local Jewish community. He seemed to exemplify the “ideal” American Jew: well-educated, professional, and affiliated with more liberal forms of Judaism. Leo Frank’s arrest, public humiliation, trial, and lynching have often been understood as the eruption of latent antisemitism in the South. Some scholars have argued that Frank’s particular troubles were as much the result of his northern origins and education, wealth, and social ungainliness as of antisemitism, but it is clear that the public attacks on Frank took on a strong and generalized antisemitic character. Frank was characterized as a “typical young libertine Jew” with a typically Jewish “ravenous appetite for . . . the girls of the uncircumcised.” Frank’s appeals eventually attracted a national audience, most of whom viewed his conviction as a miscarriage of justice. Events surrounding Frank’s accusation and death were a wake-up call to American Jews, particularly southern Jews, who had thought themselves safe from the kind of antisemitism that they knew was present in Europe. The case helped spur the creation of defense

organizations like the ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE. Historians have noted that Atlanta legal and political leaders were never overtly antisemitic; in fact, there seems to have been a desire to demonstrate they were not so. Even so, after Frank’s trial and lynching, Atlanta Jews became markedly more hesitant to participate in public life. Further reading: Leonard Dinnerstein, The Frank Case (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968); Albert S. Lindemann, “The Leo Frank Affair” in The Jew Accused: Three Anti-Semitic Affairs (Dreyfus, Beilis, Frank) 1894–1915 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Steve Oney, And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank (New York: Pantheon Books, 2003).

Frankel, Zachariah (1801–1875) German Jewish theologian Zachariah Frankel was born in Prague on September 30, 1801, and died in Breslau on February 13, 1875. He was the founder and leading thinker of the POSITIVE-HISTORICAL SCHOOL of Jewish thought. The school used a critical approach to Jewish scholarship while at the same time upholding the authority of tradition. Frankel, on both his father’s and mother’s side of the family, was descended from great rabbinic scholars. He studied at a YESHIVA as a youth, and in 1825 went to Budapest to study at the university. After graduating, he secured a rabbinic position, and in 1836 became the chief RABBI of Dresden. By 1845 Frankel established his opposition to Reform when he walked out of the second Reform rabbinical conference, disagreeing with the removal of HEBREW from liturgy. In 1859 Frankel published the Darkhei HaMishnah (The ways of the Mishnah), in which he introduced his theory of positive-historical Judaism. He presented immense textual support for his contention that Jewish law and the Jewish religion had always developed in response to changing historical conditions. While the divine origin of the TORAH may be true, human beings

Freud, Sigmund

over time had taken charge of all Jewish legal development. The key to Judaism was commitment to Jewish law (see HALAKHAH), and the authority of that law had always rested on its faithful observance by Jewish communities over the generations. Frankel believed that all human beings needed concrete symbols, and not just abstract ideas, though he never outlined his own personal theological position. Frankel’s ideas are the fundamental philosophical foundation for CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, which accepts that the community has always determined the shape of Jewish belief and practice in every generation. Further reading: Neil Gillman, Conservative Judaism: The New Century (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1993); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Freud, Sigmund (1856–1939) founder of modern psychoanalysis Sigismund (Sigmund) Schlomo Freud was born on May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia. He was the oldest son of Jacob Freud with his third wife, Amalia. His family referred to him by the nickname of Sigi. He had seven younger brothers and sisters. His two half brothers, Emmanuel and Philipp, were approximately the same age as his mother, and he had a nephew near his own age. Freud’s family life may have influenced his perspectives on family dynamics and his development of the theory of the Oedipus complex. Jacob Freud was a financially modest Jewish wool merchant, who ultimately settled in Vienna (see AUSTRIA) in 1860. Sigmund remained in that city until 1938, when the Germans occupied Austria. He married Martha Bernays in 1886, and they had six children. In 1873 Freud began to study medicine at Vienna University, researching the mysteries of the central nervous system. Although he did encounter ANTISEMITISM at the university, he found his own niche there. Freud established a

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private practice that specialized in treating nervous disorders. In 1895 he copublished Studies on Hysteria, and he performed his first dream analysis on himself. From 1895–1900 Freud developed the basic concepts and methods of psychoanalysis, a term Freud coined to refer to the exploration or analysis of dreams and fantasies. He published his seminal essay “The Interpretation of Dreams” in 1899. Many in the medical profession at that time did not welcome Freud’s revolutionary ideas. Nevertheless, he was named a professor at the university. He founded the Viennese Association of Psychoanalysis, and cultivated a group of medical colleagues who worked with him and expanded his theories, including Carl Jung, Otto Rank, and Alfred Adler. Freud published many works, but they failed to attract much attention outside Austria until he visited the United States to lecture in 1909. The visit helped spark the psychoanalytic movement around the world, and the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) was founded in 1910. As psychoanalysis developed, Adler and Jung formed their own theoretical schools, placing significantly less emphasis on sexual/familial dynamics than Freud had. Freud developed cancer of the jaw in 1923, but he continued working during his 16-year battle with the disease, which brought significant pain and 33 surgeries. Freud won the Goethe Prize for Literature in 1930, and in 1935 was elected an honorary Member of the British Royal Society of Medicine. When the Nazi regime in GERMANY annexed Austria in March of 1938, Freud fled Vienna and immigrated to ENGLAND with his family, at the insistence of friends. He died in London on September 23, 1939. His homes in Vienna and London have both become museums dedicated to his memory. Freud was not a practicing Jew nor was he a member of Zionist organizations (see ZIONISM). However, he remained a member of the Jewish community, and kept up his membership in Vienna’s B’NAI B’RITH Lodge; most of his colleagues were Jewish as well. In his last years,


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Freud published Moses and Monotheism, his only major work that explicitly involved Judaism. In this work, he attempts to explain the distinct nature of the Jewish people, tracing their heritage back to Moses and EGYPT. He argues that the Jewish people remain filled with guilt until the present day because of their supposed murder of MOSES, their father (which is nowhere in the Bible account). His theories on Judaism and Moses were accepted neither by Jews nor non-Jews. Freudian psychoanalysis has lost some prestige in recent decades. However, Freud’s ideas about the unconscious and about the effects of family dynamics were enormously influential in 20th-century psychiatry, and are considered indispensable even today.

in 1963. The book was a best seller and Friedan became an instant celebrity. Friedan maintained that many women did not feel fulfilled by their role as housewives and mothers. She criticized the prevailing culture, supported by education and the media, which directed women into lives segregated from men and from more fulfilling work. Friedan cofounded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 and served as its first president for three years. She authored NOW’s mission statement, demanding “full equality for women in the mainstream of American life.”

Further reading: David Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition (Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1958); Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York: Avon, 1980); ———, Moses and Monotheism (New York: Vintage Books, 1967); Richard Wollheim, Sigmund Freud (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Friedan, Betty (b. 1921) feminist writer and leader Betty Friedan is recognized as the founder of the contemporary feminist movement. Her book, The Feminine Mystique, was a runaway best seller that jump-started the feminist movement and helped to revolutionize the lives of millions of woman. Friedan was born on February 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, as Betty Goldstein. She graduated with honors from Smith College in 1942, and afterwards settled in New York City. She married Carl Friedan in 1947; they were divorced in 1969. Friedan was a housewife, mother of three children, and freelance writer when she decided to mark her 15th college reunion by sending questionnaires to members of her class asking them to describe their lives since college. These surveys, combined with additional research, led to the book The Feminine Mystique, which was published

Cofounder of the National Organization for Women (1966) and the founder of the contemporary feminist movement in the United States, Betty Friedan believes that the Jewish family is not threatened by feminism but will ultimately be strengthened by it. (Library of Congress)

Friedman, Thomas L.

Friedan’s efforts led to NOW’s support for an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the legalization of abortion. She traveled the country to preach on behalf of feminism. She welcomed younger women and encouraged them to share their more radical feminist ideas, though she always tried to keep a practical focus on the needs of average women. During the late 1960s, Friedan taught nonfiction writing at the New School for Social Research and at New York University. Later, in 1988, she served as visiting professor at the University of Southern California’s journalism school and at its Institute for the Study of Women and Men. Friedan modified her feminist views in the 1980s and published The Second Stage. She began to argue that feminism should try not to polarize the sexes, but rather create a new system of equality that properly and equally addressed family issues. In 1993 she published The Fountains of Age, which addresses the “mystique of age.” Many of the feminist leaders of the 1960s in America were Jewish, including Betty Friedan; Gloria STEINEM, a founder of Ms. magazine; Bella Abzug, the first Jewish woman to serve on Capitol Hill; and Adrienne Rich, poet and theorist. Friedan was never an observant or religious Jew, but her encounters with antisemitism as a young girl increased her adult awareness of social injustice. Although she sees Judaism as a patriarchal system, she believes that feminism and its ideal of strengthening women do not threaten Judaism as a tradition. She stated in a New York Times Magazine article in 1984 that “Feminism is not a threat to the Jewish family. Family is basic to the survival of Jews. The liberation of women to full personhood will only help in the strengthening and evolution of the family.” Betty Friedan was the only Jewish woman on Life magazine’s list of the 100 most important Americans of the 20th century, published in the fall of 1990. Further reading: Betty Friedan, Life So Far: A Memoir (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001); Judith Hen-

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nessee, Betty Friedan: Her Life (New York: Random House, 1999); Christine A. Lunardini, Women’s Rights (Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1996); Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991).

Friedman, Thomas L. (b. 1953) journalist and writer on the Middle East Thomas L. Friedman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 20, 1953. He earned his B.A. in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University, graduating with honors in 1975. During his university years he studied abroad both at the HEBREW UNIVERSITY of JERUSALEM and the American University in Cairo, pursuing a career in Middle East studies to compliment an early love of ISRAEL. In 1978 Friedman obtained a master’s degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford. He took a journalist position with the London bureau of United Press International, and in 1979 was dispatched to Beirut. In 1981 Friedman joined the New York Times and after a brief period of journalist work in America, became their Beirut bureau chief in April 1982. At this time, Friedman returned to Beirut for several years. After witnessing the Lebanon-Israel war (see LEBANON WAR), Friedman moved to Jerusalem and in June 1984 became the New York Times’s Israel bureau chief until February 1988. In June 1989, he published From Beirut to Jerusalem, which became a best seller and won both the National Book Award for nonfiction and the Overseas Press Club Award for a foreign policy book. In From Beirut to Jerusalem, Friedman offers a straightforward eyewitness account of Lebanese and Israeli culture and politics. His balanced perspective makes this volume useful as a basic textbook for Middle East studies. At the beginning of 1989 Friedman became the New York Times’s chief diplomatic correspondent. At the conclusion of 1992 Friedman became the chief White House correspondent for the New


166 Friedman, Thomas L.

York Times. In 1995 Friedman became the New York Times foreign affairs columnist. Friedman received the Pulitzer Prize for his writings on the Middle East in 1983, 1988, and 2002. He became a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2005. Friedman continues to publish regularly in the New York Times, and his 2000 publication The Lexus and the Olive Tree made him a two-time winner of the Overseas Press Club Award. In April 2005, Friedman’s latest book, The

World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, was published. Further reading: Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1990); ———, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books/Doubleday, 2000); ———, Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 2003).

G AF J: galut See EXILE. Galveston Plan The Galveston Plan was a project to settle newly arriving Jewish immigrants in the U.S. interior, bypassing the densely populated urban areas where most Jews then lived. The plan was spearheaded by the prominent American financier and philanthropist Jacob SCHIFF, following its suggestion by President Theodore Roosevelt. Schiff and his supporters secured approval of a bill to establish an entry station for immigrants in Galveston, Texas. From 1907 to 1914 approximately 9,300 Jewish immigrants arrived via the port of Galveston. Schiff wanted to rescue Jews from eastern European persecution, but also to divert them from the impoverished, ghettolike existence on the LOWER EAST SIDE of New York and other big cities in the East. He believed that settling Jews in communities where workers were needed would benefit the new immigrants immediately and have a positive overall economic effect. As long as most Jews entered via the eastern port cities, with their extensive and reassuring Jewish communities, they were unlikely to venture farther into the country, even though opportunities might exist for them there.

Between 1907–14, only a small number of Jews, approximately 9,300, was diverted to Galveston, and the overall plan was a failure. Conflict between the different Jewish agencies contributed to the failure. In addition, most Jewish immigrants wanted to be with family and friends who had arrived before them. The Galveston Plan was not the only attempt to divert immigrants to the interior of the country. The INDUSTRIAL REMOVAL OFFICE also attempted to do so, providing opportunities for Jewish immigrants in Ohio and other midwestern states. Further reading: Naomi Wiener Cohen, Jacob H. Schiff (Hanover, N.H.: Brandeis University Press, 1999); Joseph H. Udelson, Dreamer of the Ghetto: The Life and Works of Israel Zangwill (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1990); Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1992).

Garden of Eden The Garden of Eden is the earthly paradise created by God as a home for the first humans at the beginning of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible (Gn 2:8–3:22). The garden housed pleasing trees of all kinds, including the tree of life and tree of knowledge, and no human labor was necessary 167


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to provide food. Adam and Eve dwelt there until they were expelled for their disobedience. God then stationed the CHERUBIM at the entrance to the garden, along with a fiery sword, to guard against human entry. Over the centuries, many people have sought to find the Garden of Eden, but no one has been successful in that quest. According to Jewish tradition, there is also a heavenly Garden of Eden, a paradise to which the souls of the righteous go after death. Once the MESSIAH comes, however, the entrance to the earthly Garden of Eden will be revealed and all will be able to enter. Further reading: Gerard P. Luttikhuizen, ed., Paradise Interpreted: Representations of Biblical Paradise in Judaism and Christianity (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 1999); Raphael Posner, The Creation According to the Midrash Rabbah: Rendered with Commentary by Wilfred Shuchat (New York: Devora Publishing, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Gehinnom (Gehenna) Gehinnom, or Gehenna in Yiddish, is a place of spiritual torment or purification. According to traditional Jewish thought (see TRADITIONAL JUDAISM), only a very few are ready to enter the GARDEN OF EDEN, or Paradise, upon death. The vast majority need some time to reflect upon their lives and repent for their sins. The period of time anyone spends in Gehinnom is not to exceed 12 months, about the same time relatives traditionally engage in MOURNING for the deceased. Some mystical texts state that we create demons with every sin we commit on earth (see SIN AND REPENTANCE), and these demons torment us after death in Gehinnom. After the time in Gehinnom has passed, the soul ascends to OLAM HA-BAH, the world to come, or, if the person was truly wicked, the soul is destroyed. Although many Jews contend that there is no Jewish equivalent to the Christian concept of hell, Gehinnom serves a similar purpose, albeit for a limited time.

Further reading: Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages (New York: Schocken Books, 1995); Moses Gaster, Ma’aseh Book: Book of Jewish Tales and Legends, vol. 1 (New York: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1934).

Geiger, Abraham (1810–1874) a founder of German Reform Judaism Abraham Geiger was born in Frankfurt, GERMANY, on May 24, 1810, and he died in Berlin on October 23, 1874. His father was Rabbi Michael Lazarus Geiger, and his mother was Roeschen Wallau. Geiger is considered one of the most important of the founders of REFORM JUDAISM. He was a prolific author, historian, and teacher who helped develop the Jewish critical study of the Bible and other Jewish texts, a study that came to be called WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS (the science of Judaism). Geiger demonstrated genius at an early age, mastering Bible and TALMUD study while still a youth. He also learned Latin and Greek. At his BAR MITZVAH, he chose the unconventional practice of delivering his DVAR TORAH, or Torah teaching, in both German and Hebrew, which was considered extremely liberal. Geiger’s mastery of both traditional Jewish texts and secular studies transformed his religious views in the direction of liberal philosophy. From 1829 he studied Syriac and Arabic at the Universities of Heidelberg and Bonn, so as to improve his resources for the critical study of Jewish texts. On November 21, 1832, he was appointed as the rabbi for Wiesbaden. He became engaged to Emilie Oppenheim, but they did not marry until July 1, 1840. In Wiesbaden Geiger preached, taught, wrote, and introduced changes in the synagogue services, attempting to make them more like Christian liturgical forms. In 1834, Geiger received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Marburg. Geiger approached Judaism from a scientific perspective. He wanted complete critical freedom in dealing with the Jewish texts.


At Wiesbaden, Geiger gathered together other rabbis to pursue liberalization within Judaism; however, opposition from ORTHODOX JUDAISM forced him to resign his rabbinic position in 1838. Geiger relocated to a rabbinic position in Breslau. His liberalism appealed to the local non-Jewish government at the time; this was crucial, as the secular government’s approval was needed for any rabbinic appointment. Geiger’s new congregation followed their rabbi’s liberal lead. They adopted his new prayer book, and supported his call for a “reform” of Judaism. Geiger wanted his followers to embrace their German identity on equal footing with their Jewish identity. He noted that EMANCIPATION had resulted in high levels of ASSIMILATION among Jews, and he wished to stop the mass defections away from Judaism. His solution was to make Judaism a modern religion, appealing to the modern European Jew. Geiger wanted to eliminate from Judaism any ritual that separated Jew from non-Jew. He was mainly concerned with upholding Jewish ethical laws; any ritual that did not support the ethical laws was not needed, and served only to separate the Jew from the modern non-Jew. Geiger’s reforms included praying in German, reciting or singing prayers out loud in unison, abolition of the traditional cantillations, introduction of the organ as musical accompaniment, centralization of the sermon during the service, and delivering the sermon in German. Under Geiger’s leadership Reform Jews rejected observance of the Jewish dietary laws (see KASHRUT), wearing a KIPPAH (head covering), wearing a TALLIT (prayer shawl), and putting on TEFILLIN (phylacteries). Within the liturgy Geiger removed all references to the return to Zion, the MESSIAH, the resurrection of the dead, or the restoration of the ancient sacrificial cult. Geiger personally opposed all prayer in HEBREW as well as ritual circumcision (see BRIT MILAH), but the Jews he led could not follow these doctrines, and Geiger did not pursue them. Geiger established a school for the training of Reform rabbis, and he created the foundation for

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what became known as Classical Reform Judaism. His primary motivation was his fundamental belief that religious reform would allow Judaism to remain attractive to all modern Jews. Further reading: Abraham Geiger and Max Wiener, Abraham Geiger and Liberal Judaism: The Challenge of the Nineteenth Century (Cincinnati, Ohio: Hebrew Union College Press, 1981); Robert Liberles, Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt Am Main, 1838–1877 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Gemara The Hebrew word for “completion,” Gemara is the term commonly applied to the commentary on the MISHNAH that appears in the TALMUD. The Gemara records the discussions of several generations of RABBIS as they analyzed and investigated the Mishnah, and reports the decisions they made on Jewish law, or HALAKHAH. The rabbis of the Gemara are referred to as the AMORAIM. The discussions in the Gemara constitute the basic foundation of RABBINIC LAW. The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably, even though the Gemara is strictly speaking only one part of the Talmud. Further reading: Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1984); H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992); Jacob Neusner, The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud: Studies in the Achievements of the Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Historical and Literary-Critical Research (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970).

gematria Gematria is a technique of textual interpretation that focuses on the numeric value of HEBREW letters.



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Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value. Alef through yod have the values 1 through 10, yod through qof have the values 10 through 100, counting by 10s, and qof through tav have the values 100 through 400, counting by 100s. Consequently every word has a numerical equivalent, equal to the sum of the numerical values of each letter. For example, the Hebrew word for life, CHAI, has the numerical value 18. Therefore, it is a custom to give monetary gifts in multiples of 18 (36, 54, 72, 180), in the hope that the gift will bring long life to the donor or the recipient. In this system, especially popular among mystical followers of the KABBALAH, relationships between words and concepts are established by noting similarities or mathematical relationships between their respective numerical values. The ancient rabbis used gematria to interpret the deeper meanings of texts, and mystics often associated the numerical values of letters to activities occurring on spiritual planes. Further reading: Lewis Glinert, The Joys of Hebrew (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); Louis Jacobs, The Jewish Religion: A Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Gutman G. Locks, The Spice of Torah—Gematria (New York: Judaica Press, 1985); Howard Schwartz, Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998).

money, but gemilut chasadim can be done with one’s person and one’s money. Tzedakah can be given only to the poor, gemilut chasadim both to the rich and the poor. Tzedakah can be given to the living only whereas gemilut chasadim can be done both for the living and the dead (Talmud, Sukkah 49b). RASHI, the most-consulted biblical commentator, further explains gemilut chasadim: an act of gemilut chasadim can be “eulogizing the dead, rejoicing with a bride and groom, or accompanying a friend along the way.” One can perform gemilut chasadim with one’s money by “making a loan to another or lending your neighbor tools or livestock.” In Jewish Palestinian ARAMAIC, the phrase gemilut chasadim specifically referred to the burial of the dead and paying them last respects. In rabbinic HEBREW, gemilut chasadim refers to the whole range of pious acts that an individual can perform personally. Simeon the Just, in the Talmud, describes gemilut chasadim as one of the three pillars of Judaism along with TORAH and the TEMPLE service (Avot 1:2). Further reading: Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); Lewis Glinert, The Joys of Hebrew (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Louis Jacobs, The Book of Jewish Practice (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House Publishing, 1987).

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Gemilut chasadim technically translates as “love, grace, compassion, and kind deeds.” In common discussion it is generally translated as “act of loving kindness.” Whereas TZEDAKAH, righteous giving, refers to obligated giving from one’s physical possessions, gemilut chasadim refers to giving of oneself. This can include donating time and energy to charitable activities, or simply performing acts of kindness. The RABBIS of the TALMUD asserted that in three respects gemilut chasadim was superior to tzedakah: Tzedakah can be done only with one’s

Derived from the word meaning “to conceal,” a genizah is a depository for unneeded books or other writings. HALAKHAH, Jewish law, teaches that no piece of writing containing the name of God may be destroyed, even if it has been damaged. Consequently, genizahs were established for damaged bibles, prayer books, ritual items, and any other paper or parchment that was no longer needed. When a genizah is full, it must be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Ancient genizahs have proved to be valuable archives for scholars and historians. Perhaps the


most famous collection is the Cairo Genizah, uncovered in 1890 and since moved to Cambridge, ENGLAND. The collection includes items from the 11th through 13th centuries, including rabbinical RESPONSA, poetry, treatises of legal teachings, philosophy, private letters, and contracts, many of them copies of important but otherwise unknown writings from still earlier periods. It opened a window on hundreds of years of Jewish and non-Jewish linguistic, literary, religious, and social history. The oldest item ever found in a genizah is a KETUBAH, or marriage contract, from the ninth century. Further reading: Steven Fine, Sacred Realm: The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Franz Kobler, Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble, vol. 1 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1953); Lawrence H. Schiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library of Qumran (New York: Jewish Publication Society, 1994).

genocide Genocide is the attempt to partially or completely destroy a particular racial, religious, or national group. During World War II, the Third Reich embarked on a program of genocide by which they attempted to completely destroy European Jewry. Six million Jews, the majority of the European Jewish population and about one-third of all the Jews in the world, were ultimately murdered. This Nazi genocide has become known as the HOLOCAUST. The Nazis also pursued genocide against Gypsies (Roma), and at least partial genocide against handicapped and hom*osexual Germans, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and other groups perceived by them as undesirable. There is evidence that had they won World War II, they would have pursued genocide against the Slavic masses of eastern Europe. The Nazi agenda was to purify the so-called Aryan race of northern Europe. In the aftermath

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of the Nazi genocidal program, the UNITED NATIONS passed UN Resolution 260 in 1948, the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The resolution recognized a history of genocide directed by one group toward another, and created the international law that criminalized anyone involved with actions related to genocidal behavior. Unfortunately, despite the convention, cases of genocide have continued to take place from time to time, as in the African nation of Rwanda in the 1990s. Further reading: Doris Bergen, War & Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002); Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, A History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990).

Gentiles In the Jewish context, a Gentile is any person who is not a member of the Jewish people or an adherent of Judaism. It is a translation for the Hebrew word goy (pl.: goyim), which literally means “nation,” and popularly means “non-Jew”; the Hebrew word can have a pejorative connotation. According to traditional interpretations of HALAKHAH, Jewish law, Jews may have dealings with Gentiles, but there are restrictions on their interactions. In modern America, however, very few mainstream Jews restrict their interactions with non-Jews in any way, apart from religious participation in synagogues. The State of Israel has coined the phrase “Righteous Gentile” to refer to non-Jews who took heroic and selfless risks to save Jewish lives during the HOLOCAUST. YAD VASHEM, the Holocaust Memorial in JERUSALEM, includes a grove of trees called the “Avenue of the Righteous,” which honor these individuals and communities. Further reading: Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (New York: Oxford University Press,


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1961); Morton Smith, The Cambridge History of Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Nechama Tec, When Light Pierced the Darkness (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

geonim (sing.: gaon) The word gaon is Hebrew for “genius” or “great man.” In Jewish history, the term geonim usually refers to the leading rabbis in the centuries after the completion of the TALMUD, though in common usage, any great religious or even secular scholar can be labeled a gaon. Starting in the eighth century C.E., the leaders of the rabbinic academies in SURA and PUMBEDITA in Babylon were called gaon. These men were considered to be the most authoritative interpreters of the Talmud, although the post was usually transferred from father to son, or to the closest qualified relative, rather than according to merit. The most famous exception was the celebrated SAADIAH GAON, who earned his position as head of the yeshiva in Sura in the ninth century by his great stature as a scholar instead of inheriting the position. The geonim represented another stage in the long tradition of rabbinic interpreters, following the TANNAIM and AMORAIM. The geonim exerted tremendous influence and authority within the DIASPORA and in Judea, and they oversaw the installation of the EXILARCH, the civil leader of the Babylonian Jewish community. They answered questions of HALAKHAH, Jewish law, posed by Jews throughout the world, often in the form of letters known as RESPONSA. They supervised the final redaction of the Babylonian Talmud, and their influence was crucial in establishing its authority over the Jerusalem Talmud. Saadia Gaon also wrote one of the earliest complete siddurim, or prayer books (see SIDDUR). The “period of the geonim” is usually reckoned as from the seventh through the 11th centuries. Other figures who appear later in Jewish history have been given that title to suggest spiritual authority, most prominently the Lithuanian Talmud scholar Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the VILNA GAON, in the 18th century.

Further reading: Robert Brody, The Geonim of Babylonia and the Shaping of Medieval Jewish Culture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988); Immanuel Etkes, The Gaon of Vilna (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); Franz Kobler, ed., A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953); James Mann, Response of the Babylonian Geonim As a Source of Jewish History (Manchester, N.H.: Ayer Company Publishers, 1988); Solomon Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (New York: Schocken Books, 1961).

Germany The Jews in Germany have one of the longest and richest histories in all of European Jewry. Jews have lived in the German territories for almost 1,700 years, going back at least to the year 321 C.E., when a Jewish community in Cologne is mentioned in imperial Roman decrees. There were Jews at the court of Charlemagne in the ninth century. In the 10th century, the Jews in the German states looked to Palestine for religious leadership, and there is evidence of correspondence between the two communities. This was the origin of the liturgy and customs of the ASHKENAZIM, which took root in Germany and later spread to the lands to the east. Early German Jews participated in international trade with the East, and until the 11th century Jews were a respected component of the urban population. Many of the German Jews may have arrived there from Italy, following the trade routes. At the end of the 10th century, there were Jewish communities in Mainz, Worms, and Regensburg. In the 11th century, Jews appear in Bamberg and Würzburg, and in the 13th century, there were Jewish communities in Breslau, Munich, and Vienna. As the social and political topography of the German states shifted, so too did the demographics and fate of the Jews who lived there. The city of Mainz became a center of TORAH learning in the 10th century, led by Gershom ben Judah, and the yeshivot of Mainz and Worms attracted


Torah scholars from all of Europe (see YESHIVA), including the well-known biblical commentator RASHI (1040–1105). The rulers, whether secular or religious, who granted charters to Jewish communities were not always able to protect them from persecution. The First Crusade in 1096 brought violence, death, and destruction to the Jewish communities of Germany. The Jews of Mainz chose a martyr’s death and coined a religious phrase to describe their death—kiddush ha-shem, the sanctification of God through martyrdom. The crusade seemed to bring with it permission for the common people to physically attack Jews, a practice that cropped up frequently in German lands throughout the Middle Ages. In addition to the violence, the Jews were usually denied the right to practice agriculture or crafts, and sometimes barred from trading as well. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the church began to enforce its laws barring Christians from charging interest on loans, which the church called usury. No longer allowed to practice any other livelihood, Jews began their long history of involvement in moneylending and pawnbroking. This only contributed to the evil image of German Jews, who were already considered to be rejected by God. Animosity toward Jews became chronic, and erupted frequently in physical violence throughout the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the lack of any central authority, and the division of the country into many small principalities, meant that Jews were never expelled from the country as a whole. During the 12th and 13th centuries a corpus of religious poetry, or piyyutim, and other religious literature was written by the Hasidei Ashkenaz, a Jewish movement that stressed piety in thought and deed, and developed the concept of kiddush ha-shem. By the 13th century the autonomous Jewish communities could usually boast a synagogue, a cemetery, a bathhouse, and a place for weddings and festivals. The Jews ruled and taxed their own communities, and published regulations, called takkanot, that described how Jews should live their lives. There were rules for how

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much time to study Torah, how to protect family purity by regulating sexual relations, and how to observe SHABBAT, the Sabbath. Surviving until the modern period, this type of communal organization, called the KAHAL, satisfied the social and religious needs of the Jews; individual Jews had no more desire to leave the protection of the community than the outside world wanted them to do so. By the 14th century the Jewish communities were well established; however, continued persecution and violence in that century and the next convinced many Jews to relocate to the east, to POLAND. Episodes of violence were accompanied by instances of BLOOD LIBEL beginning in 1235, in which Jews were accused of using the blood of Christians for rituals. Nevertheless, Jews of the 15th century were able to enter into trade and commerce. By the 16th century, COURT JEWS appeared in Germany, making the role of the Jew important once again to powerful rulers. Jews were invited into cities as readily as they were expelled, for their skills in trade, commerce, and moneylending. Following the CHMIELNICKI MASSACRES of 1648, many Polish Jews sought refuge in Germany. There they incorporated their devotion toward KABBALAH, mysticism, and messianism (see MESSIAH) into the culture of German Jews. At the same time, the slowly modernizing governments of the small German states became more involved in the governance of Jewish life, decreasing the authority of the once-autonomous Jewish communities. By the 18th century, the Jewish and nonJewish worlds of Germany had begun to converge. Jews in the cities began to succumb to ASSIMILATION. Moses MENDELSSOHN, the father of the HASKALAH, or Jewish ENLIGHTENMENT, wrote his volume, entitled Jerusalem, suggesting that a Jew did not have to reject the modern world to remain Jewish. However, most wealthy Jews of this time did not take Mendelssohn’s advice, instead choosing to assimilate completely, many converting to CHRISTIANITY. In response to the huge rates of assimilation, many Jews began to focus on reforming Jewish


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practices and beliefs in an attempt to make Judaism more palatable to the modern mind. Abraham GEIGER and Samuel HOLDHEIM were two of the leaders of that movement. The first Reform synagogue was founded in Hamburg in 1817. REFORM JUDAISM was met by traditional Jews with the NEOORTHODOX MOVEMENT, which insisted on adherence to Jewish law even in a modern context; it was led by Samson Raphael HIRSCH. Alongside the rise of Reform and Neo-Orthodoxy, German Jews such as Zachariah FRANKEL suggested other modern variants of Jewish culture such as the critical and scientific study of Judaism, the POSITIVE-HISTORICAL SCHOOL and WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS. As the Jewish communities throughout the German states became more integrated within the non-Jewish world, the states themselves slowly followed the example of FRANCE in emancipating their Jews. In 1812 Prussia became the first German state to grant its Jews full rights as citizens, although many peasants did not approve this change in status. By 1870, when Germany had completely unified, Jews had achieved full citizenship everywhere in the country. Many Jews achieved high social status in Germany; incidents of ANTISEMITISM, which increased throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, were dismissed as passing phenomena. By the 1920s the Jews had achieved prosperity and legal equality as German citizens. This situation was totally reversed with the rise of Nazism in 1933. Jews lost all their rights with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. In 1938 KRISTALLNACHT, the Night of Broken Glass, revived violence on a scale not seen for centuries, as scores of Jews were killed, hundreds of synagogues destroyed, and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses vandalized or destroyed. They were stripped of any university, government, or medical posts. Those who did not escape through emigration were starved and ultimately killed in Hitler’s FINAL SOLUTION, the murder of 6 million Jews during the HOLOCAUST. Germany was declared completely free of Jews on May 19, 1938, although an estimated 19,000 remained there in hiding.

The effect of the Holocaust on German Jewry was devastating. Although most of the 6 million who perished were from eastern Europe, and the majority of Jews in Germany had time to escape between 1933 and 1939, the rich culture of German Jewry was destroyed. After the war, a small number of Jews came to Germany to join those who emerged from hiding, including some who returned to their cities and homes as well as displaced persons from other parts of Europe. Less than 5 percent of the pre–World War II community returned. In the 1950s many of the few remaining Jews in Germany immigrated to ISRAEL; by the 1960s the number of Jews in Germany hovered at 20,000, concentrated in West Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Cologne. Very few lived in East Germany. Until the late 1980s and the 1990s, the Jewish communities of Germany consisted mostly of the elderly. There were few communal organizations and only two Jewish schools. Intermarriage rates were very high. Oddly, however, the Jewish community of Germany became one of the wealthiest in the world because of reparations paid to Holocaust survivors and their descendents. By the end of the 20th century, the Jewish community was revitalized by large numbers of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. By 1993, their numbers had reached 40,000. If one includes the nonaffiliated and the intermarried, the number of Jews in Germany is probably 100,000. The immigrants rekindled a vibrant Jewish communal life in Germany, opening kosher restaurants (see KASHRUT) and founding a variety of organizations. Religious life is primarily Reform or Conservative. Assimilation and intermarriage are still significant issues among contemporary German Jewry. There is still antisemitism in Germany and many neo-Nazi groups exist. The German government, however, punishes hate crimes severely. In addition, the German government maintains good relations with the state of Israel, continues to send war reparations to many Israelis and encourages bilateral trade. There are many Holo-


caust memorials in Germany, including one in Berlin marking the spot where its 55,000 Jews were deported and another on the site of the old Jewish cemetery there. Further reading: John Borneman and Jeffrey M. Peck, The Return of German Jews and the Question of Identity (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995); Robert Chazan, In the Year 1096: The First Crusade and the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996); Ruth Gay, The Jews of Germany: A Historical Portrait (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); W. E. Mosse, The German-Jewish Economic Elite, 1820–1935: A Socio-Cultural Profile (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Gersonides (1288–1344) medieval philosopher/ theologian Levi ben Gershom, known as Gersonides, was born in the year 1288 in Provence, FRANCE, a center for Jewish intellectual activity. Little is known about his life; although he produced many philosophical writings in HEBREW, he wrote little about himself. Scholars believe that Gersonides married, but are uncertain as to whether or not he had children. Gersonides is considered the last of the Jewish Aristotelian thinkers. An authority on Jewish law, philosophy, and astronomy, Gersonides is best known for his work Wars of the Lord, in which he discusses Creation, divine providence, miracles, and the nature of the human soul. Gersonides was criticized by his contemporaries for his attempts to reconcile religion and science in this work. For example, he taught that the world was created from eternal matter, not out of nothing. He did not believe that Jewish belief and rational thought were mutually exclusive. In fact, he explains many miracles as natural occurrences at providential moments: in the book of Joshua, the walls of Jericho fell because of the trampling of feet and the blasting of trumpets; the sun did not actually stop for Joshua—the battle

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was over so quickly the sun did not have a chance to set. Gersonides also wrote a biblical commentary that explored the moral lessons that people can derive from the biblical narratives, thus making the stories relevant for the people of his time. Further reading: Nahum N. Glatzer, Essays in Jewish Thought (n.p.: University of Alabama Press, 1978); Isaac Husik, “Levi Ben Gerson,” in A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy (New York: Meridian Books, 1958); Louis Jacobs, The Jewish Religion: A Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

get (pl.: gittin) A get is the official document that marks the rabbinic sanction of a DIVORCE. Rabbis in ORTHODOX and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, and some in the REFORM JUDAISM movement, require a get prior to performing a new marriage even after a civil divorce has been acquired. One tractate of the TALMUD, Gittin, directly addresses the subject of divorce and the correct legal procedures for writing and delivering the get. Further reading: Isidore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press Ltd., 1990); Rela M. Geffen, Celebration and Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993); M. Mielziner, The Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce in Ancient and Modern Times, and Its Relation to the Law of the State (Buffalo, N.Y.: William S. Hein & Co., 1987); Shlomo Riskin, Women and Jewish Divorce: The Rebellious Wife, the Agunah and the Right of Women to Initiate Divorce (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing, 2003).

ghetto A ghetto was an urban community where Jews were forced to live by the secular authorities, usually surrounded by a wall. The word is Italian, though the original derivation is unclear.


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Jews in many European countries were often forced to live in crowded walled neighborhoods in the Middle Ages. The practice became institutionalized in Italy by order of Pope Paul IV (1555). Jews were not allowed to leave their communities at night, and they were forced to wear identifying badges when they left the ghetto during the day. The practice of segregating Jews in marginal neighborhoods quickly spread throughout Europe and continued in some places into the late 19th century. The Jewish ghettos offered some safety for Jews. Some even welcomed the seclusion that facilitated a large degree of self-rule. The Nazis reinstituted the practice in POLAND during World War II, as a stage in the FINAL SOLUTION. These new ghettos were extremely crowded, squalid neighborhoods under strict and brutal surveillance, and were gradually depopulated by deportations to the death camps. Two of the most famous were the WARSAW GHETTO and the Lodz Ghetto, both of which saw failed but heroic uprisings against the Nazi authorities. The Warsaw Ghetto alone housed over 500,000 people, approximately one-third of Warsaw’s population, but by winter 1943, only 60,000 Jews remained. In modern times the term has been used to refer to voluntary communities of Jews. It is also used to refer to poor neighborhoods populated by any minority group, and in many communities the term continues to have negative connotations. Further reading: Alan Adelson, ed., The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the Lodz Ghetto, trans. Kamil Turowski (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Raya Cohen, “Against the Current: Hashomer Hatzair in the Warsaw Ghetto” in Jewish Social Studies 7 (2000); Jacob Katz, Out of the Ghetto: The Social Background of Jewish Emancipation, 1770–1870 (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1998).

Ginsberg, Allen (1926–1997) American poet Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey, on June 3, 1926. He became one of America’s most renowned poets.

Ginsberg was best known as a spokesman for the beatnik or hippie point of view. One masterwork, titled Howl, contains the famous opening line “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” He wrote in an American idiom, but he traveled the world extensively, and his works eventually reflected a global consciousness. He became very interested in Eastern religions, and he ultimately became a Buddhist (see JUBU). Ginsberg’s overall literary works are considered to be one of the great literary canons in American history. Ginsberg energetically promoted his work, and also the works of colleagues. In 1973 he and poet Anne Waldman cofounded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Ginsberg often infused his literary works with Jewish imagery and YIDDISH expressions, though he primarily taught the values and beliefs of Buddhists, and to some extent, Hindus. He gave the posthumous biography of his mother, Naomi Ginsberg, the title Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. In the poem, one of his most celebrated, he chronicles his mother’s tortured battles with mental illness. Ginsberg died of liver cancer on April 5, 1997. Further reading: Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems (San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 1956); Allen Ginsberg, Kaddish and Other Poems, 1958–1960 (San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 1960); Jane Kramer, Allen Ginsberg in America: With a New Introduction by the Author (New York: Random House, 1969); Norman Podhoretz, “My War with Allen Ginsberg,” Commentary 104, 2 (1997).

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (b. 1933) U.S. Supreme Court justice Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933, to Nathan and Cecelia Bader in a middle-class home in Brooklyn, New York. Ginsburg’s early years were overshadowed by the HOLOCAUST, as World War II continued to rage and capture the attention of

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader

Jews lucky enough to live in the UNITED STATES. After graduating from high school, she attended Cornell University, where she graduated with high honors in government. She then attended Harvard Law School, excelled in her studies, and served on the Harvard Law Review. She married while in school and transferred to Columbia University for her last year of study, achieving Law Review there as well. After graduating from law school in 1960, Ginsburg was recommended to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. Frankfurter acknowledged Ginsburg’s qualifications, but refused to hire her because he was not ready to hire a woman. The incident deeply affected Ginsburg and motivated her to address issues of legal equality for women throughout her career. Rebuffed by Frankfurter, Ginsburg instead clerked for District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri in New York and then joined the faculty of Rutgers University. To retain her faculty position she had to hide her pregnancy. Ginsburg was only the second woman on the school’s faculty and among the first 20 women law professors in the entire country. In the early 1970s, Ginsburg became Columbia University’s first tenured female professor. Ginsburg excelled in her scholarship, but her major accomplishment was as the counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this position she founded and directed their Women’s Rights Project. In a 1973 case Ginsburg successfully argued before the Supreme Court against a federal statute that gave more housing and medical benefits to men in the armed services than to women. She won five of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court, ultimately demonstrating that equal protection under the constitution applied not just to race but also gender. President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the United States Court of Appeals. As a judge she ruled consistently in favor of laws defending equal rights, but she is still considered conservative in her legal scholarship. She believes and acts upon the legal principle that judges must interpret the laws and not create the laws. President Bill Clin-

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the shadow of the Holocaust. She became an advocate of gender equality under the law and the second woman to be appointed a Supreme Court justice. (The Supreme Court Historical Society)

ton nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. Although a Democratic president had nominated Ginsburg, her nomination was welcomed by many conservative Republicans, who saw her as a fair judge who would steer away from any ideological bias. On August 3, 1993, Ginsburg was confirmed by the Senate in a vote of 96 to 3, becoming the 107th Supreme Court justice, and its second female jurist. As a Supreme Court justice, Ginsburg has continued to strongly back gender equality. In 1999, she won the American Bar Association’s Thurgood


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Marshall Award for her contributions to gender equality and civil rights. Ginsburg underwent surgery to treat colon cancer in September 1999 but recovered without complications. Ginsburg remains on the Court today and is considered to exemplify scholarly precision in her legal opinions. Further reading: Hasia R. Diner and Beryl Lieff Benderly, Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 2003); Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Affirmative Action as an International Human Rights Dialogue,” Brookings Review 18, 1 (Winter 2000); The Justices of the United States Supreme Court, Their Lives and Major Opinions, vol. 5 (New York: Chelsea House, 1995).

Giving of the Torah The Giving of the TORAH, also known as the REVELATION, is one of three key moments in Jewish theology, along with CREATION and REDEMPTION. According to the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, God gave the Torah to the ISRAELITES in the wilderness around MOUNT SINAI (Ex 19–20). God descended upon the mountain, which erupted with fire and smoke, and quaked amid thunder and lightning. God’s voice was heard by the people of ISRAEL as the Ten Commandments (see DECALOGUE) were conveyed. The people, too terrified to continue, asked MOSES to receive the rest of the Torah directly from God and pass it along to them. The ancient rabbis assigned a date to this event—the sixth day of the month of Sivan, and each year the moment is reenacted during the festival of SHAVUOT. The rabbis also related many stories about the event in the MIDRASH. Two of the best-known anecdotes are somewhat contradictory. In the first, God approaches other nations with the Torah, but each of them finds one of the commandments impossible to perform; only the people of Israel agree to all the commandments and thus are worthy of receiving the Torah. In the other story, God holds a large rock over the people until they agree to accept the law.

Traditional Judaism holds that the entire Torah was revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai, as was the Oral Law later elucidated by the rabbis in the TALMUD. However, most modern textual scholars dispute this. Since the 19th century, they have held to the Documentary Hypothesis theory, in which four different authors or editors had primary responsibility for shaping the Torah text we have today. Further reading: Jacob Neusner, Foundations of Judaism (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1993); Michael D. Oppenheim, What Does Revelation Mean for the Modern Jew?: Rosenzweig, Buber, Fackenheim (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985); Norbert Max Samuelson, Revelation and the God of Israel (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Glueckel of Hameln (1645–1724) German Jewish writer and businesswoman Glueckel was born in Hamburg in 1645 into a prosperous and prominent family. When she was 14 years old her family arranged for a marriage with Chayim of Hameln. Glueckel gave birth to 12 children, while assisting her husband in all business matters. When her husband died in 1689, she successfully took over his business. Depressed at the loss of her husband, Glueckel tried to deal with her melancholy by writing a memoir/diary of her life, in her native YIDDISH. She also wanted to provide a family history for her children and grandchildren. She began writing in 1691, completing the first five sections in 1699. She stopped writing upon her remarriage to banker Cerf Levy of Metz, though she resumed in 1715. Glueckel finished the last two sections of her memoirs in 1719. The original manuscript is lost, but Glueckel’s descendants preserved her words. In 1896 the diary was published by David Kaufmann in Yiddish; he included a German introduction. Translations later appeared in German, English, and

God, names of

HEBREW. The book now has immense value to historians as the only Jewish document of its time written by a woman. It is also an important source of information on the Yiddish language of the time, and on daily life in Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, and other European cities. Glueckel had a poetic style, and demonstrated a firm grasp of Jewish religious texts. She was observant and enjoyed the tchinot, the traditional Yiddish prayers for women. She liked to include moral lessons in her writing. Most significantly, Glueckel’s writings demonstrate that women as well as men have traditionally studied the Jewish sacred texts and were partners in their families’ financial affairs. Further reading: Glueckel of Hameln, The Memoirs of Glueckel of Hameln (New York: Schocken Books, 1977); Michele Klein, A Time to Be Born: Customs and Folklore of Jewish Birth (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998); Hilary L. Rubinstein, The Jews in the Modern World: A History Since 1750 (New York: Arnold Publication, 2002).

God, names of According to the RABBIS, seven names of God that appear in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, require special care when a scribe is writing them: YHWH, Adonai, Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, Adonai Tzevaot, El, Elohim, and El Shaddai. The Hebrew Bible usually calls the deity by one of two Hebrew names: Elohim (usually translated by the English word “God”) and YHWH, which is never pronounced as it is written but replaced with the word Adonai (usually translated as “Lord”), which also appears in the Hebrew Bible. YHWH, also called the tetragrammaton, is understood in Judaism to be God’s proper name. In ancient times, it was pronounced only once a year by the HIGH PRIEST on YOM KIPPUR, the Day of Atonement. The pronunciation has since been lost, and Jews use the euphemism Adonia, meaning “my Lord,” because of the traditional way YHWH is voweled. YHWH represents the consonants for the verb “to

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be” or “exist,” but vowels are needed to give it tense: “was,” “is,” or “will be.” Since Jews do not know for certain the true vowels, this implies that God transcends tense and is eternal. The phrase Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, similarly contains the consonants of the verb to be and has been understood as meaning either “I am what I am” or “I will be what I will be.” This is the response God gives in the book of EXODUS (3:14) when Moses asks God’s name. Related to these is the term Adonai Tzeva’ot (YHWH Tzeva’ot), which is translated “Lord of Hosts” and refers to God’s sovereignty over the angels in heaven (see MALAKHIM). El Shaddai is usually translated as “God Almighty”; Shaddai is the name of God that appears on MEZUZAHs. Critical scholars maintain that the Hebrew Bible as we know it was created by merging two separate earlier traditions about God, the J, or “Yahwist,” strand (Jahwist in German), and the E, or “Elohist,” strand; the Yahwist uses YHWH (Adonai), the Elohist uses Elohim. El means “god,” or “true God,” depending on the context; Elohim is the “intensive plural” form of the word, and both terms appear in the Hebrew Bible, translated simply as “God” when referring to the Israelite deity. The plural form, which may have entered from a neighboring polytheistic culture, has always been understood in Judaism to refer to a singular God. Judaism entails a doctrine of radical monotheism, meaning there is only one God. There can be no trinity, duality, or other forms of God. However, the fact that God is referred to by different names in the Hebrew Bible (and Elohim is a plural word), may suggest a polytheistic origin. To avoid this implication, the ancient rabbis went to great lengths to account for different names of God that appear in the Hebrew Bible. The traditions were placed side by side and redacted by an editor to create a unified text. Thus, the text often contains both names together, Adonai and Elohim, usually translated as “the Lord God.” From a traditional Jewish perspective, the two names refer to one and the same God. The rabbis comment that the names denote different


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aspects of God. Elohim is the aspect of justice, while Adonai is the aspect of mercy. When the text wants to emphasize one aspect of God over another the appropriate designation is used, as in the case of Elohim meting out punishment. A number of other terms appear in the Hebrew Bible that are understood to be names of God. Students of the KABBALAH, using mystical techniques of manipulating letters and numbers, count 72 names of God; Kabbalists believe that knowing these names can aid in all aspects of life. It is considered blasphemy to utter God’s personal names, and for followers of ORTHODOX JUDAISM, pronouncing any of the above names of God outside of PRAYER or TORAH reading is also blasphemy; such Jews instead refer to God as HaShem, meaning “the Name.” Interestingly, this prohibition has crept into the practice of writing God’s name in English. Many Jews will choose to write “G-d” instead of “God” to avoid blasphemy. Further reading: Yehudah Berg, The 72 names of God: Technology for the Soul (Los Angeles: Kabbalah Centre, 2003); Herbert Chanan Brichto, The Names of God: Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Peter Schafer, The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992); Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1987); Mark S. Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Gog and Magog In a vision of the prophet EZEKIEL, Gog and Magog are peoples who will wage war against the Jews before the MESSIAH comes. Historically, various theologians and communities have tried to identify Gog and Magog with one of the parties in specific contemporary conflicts; this happened during both world wars. It is perhaps more help-

ful to understand the names as elements of Ezekiel’s broader ESCHATOLOGY. Further reading: Martin Goodman, Jews in a GraecoRoman World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Jacob Neusner, The Theology of the Oral Torah: Revealing the Justice of God (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1999).

Golden Calf The Golden Calf was a statue representing a god that Aaron made at the demand of the ISRAELITES (Ex 32). While MOSES is on MOUNT SINAI receiving the TORAH from GOD, the Israelites grow restless and anxious at his absence. They demand a tangible representation of God that they can worship. They bring their gold to AARON, who melts it down and creates a golden calf, the image of BAAL, a Caananite God (Ex 32). When Moses returns from the mountain and finds the Israelites practicing IDOLATRY, he smashes the tablets containing God’s commandments and berates the people. In Jewish tradition, the Golden Calf incident is frequently referred to as the epitome of sin. The Israelites were punished by a deadly plague and a decree that the entire generation would never enter the land of ISRAEL. Only the next generation, which had not participated in the incident, would be allowed to enter. Some scholars interpret the Golden Calf story from the perspective of later Israelite political history. Throughout the book of Kings, the various monarchs are deemed good or bad based largely on their behavior regarding idolatry. The good kings centralize worship of the one God at the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM, while the bad kings allow worship at shrines outside Jerusalem and tolerate worship of Baal. One of the worst of these kings, Jeroboam, erects golden calves at Dan and Bethel. Thus, it is possible that the episode of the Golden Calf in the desert is a later polemic by the centralists who, the scholars say, wrote the book of Kings.

Gompers, Samuel Further reading: Pier Cesare Bori, The Golden Calf and the Origins of the Anti-Jewish Controversy (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1990); Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 1996); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

golem A golem can be described as the Jewish equivalent of the Frankenstein monster. The word golem literally means “unformed matter”; it has come to refer to an artificial man created from earth. According to the lore of the KABBALAH, a highly trained Kabbalist can create a golem by shaping earth into human form and animating it by various methods: reciting secret names of God, or placing the name of God or other magical words under its tongue or on its forehead. There are many legends about sages who created golems, usually to act as servants, but then destroyed them when the golems’ stupidity made them useless. The most famous legend in the tradition concerns the golem created by Rabbi Judah Loew in Prague. After saving the Jewish community from a POGROM, the legend says, this golem was deanimated; it is said to be lying dormant in the attic of the Altneushul of Prague, the oldest standing synagogue in central Europe. Many novels, plays, and films have used this golem as a theme. Further reading: Moshe Idel, Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Artificial Anthropoid (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990); I. L. Peretz, “The Golem,” in A Treasury of Yiddish Stories, eds. Eliezer Greenberg and Irving Howe (New York: Viking Press, 1954); David Wisniewski, Golem (New York: Clarion Books, 1996).

Gompers, Samuel (1850–1924) American labor leader Samuel Gompers was born in London on January 27, 1850, to Solomon and Sarah Gompers, Dutch-

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Jewish immigrants to England. He attended a tuition-free Jewish school from age six to 10, but due to serious economic need in his family, left school and went to work. In 1863 he immigrated to New York, where he joined Local 15 of the Cigarmakers’ International Union (CMIU) in 1864. In 1886 he was elected vice president of the CMIU; from that position he helped found the American Federation of Labor (AFL), an organization that united various trade unions across America. He served as AFL president almost nonstop from 1886 to 1924.

Samuel Gompers was a major force in the American labor movement, securing the availability of collective bargaining and participating in the foundation of the American Federation of Labor. Gompers received some Jewish schooling in England as a boy, but he had few Jewish loyalties beyond the belief in the idea of a Jewish homeland. (Library of Congress)


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While Gompers subscribed early in life to Marxist ideology, he ultimately rejected the Socialist agenda. His primary belief was in simple trade unionism. His goal was to achieve collective bargaining agreements with management, and maintain decent relations between labor leaders, owners, and bankers. During World War I, Gompers actively supported President Woodrow Wilson, and he organized the War Committee on Labor. After the war, Wilson appointed him to the Commission on International Labor Legislation at the Versailles Peace Conference. Over time, the AFL became a major political power, thanks largely to Gompers, who is considered a major historical figure in the American labor movement. In addition to his labor activism, he was committed to his family, having three sons and two daughters. When his first wife died in 1920, he married Grace Gleaves Neuscheler a year later. He published an autobiography in 1925, Seventy Years of Life and Labor. Though Gompers had few Jewish loyalties or concerns, he did support the idea of a Jewish homeland. Further reading: Samuel Gompers, An Autobiography: Seventy Years of Life and Labour (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1925); Harold C. Livesay, Samuel Gompers and Organized Labor in America (Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1993); Bernard Mandel, Samuel Gompers: A Biography (Yellow Springs, Ohio: Antioch Press, 1963).

Goshen According to TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, Goshen is the area of EGYPT where the ISRAELITES, children of Jacob (see PATRIARCHS), settled and multiplied. Generations later, when the Israelites became enslaved, they still lived there. Goshen is sometimes referred to as the best part of Egypt. When God sent plagues to Egypt, they never affected Goshen. Further reading: R. Hanbury Brown, The Land of Goshen and the Exodus (London: E. Stanford, 1899);

Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 1996); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

grace after meals See BIRKAT HA-MAZON. Graetz, Heinrich (1817–1891) Jewish historian German Jew Heinrich Graetz helped found the modern field of Jewish history. As a young man, Graetz received a traditional Jewish education, while pursuing secular studies on his own. At an early age he was already struggling with the conflict between traditional dogma and critical knowledge. At first, Graetz studied with Rabbi Samson Raphael HIRSCH, the founder of the NEO-ORTHODOX MOVEMENT. Hirsch himself was trying to balance modernity and tradition. Over time, the two men became estranged, as Hirsch rejected some of Graetz’s critical historical approaches to the study of Judaism. Ultimately, Graetz came to the conclusion that Judaism had entered a new epoch, and was reaching a new level of self-awareness in the modern world. As a young man, Graetz considered becoming an Orthodox Rabbi (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM), but he could not find a congregation—although he was a brilliant writer, he was considered a poor speaker. Instead he pursued an academic career, receiving his Ph.D. from Breslau University. There he found a new mentor in Zachariah FRANKEL, the founder of the Breslau School, which emphasized a historical approach to Judaism while maintaining an embrace of Jewish tradition. Graetz took a variety of teaching positions until he became a lecturer in Jewish history and Hebew Bible at Frankel’s YESHIVA in Breslau. Graetz’s scholarship was purely critical in method; he came to numerous nontraditional conclusions regarding the dating of biblical books. However, he never let his scholarship affect his

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Orthodox ritual observance, and he strongly opposed REFORM JUDAISM. Graetz’s greatest work was his History of the Jews, which surveyed Jewish history from its earliest period to his own times. Presented in a systematic fashion, including detailed footnotes, his work became an instant historical classic. One of Graetz’s startling hypotheses was that the ZOHAR was not written in the second century by Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, but instead authored by Moses de LEON in the 13th century. Graetz’s hypothesis was later borne out by the research of Gershom SCHOLEM, and is now the commonly held scholarly view. Further reading: Heinrich Graetz, A History of the Jews (Eugene, Oreg.: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2002); ———, Structure of Jewish History and Other Essays (Hoboken, N.J.: Ktav Publishing, 1975); Leo Trepp, Eternal Faith, Eternal People: A Journey into Judaism (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1962).

Gratz, Rebecca (1781–1869) philanthropist and founder of Jewish Sunday schools Rebecca Gratz was born in Philadelphia in 1781 into a wealthy Jewish family that had been major supporters of the American Revolution. Gratz attended non-Jewish public schools, and acquired a wide knowledge of the secular world. She was considered by her contemporaries to be very beautiful and extremely gracious. She never married; family legend has it that she once loved a Gentile, but refused to marry outside of the Jewish religion. Most important, she was selfless in her devotion to charitable causes. A devout Jew, her religious beliefs bolstered her dedication to assisting the needy, both in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. At the age of 20, she organized the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children of Reduced Circ*mstances in Philadelphia. She also cofounded the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum in 1815 and served as the organization’s

Rebecca Gratz was known for her grace and beauty, as well as for her contributions to charity and to Jewish education. It is said that Sir Walter Scott based the character Rebecca in Ivanhoe on Gratz. (Library of Congress)

secretary for more than 40 years. Addressing needs within the Jewish community, Gratz founded the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1819. In 1855 she created the Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum. A woman of tireless energy, Gratz managed her charitable efforts while raising the nine children of her sister, Rachel, who died in 1823. Gratz was concerned about religious education for Jewish children. Imitating the Christian Sunday school model, she founded the Hebrew Sunday School Society of Philadelphia on March 4, 1818, her 37th birthday, with approximately 60 students. Gratz served as the school’s president until 1864. The school welcomed all children and was tuition-free.


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Rebecca Gratz is considered the greatest American Jewish woman of her era. She is said to have been the inspiration for the heroine Rebecca in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. She died in 1869 at the age of 88 and was buried in the Mikveh Israel Cemetery in Philadelphia. Further reading: Dianne Ashton, Rebecca Gratz: Women and Judaism in Antebellum America (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997); Salo W. Baron and Joseph L. Blau, The Jews of the United States, 1790–1840: A Documentary History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963); Beryl Lieff Benderly and Hasia R. Diner, Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 2002).

Gratz College Gratz College is the oldest nondenominational higher-education school of Jewish studies in North America. It was founded in 1895 as a Hebrew teacher’s college through the joint efforts of Hyman Gratz, a member of Philadelphia’s historic Gratz family, Sabato MORAIS, an important leader in C ONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, and Gratz Mordecai, whose true aim had been to establish a Jewish university. Originally, the school held classes inside the walls of Mikveh Israel Synagogue. Today, the college is located in Melrose Park just outside Philadelphia. At one time, Gratz served as the educational arm of the Philadelphia Federation, but it has since become a general college of Jewish studies. It offers programs in most aspects of Jewish communal life, Jewish education, Jewish studies, music, and communal service. At the heart of the institution is the desire to combine scholarship with service. Gratz College offers an undergraduate degree in Jewish studies, but it does not offer general liberal arts classes, which undergraduates must pursue at other institutions. The college also offers extensive master’s programs, as well as teaching certification in both secular and Jewish studies.

Adult learning is encouraged, and Gratz offers many opportunities for nondegree students. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Gratz College also houses a Jewish SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL at the high school level. Its Tuttleman Jewish Public Library includes the Holocaust Oral History Archive and the Schreiber Music Library, one of the most prestigious collections of Jewish music in the United States. The Tyson Music Department offers courses in Jewish music as well as events for the community. Further reading: Moshe Davis, The Emergence of Conservative Judaism: The Historical School in 19th Century America (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1963); Gratz College Web site URL: http://www.gratz.edu, accessed July 24, 2004; Irene Heskes, Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994).

Great Synagogue Many SYNAGOGUES, often the largest in their cities, have been called the Great Synagogue. The most prominent today is the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem at 55 King George Street, built in 1982 adjacent to the headquarters of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Leading into the marble-floored and chandelier-lined foyer, the synagogue’s doors are designed to imitate the grand entrances to the first and second TEMPLEs; inside the structure are two-story stained-glass windows. A collection of MEZUZAHs from around the world rests in the lobby. The CANTOR of the Great Synagogue, Naftali Herstik, leads a worldrenowned choir that can be heard around the world via the Internet. Great Synagogues can also be found in Sydney, Australia; London, ENGLAND; Budapest, HUNGARY; Bialystok, POLAND, and Vilna, Lithuania. Further reading: Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Israel

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The Great Synagogue in Jerusalem is located at 55 King George Street. The grandeur of the building attempts to mimic the entrance to the Temple, and the inside of the Great Synagogue is as grand as the outside. Here, a Torah lies open on the reading table. Additional Torah scrolls sit in the Holy Ark below beautiful stained glass windows. (Dave Bartruff/Corbis)

Cohen, Vilna (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1992); Simon Griver, Insight Guide Jerusalem (London: Insight Guides, 1998).

Greenberg, Hank (1911–1986) U.S. baseball player Hank Greenberg was born on January 1, 1911, in New York City and died on September 4, 1986, in Beverly Hills, California. Along with Sandy KOUFAX, Hank Greenberg is arguably the best Jew ever to play professional baseball. If Koufax was the best Jewish pitcher, Hank Greenberg was the best batter.

From 1930 to 1947, Greenberg played first base and outfield, mostly for the Detroit Tigers, although his final season was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Greenberg missed three seasons and parts of two others to fight in World War II. Had he played those years, he may have hit more than 500 home runs and reached 2,000 RBIs. Still, his 331 home runs, 1,276 RBIs and .313 lifetime batting average, in addition to his two Most Valuable Player awards, make Greenberg one of the best baseball players of all time. Like Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenberg experienced discrimination from other players. Some believe ANTISEMITISM kept him from breaking Babe


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Ruth’s single-season home run record. In 1938, Greenberg hit 58 home runs, but it is said that he was intentionally walked during the last five games of the season. The walks may have been strategic, but some believe pitchers simply did not want to see a Jew break Ruth’s record. Greenberg himself denied that he was a victim of antisemitism. During the 1934 pennant race, Greenberg received a special rabbinic dispensation to play baseball on ROSH HASHANAH. He did not, however, play on YOM KIPPUR. Further reading: Hank Greenberg, Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life (New York: Times Books, 1989); Robert Slater, Great Jews in Sports (Middle Village, N.Y.: J. David Publishers, 1983).

Greenberg, Irving (b. 1933) and Blu (b. 1936) American Jewish writers and activists Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg is a prominent writer, educator, and communal leader within the Orthodox and general Jewish communities (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM). He was born in New York in 1933 to Rabbi Eliyahu Chayim Greenberg. As a rabbinical student Yitz was influenced by the teachings of the great Modern Orthodox rabbi Joseph B. SOLOVEITCHIK. He is also greatly influenced by his wife, Blu, a prominent Jewish feminist teacher and writer. After ordination, Yitz served as rabbi for the Riverdale Jewish Center, and he became an associate professor of history at YESHIVA UNIVERSITY. He went on to found and chair the Department for Jewish Studies at City College of the City University of New York. In 1974 Yitz cofounded, with Elie WIESEL and Rabbi Stephen Shaw, the National Jewish Resource Center, which in 1985 changed its name to CLAL—THE NATIONAL JEWISH CENTER FOR LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP. CLAL initially focused on strengthening Jewish life in the aftermath of the HOLOCAUST, and on the recreation of a Jewish state in ISRAEL. Yitz was CLAL president from its founding until 1997. Under his leadership, the organi-

zation became a pioneer in adult and leadership education in the Jewish community. It also spearheaded important intra-Jewish dialogue, as part of its mission to promote Jewish unity. Yitz became a guiding force in helping to create the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 1997, he joined Michael Steinhardt in founding the Jewish Life Network/STEINHARDT FOUNDATION, which he continues to serves as president. Through philanthropic activism, this foundation is attempting to revitalize American Jewry. Yitz has published numerous articles on Jewish thought and religion, including The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (1988), a philosophy of Judaism based on an analysis of the Sabbath and holidays, and Living in the Image of God: Jewish Teachings to Perfect the World (1998). Yitz and Blu Greenberg have worked together on many projects, such as accompanying a delegation to visit the Dalai Lama in India in 1990. The latter had invited a delegation to explain Judaism to him, in an attempt to learn how to maintain a community in exile. The results of that encounter are described in a book called The Jew in the Lotus, written by journalist Rodger Kamenetz. Blu Greenberg is a widely published author and lecturer on the issues of feminism, Orthodoxy, and the Jewish family. Her books include On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition (1981), How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household (1985), Black Bread: Poems After the Holocaust (1994), and a children’s book called King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (1998). Since 1973, Blu has been active in the movement to bridge feminism and Orthodox Judaism. She chaired the first International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy in 1997, and the second in 1998. She is the cofounder and first president of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and has served on the boards of many organizations. Blu and Irving Greenberg have five children and 12 grandchildren.

Guggenheim family Further reading: Shalom Freedman and Irving Greenberg, Living in the Image of God: Jewish Teachings to Perfect the World: Conversations with Rabbi Irving Greenberg (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1998); Blu Greenberg, On Women and Judaism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1981); ———, How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household (New York: Fireside, 1985); Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1993); Rodger Kamenetz, The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India (New York: HarperCollins, 1994).

grogger A grogger is a noisemaker used to drown out Haman’s name during the public reading of the book of ESTHER on PURIM. During the holiday of Purim, Jews attend a SYNAGOGUE service to hear the reading of the MEGILLAH, or scroll, of the book of Esther. The book’s villain is Haman, who tried to destroy the Jews; since he failed, the holiday of Purim is a festive, joyous, celebration of Jewish survival. It is considered meritorious to curse Haman, whom Jews have often seen as a stand-in for all the tyrants and antisemites in history. One of the most popular rituals of the festival, especially for children, is to drown out Haman’s name whenever it is pronounced. Congregants stamp their feet, clap their hands, shout, boo, and use groggers of various kinds for that purpose.

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ily fortune. Successive generations have continued to pursue business while participating in national politics and philanthropy. Daniel Guggenheim (1856–1930) and his wife established the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation, which supports aeronautical research. Harry Frank Guggenheim (1890–1971) served as ambassador to Cuba, and Solomon Guggenheim (1867–1941) served as a Colorado senator. Solomon Robert Guggenheim (1861–1949) established a foundation to encourage art appreciation, which in turn established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum for modern art in New York City in 1939, although it had a temporary residence on East 54th Street before Frank Lloyd Wright designed its current home on Fifth Avenue. The Guggenheim family continues to support the arts in a variety of ways. For example, the Peggy Guggenheim collection of 20th century art is a highly respected attraction in Venice, Italy. Further reading: John Hagy Davis, The Guggenheims: An American Epic (New York: Morrow, 1978); Harvey

Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Ronald H. Isaacs, Every Person’s Guide to Purim (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2000).

Guggenheim family Meyer Guggenheim (1828–1905) is recognized as the patriarch of the wealthy Jewish Guggenheim family. He immigrated to the UNITED STATES in 1847 and established a successful retail business. He later went into mining and expanded the fam-

The Guggenheim Museum building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it initially opened in this location in 1959. Wright intended for his circular design to provide variety to New York’s landscape and to reflect the uniqueness of the art pieces within. (Morguefile)


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O’Connor, The Guggenheims: The Making of an American Dynasty (New York: Covici and Friede, 1937).

Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) Established after the SIX-DAY WAR, Gush Emunim is an Israeli religious-political movement that supports Jewish settlement in the territories of JUDEA AND SAMARIA and Gaza. After the YOM KIPPUR WAR in 1973, Gush Emunim organized as a political party. It aimed to prevent the turnover to Arab states of any territory held by ISRAEL, and the annexation of those territories to Israel proper. The group was founded on the site of Kfar Etzion (see GUSH ETZION), a KIBBUTZ on the West Bank that had been seized by the Arabs during the ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE and recovered by the Israelis during the SIX-DAY WAR. The group is motivated by a combination of Jewish religious fundamentalism and secular ZIONISM. Its proponents claim that God has led Israel to take the West Bank (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA), which was part of the ISRAELITE kingdoms of the Bible and a key component of the Promised Land. They claim that it is possible to live in peace with Arab neighbors even if these lands are annexed. Beginning as a faction of the National Religious Party (NRP), proponents of Gush Emunim include yeshiva graduates, rabbis, and teachers. Although they still have a connection to the NRP, they do not affiliate with any other Israeli political party. The party continues to oppose giving land for peace, and they stage demonstrations and rallies to promote their perspective favoring Jewish settlement in all areas of ERETZ YISRAEL. Further reading: David Newman, ed., The Impact of Gush Emunim: Politics and Settlement in the West Bank (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); Ehud Sprinzak, The Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); ———, “Gush Emunim: The Tip of the Iceberg,” Jerusalem Quarterly 21 (Fall 1981): 2847.

Gush Etzion (Etzion Bloc) Gush Etzion was a bloc of Jewish agricultural communities located between JERUSALEM and Hebron in the days of the BRITISH MANDATE. They had been founded in part to secure a valuable strategic position to thwart a potential Arab attack against Jewish Jerusalem. By 1947, Gush Etzion consisted of four settlements: Kfar Etzion, created in 1943, Ein Tzurim, Masuot Yitzhak, and Revadim. On January 14, 1947, some 1,000 Arabs, led by Abdul-Khadr Husseini, attacked the settlements. The 450 Jewish settlers were able to arrest the first attack, but they suffered high casualties and were in desperate need of reinforcements. The HAGANAH was able to send only 35 soldiers, led by Commander Danny Mass. The reinforcements were discovered, attacked, and massacred. A British patrol found their stripped and mutilated bodies the next day. The following year, during the ISRAELI WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, Gush Etzion was again the target of Arab attack. In May 1948, the residents held off overwhelming Arab forces for three days, stopping their drive for Jerusalem. Ultimately, the attacking forces swamped the settlers and they surrendered; after the surrender Arab forces murdered 240 of the residents, taking the rest as prisoners. The settlement’s buildings were completely destroyed. The bravery of the settlers of Gush Etzion helped keep West Jerusalem within the State of Israel. However, following the massacre Israeli policy was changed: the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES are now charged to evacuate civilians in isolated outposts with little chance of withstanding attack. During the SIX-DAY WAR 19 years later, Gush Etzion was recaptured by Israel. Israel rebuilt the original settlements and added new ones. Today, a 10-minute drive from Jerusalem, Gush Etzion is a collection of 15 communities with approximately 20,000 Israeli residents. In the debates within Israel about whether to dismantle settlements in the territories occupied in 1967, few politicians support the evacuation of Gush

Gush Etzion

Etzion, given its importance in terms of defense and historic symbolism. Further reading: Chaim Herzog, The Arab-Israeli Wars (New York: Random House, 1982); Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the

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Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Knopf, 1996); Shmuel Sandler, The State of Israel, the Land of Israel: the Statist and Ethnonational Dimensions of Foreign Policy (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993).

H AF J: Habakkuk (seventh century B.C.E.) biblical prophet Habakkuk was one of the 12 Minor Prophets in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. He prophesied in JERUSALEM around 605–600 B.C.E. when the southern ISRAELITE kingdom was under siege by the empire of BABYLONIA. The prophet questions God about the suffering of Judea. God responds, criticizing the people’s pride and infidelity. The book, probably crafted for liturgical use, describes a cosmic battle in which God demonstrates mastery of Creation by subduing the monsters of the sea. Further reading: S. M. Lehrman, “Habakkuk: Introduction and Commentary,” in A. Cohen, ed., The Twelve Prophets (London, Soncino Press, 1970); Bruce M. Metzger and Roland E. Murphy, “Habakkuk” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

Hadassah Hadassah is the Women’s Zionist Organization in America (see ZIONISM). Its primary missions are to help ISRAEL meet health-care and other needs, ensure Jewish continuity, and actualize the power of Jewish women in American society. Hadassah believes that Israel is the historic homeland of the 190

Jews and the primary vehicle for Jewish renaissance; it is dedicated to strengthening the ties between Jews in Israel and the UNITED STATES. After a visit to PALESTINE in 1909, Henrietta SZOLD founded Hadassah in 1912 to ameliorate the poor living conditions she observed there. Over the years, the organization has carried out her mission by building several major hospitals in Israel, serving all sectors of the country’s population, and by supporting education, youth institutions, and land development. Szold and the organization Hadassah are dedicated to “practical Zionism.” In the United States, the organization promotes Jewish education and Zionist youth programs such as Young Judaea (see ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS). Local chapters provide personal enrichment for members. The organization raises significant funds to support its mission. In 1981, its fund-raising in the Jewish community was second only to the United Jewish Appeal (see UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES). The organization celebrates the American tradition of women’s volunteer work, and it is operated by volunteers at the highest levels. Much of its work is carried out through subsidiary groups such as the Hadassah Medical Organization. It also works closely with other agencies such as the


Jewish National Fund and Youth Aliyah, and Hadassah Israel Education Services. Hadassah publishes Hadassah Magazine monthly. Presently there are more than 300,000 members in North America. Further reading: Mildred Efros, The Story of Zionism (New York: Education Department, Hadassah, 1952); Hadassah Web site URL: http://www.hadassah.org, accessed on July 24, 2004; Jules Harlow, et al, Pray Tell: A Hadassah Guide to Jewish Prayer (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003); Marlin Levin, It Takes a Dream: The Story of Hadassah (Jerusalem: Gefen Books, 2002).

haftarah (pl.: haftarot) The haftarah is a brief passage from the NEVI’IM that is read following the TORAH reading during morning prayer at SYNAGOGUES on SHABBAT (the Sabbath day) and holidays. The term comes from a HEBREW root meaning “end” or “conclusion.” Historians are not certain when this practice originated, but its antiquity is documented by a reference in the Christian New Testament (Acts 13:15). Some scholars have suggested that the practice may have originated in a time of persecution, such as the reign of ANTIOCHUS, which prompted the MACCABEE revolt. When laws were passed prohibiting the public reading of the Torah, Jews substituted readings from the Prophets, choosing passages with themes that paralleled that week’s intended Torah portion. When the Torah ban was lifted, say these scholars, the new custom of reading the haftarah was retained. Another, more likely possibility is that the prophetic reading was introduced as a supplement to reinforce the lessons of the weekly Torah portion. This allowed for additional biblical study, beyond the five books of Moses. The specific haftarot that are to be read on festivals are delineated in the TALMUD. However, the haftarah readings for ordinary Sabbaths were fixed during the Middle Ages. There are slight differences in readings between ASHKENAZIM and SEPHARDIM.

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In any case, there is always a connection between a Torah portion and its accompanying haftarah, usually in the theme, although sometimes it is difficult for the layperson to discern. The haftarah is chanted with a different TROPE (cantillation melody) than the Torah portion. In modern times it is common for BAR/BAT MITZVAH children to chant from both the Torah and the haftarah as the ritual marker for becoming a “son or daughter of the commandments”; if only one is read, it is usually the haftarah. Further reading: Rabbi Hyim Halevy Donin, To Pray as a Jew: A Guide to the Prayer Book and the Synagogue Service (New York: Basic Books, 1980); Elyse Goldstein, ed., The Women’s Haftarah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot & Special Shabbatot (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004); Abraham E. Milgram, Jewish Worship (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1971); W. Gunther Plaut, et al., The Haftarah Commentary (New York: URJ Press, 1996).

Haganah The Haganah was the underground military organization of the YISHUV, the Jewish community of PALESTINE. It was formed in June 1920, in response to Arab attacks against Jewish civilians and the tepid British military response. Modeled on an early settlement defense organization called Ha-Shamer, the Haganah eventually became a conventional military organization. However, in its early years, during the BRITISH MANDATE, the group was a loose coalition of decentralized local defense militias in the large towns and agricultural settlements. In 1929, after a few hundred Jews were murdered, the Haganah tightened its organization. By that time, almost all Jewish adults and youths in the rural settlements belonged to the Haganah, along with several thousand members in the cities. The Haganah set up formal training programs for soldiers and officers. It established secret weapon depots, smuggled in light weapons


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from Europe, and began to manufacture small arms, such as hand grenades. The Arab Revolt of 1936–39 provided opportunities for Haganah units to refine their military knowledge and capabilities. Though the British did not recognize the Haganah as legal, and often tried to restrict its activities, some British forces cooperated with the new “unofficial” Jewish army in restoring order. In 1938, the British established special night squads under the command of Captain Orde Wingate. Haganah officers under his command learned how to maximize the use of surprise and mobility, which became the foundation of the group’s tactical doctrine. Haganah units launched successful preemptive attacks against threatening Arab forces, and night squad leaders became the nucleus of the future Israeli officer corps. The Haganah was highly successful in protecting Jewish settlements against the growing Arab threat. After 1939, British authorities abandoned their support for ZIONISM to win allies in the Arab world for their struggle against Nazi GERMANY. The Mandate sharply restricted Jewish immigration, just as millions of European Jews were falling under Nazi rule. The Haganah worked to facilitate illegal immigration. At the same time, many Haganah members enlisted in official Jewish brigades in support of the British war effort, and assisted British intelligence. The war offered further opportunity for the Haganah to grow and mature. In 1941, the group created its first mobilized regiment, called the PALMACH. When World War II came to an end, and the British showed no desire to reverse their antiZionist policy, the Haganah formally organized their struggle against British rule over Palestine. The Haganah helped create organized Jewish resistance comprised of its own forces and the rival IRGUN ZEVA’I LE’UMI (Etzel), and Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Lehi). The organization helped set up Jewish displacedperson camps in Europe and worked with HOLOCAUST survivors to prepare them for eventual immigration to Palestine. The Haganah ran illegal

immigrant boats under very treacherous conditions. The stories of these illegal boats were brilliantly captured in Leon URIS’s novel, Exodus, based on an actual Haganah incident (see EXODUS). In anticipation of Arab attacks following the declaration of Israel’s independence, the new State of Israel reconstituted the Haganah on May 26, 1948 to create the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES, Tzeva Haganah Le-Yisrael, or Tzahal, bringing several militias together to form a conventional military force. Further reading: Ora Cummings, The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1998); Yaacov N. Goldstein, From Fighters to Soldiers: How the Israeli Defense Forces Began (Brighton, East Sussex, U.K.: Sussex Academic Press, 1998); Jon and David Kimche, A Clash of Destinies: The Arab-Jewish War and the Founding of the State of Israel (New York: Praeger, 1960); Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003).

Haggadah The Haggadah (Hebrew for “telling” or “narration”) is the book of prayers, stories, and songs that forms the order of service for the SEDER on PASSOVER. The rabbis composed the Haggadah over the centuries to ensure that the essential points of the story were conveyed to each new generation. The text includes quotations from the TORAH and the TALMUD, and other material from ancient times and the Middle Ages. Though the Haggadah focuses on the events of the EXODUS, which was led by MOSES, the latter’s name does not appear. This may represent a deliberate intent to emphasize that it was God who personally directed every detail. A recurring theme in the Haggadah is the role of the younger generations. The historical narrative is preceded by four questions, traditionally asked by the youngest capable child. There is also a section explaining how to respond to different


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The first printed Haggadah appeared in SPAIN near the end of the 15th century. The Haggadah, in a myriad of editions, is now the most widely printed Jewish book. In the 20th century many adaptations of the traditional Haggadah have been developed, including vegetarian, feminist, and even secular versions. In a more general sense, the term haggadah can refer to any nonlegal rabbinic exposition (see AGGADAH). Further reading: Nahum N. Glatzer, The Schocken Passover Haggadah (New York: Schocken Books, 1996 [1953]); Passover Haggadah, Deluxe Edition (N.p.: Maxwell House, 1984); Yosef Dov Sheinson, A Survivors’ Haggadah, ed. Saul Touster (Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 2000); Arthur Szyk, The Haggadah, ed. Cecil Roth (Jerusalem: Massadah & Alumoth, 1960).


The reading of the Haggadah takes place at a Passover seder, like the one in the background of this picture. The Hagaddah read here has been written completely in Hebrew, although many are written in both Hebrew and English. (Ya’acov Sa’ar, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

types of offspring—a wise son, a wicked son, a simple son, and a son too young to ask questions. The text provides answers tailored to each, highlighting that participants come to the seder from different spiritual places. The Haggadah includes several songs that have become known by almost all Jews, including “Dayeinu” or “It would have been enough,” whose theme is that even one of God’s many acts of mercy toward the Jews would have been sufficient to evoke their gratitude. The Haggadah traditionally closes with the song, “Leshana ha-Ba’ah be-Yerushalayim,” which means “Next year in JERUSALEM.”

Like many sites in the state of ISRAEL, Haifa is a modern city with an ancient history. Today it is the country’s major port, sitting at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea and crawling up the slopes of Mount Carmel. Atop the city is HAIFA UNIVERSITY, one of Israel’s main institutions of higher learning. The TECHNION, Israel’s technological institute, is also located in the city of Haifa. It is said that ELIJAH the Prophet hid in a cave on Mount Carmel, known today as Elijah’s Cave, to escape the wrath of King Ahab. The site is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jews of Middle Eastern descent observe TISHA B’AV by visiting Elijah’s Cave to ask Elijah for his good blessings. The TALMUD also writes of an ancient Jewish community in the city. During the Middle Ages, Haifa served as a shipping center, but all the Jewish residents were killed during the Crusades. Jews did not return to Haifa until the early 19th century, when North African Jews settled there, followed by European Jews in 1879. During the BRITISH MANDATE, Haifa was a gateway through which the HAGANAH smuggled new immigrants into the country.


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Haifa serves as one of Israel’s main industrial centers and is the country’s third-largest city, with a population of 250,000. Haifa has always had a large Arab population, and it is a center of IsraeliArab cooperation, which is encouraged through the Haifa University’s Arab-Jewish Center. The city also hosts the world headquarters of the Bahai faith. Haifa is known as a blue-collar town, and it is the site of the founding of the HISTADRUT, Israel’s labor union. Haifa is unique in being the only Israeli city where city buses run on the Sabbath (see SHABBAT); and it is known for its social and cultural atmosphere, enhanced by its theater, museums, orchestra, and zoos.

campus also hosts a Maritime Center, which focuses on the study of the strategic nature of water in Israel. The university has a research component, and it is the site of one of the first IBM research centers located outside the UNITED STATES. The university has an established program to study and foster cooperation between the Jewish and Arab populations of Israel and the Middle East. The Arab-Jewish Center, located on campus, provides opportunities for students to become involved with agricultural settlements, development towns, and Arab villages in the area. The university’s Hecht Museum is the only archaeological museum on an Israeli university campus.

Further reading: C. A. Bayly and Tarazi Fawaz, eds. Modernity and Culture: From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); Alex Carmel, Old Haifa (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002).

Further reading: Haifa University Web site URL: http://www.haifa.ac.il, accessed July 24, 2004.

Haifa University Founded in 1963, Haifa University is located on top of Mount Carmel in the northern region of ISRAEL. The campus is situated in a splendid setting, boasting views of Haifa Bay, the forested Carmel National Park, and the mountains of the Galilee. The university was originally funded by the city of HAIFA and supported academically by the HEBREW UNIVERSITY in JERUSALEM. Today the university hosts more than 12,000 students who have access to a curriculum of humanities, social sciences, law, science and science education, social welfare and health studies, education, and the graduate school of business. There is also an overseas student program, with students from around the world. Haifa University is a secular institution. Its mission is to combine first-rate higher education and service to the community at large. The study of the KIBBUTZ is an important specialization at Haifa University, exploring the social and economic role that kibbutzim have played in the history of the state of Israel. The

halakhah Halakhah is the HEBREW term that refers to the corpus of Jewish law. The word comes from a root meaning “to walk,” and it is commonly understood by religious Jewish communities that halakhah is how the Jew walks upon God’s intended path. There are several compilations of Jewish law. The most famous and most used of these CODES OF LAW are the MISHNEH TORAH of MAIMONIDES and Joseph CARO’s SHULCHAN ARUCKH. TRADITIONAL JUDAISM perceives all of halakhah as binding on all Jews. However, different laws have different degrees of stringency depending on their origin. Laws that are explicitly found in the text of the TORAH are called d’raita (Aramaic for “by Your light”) and must be enforced strictly. For example, the fourth commandment, to observe SHABBAT, the Sabbath, is d’raita because it comes directly from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. In contrast, d’rabbanan laws (“by the rabbis”) were laid down by the ancient RABBIS based on traditional interpretations of the Torah preserved in ancient oral traditions (thus the term ORAL LAW). Many d’rabbanan laws had the role of safeguarding the spirit of the Torah or WRITTEN LAW.

Halevi, Yehudah

The bulk of the Jewish commandments come from laws prescribed in the rabbinic tradition. To continue with the above example: when the Torah forbids work on the Sabbath, the question arises, “what constitutes work?” The rabbis, noting that the ISRAELITES were commanded to suspend working on the TABERNACLE in the desert on Shabbat, specified 39 categories of work associated with the Tabernacle. By analogy, any activity that could fit into one of these categories constitutes forbidden work. For example, the priests routinely ground spices for incense; d’rabbanan (according to the rabbis), grinding of any ordinary spice is forbidden on the Sabbath as well. A gezeira (decree) d’rabbanan is a rabbinic “fence” enacted to make it harder for people to inadvertently break a “true” law. For example, a gezeira forbids touching a pen during the Sabbath, for fear of forgetfully writing, which is a forbidden work. MINHAG, or religious custom, becomes its own legally binding agent. A common teaching is minhag k’mo halachah, “custom is like law.” Although custom is not actually part of halakhah, and the rabbis recognize that it has changed with time and varies between communities, any custom commonly followed in a community is treated like law for people in that community. A universal example of minhag k’mo halachah is men covering their heads during worship. This activity is not in itself a law, but no traditional Jew would refrain from this custom. Various Jewish movements disagree on the requirement to follow halakhah. For example, REFORM JUDAISM considers Jews to be bound by Jewish ethical laws, but not by the ritual laws, while CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM considers Jews to be bound to all of halakhah, but retains the option of reinterpreting the laws in the modern world. ORTHODOX JUDAISM considers Jews to be bound by all of halakhah—d’raita, d’rabbanan and gezeira. They also strive to follow the letter of the law as interpreted by previous generations of rabbis. Each movement’s relationship with halakhah distinguishes it from the others, thus highlighting the central position that halakhah takes in all Jewish communities.

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Halakhah extends to every aspect of life, providing guidance for all Jews when making ritual, ethical, and moral decisions. Whether a Jewish person rejects halakhah, takes on part of it, or attempts to follow every word as closely as possible, halakhah remains central to Judaism and Jewish life in all generations. Further reading: Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1988); Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Halakhic Man (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1983); Shnuer Zalman of Liadi, Eliyau Touger, and Uri Kaploun, Shulchan Aruch: Code of Jewish Law (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Kehot Publication Society, 2002).

Halevi, Yehudah (1075–1141) medieval poet and philosopher Yehudah Halevi was born in Toledo, SPAIN, to a wealthy Jewish family. Uprooted by Christian invasion, as a young man Halevi traveled between many Jewish communities, writing his famous early love poems. He later returned to Toledo and became a physician. His poetry in this period reflects the turmoil between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and his hopes for the coming of the MESSIAH. Halevi calls for a return to the Jewish homeland, the only place where he feels Jews will be safe. His poetry covers a myriad of topics, including love, friendship, religious devotion, hope, wisdom, and sorrow. Halevi wrote prose as well as poetry. One of his most famous works was the Kuzari, originally written in Arabic. It is a fictional dialogue between the pagan king of the Kazars and a learned rabbi, who persuades the king to convert to Judaism over CHRISTIANITY or ISLAM as the most logical system of religious belief and action. The work served as a vehicle for Halevi to defend the ideas and beliefs of Judaism in the pluralistic culture of Spain. Near the end of his life, Halevi decided to move to ISRAEL. He devoted many words and poems to explain his decision to family and friends, as he was leaving a life of comfort for an unpredictable


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and probably harsh existence in the land of Israel. Tradition has it that he died in EGYPT while waiting for a ship to take him from Alexandria. If Halevi actually managed to enter ERETZ YISRAEL, he probably died soon after. Yehudah Halevi is said to written more than 800 poems, as well as a number of prose works. Further reading: Glenda Abramson, ed., The Experienced Soul: Studies in Amichai (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1997); Barbara Ellen Galli, Franz Rosenzweig and Jehuda Halevi: Translating, Translations, and Translators (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1995); Hans Lewy, Alexander Altmann, and Isaak Heinemann, eds. Three Jewish Philosophers: Philo, Saadya Gaon, Jehuda Halevi (New York: Atheneum, 1977).

halitzah Halitzah literally means “taking away.” It refers to the ancient ritual of removing a shoe, which was performed when an unwed man refused to honor his biblical obligation to marry his brother’s childless widow. The custom of an unwed man marrying his dead brother’s wife is called levirate marriage. It is laid down in Deuteronomy (25:7–9): “If the man does not want to marry his brother’s widow, his brother’s widow shall appear before the elders in the gate and declare, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to establish a name in Israel for his brother; he will not perform the duty of a levir.’ ” The elders of the town, after confirming the validity of the widow’s statement, would place the widow before her brother-in-law in public, where she would remove his shoe, spit in his face, and declare, “Thus shall be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house!” The biblical purpose of halitzah was to publicly shame the renegade brother in order to discourage such behavior. The RABBIS in practice removed the negative connotation of the ritual and made it a positive act, in which both man and woman are freed from a marriage they do not desire. They felt that while a levirate marriage had

merit in biblical times, it had less use in the medieval world. When faced with a situation requiring levirate marriage, they urged the parties to avail themselves of the ritual of halitzah. In modern times, halitzah is still practiced with great solemnity. A BET DIN, a court of three rabbis, gathers the day prior and establishes a place for the act to take place. The widow fasts, and she and the levir appear before the bet din, where she recites the Torah’s prescribed formula in HEBREW. A special shoe made of leather straps, constructed for each rabbinic court, is placed on the levir’s right foot. He walks in it for a little while, and afterward the widow holds the levir’s foot in her left hand, unties the shoe with her right hand, removes it, and casts it aside. She then spits in front of the levir and recites the Deuteronomic words. Immediately after the words are spoken, the bet din offers this prayer: “May it be God’s will that the daughters of Israel will never have to resort to levirate marriage or halitzah.” The survival of halitzah among traditional Jews is a powerful illustration of how the rabbis over the centuries attempt to keep the letter of the law, yet alter the spirit so as to better fit the circ*mstances of their times. Further reading: Hayim Donin, To Be a Jew: A Guide to Jewish Observance in Contemporary Life (New York: Basic Books, 1991); Ellen Frankel, The Five Books of Miriam: A Woman’s Commentary on the Torah (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998).

Hallel The Hallel is a set of psalms praising God that has been incorporated into the liturgy on festivals and new-moon days. It is recited on PASSOVER, SUKKOT, SH-MINI ATZERET, SIMCHAT TORAH, SHAVUOT, ROSH HODESH, CHANUKAH, and YOM HA’ATZMA’UT, Israel’s Independence Day. The psalms included in the Hallel recall the festivals as they were celebrated in the TEMPLE. They serve to remind worshippers, and remind God, of past redemptions and express faith in


future redemption. A shorter version of Hallel that omits a few of the psalms is used during PASSOVER, because, the rabbis say, the deaths of the Egyptians take away from the pure joy of the festival. Further reading: Adin Even-Israel, A Guide to Jewish Prayer (New York: Schocken Books, 2000); Rabbi Jules Harlow, ed., Siddur Sim Shalom: A Prayerbook for Shabbat, Festivals, and Weekdays (New York: Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of America, 1989); Ronald H. Isaacs, Every Person’s Guide to Jewish Prayer (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997).

halutzim (pioneers) The halutzim (Hebrew for “pioneers”) were the Jews who came to PALESTINE in the first waves of Zionist immigration, especially those who worked in agricultural settlements. There were five primary waves of immigration, or ALIYAH, between 1882 and 1939. The First Aliyah, covering the years 1882–1903, brought Jewish pioneers eager to escape persecution in RUSSIA. They had formed societies called HIBBAT ZION/HOVEVEI ZION (Lovers of Zion), and many of them aimed to found agricultural settlements. Some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews made their way to Palestine in the years of the First Aliyah, and by 1900 they had founded 22 settlements. The death rate was high in the settlements, where conditions faced by the halutzim were extraordinarily difficult. Of those who came to Palestine, only 5,000 remained in Palestine, but in many ways they formed the foundation for the future Jewish state. The Second Aliyah lasted from 1904–14. It brought mostly secular Jews who embraced a socialist-Zionist ideology. Among these pioneers was future leader David BEN-GURION. The halutzim of the Second Aliyah directly attacked the practical problems of colonization. They glorified physical labor, cooperation, and self-defense, and they developed the KIBBUTZ movement. Of the 40,000 halutzim who made their way to Palestine during these years, many left because the work

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was too difficult. Nevertheless, by 1914 there were 50 Jewish agricultural settlements with a population of 15,000. The Third Aliyah took place from 1919 to 1924. Close to 100,000 Jews arrived in that period. They continued the work of the earlier pioneers, draining the swamps, planting trees, and creating the necessary infrastructure for a thriving Jewish society in Palestine. The era of the halutzim ended with the start of World War II, as the British closed Palestine to any further legal Jewish immigration. The early waves of halutzim made it possible for these others to follow. They also proved that it was possible to make the land bloom again and that there was hope for Jewish life in the land of Israel. Israel’s Jewish population by 2004 had reached approximately 5.5 million. Further reading: Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

hamsa A hamsa (Arabic for “five”) is a hand-shaped amulet popular especially among Jews from Arab countries. It is said to provide magical protection against the EVIL EYE. The amulet is also commonly used by Muslim Arabs. In the Jewish tradition, the hamsa is also referred to as the Hand of Miriam, the sister of MOSES, who tradition teaches helped sustain the ISRAELITES during their wanderings in the wilderness. Hamsas containing magical words and names often appear in printed siddurim (see SIDDUR) and other sacred books used by Middle Eastern Jews, and are often framed and hung on the walls of SYNAGOGUES and homes for protection against evil spirits. There is archaeological evidence that the use of a downward-pointing hamsa as a religious symbol may predate both Judaism and ISLAM. It may


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have referred to an ancient Middle Eastern goddess whose hand could ward off the evil eye. Although most Jewish hamsa hands produced today are amulets designed to be worn, hamsa hands are also made in the form of ceramic wall plaques containing HEBREW prayers. Many religious Jews may regard the use of hamsas as purely superstitious, but they are not considered to be against HALAKHAH, or Jewish law. Today, even some nonbelieving Jews wear hamsas as jewelry, perhaps to display their Jewish identity. Further reading: Steven M. Lowenstein, The Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions (New

York: Oxford University Press, 2002); Joshua Trachtenberg and Moshe Idel, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).

hanukkiyah A hanukkiyah, very often called a MENORAH, is a special eight-branched candelabra used specifically for the holiday of Chanukah. The word menorah (Hebrew for “lamp”) technically refers to the seven-branched candelabra that was housed in the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM and contained the ETERNAL FLAME. Since the holiday of Chanukah lasts eight days, an eight-branched candelabra is used to light the eight candles of Chanukah, and traditional Jews refer to it as a hanukkiyah. Further reading: Hersh Goldwurm and Meir Zlotowitz, Chanukah, its History, Observance and Significance: A Presentation Based upon Talmudic and Traditional Sources (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, 1989); Ronald H. Isaacs, Every Person’s Guide to Hanukkah (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2000); Jeffrey A. O’Hare, Hanukkah, Festival of Lights: Celebrate with Songs, Decorations, Food, Games, Prayers, and Traditions (Honesdale, Pa.: Boyds Mills Press, 2000); Noam Zion and Barbara Spectre, A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration (New York: Pitspopany Press, 2000).


The hamsa is an amulet adopted from Middle Eastern culture. It has become a symbol of Jewish life, offering protection from evil spirits and spiritual good wishes for the home and synagogues. (Mark Neyman Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

Hasidism, or the Hasidic movement, began in eastern Europe in the mid-18th century. Its founder was Rabbi Israel BAAL SHEM TOV (“master of the good name”). The Baal Shem Tov was troubled by the void he sensed in the lives of many observant Jews, especially among the poor and less-educated majority. Though he wanted Jews to continue to observe Jewish law, he saw the need for a more emotional religious life that would allow Jews to connect with God. The Baal Shem Tov was himself a Talmudic scholar, but he also embraced the KABBALAH, or Jewish Mysticism. His religious path, which


became the core of Hasidism, included mystical study as well as other, less intellectual, vehicles for Jewish expression, such as music, dance, and stories. The early Hasidic legends emphasize emotion, and at times dismiss traditional ritual observance as a potential impediment to one’s quest for God. The Hasidic movement was often in conflict with the non-Hasidic Jews, known as the MITNAGDIM, which literally means “opponents.” The primary clash was over issues of HALAKHAH, or Jewish law. The Mitnagdim believed that the Hasidim were careless in their observance of ritual law and cared more for mystical practices than they did for halakhah. The emotional exuberance of Hasidic worship, in contrast to the traditional worship of the Mitnagdim was also a source of conflict. The opponents of Hasidism also feared that the popular mysticism of the Hasidism might encourage messianic notions, creating a greater potential for a false messiah, as had happened in the previous century with SHABBATAI ZVI. Within two generations, a large percentage of observant Jews in eastern Europe had become followers of Hasidism. They were the dominant group in much of present-day Poland, Hungary, and the Ukraine, and a considerable minority everywhere else in the region. Over several generations Hasidic practices influenced the Mitnagdim; in addition, the Hasidic movement has moderated some of the practices that once distinguished them from their opponents. However, there still exists an intellectual, emotional, and customs gap between Hasidic and non-Hasidic ORTHODOX JUDAISM. Most Hasidic Jews follow the spiritual and practical leadership of a rebbe, a charismatic RABBI who usually inherited the status from his father or other relative. Hasidic men wear distinctive clothing and hats, usually replicating the conservative black garb worn by their forefathers in eastern Europe; slight differences in clothing style allow those in the know to determine which rebbe another Hasid follows. Over the years, some of the dynastic lines have petered out, leaving major groups without recognized leaders.

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Today there are approximately a dozen major Hasidic movements in the world. The largest movement is Lubavitch (see CHABAD), with approximately 100,000 followers, many of them BAAL TESHUVAHs (Jews who have become Orthodox). Other major groups include the Bianer, Bobov, Bostoner, Belzer, Breslov, Gerer, Gor, Munkacz, Puppa, Ribnitz, Satmar, and Vizhnitz. The names of these Hasidic groups come from the European towns in which their original rebbes lived. Further reading: Martin Buber, The Way of Man: According to the Teaching of Hasidism (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Trade, 1995); Moshe Idel, Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995); Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken Books, 1995).

Haskalah The Haskalah (from the Hebrew sekhel, “intellect”) was the Jewish version of the European ENLIGHTENMENT; it began in the 1770s and continued for the next 100 years. For several hundred years prior to the Haskalah, Jewish communities lived in isolation from the larger European society, following traditional ways unchallenged by the intellectual and political turmoil of the wider world. The writers of the Haskalah, called MASKILIM, wanted to integrate the Jewish people into European society, on the basis of legal equality and social emancipation. The movement wanted to replace traditional religion as the center of Jewish life with science and rational philosophy. Proponents of the Haskalah, such as Moses MENDELSSOHN and Solomon Judah Rapaport, encouraged Jews to study European languages, philosophy, and science. They discouraged the use of YIDDISH, a Jewish language with both German and Hebrew elements, as a barrier to integration. They encouraged Jews to enter new occupations such as agriculture, crafts, arts and sciences. Traditional Jews opposed the Haskalah as a threat to their traditional way of life based on


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Jewish law, and to their communities, till then safely insulated from the secular world. The movement began in GERMANY and spread throughout Europe, although it stumbled in RUSSIA as the progress toward political emancipation was stalled by reactionary rulers. Proponents of the Haskalah believed one could be both Jewish and German, French, Dutch, or Russian. The Haskalah led to the development of REFORM JUDAISM, ZIONISM, WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS, and the creation of Modern HEBREW literature.

Further reading: Peter Gradenwitz, The Music of Israel: From the Biblical Era to Modern Times (Portland, Oreg.: Amadeus Press, 1996); Irene Heskes, Passport to Jewish Music: Its History, Traditions, and Culture (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994); Hal Leonard, ed., National Anthems from around the World: The Official National Anthems, Flags, and Anthem Histories from 56 Countries (Milwaukee, Wisc.: Hal Leonard Publishing, 1996).

havdalah Further reading: Shmuel Feiner, Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness trans. Chaya Naor, and Sondra Silverton (Portland, Oreg.: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2001); Jacob Katz, Jewish Emancipation and Self-Emancipation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

“Hatikvah” “Hatikvah” (Hebrew for “the hope”) is the national anthem of the State of ISRAEL, and is popular among many Jews around the world as an expression of love for the Jewish people, ERETZ YISRAEL, and JERUSALEM. “Hatikvah” was first popularized at the historic Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, where it was sung constantly. The lyrics had been written in 1877 or 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber (1856–1909), an early settler in PALESTINE; the words were set by Samuel Cohen to the melody of a simple but haunting Czech folk song. The song was officially adopted as the national anthem of the Zionist movement during a subsequent conference at The Hague in 1907. The text, as amended after Israeli independence in 1948, reads as follows: “As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, / With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, / Then our hope—the two-thousand-yearold hope—will not be lost: / To be a free people in our land, / The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Havdalah, which comes from a root meaning “to separate,” is a ritual performed at the conclusion of SHABBAT (the Sabbath) and holidays, separating them from the mundane week. Traditionally, one is supposed to experience the difference between sacred time and the profane with all one’s senses. To that end, several ritual objects are included in the ceremony, each with its appropriate BRACHA, or blessing. A braided candle is lit in the darkness, and one puts one’s hand up to it to feel the heat, using the senses of sight and touch. The participants sip wine to invoke taste, and sniff a spice-box to invoke smell; of course, all the blessings stimulate the sense of hearing. The ceremony concludes by praising God for making distinctions, such as those between holy and profane, light and dark, and the Sabbath (or holiday) and the rest of the week. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Isidor Grunfeld, The Sabbath: A Guide to Its Understanding and Observance (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1981); Adin Steinsaltz, Miracle of the Seventh Day: A Guide to the Spiritual Meaning, Significance, and Weekly Practice of the Jewish Sabbath (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing, 2003).

Hebrew, Modern In ISRAEL today the primary written and spoken language is Modern Hebrew. Modern Hebrew is based on the ancient Semitic language used in the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, the MISHNAH, and in

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

many Jewish religious and literary creations of the Middle Ages. Hebrew consists of 22 consonants, and it is written from right to left. Vowels appear as a series of dots and lines that are placed beneath, above, and inside the Hebrew letters. While Israelis do not use vowels in written texts, non-native Hebrew speakers find them to be a helpful learning aid. BIBLICAL HEBREW had a relatively small vocabulary, with only two verb tenses, perfect and imperfect. Mishnaic and medieval Hebrew expanded the language, but only as a literary tool. Apart from the recitation of prayers, the language was rarely spoken. Modern Hebrew emerged as a literary language in the 19th century during the period of the HASKALAH, when it began to be used for nonreligious purposes. Eliezer BEN YEHUDAH became the father of Modern Hebrew as a living language, making it his son’s mother tongue. He wrote a 17volume Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew, that included many new words he coined himself, and founded the Hebrew Language Council in 1890, which became the standing Hebrew Language Academy in Israel today. Despite the new words and a somewhat altered grammar and syntax, any reasonably educated Hebrew speaker today can read and understand the Hebrew Bible and the Mishnah. Some ultra-Orthodox Jews (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM) refuse to use Hebrew as an everyday language, as they consider it to be sacred. They speak YIDDISH or other languages in their daily life and reserve Hebrew for prayer and study. Most Jews, however, have accepted and study Modern Hebrew as the standard language for Jewish literacy and as the living language of Israel. Further reading: Robert Alter, Modern Hebrew Literature (West Orange, N.J.: Behrman House, 1975); Joel M. Hoffman, In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language (New York: New York University Press, 2004); Robert St. John, Tongue of the Prophets: The Fascinating Biography of Eliezer Ben-Yehudah, the Father of Modern Hebrew (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Wilshire Book Company, 1972).

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Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) When masses of poor Jewish immigrants began to arrive on the shores of the UNITED STATES in the late 19th century, a host of Jewish social service organizations emerged to care for their needs. Many of these agencies were funded and operated by prosperous members of the long-established German Jewish community. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), by contrast, was founded and run by eastern European Jews for eastern European Jews. It was organized in 1902 as a Landsmanschaft, a self-help benevolent society for people from the same town in Europe (see LANDSMANSCHAFTEN). Its initial goal was to provide decent burials for Jews who died on ELLIS ISLAND, the immigrant processing center in New York harbor. It soon became clear that the needs of the immigrants far surpassed burial societies. In response, HIAS grew into a huge organization that helped immigrants in every aspect of their lives, from finding shelter and jobs to reuniting families. On March 16, 1909, HIAS merged with another mutual aid society to create the Hebrew Immigrant Sheltering and Aid Society, but it kept the acronym HIAS. The group worked tirelessly during the crises of World War I and II, seeking relief for oppressed Jews abroad when immigration dried up during the wars. In 1954, HIAS joined with other immigrant aid societies to become the United HIAS Service (UHS). UHS received funding from membership dues, donations, the United States government, and Jewish federations (see UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES) UHS is still an active federationsupported organization that continues to aid Jewish immigrants in the United States, such as those coming from Russia in the 1980s and 1990s, but also uses its expertise to help large numbers of non-Jews as well. Further reading: J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Reading, Mass.: Perseus Publishing, 1996); Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1992); Mark Wischnitzer, Visas to Freedom: The History of HIAS


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(Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1956); UHS Archives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City.

Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion The oldest successful Jewish institute of higher learning in the Western Hemisphere, the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion serves as the rabbinical school for REFORM JUDAISM and an undergraduate and graduate school for Jewish studies. The university has four campuses, in New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and JERUSALEM. The school prides itself on academic excellence. It houses the Skirball Museum on its Los Angeles campus, and publishes a number of respected academic journals, such as the Hebrew Union College Annual and the American Jewish Archives. There is also an independent HUC Press. Programs in rabbinic studies, Jewish communal service, music, and education are supported by excellent libraries on each campus. The Klau Library and American Jewish Archives on the Cincinnati grounds hold impressive collections of Judaica. Originally named Hebrew Union College (HUC), the school was founded in 1875 by Isaac Mayer WISE, a leader in the development of liberal American Judaism. Its purpose was to train rabbis to serve on American pulpits. Wise did not intend for the institution to be associated exclusively with the Reform movement, as his personal goal was to see a united Jewish community in America. The curriculum focused on the “classics” of Judaism, including the Babylonian and Palestinian TALMUDS, MIDRASH, CODES OF LAW, and TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. However, Wise’s worthy goal was torpedoed by a famous scandal that occurred at HUC’s first ordination banquet in 1883. As the printed menu testified, shellfish was served, a particularly nonkosher food (see KASHRUT). The famous “Trefa [nonkosher] Banquet” provoked an exodus of many traditional rabbis, who went on to found American CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM. In 1950 the Hebrew Union College merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion, founded in 1922 as

The Hebrew Union College has a campus in Jerusalem. Here an archaeology student from Los Angeles works on an ancient jar. The campus in Israel affords HUC’s students a broader range of studies and different experiences than can be attained in the United States. (Moshe Pridan Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

an independent school. Study at the combined school aims at the impartial, scientific methods associated with German WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS, the scientific study of Judaism. Although HUC-JIR remains a Reform institution, it has never laid down any clear dogma, leaving students and faculty free to struggle toward their own JEWISH IDENTITY. Since its inception, more than 2,000 rabbis have been trained to serve in American pulpits; a small program was recently begun at the Jerusalem campus to train Israeli Reform rabbis. Further reading: Hebrew Union College Web site URL: http://www.huc.edu, accessed July 24, 2004; S.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem E. Karff, ed., Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion at One Hundred Years (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College, 1976); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988).

Hebrew University of Jerusalem The Hebrew University is the oldest and most prominent higher education institution in the State of Israel. The Hebrew University was founded as a university of the Jewish people. It was viewed as a primary component of the program of ZIONISM when the cornerstone was laid on Mount Scopus in JERUSALEM in 1918. Seven years later the dream

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became reality as the university opened with numerous prestigious figures in attendance, on the board, and on the faculty, including Lord Balfour, issuer of the BALFOUR DECLARATION, Albert EINSTEIN, Martin BUBER, Sigmund FREUD, Harry Sachar, and Felix M. Warburg. On April 1, 1925, Chaim WEIZMANN, future first president of the modern state of ISRAEL and founding father of the University, spoke at the opening ceremony. He pointed out that “It seems at first sight paradoxical that in a land with so sparse a population, in a land where everything still remains to be done, in a land crying out for such simple things as ploughs, roads and harbors, we should be creating a center of spiritual and intellectual development. But it is no paradox for

The cornerstone of the Hebrew University was laid on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem in 1918. Lord Balfour declared the university open at this formal ceremony on April 1, 1925. (Library of Congress)


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those who know the soul of the Jew.” Weizmann noted that the Jewish thirst for knowledge would lead to success in the building of a nation. The university had three research departments in its early years, including microbiology, chemistry, and Jewish studies. In 1933 it awarded its first master’s degrees to 13 graduates, and boasted 141 students and 33 faculty members. Even before Israeli independence in 1948, the Hebrew University had become an established research and teaching institution, with departments in the humanities, science, medicine, education, and agriculture. The 1948 Israeli War of Independence cut the Mount Scopus campus off from the rest of the new state of Israel and alternate locations were found in Jerusalem: Givat Ram and Ein Kerem. By the time the 1967 SIX-DAY WAR resulted in repossession of Mount Scopus and the original campus, the school had more than 12,500 students. The Mount Scopus campus was rebuilt, and it has been the main campus since 1981. Today the Hebrew University stands as a major world research institution, and is host to a multidisciplinary curriculum, which includes opportunities to study as an undergraduate, graduate, or overseas student. Its courses of study include science, medicine, dentistry, education, engineering, computer science, international studies, library science, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pharmacy, public health, public policy, social work, and veterinary medicine. Almost 40 percent of Israeli civilian scientific research is done at the Hebrew University, contributing to the rise of Israel’s technology sector. The Hebrew University currently has 22,600 students enrolled in its programs and 1,200 tenured academic faculty. The university houses the Jewish National and University Library, founded in 1892 as a world center for the preservation of Jewish books; it holds the largest Hebraic and Judaic collection in the world. The campuses in Givat Ram and Ein Kerem still function as vital parts of the university. Further reading: Norman Bentwich, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1918–1960 (London, Weidenfeld, 1961);

Hebrew University Web site URL: http://www.huji.ac.il, accessed on July 25, 2004); Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing, 1972).

Heine, Heinrich (1797–1856) German-Jewish intellectual who converted to Christianity at least in name Heinrich Heine was a renowned German Romantic poet and essayist, who acknowledged his Jewish ancestry but converted to Christianity for practical reasons. Born in Dusseldorf, GERMANY, on December 13, 1797, Heine died in his adopted city, Paris, on February 17, 1856. Heine’s parents were Samson Heine and Betty von Geldern; his mother, who directed his education, embraced the ideas of the French Revolution and conveyed them to her son. Heinrich appears to have had little Jewish education as a youth; Napoleon’s EMANCIPATION of the Jews afforded him the opportunity of complete ASSIMILATION into German culture. Heine’s romantic style reflects his youthful unrequited love for his cousin Amalie, whose father married her off to another for fear that Heinrich was unfit for business. Heine began to study law in 1819 and later settled in Berlin, where he published his first volume of poems. He came under the influence of enlightened German Jewish figures, and became part of a scholarly circle that supported the scientific study of Judaism, the WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS. Heine’s initial goal was to unite modern German culture with ancient Judaism. However, Heine’s ambitions in this regard were frustrated, as many of his like-minded Jewish colleagues converted to CHRISTIANITY. In order to become accepted by Prussian society, Heine abandoned his Jewish interests to focus on his imaginative writing. From 1822 to 1827 he produced a series of poems and travel sketches that made him the most popular German writer of the time. In 1825, he underwent baptism so as to become fully accepted into German society. He was somewhat


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contemptuous of his need to do this act, stating that he was being baptized—but not converting. Despite Heine’s baptism, Jewish themes continued to appeared in his literary works. Heine is considered one of the greatest of German lyric poets, and a leading revolutionary thinker who helped to popularize the ideals of the French Revolution. His anti-Prussian governmental satires caused him to leave Germany for France in self-imposed exile. His subsequent artistic life was colored by a combination of French and German culture. Many of Heine’s poems were set to music by Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and others—his lyrics appear in more than 3,000 musical compositions. Most of Heine’s literary works have been translated into English. Heine’s poetry became so much a part of German identity that some poems continued to be published, with the author’s name removed, under the antisemitic Nazi regime.

abandoning faith in God and Jewish law by accommodating too freely to the Hellenistic influences around them; they in turn were accused of narrow-minded devotion to old-fashioned tribalistic practices. Although children are told that CHANUKAH commemorates a war between Jews and foreign oppressors, the struggle was in large part a civil war. One faction identified politically and culturally with the Seleucid rulers and wished to suppress traditional Judaism, while their more conservative opponents rejected Hellenism as heretical and offensive to God.

Further reading: Roger F. Cook, A Companion to the Works of Heinrich Heine (Buffalo, N.Y.: Camden House, 2002); Heinrich Heine, Poetry and Prose (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1982); Philip Kossoff, Valiant Heart: A Biography of Heinrich Heine (New York: Cornwall Books, 1983).


Hellenism Hellenism was a Greek-based cosmopolitan culture and viewpoint that arose after Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.E.) united all the ancient civilized centers of the Middle East under his rule. Alexander and his successors managed to spread Greek language and culture throughout their empire, especially among the upper classes. As a result, Jews came under pressure in this era to accommodate (see ACCOMMODATION) to Hellenistic practices and values, which often conflicted with Jewish laws and customs. Deep divisions developed not only between Jews and the occupying governments, but also between Jews themselves, as some Jews accused others of

Further reading: Norman Bentwich, Hellenism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1920); Elias Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1988); Louis H. Feldman, “How Much Hellenism in Jewish Palestine?” in Hebrew Union College Annual 57 (1986): 83–111.

Herem, or excommunication, a punishment rarely used today, entails the expulsion of a Jew from all aspects of Jewish community life. A BET DIN, or religious court, has the power to excommunicate an individual from the Jewish community. The threat of herem has historically been used to discourage practices that are considered antisocial such as promoting heretical ideas or refusing to grant a religious DIVORCE to an abandoned wife. Excommunication can involve a range of punishments, from relatively mild ostracism to full excommunication for the worst offenses, such as apostasy. Herem does not mean that the person ceases to be a Jew, but rather that he or she has been separated from the community. Perhaps the most famous victim of herem was the philosopher Baruch SPINOZA, excommunicated from the Jewish community in the Netherlands in the mid-1650s for his atheistic views. In earlier times, when most Jews lived in selfcontained communities segregated from the wider world, herem could deprive an individual of


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livelihood and all human contact, and thus was a powerful tool to enforce obedience. In the contemporary setting, only rabbis in ultra-Orthodox communities would be able to use herem as an effective tool to regulate community life. Further reading: Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, Crime and Punishment in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa (Oxford, U.K.: Berghahn Books, 1999); Louis Jacobs, A Tree of Life: Diversity, Flexibility, and Creativity in Jewish Law (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

heresy Heresy is a teaching or act that directly contradicts a teaching of TORAH, not simply an untrue statement. Jewish individuals and movements have at times been branded as heretical, as have entire communities. For example, the KARAITES are considered heretics by mainstream Judaism because of their rejection of the ORAL LAW. Further reading: Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, Crime and Punishment in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa (Oxford, U.K.: Berghahn Books, 1999); Louis Jacobs, A Tree of Life: Diversity, Flexibility, and Creativity in Jewish Law (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

hermeneutics In the Jewish context the term hermeneutics refers primarily to the interpretation of the TORAH, especially using the rabbinic methods of PSHAT and DRASH. In the rabbinic period certain principles were developed to guide and circ*mscribe interpretation, most notably by Rabbi AKIBA, HILLEL, Rabbi Ishmael, and Rabbi Eliezer ben Yose haGelili. These principles continue to be acknowledged today. See also EXEGESIS. Further reading: Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America,

1956); Moshe Greenberg, Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Bernard M. Levinson, Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Herod (37–4 B.C.E.) ancient Judean ruler Herod, often referred to as “Herod the Great,” was born to the Idumean ruler Antipater and his Arabian wife, Cyprus. Antipater used his influence to have his 16-year-old son appointed governor of Galilee. As governor, Herod became popular with the SANHEDRIN, the local Jewish ruling body. Years later, after Antipater’s death, Herod was appointed tetrarch of Galilee under Mark Antony. This appointment created dissatisfaction among the local Jews, who viewed Herod as racially impure through both his parents. Herod was briefly forced out of Galilee during a Jewish rebellion in 40 B.C.E. Herod, however, convinced Mark Antony to restore him as ruler, or King in Judea (see JUDEA AND SAMARIA), where he reigned in the last years of the first century B.C.E. During his rule Herod initiated extensive building programs. In 20 B.C.E. he began to expand the second TEMPLE, including the Royal Portico. He also built a citadel, “Antonia,” to guard the Temple. He rebuilt the walls of JERUSALEM and constructed several fortresses, including MASADA. Perhaps his most important contribution was the port at Caesarea, which was modeled on a Greek city plan. Among Jews, however, Herod developed a reputation as a cruel and murderous ruler. He was notorious for murdering 45 members of the Sanhedrin as well as a high priest; he also murdered several of his own family members. The New Testament teaches that Herod had all boys in Bethlehem under the age of two murdered when court astrologers advised him that a king of the Jews had just been born (Mt 2:1–16). He limited the influence of the SADDUCEES, and he exacted excessive taxes from all his subjects. It is suspected that he ordered the fire that destroyed the monastery at Qumran in 8 B.C.E.

Herzl, Theodor

Herod died in 4 B.C.E., and sources suggest that it was a long and painful death. Upon his death Augustus divided Herod’s kingdom among his three sons, Herod Antipas, Philip, and Archelaus. Herod was buried in Herodion, one of his fortresses whose ruins in the Judean desert can still be viewed today. Further reading: F. J. Foakes-Jackson, Josephus and the Jews: The Religion and History of the Jews as Explained by Flavius Josephus (New York: R. R. Smith, 1930); Nikos Kokkinos, The Herodian Dynasty: Origins, Role in Society and Eclipse (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998); Norman H. Snaith, The Jews from Cyrus to Herod (New York: Abingdon Press, 1956); Solomon Zeitlin, The Rise and Fall of the Judean State: A Political, Social and Religious History of the Second Commonwealth, vol. 3 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962).

Hertz, Joseph (1872–1946) chief rabbi of the United Kingdom Joseph Herman Hertz was born in Slovakia and immigrated as a 12-year-old to the UNITED STATES, specifically the LOWER EAST SIDE in New York City. He received his doctorate from Columbia University, and was the first to graduate from the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF AMERICA as a rabbi. Hertz’s scholarship and perspective on Jews and Judaism shows characteristics of Solomon SCHECHTER’s desire to merge Jewish tradition with modern scholarship. His first rabbinic appointment was in Syracuse, New York, but he later took a pulpit in Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA, where he was very active in the struggle for human rights, standing in opposition to Boer discrimination. After briefly serving as rabbi in a New York synagogue, Hertz became the chief rabbi for the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire in 1913. He remained in this position until his death in 1946. From this prominent position, Hertz set an example for English and world Jewry. He made his voice heard in the public square, taking a stand against RUSSIA’s anti-Jewish

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policy and speaking out against the rise of Nazism (see GERMANY) and Nazi sympathizers in ENGLAND. Hertz supported ZIONISM and his advocacy contributed to the publication of the BALFOUR DECLARATION. Yet Hertz became critical of British policies in PALESTINE, the result of which he had seen firsthand during visits to the area. On issues of religious doctrine and observance, Hertz stood against Liberal Judaism from his Modern Orthodox position. While embracing modern scholarship, Hertz actively defended MODERN ORTHODOXY. Hertz wrote many books, but he is best-known for his translation and commentary of the TORAH and haftarot (see HAFTARAH). In his introduction to this work, Hertz wrote his defense for utilizing modern knowledge within biblical commentary: “Accept the truth from whatever source it comes.” However, Hertz rejected the documentary hypothesis of multiple authorship of the Torah, calling the theory a “perversion of history and a desecration of religion.” Thus, Hertz remained at the center of Jewish life and thought, criticized by both the Reform and Orthodox camps. In the United States, Hertz’s Pentateuch and Haftorahs was the primary book utilized by Orthodox and Conservative synagogues (see CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM), until quite recently, when the Conservative movement published its own new commentary. Further reading: Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); J. H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs: Hebrew Text English Translation and Commentary (London: Soncino Press, 1997); Harvey Warren Meirovich, A Vindication of Judaism: The Polemics of the Hertz Pentateuch (Philadelphia: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1997).

Herzl, Theodor (1860–1904) Zionist leader and theoretician Theodor Herzl is recognized as the father of modern political ZIONISM. Born in Budapest in 1860, he was raised as a secular Jew by wealthy parents. At the age of 18 he moved with his family to


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In 1896 Theodor Herzl wrote The Jewish State, which outlines his belief that the Jews needed their own homeland. Herzl spoke with many leaders in Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Germany, seeking a political solution to the Jewish problem. He died in 1904, his dream unrealized, but his remains were flown to Israel after its independence was won in 1948. (Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

Vienna in AUSTRIA, and in 1884 received a doctorate of law from the University of Vienna. Herzl became a successful writer, publishing plays and working as a journalist. He served as the Paris correspondent for the influential Vienna newspaper, the Neue Freie Presse. Although Herzl was fluent in German and French, he had no fluency in Hebrew, Yiddish, or Russian—the languages of eastern European Jewry.

Herzl’s experiences with ANTISEMITISM catalyzed him to establish the modern Zionist movement before he was aware of the Zionist ideals of prolific eastern European Jews such as Leon PINSKER or AHAD HA’AM. He experienced antisemitism as a student in Vienna, and also during his time in Paris as a journalist. In 1894 he wrote a drama, The New Ghetto, in which he describes the invisible ghetto walls of Europe, inpenetrable for even assimilated (see ASSIMILATION) and converted Jews. During the DREYFUS AFFAIR in 1894, in which a Jewish French officer was falsely convicted of treason, Herzl experienced shock as he heard mobs in Paris shouting, “Death to the Jews.” He came to believe that Jews would have to seek a new refuge outside of Europe, a territorial solution characterized by Jewish sovereignty. In 1896 Herzl published his essay Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), which laid out the political Zionist agenda. It became an immediate international sensation and within months was translated into most of the languages of Europe. The publication of this seminal essay drew German-Jewish Zionist David Wolffsohn (1856–1914) to contact Herzl and meet with him. Wolffsohn had connections with HIBBAT ZION, an international group of Zionist organizations with local chapters in eastern Europe. Wolffsohn introduced Herzl to eastern European Zionist thinkers, providing a vital link between East and West. In eastern Europe, many Jews embraced Herzl’s Zionist call, some even calling the imposing, bearded Herzl “the Messiah” or “King.” Together with Wolffsohn, Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, on August 29, 1897, where delegates from around the world adopted the “Basel Program,” which sought the establishment of a Jewish home in PALESTINE. The Zionist Organization became the political arm of the Jewish Zionists, and Herzl was elected its first president. From 1897 to 1902 he convened six Zionist Congresses, creating the Jewish National Fund to purchase and develop land in Palestine. A Zionist paper, Die Welt, was also published.

Heschel, Abraham Joshua

Herzl traveled extensively in pursuit of governmental support for the Zionist cause. Herzl’s pleas for support from German and Turkish leaders failed. The only concrete proposal offered to Herzl was from Great Britain, which proposed UGANDA as a Jewish autonomous region. In 1903, following violent POGROMS in Kishiner, at the Sixth Zionist Congress Herzl proposed Britain’s Uganda offer as a temporary solution for Jews in immediate, physical danger in Russia. Herzl’s temporary solution was rejected by the Congress, although it was not formally rejected until the Seventh Zionist Congress of 1905. Herzl died in Vienna, in 1904, a victim of pneumonia and a weak heart. It could almost be said that he died of a broken heart. But Herzl’s workaholic habits probably brought him to his early grave. In 1949, Herzl’s remains were brought to JERUSALEM and reinterred in Israel’s national cemetery, named Mount Herzl in his honor. Further reading: Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State (New York: Dover Publications, 1989); Jacques Kornberg, Theodor Herzl: From Assimilation to Zionism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993); Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Maurice C. Samuel, Theodore Herzl (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1941).

Herzog, Isaac (1888–1959) chief rabbi in Palestine and Israel Born in Lomza, POLAND, Isaac Herzog was raised in Paris, FRANCE, and Leeds, ENGLAND, where his father served as an Orthodox rabbi. As a youth, Herzog studied on his own, completing his own study of the TALMUD by age 16. He received a formal education at London University, earning his doctorate in literature. Herzog served as chief rabbi in Ireland early in his rabbinic career, and in 1937 he was named to succeed Rabbi Abraham Isaac KOOK as Ashkenazi (see ASHKENAZIM) chief rabbi of PALESTINE. When

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ISRAEL was established, he became the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the new state, in which post he greatly influenced religious life in Israel. Herzog’s son, Chaim, born in 1918, would become the sixth president of Israel in 1983. Further reading: Chaim Herzog, Jewish Law Association Studies: The Halakhic Thought of R. Isaac Herzog: Jewish Law Association Papers and Proceedings (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1991); Isaac Herzog, The Main Institutions of Jewish Law (London: The Soncino Press, 1936–1939); Moshe Sokol, Engaging Modernity: Rabbinic Leaders and the Challenge of the Twentieth Century (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1997).

Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1907–1972) theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel was one of the most important Jewish theologians of the 20th century. Descended from Hasidic rabbis on both sides of his family (see HASIDISM), Heschel was born in Warsaw, POLAND, in 1907. His father was a wellrespected rabbi, considered by some to be the reincarnation of the BAAL SHEM TOV, founder of the Hasidic movement. Heschel received a traditional YESHIVA education in TALMUD and rabbinics and was ordained as rabbi. His community in Warsaw saw in him the chance for a spiritual revival, but Heschel chose to leave to pursue secular studies at the University of Berlin. There he obtained a doctoral degree, producing a work on MAIMONIDES; he subsequently earned a second rabbinic ordination, this time from the more liberal Hochschule fur die WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTUMS. In 1938 the Nazis rulers of GERMANY forced Heschel, and many other Polish-born Jews, to return to POLAND. A year later, he was invited to teach at the HEBREW UNION COLLEGE (HUC) in Cincinnati, an invitation that, as he later often said, saved his life; six weeks after he left Poland the Nazis invaded. Heschel taught at HUC from 1940 to 1945. Learning that his family had been murdered in the HOLOCAUST, Heschel resolved to ensure that the


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legacy of eastern European Jewish tradition was preserved for both Jews and non-Jews. Heschel assumed the mission of maintaining continuity of Jewish tradition in the UNITED STATES. To that end, he wrote The Earth Is the Lord’s: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe, his first English work; it was a popular success. In 1945 Heschel accepted an appointment to teach at the JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, where he found the emphasis on HALAKHAH, Jewish law, and on TALMUD study to be more in keeping with his traditional perspective than the liberal orientation of HUC. He taught at the seminary for 27 years until his death. Heschel displayed a unique blend of classical training and modern thinking; he was a deeply observant man with a strong commitment to interreligious cooperation. He lobbied for freedom for Soviet Jewry (see RUSSIA), marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, and opposed the war in Vietnam. He participated in various official conferences and committees, such as the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1960, the White House Conference on Aging in 1961, and the National Conference on Religion and Race in 1963. His spirituality has inspired Jews and nonJews, and his presence in both communities sheds light on the viability of interfaith relations. Heschel’s books took the notion of “spirituality” seriously, and he encouraged a quest for God. While he valued Jewish law and halakhic investigation, he also strove to bring a spiritual element to the American Jewish community. Among his books were The Sabbath, God in Search of Man, and The Prophets. In The Sabbath, Heschel tried to encourage modern individuals to consider contemporary meanings of SHABBAT, and to recognize the value of living moments of sacred time. Further reading: Abraham J. Heschel, God in Search of Man (New York: Noonday Press, 1976); Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets: An Introduction (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962); ———, The Sabbath (New York: Noonday Press, 1975); Edward K. Kaplan and Samuel H. Dresner, Abraham Joshua Heschel: Prophetic Witness (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998).

Heschel, Susannah (b. 1957) scholar/educator Daughter of Abraham Joshua HESCHEL, Susannah Heschel is a renowned scholar of Judaism in her own right. Heschel earned her doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. Since that time she has authored or edited six books and dozens of articles, focusing on modern Jewish thought, feminist theology, and German Protestantism. Currently she is the Eli Black Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Heschel has taught at several major institutions including Princeton University, Southern Methodist University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Frankfurt, and Dartmouth College. Her book Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus won the 1998 National Jewish Book Award and the 2000 Abraham Geiger College Award. Heschel has become a popular speaker as well. She has spoken on Judaism as part of a panel on religion and the environment at the UN Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and she spoke on Judaism and population ethics at the UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. Further reading: Susannah Heschel, Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998); ———, ed., On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (New York: Schocken Books, 1983).

Hibbat Zion/Hovevei Zion Hibbat Zion (Love of Zion) was the first important Zionist organization in the modern world (see ZIONISM). It pioneered the theory and practice of Jewish agricultural settlement in ERETZ YISRAEL, the Land of Israel, sparked the First ALIYAH of immigration there, and helped spread the Zionist idea through its support chapters in several countries. Local groups and their members were known as Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion). Local Hovevei Zion societies sprang up across Europe and North America in the years 1883–84 as POGROMS terrorized the Jews of eastern Europe and tens of thousands of Jews were forced from


their homes in the PALE OF SETTLEMENT in RUSSIA. During these early years of Zionist activity, it was still possible for different types of Jews to express themselves as a unified group. Hovevei Zion societies included Modern HEBREW writers, semiassimilated students, MASKILIM (followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, or HASKALAH), and traditional adherents of ORTHODOX JUDAISM. They used the STAR OF DAVID as their emblem, enclosing the Hebrew word ziyyon. The unity of the Jewish people was an important aspect of Hibbat Zion. The movement was inspired by Yehudah Lev PINSKER’s pamphlet AutoEmancipation, and its idea that Jews needed their own autonomous territory. Other Jewish leaders and writers of that era, such as Moshe Leib Lilienblum (1843–1910) and AHAD HA’AM (1856–1927), used the Hovevei Zion societies as sounding boards and dissemination points for their ideas. Hibbat Zion took a practical approach to Zionism, calling on young Jewish men and women to settle in PALESTINE as HALUTZIM, or pioneers. These young people set up the first moshavot, or farm settlements, and dedicated their lives to transforming desolate land into fruitful farms and orchards. They played a major role in convincing world Jewry that a viable, autonomous Jewish homeland was not just a dream. Further reading: Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1959); Ehud Luz, Parallels Meet: Religion and Nationalism in the Early Zionist Movement (1882–1904) (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1988); Yehuda Lev Pinsker, “Auto-Emancipation” (1882), trans. Dr. D. S. Blondheim (1916), posted at Essential Texts of Zionism, URL: http:// www.geocities. com/Vienna/6640/zion/essential.html, accessed July 25, 2004; David Vital, The Origins of Zionism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).

high priest (kohein gadol) The high priest was the official charged with overseeing the sacrificial system in the TABERNACLE

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and later in the TEMPLE. In addition, he was responsible for entering the HOLY OF HOLIES one day a year, on YOM KIPPUR, to make atonement for the sins of the people. The high priest was by law a descendant of AARON, MOSES’ brother, from the tribe of Levi; the position and its elaborate duties were transferred from one generation to the next. The high priest held office until he died, and he was viewed by Jews and non-Jews alike as the leader of the Jewish community. As a result, he became an important political as well as religious figure. The Hasmoneans, descendants of the MACCABEES, established the best-known dynasty of high priests beginning in the second century C.E. Further reading: John H. Hayes and Sara R. Mandell, The Jewish People in Classical Antiquity: From Alexander to Bar Kochba (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/ John Knox Press, 1998); Clemens Thoma, “The High Priesthood in the Judgment of Josephus,” in Josephus, the Bible, and History (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989).

Hillel (first century B.C.E.) rabbi/scholar Hillel is considered the leading teacher, or RABBI, of the first century B.C.E. Along with SHAMMAI, he is mentioned in Pirke Avot, ETHICS OF THE FATHERS, as the one of the two members of his generation who passed along the teachings of the ORAL LAW. He is also known as Hillel the Elder to distinguish him from another prominent rabbi of the same name who lived 300 years later. It is difficult to reconstruct a biography of Hillel, because his teachings were oral and were only recorded centuries after his death. However, scholars believe he was born into a wealthy family, but rejected his family’s financial aid and lived in poverty while studying in JERUSALEM. Perhaps as a result, Hillel never forgot to take into account the common person’s situation when considering a judgment. The best-known story about Hillel the Elder is recorded in the TALMUD (Shabbat 31a). In this


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legend, Hillel is asked by a non-Jew to teach him the TORAH while standing on one leg. Hillel, with patience and a smile, agrees. He then states the following: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. The rest is commentary. Now go and study.” Many theologians relate Hillel’s words to the “Golden Rule” that Jesus preached. Jesus’s words were in the form of a positive commandment, while Hillel’s words were worded in the negative, but the message remains the same. The rabbis taught that the negative commandment of “do not do” is more easily performed, explaining that it is easier for people not to do certain things than to motivate themselves to do certain things. Hillel is believed to have created a school of followers who become known as the “House of Hillel,” or Bet Hillel. The MISHNAH and Talmud record many scholarly debates between the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai; most Jewish law follows the interpretation of Bet Hillel. Many assert that Hillel won the debate through his kindness and flexibility, and not necessarily because of his legal interpretations themselves. Further reading: Yitzhak Buxbaum, The Life and Teachings of Hillel (Middle Village, N.Y.: Jason Aronson, 1994); Isadore Epstein, ed., Soncino Hebrew/English Babylonian Talmud (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Soncino Press, 1990); Joseph H. Hertz, ed., Pirke Avot: Sayings of the Fathers (Springfield, N.J.: Behrman House, 1986); Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, ed., Rabbinic Stories (Classics of Western Spirituality) (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2002); Adin Steinsaltz, The Essential Talmud (New York: Basic Books, 1976).

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life Named for the ancient rabbi HILLEL, Hillel is an international organization that aims to meet the religious and community needs of Jewish students on college campuses. It was established in 1923 at the University of Illinois by B’NAI B’RITH, but today it is an independent organization. The organiza-

tion fosters Jewish community life on campuses by involving students in Jewish activities. Its mission is to get as many Jews as possible to “do Jewish” with other Jews. The organization is nondenominational and encourages each student to participate in whatever types of activities he or she chooses. Hillel’s board of governors includes philanthropic Jewish leaders such as Edgar M. Bronfman (see BRONFMAN FOUNDATION) and Michael Steinhardt (see STEINHARDT FOUNDATION). Some campuses have a Hillel rabbi and regular worship services, but the group offers nonreligious cultural activities as well. Further reading: Ruth Fredman Cernea and Jeff Rubin, Hillel Guide to Jewish Life on Campus (New York: Random House, 1999); Hillel Web site URL: http://www.hillel.org, accessed February 15, 2004.

Hirsch, Baron Maurice de (1831–1896) philanthropic proponent of Jewish farm settlements Born in 1831 to a wealthy German Jewish family, Maurice de Hirsch descended from Jewish bankers who associated closely with 19th-century European nobility, such as the Prince of Wales and the Austrian archduke Rudolph. Baron de Hirsch himself became a financier and generous benefactor, the first significant philanthropist who invested large sums of money in Jewish agricultural resettlement. Grandson of Baron Jacob von Hirsch, the first Jewish estate owner in Bavaria, and son of Baron Joseph von Hirsch and Karoline Wertheimer, Maurice was, at his mother’s insistence, given a solid HEBREW and religious education. Perhaps it is this grounding that led Hirsch to become so generous with his wealth and so focused on the plight of Jews less fortunate than he around the world. Although Hirsch did go into banking with the firm Bischoffsheim & Goldschmidt in Brussels, marrying Clara, the daughter of the head of the firm, he made his own fortune through the Oriental Railway connecting Europe to Constantinople.

Hirsch, Samson Raphael

This project, in addition to his interests in sugar and copper, gained him a reputation as a great entrepreneur and industrialist, and gave him a net worth of $100 million by the year 1890. While working on the Oriental Railway, Hirsch came into contact with Middle Eastern Jews and their difficult living conditions. He donated $200,000 to the ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE, an organization dedicated to improving the conditions of Jews around the world, especially in the Middle East. Hirsch’s donation was earmarked for Jewish education and trade schools; he later set up a foundation with an annual income of $80,000. After learning from this experience, Hirsch established the Baron de Hirsch Foundation, which helped Jewish immigrants in the UNITED STATES and CANADA, and supported education for Jews in Galicia and Bukovina in eastern Europe. But it was his Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) that drew most deeply on Hirsch’s emotional and financial resources. He strongly believed that the Jews as a people could return to their ancient agricultural roots if given the proper support. The JCA helped Jews emigrate from RUSSIA to farming colonies in ARGENTINA and BRAZIL (and one smaller such colony in Saskatchewan, Canada). In the long run, very few of these agricultural colonies succeeded, and most of the participants or their children eventually settled in nearby cities. Today, the JCA’s funds are invested in agricultural projects in ISRAEL. Ironically, Hirsch never believed that the idea of a Jewish state in PALESTINE would succeed, and he refused to direct his beneficence in the direction of ZIONISM. The benevolent activities of Hirsch and his wife, Clara, were vast, including major contributions to London hospitals. Hirsch himself maintained racehorses, and donated all of his race winnings to charity. Clara worked alongside her husband tirelessly to provide support for almshouses and soup kitchens, to distribute clothing to the needy, and to finance loan banks. Maurice and Clara’s only son, Lucien, died in 1887. Hirsch responded to words of sympathy

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with, “My son I have lost, but not my heir, humanity is my heir.” After his death in 1896, his wife donated $15 million to charitable causes in New York, Galicia, Vienna, Budapest, and Paris. An additional $10 million was left for an endowment upon her death. Humanity was, indeed, the heir of Baron Maurice de Hirsch. Further reading: Ismar Elbogen, A Century of Jewish Life (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1946); Kurt Grunwald, Turkenhirsch: A Study of Baron Maurice De Hirsch (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishing, 1966); Samuel James Lee, A Century of Jewish Life (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1946).

Hirsch, Samson Raphael (1808–1888) rabbi and founder of Neo-Orthodoxy Born in 1808, Samson Raphael Hirsch was bought up in Hamburg, GERMANY. He attended secular schools, but obtained a traditional Jewish education from his family and rabbinic teachers. His father was an observant Jew, and his grandfather, Mendel Frankfurter, was the founder of the Talmud Torah, a Jewish religious school, in Hamburg. Hirsch trained for the rabbinate with the express agenda of synthesizing traditional Judaism with modern Western culture. After ordination, he studied at the University of Bonn, joined by classmate Abraham GEIGER, who became the leader of the Reform movement (see REFORM JUDAISM). Hirsch studied classical languages, history and philosophy. In 1830, Hirsch accepted the post of rabbi of Oldenburg and in 1846 he became the district rabbi of Moravia. In 1851 he assumed the post of rabbi of Frankfurt-am-Main. Upset by widespread ASSIMILATION in the Jewish community, he embarked on an initiative to build Jewish schools, encourage the practice of the MIKVAH (ritual bath), and ensure that kosher food was available (see KASHRUT). In his pulpit, he copied many of the customs developed by the Reformers. He wore a clergy robe, utilized a male choir, delivered his sermons in German, and shaved off his beard. He emphasized the


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study of TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, instead of TALMUD study. Despite these external adaptations, Hirsch was a defender of traditional Judaism. In 1836 he published the Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel, an articulate defense of ORTHODOX JUDAISM, a term that only then began to be used. It was the first modern attempt to defend traditional Judaism against the claims of the new Reform movement, in sophisticated intellectual terms that assimilated Jews could understand. It was an effort that had not been needed in the past, when Jewish communities were isolated and somewhat autonomous. In 1838, Hirsch published Choreb, a rationalist explanation of the 613 Commandments (see MITZVAH). He then published a commentary to the TORAH. Hirsch was both modern and traditional. He believed that the Jew could adhere to Jewish law and be part of the modern society. His followers became known as the NEO-ORTHODOX MOVEMENT. He completely rejected the Reformers’ abrogation of the ritual laws in HALAKHAH and the historical approach to Judaism taught by Zachariah FRANKEL. He believed that the Torah was completely authored by GOD, and that Jewish law was dictated by God via oral tradition. His attitude was that the Jew could embrace any part of Western culture that did not conflict with the demands of Torah and Jewish law. Hirsch became the direct opponent of Reform Judaism. In essence, he created the MODERN ORTHODOX movement, which embraces traditional Judaism but encourages its followers to fully interact with Western society. While traditional Judaism has existed throughout the centuries, a self-conscious Orthodox movement did not come into being until it was organized by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. The Jewish community Hirsch created in Frankfurt thrived until the Nazi takeover in Germany; most of its members emigrated, and recreated vibrant communities in the UNITED STATES and elsewhere that remain loyal to his teachings. Further reading: Samson Raphael Hirsch, Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, 8 vols. (New

York: Philip Feldheim, 1996); Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Noah H. Rosenbloom, Tradition in an Age of Reform: The Religious Philosophy of Samson Raphael Hirsch (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1976).

Histadrut The Histadrut, the General Federation of Labor in ISRAEL, is a combination labor union/social service agency that has also played a major economic role in Israeli life. The Histadrut was founded in 1920, with a mission to establish autonomy for labor and fulfill the workers’ needs. The organization served as a trade union, struggling to obtain better wages and conditions. The Histadrut also established an economic branch, Hevrat Ovdim, which created additional sources of employment. It set up factories that have, over the years, turned the organization into the leading economic force in Israel. Some of the economic systems that the Histadrut have built include: Bank HaPoalim, the Cooperative Center, the Koor Concern, the construction firm Solel Boneh, and the Tnuva food company. The Histadrut also established specific movements to serve working women and youth. The Histadrut created Kupat Holim, the General Sick Fund, which takes care of the medical needs of more than 80 percent of the citizens of Israel. They set up savings and pension funds, a chain of senior citizens homes, and organizations to support pensioners, orphans, and widows. They have run a newspaper, theater, publishing company, and sports organization. At the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, Histadrut represented approximately 35 percent of the entire adult working population; its network of institutions created much of the infrastructure for the new Israeli government. By 1994, the Histadrut had spun off many of its business endeavors; the “New Histadrut” has returned to its emphasis as a trade union, representing a con-

Holdheim, Samuel

federation of 78 unions with more than 700,000 members. Further reading: David Maisel, The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998); Michael Shalev, Labour and the Political Economy in Israel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); Histadrut Web site URL: http://www.histadrut.org.il, accessed July 18, 2004.

Hitler, Adolf (1889–1945) German leader who had millions of Jews killed Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in GERMANY in 1933. From that time until his death, he worked for the extermination of the Jewish people in Germany and throughout Europe. Hitler was born in Braunau, AUSTRIA, along the Bavarian-German border, the son of an Austrian customs official. His early life involved a series of failures: he failed to gain admission to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, he failed to escape conscription into the Austrian army, and then he failed the physical examination when he was caught. He became increasingly interested in the power of politics, and he developed masterful skills at political propaganda, while immersing himself in extreme nationalist and antisemitic literature. Hitler became instrumental in the development of the Nazi, or National Socialist, Party in Germany. Though it took a number of years to develop, the party eventually was successful at tapping into the worries of Germans who had been hard hit by the Depression. In July 1932 the Nazis scored a major electoral success, and in 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler’s views on Jews were plainly stated in Mein Kampf (My struggle), written while he was in jail for political violence. In Hitler’s view, Jews could never be converted, because Judaism was a racial designation. Jews were parasites who infiltrated the societies in which they lived, living off of the work of others. Hitler convinced fellow

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Germans that their only hope of reviving a vital German culture was to marginalize, then exile and exterminate the Jewish population. Hitler won support through a combination of intense patriotism based on the concept of Aryan superiority, promises of prosperity, denunciations of COMMUNISM, and ANTISEMITISM. Through a series of increasingly drastic measures, Hitler stripped Jews of their rights as citizens. He excluded them from most professions and stationed brutal guards outside Jewish-owned shops to scare away customers. In 1935 the NUREMBERG LAWS deprived Jews of all basic rights of citizenship. Between 1941 and 1945 Hitler stepped up his efforts, working Jews to death in CONCENTRATION CAMPS and murdering millions of others in death camps in POLAND. Ultimately, approximately 6 million Jews died during the HOLOCAUST spearheaded by Hitler. In addition, many thousands of SYNAGOGUEs, sacred texts, yeshivot (see YESHIVA), and ancient treasures were destroyed. When it became clear that the Allied forces were about to defeat Germany, Hitler committed suicide in an underground bunker in Berlin. His final letter to the world emphasized his antisemitism, calling Jewry the “world-poisoner of all nations.” Further reading: Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1989); Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (New York, Harper & Row, 1962); Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews (New York: Bantam Books, 1986); Ian Kershaw, Hitler: Profiles in Power (London: Pearson Education Limited, 1991).

Holdheim, Samuel (1806–1860) rabbi/ scholar who helped found Reform Judaism Raised in POLAND, Samuel Holdheim received a traditional Jewish upbringing. At an early age he demonstrated his genius for the TALMUD, and later supplemented his Jewish education with general studies. As an adult, Holdheim joined Abraham GEIGER in laying the intellectual foundation for REFORM JUDAISM.


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Holdheim asserted that historical Judaism had contained two primary elements: ethical MONOTHEISM and nationalistic identity as expressed through its rituals. He wanted to retain the universalist features of Judaism, while eliminating the particularism of the Jewish national identity so that the Jew could properly join modern society. Unlike Geiger and Zachariah FRANKEL, Holdheim did not find value in the scientific study of Judaism, WISSENSCHAFT DES JUDENTEMS. Instead, he interpreted the modern age as a completely new stage for JUDAISM, rather than a continuation of the old. Holdheim was appointed rabbi of the province of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, an area whose government at the time was encouraging reform of the Jewish religion. He introduced slight reforms in the service upon his arrival in 1840, such as eliminating TROPE, the traditional melody, and reading the Torah without a chant. A year later, he founded a modern religious school. Holdheim attended three rabbinical conferences, Brunswick (1844), Frankfurt-am-Main (1845), and Breslau (1846), and at each he found himself to be on the radical left of Reform, wanting more vigorous and severe reforms than most of his colleagues. In 1847 Holdheim became the rabbi of the Berlin Reform Temple, and introduced the most radical reforms, some of which were resisted by Geiger himself. He eliminated HEBREW from the worship services, and moved SHABBAT, the Sabbath, to Sundays. He also embraced INTERMARRIAGE. Holdheim’s radical reforms were not widely accepted in Germany outside his own congregation, but his intellectual and anti-ritualist brand of Reform Judaism was exported to America, and for many years was the primary foundation of the American Reform Movement. Further reading: Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Aaron M. Petuchowski and Elizabeth R. Petuchowski, eds., Studies in Modern Theology and Prayer (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1998); W. Gunther

Plaut, The Rise of Reform Judaism (New York: World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1963).

Holocaust (Shoah) The Holocaust, called the Shoah in HEBREW, refers to the period from January 30, 1933, when Adolph HITLER became chancellor of GERMANY, until May 8, 1945, when Germany surrendered to the Allies. Historically, the English word holocaust referred to a sacrificial offering that was completed burned to ashes; it seemed an appropriate term to describe the murder of 6 million Jews, many of whose bodies were burned completely in the death camp crematoriums. The Hebrew word shoah simply means “destruction” or “annihilation,” a literal description of the fate of European Jewry during Hitler’s reign of terror. The Holocaust ultimately culminated in the murder of approximately 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million children. This number represented one-third of the world’s Jewish population. The Jews who perished in the Holocaust were not simply casualties of war. They were systematically annihilated, by what Hitler and the Nazi regime called the FINAL SOLUTION, or Endlosung. Hitler and the Nazi regime embraced ANTISEMITISM as a means to create a scapegoat for all the woes of German society. Once Hitler was in complete control of Germany in 1934, his war against the Jews began in full. He promoted his racist version of antisemitism, building on longstanding religious and national prejudices. The Nazis contrasted their supposed “Aryan” superrace to the supposedly inferior Jewish race. The Nazis enacted the NUREMBERG LAWS on September 15, 1935, which removed all legal rights from Jews and imposed severe discrimination. Because few countries were willing to accept Jewish refugees, the Jews of Germany and neighboring countries were trapped. On November 9, 1938, the Nazis organized an attack against German Jewry. This night became known as the Night of Broken Glass, or KRISTALLNACHT. Nazi thugs

Holocaust revisionists

looted and destroyed Jewish homes and businesses and burned SYNAGOGUES. Many Jews were beaten and killed. Over 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to CONCENTRATION CAMPS. Germany invaded POLAND in September 1939 and World War II began. More than 10 percent of the Polish population was Jewish, numbering more than 3 million. Jews were forcibly deported from their homes to live in crowded GHETTOs, where they would be easy prey. Beginning in June 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and the Final Solution began in earnest. Four mobile killing groups were formed, called EINSATZGRUPPEN, who moved just behind the advancing German lines. These units killed at least 1.5 million Jews. On January 20, 1942, several leaders of the German government met at the WANNSEE CONFERENCE to organize an efficient system of mass murder for the Jews. By the spring of 1942, the Nazis had established six death camps in Poland: AUSCHWITZ, Belzec, Chelno, Maidanek, Sobibor, and Treblinka. They were all located near railway lines so that Jews could be transported easily. In each new country they conquered, the Nazis would identify the local Jews and mark them for deportation. Some escaped death through the altruistic actions of fellow countrymen, who are now called “Righteous Gentiles” (see YAD VASHEM); however, only in DENMARK did the country as a whole come together to protect their Jewish population. The Holocaust is often seen as unique in world history. This is not to say that other peoples have not been murdered in mass numbers, or that the lives of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were more significant than others who died similarly horrific deaths. The uniqueness of the Holocaust is found in its systematic, assembly-line methods, and its unflinching goal of complete annihilation. Without the modern penchant for efficiency or the technological advances used in the killing, the Holocaust could not have occurred. The fact that Hitler and his men were able to use bureaucracy, science, and industry to systematically dehumanize and then murder millions of people, 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews, makes the Holo-

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caust an event unique in world history, and the archetype of evil in the modern world. Some argue that the event itself is testimony to the failure of the ENLIGHTENMENT, as it was the product of the most highly educated country in Europe. Others, such as Hannah ARENDT, note that those who actually performed the thousands of individual acts that made up the Holocaust were ordinary people bending to the political and social pressures that make us all human. If true, the very banal aspects of the Holocaust might serve as a warning that people must be vigilant in their efforts to lead moral and enlightened lives, and that they must never take goodness for granted, and that they must keep alive the memory of the Holocaust to prevent its happening again. Further reading: Yehuda Bauer and Nili Keren, A History of the Holocaust (London: Franklin Watts, 2001); Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001); Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews: 1933–1945 (New York: Bantam Books, 1975); Martin Gilbert, A History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War (New York: Henry Holt, 1987); Joshua M. Greene and Shiva Kumar, eds., Witness: Voices from the Holocaust (New York: Free Press, 2000); David J. Hogan, ed., The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Words and Pictures (Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International, Ltd., 2003).

Holocaust revisionists Holocaust revisionists are individuals who deny that the HOLOCAUST ever happened or claim that it has been greatly exaggerated. They attempt to “disprove” the event, often with counterfeit evidence or poor historical analysis, while making much of the fact that documentary evidence about every last victim was sometimes lost in the chaos and destruction that prevailed as World War II came to a close. Holocaust revisionists are often neo-fascists with political agendas who pretend to academic or expert authority. One Holocaust revisionist group


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is the Institute for Historical Review; among the significant figures in the movement are Arthur Butz, Ernst Zundel, and Fred Leuchter. Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt documented the falsehoods of Holocaust revisionism in her books Beyond Belief and Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. The Holocaust revisionist David Irving sued Lipstadt for libel in England, after she identified and indicted him as a Holocaust denier in the latter’s book. Irving attempted to label Lipstadt’s charge as libelous because, he asserted, the Holocaust in fact did not occur. The British court formally rebuked Irving and Holocaust revisionism. The judge’s 355-page verdict strongly challenged the legitimacy of Holocaust revisionism and labeled Holocaust deniers as “anti-Semitic crackpots.”

Most Jews believe that the Holy of Holies lies beneath the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. It was common practice for Muslims to build mosques on holy sites of other traditions, and thus this idea cannot be completely rejected. Further reading: Menahem Haran, Temples and TempleService in Ancient Israel: An Inquiry into Biblical Cult Phenomena and the Historical Setting of the Priestly School (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1985); Michael D. Swartz, Place and Person in Ancient Judaism: Describing the Yom Kippur Sacrifice (Ramat Gan, Israel: Department of Land of Israel Studies, Bar Ilan University, 2001); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

holy places Further reading: Alain Finkielkraut, The Future of a Negation: Reflections on the Question of Genocide (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); Deborah Lipstadt, Beyond Belief (New York: Free Press, 1993); ———, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (New York: Free Press, 1993); James Najarian, “Gnawing at History: The Rhetoric of Holocaust Denial” in The Midwest Quarterly 39, 1 (1987); Gill Seidel, The Holocaust Denial: Antisemitism, Racism, and the New Right (Leeds, U.K.: Beyond the Pale Collective, 1986).

Holy of Holies The Holy of Holies was the innermost chamber of the TABERNACLE in the wilderness and the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM. It was believed that God’s presence actually dwelt in this chamber, which housed the ARK of the Covenant. Only the HIGH PRIEST had access to the chamber, and even he was allowed in only once per year, on YOM KIPPUR, the Day of Atonement. On that day he would enter the Holy of Holies to perform an incense ritual that would atone for the sins of Israel; he would then emerge and pronounce, before the assembled people, the proper name of God, YHWH, the pronunciation of which is no longer known (see GOD, NAMES OF).

There are numerous holy places in Judaism, consecrated by God’s presence. The KOTEL, or Western Wall, on the site of the TEMPLE mount is currently the holiest spot accessible to Jews because it is the remnant of God’s dwelling place. The holiest place of all, the Temple mount itself, is currently the site of two historic Muslim mosques, and is mostly off-limits to Jews, for two reasons. The Israeli authorities fear that Muslims might react violently against any organized Jewish presence, and some Jewish religious authorities argue that once on the mount, Jews might inadvertently step on the actual site of the Temple or the HOLY OF HOLIES, which might therefore be defiled. The TANAKH contains many other stories of holy places. The PATRIARCHS marked sites where they had visions of God as holy by placing stones there and renaming the places, as in the case of Beth-El, “house of God.” MOSES is told not to wear shoes at the site of the burning bush because it is holy ground. The PROPHETS criticize the kings and the people of ISRAEL for desecrating the holy places. Besides the Kotel, the CAVE OF MACHPELAH and MOUNT SINAI are among the holiest of places. The cave of Machpelah is the burial site of the Patriarchs and MATRIARCHS, while Mount Sinai was the


site of God’s revelation of the TORAH to the people of Israel. Finally, many people consider the burial places of famous rabbis holy. Both ASHKENAZIM and SEPHARDIM visit the gravesites of famous RABBIS, thus participating in a form of Jewish saint veneration. Further reading: Ben Avraham Halevi, A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holy Places (Jerusalem: Posner, 1982); Seth Daniel Kunin, God’s Place in the World: Sacred Space and Sacred Place in Judaism (London and New York: Cassell, 1998).

homiletics Homiletics is the art of preaching. While preaching and public lectures on TORAH and RABBINIC LAW have always had a major role in Judaism, the rhetorical art of preaching has become a modern skill within Judaism. With the advent of movements such as REFORM JUDAISM and the NEO-ORTHODOX MOVEMENT, RABBIS have been expected to preach at least once each week in the SYNAGOGUE in the non-Jewish language of the land, such as German or English. Pulpit rabbis, in addition to their pastoral duties, are expected to be capable preachers as well as teachers. Modern rabbinic seminaries have classes in homiletics, and many rabbis spend their entire careers honing their effective preaching skills. There is no single methodological approach to Jewish preaching. One common suggestion of teachers of homiletics is to tell the congregation what you are preaching on, convey the lesson, and then tell them what you have told them. The threefold repetition of the theme makes it more likely that the sermon will be remembered (traditional Jews do not write on the Sabbath and so cannot take notes). Many rabbis enrich the message with quotations from sacred Jewish texts, topical references to issues of the day, and engaging stories, all designed to capture the interests of their congregation. Further reading: Robert V. Friedenberg, Hear O Israel: The History of American Jewish Preaching, 1654–1970

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(Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989); Marc Saperstein, Jewish Preaching, 1200–1800: An Anthology (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992).

hom*osexuality hom*osexuality among both men and women is prohibited in traditional Judaism. ORTHODOX JUDAISM reads the TORAH as specifically prohibiting hom*osexual conduct between males, and they read RABBINIC LAW as condemning hom*osexual acts by both men and women. Leviticus (19:22) declares (speaking to men): “You shall not lie with man, as with woman; it is an abomination,” and (20:13) repeats: “If a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” According to Orthodoxy the prohibition of hom*osexual behavior applies to both Jews and non-Jews, since sexual morality is considered to be one of the Noahide laws that apply to all of NOAH’s descendants, namely the whole human race. In REFORM JUDAISM today, hom*osexuality is seen not as a lifestyle choice subject to moral judgment, but as a biological predisposition. Reform writers have argued that the ancient prohibitions had in mind the kind of behavior in which one man asserts sexual power over another, and not consensual hom*osexual acts. The Reform movement ordains hom*osexual RABBIS, and many Reform rabbis perform same-sex marriages. CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM has vigorously debated the issue of hom*osexuality, but still does not permit the ordination of gay rabbis who reveal their sexual orientation publicly. However, there are several known gay rabbis in the Rabbinical Assembly and they have not been forced to resign. Some Conservative rabbis, at their own discretion, perform commitment ceremonies between hom*osexuals who share the Jewish faith, and they have not been censured. Orthodox Judaism maintains that hom*osexual acts are sinful, but does not condemn the person with a hom*osexual proclivity who remains celibate.


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There are Orthodox rabbis who accept gay members of their congregations, and there are also Conservative and Reform Jews who reject hom*osexual behavior as immoral. Further reading: Steven Greenberg, Wrestling with God and Men: hom*osexuality in the Jewish Tradition (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004); Arthur Hertzberg, Judaism: The Key Spiritual Writings of the Jewish Tradition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991); Hayim Rapoport, Judaism and hom*osexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View (Ilford, Essex, U.K.: Mitchell Vallentine & Company, 2004).

While children are commanded to honor their parents, they may not commit a sin even if ordered by parents to do so. The parent is an extension of God to the child, but should the parent insist on un-Godly behavior, the child fulfills the mandate of God first. Further reading: Arthur Hertzberg, Judaism: The Key Spiritual Writings of the Jewish Tradition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991); Moshe Lieber, The Fifth Commandment: Honoring Parents (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 1998); Chaim Potok, Ethical Living for a Modern World: Jewish Insights (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1985).

honoring parents The honoring of parents is the fifth of the Ten Commandments, or DECALOGUE. That Jews owe their parents honor is a fundamental teaching of Judaism. The ancient RABBIS explained that the fifth commandment served as a bridge between the first four, which deal with obligations toward God, and the last five, which deal with obligations toward other people. Parents are described by the rabbis as the bridge that connects God with humanity. The TALMUD teaches that there exist three partners in giving birth: God, mother, and father. Parents represent God to the child, in both the act of CREATION and in their nurturing. The child therefore must respect the parents as one should respect God. While parents have obligations they must perform on behalf of their children, children also have obligations toward their parents. Specifically, adult children are expected to take care of and provide for their elderly parents, as once their parents provided for them. The rabbis note that “love of parents” is not commanded, rather honor is commanded. The rabbis asserted that while the feeling of love cannot be commanded, when a parent and a child live up to their responsibilities to each other, love will be cultivated. However, even if children actively dislike their parents, they must still fulfill their obligations toward them.

Hoshanah Rabbah Hoshanah Rabbah is the seventh day of SUKKOT. When the TEMPLE was still standing, it was a day of particular rejoicing. Participants would circle the Temple seven times, with seven TORAH scrolls, and with a lulav and etrog, symbols of the harvest, singing “Hoshanah,” which means “Please help us O Lord.” The Hoshanah was a prayer for rain; as it was repeated many times this day it became the “great Hoshanah” or Hoshanah Rabbah. On this day, when the festival season of the month of Tishri is drawing to a close, the decrees set into the BOOK OF LIFE on ROSH HASHANAH and sealed on YOM KIPPUR are thought to be finalized. Further reading: Irving Greenberg, The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays (New York: Touchstone, 1988); Rabbi Jules Harlow, ed., “Hoshanot,” in Siddur Sim Shalom: A Prayerbook for Shabbat, Festivals, and Weekdays (New York: Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of America, 1989), 530–547; Ronald H. Isaacs, Every Person’s Guide to Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2000).

hospitality Hospitality is a major virtue in Judaism. The biblical story most connected to this virtue concerns


Abraham (see PATRIARCHS) and his hospitality toward the angels, or MALAKHIM, who visit him (Gn 18). Upon seeing three men standing near his tent, Abraham not only invites them to sit and rest, but hurries to serve them the best food and drink he has. As it turns out, the weary travelers are really messengers of God, and God rewards Abraham for his hospitality by granting him a son with Sarah (see MATRIARCHS). According to tradition, these same angels then traveled on to Sodom, where they were subjected to the extreme inhospitality that characterized that city (Gn 19). Abraham’s hospitable actions are considered a model for all his descendants. This ethic of hospitality shows up in later times as well. In medieval times, SYNAGOGUES served as rest houses for travelers, and in modern times it is traditional to invite visitors from synagogue home for a Sabbath (SHABBAT) meal. Also, at PASSOVER each family formally invites all who are hungry to enter and eat. Further reading: Ronald H. Isaacs, Legends of Biblical Heroes: A Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 2002); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985); Meir Wikler, Aishel: Stories of Contemporary Jewish Hospitality (Spring Valley, N.Y.: Feldheim, 1994).

Humanistic Judaism Established by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine in 1963 in Detroit, Michigan, Humanistic Judaism is a nontheistic, human-centered movement that stresses human agency and rejects the idea of a higher, or supernatural, power that affects, guides or in any way controls human life, or did so at any time in history. Humanist Jews believe that only people determine the purpose and course of their lives; they have not only the power but also the responsibility to be the masters of their own lives. Since the movement does not believe in God, the liturgy of Humanist Judaism does not use any theistic language. Instead it sees Judaism as the historic, ethnic culture of the Jewish people.

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Humanistic Judaism accepts intermarriage, defining as Jews those who identify with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people. Thus, celebrations of holidays and life-cycle events are viewed as public demonstrations of a bond with the Jewish people at large. Humanistic Judaism stresses ethics, seeking the ethical core of Jewish history, literature, and culture, and emphasizes social action, community service, and social justice. Today, the movement has some 50 congregations in the UNITED STATES and CANADA and branches in ISRAEL, Europe, the former Soviet Union (see RUSSIA), Australia, and Latin America. Further reading: Yaakov Malkin, Secular Judaism: Faith, Values, and Spirituality (London and Portland, Oreg.: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004); Society for Humanistic Judaism Web site URL: http://www.shj.org/, accessed July 30, 2004; Sherwin T. Wine, Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1988); ———, Humanistic Judaism (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1978).

humility The virtue of humility is considered within Judaism to be the hallmark of greatness. Rabbinic tradition states that humility was MOSES’ greatest virtue. The Jewish definition of humility is a clear understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses; the humble person acts appropriately in response to this self-knowledge. To be humble does not disallow for greatness and in fact increases the potential for a greater character. The TALMUD (Taanit 7a) states that only one with a humble heart is capable of listening to the word of God. However, the rabbis recognized the trait of false humility. The classic work on humility, The Path of the Upright by the CHAFETZ CHAIM, summarizes the standard rabbinic view on proper humility versus improper humility. One legend of the Chafetz Chayim finds him traveling on a train opposite a man reading one of his books, who does not recognize him. He asks


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the man what he thinks of the book, and the man responds that it was written by the greatest rabbi ever. The rabbi protests that the writer of the book is not so great, but the reader insists, and in the end punches the rabbi in the nose for insulting “the great Chafetz Chayim.” The rabbi laughs as he reveals his identity, and apologizes for the sin of “false humility.” A common Hasidic teaching on humility states that those who run away from fame are always looking over their shoulders to see if fame is following. Further reading: Arthur Hertzberg, Judaism: The Key Spiritual Writings of the Jewish Tradition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991); George Robinson, Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals (New York: Pocket Books, 2000).

Sephardi (see SEPHARDIM), American, Russian, or Israeli. Many Jews have lived under oppressive regimes, where humor was used as an antidote to fear or depression, or as a covert method through which the Jewish community could express its feelings about the larger society or about its own failings. The verbal nature of a good deal of Jewish humor lends itself to wordplay and interpretation, skills utilized often in the study of Torah. Thus both anxiety and logic are integral parts of much Jewish humor. The integration of different languages created much fodder for Jewish humorists—the interpolation of YIDDISH, HEBREW, and the vernacular of a larger society lent itself to many moments of laughter. Early 20th-century Jewish comedians (see BORSCHT BELT; ENTERTAINMENT; VAUDEVILLE) helped make Jewish humor part of contemporary mainstream humor in the United States, England, and other countries.

humor Jewish humor can be defined as humor that reflects particular aspects of Jewish life, created by Jews and largely intended to be appreciated by Jews. Jewish humor can be expressed in jokes, anecdotes, and witticisms and can cover a range of topics, including God, RABBIS, ANTISEMITISM, ASSIMILATION, FAMILY, self-deprecation, self-praise, professional success or failure, and guilt. The TANAKH, or Hebrew Bible, contains a considerable amount of irony, satire, and laughter that can be interpreted as early Jewish humor. For example, when Sarah (see MATRIARCHS) was told that she would bear a child at the age of 90, she laughed (Gn 18:12); when the prediction came true, she wryly named her child Isaac, meaning “he shall laugh.” Later in the biblical narrative, when JOSEPH’s brothers throw him into a pit, they mock him sarcastically, saying: “We shall see what will become of his dreams” (Gn 37:20). References to jokes and laughter also appear occasionally in the TALMUD. Each Jewish community’s unique characteristics can alter the nature of the humor, whether the community is Ashkenazi (see ASHKENAZIM),

Further reading: Henry D. Spalding, Encyclopedia of Jewish Humor: From Biblical Times to the Modern Age (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 1969); Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say About the Jews (New York: William Morrow, 1992).

Hungary Jews appeared in Hungary during Roman times, but the Jewish community did not grow steadily until the 11th century, when large numbers of immigrants came from the German states. As in many other European countries, the Jews in Hungary experienced good and bad times. At the end of the 11th century, the Jews were favored and protected by the king, but persecuted by the church. In 1349, the Jews were expelled after accusations of spreading the Black Plague. They were allowed back in 1364, and in the following year they were granted semiautonomous bodies to conduct their internal affairs. By the beginning of the 15th century, conditions in Hungary were good for Jewish settlement and Jews began to settle in the city of Buda. How-


ever, by the end of that century conditions declined as the Jews suffered from BLOOD LIBEL, the claim that they were using Christian blood in ritual activities. Sixteen Jews were burned at the stake and riots followed in 1494. The financial situation of the Hungarian Jews deteriorated when King Ladislas VI canceled debts owed to Jews, and ANTI-JUDAISM grew. However, by 1526 the Ottoman Turks had conquered nearly the entire country, and Jews were granted freedom to practice Judaism and participate in trade. By 1735 11,600 Jews lived in Hungary under the Hapsburg Empire, despite increased ANTISEMITISM. In the mid-18th century, Jews were required to pay “toleration taxes” and persecution was tolerated. The reign of Joseph II alleviated some of the harsh conditions of Jewish life in Hungary, and thus the Jewish population grew to 81,000 by 1787. Jews were granted increasing levels of civil rights in the 1830s and 1840s. After a short period of economic restrictions as punishment for participating in a failed revolution, the Jews of Hungary were allowed to become involved in commerce and to live in any Hungarian city. Full emancipation came in December 1867. Thereafter, the Jews participated in industry, the professions, politics, and economics. ANTISEMITISM grew, despite efforts by the government to control it. Most Hungarian Jews were traditional. Many important yeshivot were built (see YESHIVA), and HASIDISM attracted many followers. Even a strict regard for traditional Judaism, however, could not keep the Jewish ENLIGHTENMENT, the HASKALAH, from affecting Hungarian Jews, and its influence was felt in the community in the 1830s. By 1870 there were three main divisions of Judaism in Hungary, including the Orthodox (see ORTHODOX JUDAISM), Neolog (moderate reform), and Status Quo Ante, or everyone else. ASSIMILATION and INTERMARRIAGE became common among Hungarian Jews, but so too did ZIONISM. By 1910 there were close to 1 million Jews in Hungary, including more than half of the country’s merchants. After World War I, in which close to 10,000 Jews died on the battlefield, communists

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briefly seized power. Jews were active in the communist regime and Bela Kun, its leader, was Jewish. The overthrow of the communists in 1919 unleashed the White Terror; riots and violence resulted in the massacre of 3,000 Hungarian Jews. As the 1930s approached, the nationalistic regime imposed anti-Jewish laws, and antisemitism was widely promoted. Many Jews lost their livelihood and many converted to CHRISTIANITY. During World War II, Hungary was an Axis power, allied with Nazi GERMANY. In 1941, the massacre of Hungarian Jewry began when 20,000 people were murdered by both Germans and Hungarians. Jewish property was confiscated and Jewish economic and cultural life was further restricted, but most Hungarian Jews remained physically unmolested. In 1943, Germany occupied Hungary after accusing its government of cooperating with the Allies and not deporting its Jewish population, though 63,000 Hungarian Jews had already lost their lives. Under direct Nazi rule, 400,000 more were herded in GHETTOs, and then deported to AUSCHWITZ, where almost all of them were eventually killed, either in the gas chambers or on death marches. The HAGANAH, the Jewish defense force in Palestine, tried to save Hungarian Jews by dropping paratroopers behind enemy lines; several were killed, including Hannah SENESCH, whose mother had remained in Hungary. Foreign diplomats Charles Lutz (1895–1975) and Raoul WALLENBERG (1912–1947?) saved many Jews through their heroic efforts, but a total of 565,000 Hungarian Jews died in the HOLOCAUST. When World War II ended, Jews returned to Hungary, but their fate under Communist rule was not significantly better than it had been in the past. Before the Communists took power in Hungary, anti-Jewish legislation was abolished and war criminals were tried and imprisoned. Property, however, was not returned, and no war reparations came to the Jews of Hungary. The Jewish community had begun to rebuild when communism shut the door on the Western world, and expulsions from Hungarian cities resumed. By the 1970s only 60,000 Jews lived in Hungary, most in


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Budapest. In 1989, the Communist regime collapsed, and restrictions upon the Jewish community of Hungary ended and relations with Israel began. Antisemitism and assimilation are significant social problems for the Jews of Hungary today. The federation of Jewish communities organizes Jewish life, but many Hungarian Jews are not affiliated with any Jewish organization, institution, or denomination. There are also three Jewish day schools, a Jewish high school, Jewish youth groups, a couple of active Zionist organizations, Jewish newspapers, a community center, Jewish nursing homes, and successful kosher butchers (see KASHRUT). Jewish culture is alive as well; the country boasts a Jewish Museum and

theater, dance, and music companies. Jewish religious leanings tend toward Reform and Conservative, and there are 20 synagogues in Budapest. Hungary’s GREAT SYNAGOGUE survived the war and communism. Even so, only a small minority of Hungary’s 100,000 Jews are involved in Jewish life. Further reading: Charles Fenyvesi, When Angels Fooled the World: Rescuers of Jews in Wartime Hungary (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003); Maria M. Kovacs, Liberal Professions and Illiberal Politics: Hungary from the Habsburgs to the Holocaust (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Raphael Patai, The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996).

I AF J: Ibn Atar, Yehudah (1656–1733) and Chaim (1696–1743) Kabbalistic rabbis The Ibn Atar family was one of the most famous Jewish families in Morocco. Two of its most eminent figures were the RABBIS and Kabbalists Yehudah Ibn Atar and Chaim Ibn Atar. Yehudah is described in the book Shem haGedolim, by the 18th-century rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, as a great rabbi who headed the rabbinic court in Fez and was particularly adept in performing miracles. In one legend recounted by Azulai, Yehudah survived untouched for 24 hours in a den full of hungry lions. Yehudah’s tomb lies in the cemetery on the edge of the Jewish Quarter in Fez. As Yehudah Ibn Atar is considered a saint, many SEPHARDIM make an annual pilgrimage to his tomb, which overlooks a green and hilly view. Chaim Ibn Atar was well known as the Ohr Ha-Chaim (Light of Life). He was born in Morocco in 1696 and died in JERUSALEM in 1743. Like Yehudah, he was a student and practitioner of the KABBALAH. Chaim Ibn Atar also fervently believed that the time of the MESSIAH was close at hand, and that it was his destiny to help usher in the MESSIANIC AGE. He made his way to ISRAEL, via Italy, and established a YESHIVA in Jerusalem. The BAAL SHEM TOV, founder of HASIDISM, was influ-

enced by the writings of Chaim Ibn Atar. The Hasidic movement modeled their notion of a tzadik, or righteous one, on Chaim’s reputation as a saint. Chaim Ibn Atar wrote on HALAKHAH, Jewish law, but his most important work was a mystical commentary on the TORAH entitled the Ohr HaChaim, a pun on his own name; it was published in Venice in 1742. The book is still widely read by scholars and commentators. It has gone into many editions both as a separate work and as a commentary alongside the biblical text, and a number of subsequent rabbinic scholars have written commentaries on it. Further reading: Louis Jacobs, Holy Living: Saints and Saintliness in Judaism (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1990).

Ibn Ezra, Abraham (1089–1164) Spanish Jewish writer and biblical commentator Ibn Ezra’s brilliant commentaries on the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, have been widely read for 900 years. Abraham Ibn Ezra was born in SPAIN in 1089. There is evidence that he was friends with Yehudah HALEVI and may have been married to Halevi’s 225


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daughter. It is thought that the death of one or more children and the conversion of another child to ISLAM prompted Ibn Ezra to become estranged from his surroundings and begin a life of wandering. During his travels through Italy, FRANCE, ENGLAND, and back to Spain looking for his prodigal son, he wrote exceptional works on astrology, HEBREW grammar, poetry, and science. Ibn Ezra’s Hebrew grammar was the first in its era not written in Arabic, and it became an important textbook for Italian Jewry. He also introduced the decimal system to Jews living in the Christian world, who at that point were unaware of the mathematical principle. Ibn Ezra’s commentary on the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, is considered a classic. He concentrated on the PSHAT, the plain meaning of the text, examining in detail the grammar and literal sense. Many scholars believe that Ibn Ezra arrived at a version of the documentary hypothesis of biblical study, which was rediscovered by Christian scholars in the 19th century and is now the dominant approach to biblical criticism. According to that later theory, the TORAH was compiled from four different preexisting sources. Ibn Ezra’s grammatical expertise enabled him to see evidence of editing. He took note of grammatical anomalies without actually discussing multiple authors, but perhaps he hinted at such a theory with his frequent aside that the “intelligent will understand.” Often Ibn Ezra’s work points at deeper meaning, and he valued the power of the human intellect to decipher meaning in the Torah, predating such ENLIGHTENMENT thought by centuries. Among Jewish students of Torah, only the great French biblical commentator RASHI surpasses Ibn Ezra in popularity. In addition to his grammatical and pshat insights, Ibn Ezra provided philosophical commentaries on the Bible as well, Neoplatonic in tone and influenced by the views of the poetphilosopher Solomon Ibn Gabirol (c. 1021–1058). In turn, Ibn Ezra’s theories on CREATION and the nature of God influenced the masters of KABBALAH. One of Ibn Ezra’s best-known poems, “Nedod

Hesir Oni,” succinctly describes his life: “I resided in that place as a stranger, wrote books, and revealed the secrets of knowledge.” Further reading: Michael Friedländer, Essays on the Writings of Abraham Ibn Ezra (Yerushalayim: Mitshuf, 1963–64); Irene Lancaster, Deconstructing the Bible: Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Introduction to the Torah (London: Routledgecurzon, 2002); Isadore Twersky, and Jay M. Harris, eds., Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra: Studies in the Writings of a Twelfth-Century Jewish Polymath (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).

idolatry Judaism expressly forbids Jews to worship any deity other than the one true God. Any practice that involves worshipping another god is understood as idolatry. The worship of God alone and the prohibition of idolatry were so important that they took up more than 50 of the 613 commandments in the TORAH. It was a major theme of the prophets, too (see NEVI’IM); they warned repeatedly that God would not tolerate idolatry. The original prohibition was clearly directed against ISRAELITE worship of the pagan gods of CANAAN. After CHRISTIANITY arose, the rabbis debated whether Christians were idolaters because of their worship of JESUS OF NAZARETH (the majority eventually said they were not); and after ISLAM appeared, they debated whether a Jew would be committing idolatry if he were forced to say “there is no God but Allah” (they concluded that the phrase was monotheistic and not idolatrous). The Hebrew term for idolatry is avodah zara (meaning “strange or foreign worship”). Further reading: Jonathan Klawans, “Idolatry, Incest, and Impurity: Moral Defilement in Ancient Judaism,” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman Period 29 (Winter 1998): 391–415; Jacob Neusner, The Theology of the Oral Torah: Revealing the Justice of God (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1999).


India It is possible, as many local Jews claim, that the first Jews arrived in India between the second century B.C.E. and the early centuries of the Common Era. However, the earliest documented Jewish presence in India is far later. Copper inscriptions on coins possessed today by the White Jews in Cochin show that Jews lived in India in the late 10th or early 11th century. A Hebrew tombstone has also been found dated 1269. Two main Jewish settlements, the Bene Israel and the Jews of Cochin, define Indian Jewish history. The Jews of Cochin are divided into three groups: the White Jews, the Black Jews, and the Freedmen. These three groups were kept separated by the rigid caste system of India until modern times. The Bene Israel group claims that their ancestors came to India in the second century B.C.E., though they were isolated from the rest of world Jewry for centuries. They did not maintain synagogues, but they did practice certain Jewish rituals through the years, including circumcision (BRIT MILAH), kosher food laws (KASHRUT), and the Sabbath (SHABBAT). The Bene Israel and the Jews of Cochin discovered one another in the 17th century. The Bene Israel have since been absorbed into the mainstream of modern JUDAISM, though they still remain a distinct community. Parts of India were occupied in the colonial era by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. The Jews suffered persecution only under the rule of the Portuguese, who introduced the Inquisition there in 1560. Jews prospered under Dutch rule, and were joined by other Jews immigrating from PALESTINE, Syria, and IRAQ. Other Jews came to India as agents of the East India Company under British rule, trading in diamonds and precious stones, but they did not remain in the country indefinitely. In the second half of the 18th century a large Jewish community developed in Bombay. The first synagogue was established there in 1796 by the Bene Israel, who then translated many Jewish liturgical works into the vernacular. The Indian Jewish community was safe from Hitler’s HOLO-

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CAUST, and many European Jews found safety in India during World War II. While the Jews of India never lived through large-scale persecution, nationalistic fervor in the 20th century weakened their status in independent India, as they had not advocated independence—they had benefited from British rule. When the state of ISRAEL was born in 1948, a wave of Zionist fervor swept the Jews of India and many immigrated to Israel in 1949 and 1950. By 1968 the Jewish population in India had fallen to 15,000 from 26,000 in 1951. In 1970, 10,000 of these Jews lived in Bombay, and some of the 29 synagogues there still functioned. Jewish schools functioned in Bombay and Calcutta, but in the 1960s they admitted non-Jewish students. The Jewish community in India in the 1960s operated welfare agencies, including the Jewish Association of Calcutta, the Central Jewish Board, and the Zionist Association in Bombay; several periodicals dating back to the 1940s and 1950s still appear. In the early 1970s a group of Indians living in northeast India began to practice Judaism. They believe that they are descended from the lost tribe of Manasseh (see TEN LOST TRIBES), and they discovered this after rejecting Christianity. The group calls itself Bnei Menashe, and they follow many Jewish practices, including circumcision on the eighth day, wearing a shawl that resembles a TALLIT, and honoring levirate marriage (see HALITZAH). The State of Israel has accepted the Bnei Menashe group as “safek Jews,” meaning that they are welcome under the LAW OF RETURN, but since their ancestry is uncertain they must undergo ritual conversion. More than 300 of the Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel and more desire to do so, considering such a move as returning home. By the mid-1990s the Indian Jewish community had a population of 6,000, most of whom lived in Bombay (Mumbai). A few Jews still live in Cochin. While there are no rabbis in India, there are three Jewish schools, a Council of Indian Jewry, and a Jewish Club, which sponsors social and cultural activities. India is unique in that there is little evidence of ANTISEMITISM or ASSIMILATION. The lack


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of assimilation can be attributed to the Indian caste system. In 1992, India and Israel established diplomatic relations, and El Al, the Israeli airline, routinely flies to India. Further reading: Shirley Berry Isenberg, India’s Bene Israel: A Comprehensive Inquiry and Sourcebook (Berkeley, Calif.: Judah Magnes Museum, 1989); Nathan Katz, Who Are the Jews of India? (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); J. B. Segal, A History of the Jews of Cochin (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1993); Orpa Slapak, ed., The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities (Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2002).

Industrial Removal Office (IRO) At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the LOWER EAST SIDE of New York City suffered from severe overcrowding and poor living conditions. In an attempt to alleviate the stress of this enormous number of Jewish immigrants in New York, the United Hebrew Charities, B’NAI B’RITH, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, and several other Jewish social welfare agencies established the Industrial Removal Office in 1901. Concerned that the United States government might close down immigration and appalled by the poor living conditions in the Lower East Side, the leaders of these agencies made an effort to move as many Jews as possible out of the Lower East Side and into the interior of the UNITED STATES. Using the existing structure of B’nai B’rith lodges in many cities across the United States, the IRO enlisted the help of leaders in individual Jewish communities in the Midwest and the Far West. Knowing that once new immigrants became ensconced in the intricate Jewish community of the Lower East Side it would be difficult to convince them to move, IRO agents would meet them at the docks. There they would engage in conversation, speaking in YIDDISH, and describe employment opportunities in the western United States. Sometimes the IRO would provide transportation, and an agent in the appropriate city would meet

them when they arrived, arranging for housing and employment. Some of the cities that the immigrants arrived in included Champaign, Illinois; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Gary, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; and Chicago, Illinois. The larger cities were more appealing to the immigrants because there were thriving Jewish communities already in place, but the smaller cities afforded the new immigrants some anonymity and a tighter, more supportive Jewish community once enough of them had arrived. By 1914 the IRO had placed approximately 100,000 Jews in communities in the interior of the United States. The immigrants earned and saved more money than they would have been able to in the northeastern corridor, where most of the 2 million Jewish immigrants who came to the United States between 1881 and 1914 settled, and they were able to send for their wives and children sooner. In absolute terms the IRO was successful, yet it could not handle the vast number of immigrants who arrived. Ultimately it was not possible for the IRO to divert a majority of new immigrants from already established northeastern communities. Immigrants wanted to be with their relatives, friends, and coreligionists, no matter how crowded the Lower East Side might have been. The moderate success of both the IRO and the GALVESTON PLAN, which diverted immigrant ships to a Texas port for debarkation, proved the importance of family and community among the Jewish people. Further reading: Hasia R. Diner, Lower East Side Memories: A Jewish Place in America (Princeton, N.J., and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000); Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1992).

intermarriage The term intermarriage in the Jewish context refers to a Jew marrying a non-Jew who does not undergo conversion to Judaism. In the UNITED STATES today, surveys have found that about one


out of every two Jews getting married in recent years has married a non-Jew; the rate has grown with each decade since the 1960s. This has sparked grave concern in the overall Jewish community, as it raises the fear of a crisis in Jewish continuity. Biblical figures such as MOSES married nonJewish women. However, the prophet EZRA, perceiving a danger that the small Jewish community that had returned to the land after the Babylonian exile might succumb to the surrounding idolatry, banned the practice and castigated the Jews who had married non-Jews. It is neither surprising nor unusual that a small people such as the Jews might institutionalize negative feelings about intermarriage. Intermarriage invites exposure to non-Jewish religion and values; the ultimate purpose of Ezra and the rabbis who followed him was to keep the Jewish people together as a community. The practice of intermarriage was rare prior to the EMANCIPATION of European Jewry in the 19th century. In the rare cases when it did occur, the person who chose that path was often excommunicated (see HEREM) from the Jewish community, even considered to be dead. After emancipation, the rights and freedoms afforded Jews in European countries made it easier for Jews to integrate into the greater culture, and to socialize with nonJews to a far greater extent than had been possible; by the early 20th century, intermarriage had become quite common among urban Jews in central and western Europe. In open societies around the world, intermarriage occurs frequently among Jews, and there is much discussion about its effect on ASSIMILATION and ACCOMMODATION to the surrounding nonJewish culture. While many feel that intermarriage has led to higher rates of assimilation, thus resulting in the loss of a distinctive Jewish community, others argue that Jews find other ways to be Jewish together, such as living in the same neighborhoods and sharing professions, and that intermarried couples can participate in such communities.

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In the contemporary world, ORTHODOX JUDAISM, REFORM JUDAISM, CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, and RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM have responded in very different ways to the issue. While they all encourage the committed Jew to find a Jewish spouse, the Orthodox also insist on exclusively same-faith dating; one who marries a non-Jew is often alienated from the community, and even from the immediate family. The Conservatives also stress dating within the faith, but many Conservative rabbis actively promote outreach education to intermarried couples, with the hope of ultimately converting the non-Jewish partner or ensuring that the children are raised in the Jewish faith. Neither Orthodox nor Conservative rabbis will perform interfaith marriages. The Reconstructionist and Reform movements also promote outreach, but many rabbis from these movements will officiate at intermarriages, especially if there is a pledge by the couple to raise the children in the Jewish faith. Further reading: Paul and Rachel Cowan, Mixed Blessings: Overcoming the Stumbling Blocks in an Interfaith Marriage (New York: Penguin Books, 1989); Gabrielle Glaser, Strangers to the Tribe: Portraits of Interfaith Marriage (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997); Ellen Jaffe McClain, Embracing the Stranger: Intermarriage and the Future of the American Jewish Community (New York: Basic Books, 1995).

Intifada The Intifada (the word is Arabic for “shaking off”) is the name given by Palestinian Arabs to the violent uprising against Israel that broke out in December 1987, died down after a few years, and resumed with renewed force in 2000. It can be viewed as the most recent violent phase in the long ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT that has persisted since the start of the BRITISH MANDATE after World War I. In 1987, after 20 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians anxious for self-rule and disappointed with the failure of the PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION


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(PLO) to end the occupation, launched violent protests throughout the territories, beginning with rock-throwing, often involving minors. Israeli forces eventually suppressed the violence. In this phase of the Intifada, between the years 1987 and 1993, the number of Palestinian casualties far outweighed those of the Israelis. It is not possible to accurately report exact numbers, however, since sources do not agree. It is, however, important to note that in the early 1990s, hundreds of Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians in an uprising called the “intrafada” when they were accused of collaborating with Israel. Relative peace prevailed in the 1990s, following the first Gulf War and a series of IsraeliPalestinian peace negotiations that culminated in the Oslo agreement of 1993, under which Israel handed over much of the land to the control of the PLO and the new Palestinian Authority. However, in 2000, in the midst of intensive negotiations toward a final peace settlement, the uprising was renewed. Palestinians dubbed this campaign the al-Aksa Intifada, as the first incident followed a visit by Israel’s then-opposition leader Ariel SHARON to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, site of the sacred al-Aksa Mosque. Palestinians claimed that Sharon’s visit sparked the uprising, together with disappointment at the results of the peace process. Israel claims that the uprising was deliberately provoked by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, either as a pressure tactic in the negotiations, or to avoid giving an answer to the Israeli-American peace offer, which Israel and America claim had acceded to almost all the Palestinian demands. In either case, rivalries between armed Palestinian factions have since complicated the struggle. As a result of numerous suicide attacks against civilians within Israel, and intensive counterattacks by Israel against the violent factions, thousands of people had lost their lives, amid much destruction and political disarray in both the West Bank and Gaza. The fighting led to a three-year recession and unemployment in ISRAEL, which ended in 2004, as well as a near total collapse of

the Palestinian economy. During this period, peace negotiations ground to a halt. In Arab and even some Western media, Israeli soldiers armed with machine guns are pictured fighting Palestinian children armed with rocks. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reports that in the first four years of the attacks more than 3,600 Molotov co*cktails, 100 hand grenades, and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were used by the Palestinian fighters. Further reading: Mitchell G. Bard, ed., Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Chevy Chase, Md.: American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2001); Robert O. Freedman, ed., The Middle East from the Iran-Contra Affair to the Intifada (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1991); Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage Books, 2001); Don Peretz, Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1990).

Iran In 1935 the kingdom of PERSIA was renamed Iran. The country’s Jewish community traces its origins to ancient times, as evidenced by the biblical book of ESTHER, which is believed to have taken place in the Persian capital. Jews in Iran had been granted equal rights by the Constitution of 1906; by 1948 they numbered 95,000 souls, constituting the second-largest Jewish community in the Middle East, after the newly formed State of ISRAEL. Although Iran voted against the PARTITION PLAN for PALESTINE in 1947 for the sake of Muslim solidarity, the country soon established trade and unofficial political ties with Israel. There was little to no violence against Jews in the decades after 1948, although some anti-Jewish leaflets were circulated. Jews had representation in the Iranian House of Representatives, although few Jews were judges or lawyers because even Jews preferred to be represented by Muslims. The Zionist movement was legal in Iran and it continued to encourage local Jews to make ALIYAH; some 20,000 did so,


coming mostly from the poorer segments of the population. Others moved to the United States. The community steadily dwindled, reaching a population of 60,000 in 1968. The Jewish population, which had been scattered in many regions, became more urban, with 72 percent living in cities by 1968. Literacy improved, as many Jews learned to read the Persian script; they had previously written and read Persian texts using a HEBREW script called Judeo-Persian. The Jews of Iran have consistently received help from various worldwide Jewish social service agencies such as the ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE, the AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE, and ORT, all of which financed schools, community organization, and hygienic improvements. An attempt in 1957 to create an Iranian Jewish social service agency failed. Prior to 1948 most Jews living in Iran were observant, though a scarcity of rabbis and limited contact with other Jewish communities left many of them ignorant of Jewish rituals such as laying TEFILLIN. The newer generations are less observant and rates of INTERMARRIAGE have increased. When Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown and the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, the Iranian government turned extremely hostile toward Israel, and life for Jews in Iran became oppressive. Iran no longer delivered oil to Israel, and the Israeli mission in Teheran was closed down. Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was welcomed in Teheran. Zionism was no longer legal, and many Jews in leadership positions were executed. The ayatollah encouraged bitter propaganda against Israel and Zionism. Though he made numerous disparaging and hostile comments about Jews, he promised to guarantee the safety and welfare of the Jews as long as they disengaged from Israel and Zionism. In 1982 and 1983 Iranian Jewish religious and lay leaders publicly protested Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and what they called the oppression of the Palestinians, and called for the liberation of Jerusalem from Jewish hands.

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Iranian Jews joined the national fight against the Iraqi invasion in the Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s; Israel reportedly supported Iran as well, viewing Saddam Hussein as the greater threat to stability in the Middle East. After the death of the ayatollah, conditions for the Jews in Iran improved. Some became wealthy and friendly with the current strongmen. The Jewish community continued to publicize their support for the Islamic Revolution and their enmity for Israel and Zionism. Yet Jews continued to emigrate, most of them men, causing an increase in intermarriage as the remaining Jewish women married Muslim men. By the 1990s the Jewish population had dropped to 25,000, most of whom lived in Teheran. There are three synagogues in Iran, and although strong rabbinic leadership does not exist, the Jews of Iran have begun to attend synagogue more often, seeking sanctuary and community. The Jewish cemetery was demolished in 1996. The school curriculum is Islamic, the Hebrew Bible is taught in Persian, and Jewish students are required to attend school on Saturday as the Jewish Sabbath is not recognized. Further reading: Harvey E. Goldberg, ed., Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries: History and Culture in the Modern Era (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996); Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987).

Iraq Before the Muslim conquest of 634 C.E., the area now known as Iraq was called Mesopotamia or BABYLONIA, and Jews had lived there from the days of the first EXILE in the 6th century B.C.E. The new Arab rulers liberated Jews from religious persecution by the Zoroastrian rulers of PERSIA. Under the rule of the Muslim caliphs of Baghdad, who had both religious and temporal authority, the Jews experienced a golden age of cultural and religious growth. Between the mid-seventh century and the mid-11th century they enjoyed


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semiautonomous communities headed by an EXILARCH or NASI, the political leader, and a gaon, the religious leader (see GEONIM), although there were periods of persecution during this time, as well. The rabbinic academies at SURA and PUMBEDITA thrived, and Jewish sages edited the final edition of the Babylonian TALMUD. The most famous rabbinic scholar in Iraq was SAADIA GAON, who headed the academy at Sura in the 10th century. The stability of the huge Muslim empire allowed for strong ties between the rabbinic academies of Iraq and Jewish communities in PERSIA, Syria, PALESTINE, EGYPT, North Africa, and SPAIN. The quality of life in Iraq varied depending on the individual caliph’s attitude; the Jews of Iraq experienced times of peace and freedom and times of persecution and discrimination. As a rule, they were able to participate in the community and economy of Iraq; some became physicians, writers, and even government officials. From time to time Jews were forced to wear distinguishing clothing, such as when in the 10th century Jewish physicians and tax collectors were required to wear yellow clothing with colored patches. In the 10th century, the position of exilarch was abolished and both Christians and Jews were severely persecuted. The office was later revived and continued until 1849, but the golden age had ended for the Jews of Iraq. During the 11th and 12th centuries the Jews experienced a surge of messianic activity. Several false messiahs rose and fell. The rabbinic academies at Sura and Pumbedita disappeared after the 11th century, and the rabbinic Academy of Baghdad drew many students. Conditions improved for a while in the mid-12th century. There were 10 yeshivot (see YESHIVA) in Baghdad, which had the largest concentration of Jews. Communities also existed in Irbil, Baqsard, Raqqa, and Basra, which had 10,000 Jews and its own exilarch. From the 13th through the 18th century, Iraq was ruled by a variety of peoples, including Turks and Mongols, who treated the Jews well at some points and poorly at others. As in Europe, many Jews acted as financiers, but they also held positions as physicians, historians, and craftsmen. In

1393, following the attack of Tamerlane, the Jews left Baghdad and did not return for almost a century. From the 16th to the 20th centuries the Iraqi Jewish community thrived, making major contributions to the culture of Judaism. They produced eminent and renowned rabbis, provided Jewish education to children and adults, and published a great deal of poetry. The economic situation of the Jews was good for most of the 19th century. Jews had a large hand in the country’s commerce, and influence in government circles. In 1908 the Ottoman Turkish government granted freedom of religion and equality to the Jews, several of whom served in Parliament. They traded in all goods, from textiles to medicines. From 1917 to 1932, under British influence, the Jews continued to prosper. They led in the country’s commerce and banking, participated in government, and contributed to the financial security of Iraq. It is estimated that 125,000 Jews lived in Iraq in 1947, approximately 80,000 of them in Baghdad. The Jewish community supported Zionist groups and contributed funds to national educational and cultural activities. Organizations such as the Zionist Society of Mesopotamia (1921–29) and the Maccabi Sports Society flourished. Groups met to read Hebrew newspapers, and a Hebrew-Arabic weekly newspaper was even published in 1920. These developments came to an abrupt halt in 1932, when Iraq became an independent nation. Jewish officials lost their jobs and discrimination increased. By 1941, encouraged by Nazi propaganda, riots broke out; Jews were tortured and murdered by mobs, property was looted, and synagogues were desecrated until the British intervened. In 1942 a Jewish underground developed in Iraq called The Babylonian Pioneer Movement. This organization encouraged Hebrew and Zionism, taught defense skills, and organized legal and illegal immigration to Palestine. In 1948 Jews were barred from emigrating. The emergence of ISRAEL on May 14, 1948, led to imprisonment, banishment from particular towns, and heavy fines. When martial law ended in December 1949, thou-

Irgun Zeva’i Leumi

sands of Jews escaped to IRAN. In 1950, Jews were allowed to leave if they gave up their Iraqi nationality, and the mass exodus to Israel began. Between 1948 and 1951, through both legal and illegal means and with the aid of the JEWISH AGENCY and the underground in Iraq, it is estimated that 123,500 Iraqi Jews settled in Israel. They left behind assets valued at $200 million, which were confiscated by Iraqi government officials. Approximately 6,000 Jews remained in Iraq in 1952, but by 1968 there were only 2,500. Religious and educational institutions still existed, but the Jews of Iraq were severely persecuted. The wars between Israel and her Arab neighbors agitated the Iraqi population against the Jews, and in 1969 nine prominent Jews were hanged in a public square in Baghdad, having been accused of espionage. Iraq has been consistently more hostile toward Israel than most other Arab countries, even though the two countries share no border, and it systematically calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. In 1996, only 120 Jews remained in Iraq. One synagogue served their spiritual needs. Further reading: David Kazzaz, Mother of the Pound: Memoirs on the Life and History of the Iraqi Jews (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Sepher Hermon Press, 2000); Nissim Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq: 3,000 years of History and Culture (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1985).

Irgun Zeva’i Leumi (Etzel) The Irgun Zeva’i Leumi (National Military Organization), known by its HEBREW acronym Etzel, was founded in 1931 by a group of HAGANAH officers who disagreed with the Haganah’s policy of self-defense against Arab violence. For the next several years Etzel units engaged in more aggressive military maneuvers against the perceived enemies of the Jews in PALESTINE. In April 1937, after the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in a series of bloody riots, about half of Etzel’s forces rejoined the Haganah in the name of Jewish military unity. The remainder of Etzel regrouped, enlisted new recruits, and officially

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embraced the platform of Revisionist Zionism as taught by the movement’s leader, Ze’ev JABOTINSKY. Etzel completely rejected Haganah’s defensive policy of restraint, called havlagah, and sought opportunities to carry out armed reprisals against Arabs. Etzel’s actions were condemned by both the JEWISH AGENCY and the British authorities. Many Etzel members were arrested by the British military government; one of them, Shlomo Ben Yosef, was hung for participating in a shooting on an Arab bus. When the British issued the WHITE PAPER in May 1939, effectively abandoning the commitment of their Mandate to a Jewish national home (see BRITISH MANDATE), Etzel launched an underground military campaign against them. With the outbreak of World War II Etzel officially declared a truce with the British, and many members joined the British Army’s Jewish Brigade. However, some Etzel members rejected the truce, and created the Lohamei Herut Yisrael or Lehi, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, in order to continue the battle against both the British and the Arabs. In 1943 Menachem BEGIN became the new head of Etzel, which resumed the war against the British military administration in Palestine, attacking any exposed British military installation they could find. The most famous attack occurred on October 31, 1946, when Etzel bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which was serving as the headquarters of the British administration. A warning to evacuate had come from Etzel, but even so, 91 people died, 17 of whom were Jewish. Etzel’s activities undermined sympathy for the Jews among the British public; on the other hand, they may have been the last straw that convinced Britain to abandon Palestine. After ISRAEL declared its independence, Etzel volunteered to integrate itself with the new ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES, and by September 1948, the two groups had become one, unified to defend the infant State of Israel. Further reading: David Ben-Gurion, Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (New York: Philosophical Library, 1954); Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French


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Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Random House, 1996).

Isaiah (c. 740–681 B.C.E.) biblical prophet Isaiah was an ISRAELITE prophet (see NEVI’IM) who lived under the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah, Yotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. He personally knew the major political leaders of JERUSALEM, and guided them through the serious social, political and military challenges they faced. While he himself was a member of the elite, he was a vocal spokesman on behalf of the common people. He railed against corruption within the leadership, demanding that they begin to dispense justice and protection to the weaker members of Israelite society, such as the poor, orphans, and widows. Isaiah preached against reckless military endeavors aimed at the growing might of Assyria; he urged the leaders to place their trust in God and develop greater moral strength. He believed Assyria was God’s instrument of punishing the Israelites for their behavior. If Israel repented and mended its ways, God would vanquish the enemy. When King Hezekiah implemented religious reforms to address Isaiah’s outstanding concerns, the prophet declared that God would protect Hezekiah and the country. But, when Hezekiah formed military alliances with EGYPT and BABYLON, Isaiah came to believe the king did not have enough faith in God, and that Israel would be punished for this transgression. Because Isaiah predicted severe punishments for Israel’s sins, mainstream CHRISTIANITY has often used his sermons as support for its idea that God had supplanted the “original” COVENANT with the Jewish people in favor of a new covenant or testament with the Christian church. His prophesy of a MESSIANIC AGE in which a shoot will grow from the seed of Jesse became a key doctrine in Judaism, but it has been interpreted by most Christians as a reference to Jesus, said to be a descendant of Jesse’s son King DAVID.

The medieval scholar Abraham IBN EZRA (1089–1164), as well as contemporary critical biblical scholarship, holds that the book of Isaiah contains the words of two different prophets. From chapter 40 on, the events described concern the destruction of the first TEMPLE and the Babylonian EXILE, which occurred a century after Isaiah lived. This latter part of the book of Isaiah is often referred to as Deutero-Isaiah, which was written, some scholars believe, by an “Isaianic School” that continued to teach in the moral tradition of the original Isaiah. Isaiah has had an enormous influence on the values and practices of NORMATIVE JUDAISM. His words, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, His presence fills all the earth” is the central line of the holiest prayer in Jewish liturgy, the Kedushah (see KEDUSHAH). Further reading: Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2000); ———, Isaiah 40–55: A New Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2002); ———, Isaiah 56–66: A New Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2003); Norman Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Islam Of all the world’s religions, Islam is the closest theologically to Judaism, and the two share a common ancestry and many common practices as well. Both faiths espouse radical MONOTHEISM, a belief in one God who must not be depicted in any images. Both severely denounce IDOLATRY, mandate circumcision for males, and have strict dietary laws (see KASHRUT), prohibiting the consumption of pork and providing for special slaughtering procedures. Both Islam and Judaism trace their ancestry to Abraham (see PATRIARCHS). According to the book of Genesis, Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and


Isaac. Ishmael became the progenitor of the Arabs, including Muhammad, and Isaac became the progenitor of the Jews. The two religions, in essence, are cousins and have often regarded themselves as such. According to Jewish tradition, the COVENANT between God and Abraham was passed down through Isaac and Isaac’s descendants, but according to Islam, Ishmael carried on the true religion, with Abraham’s support. The God of Islam, Allah, is the same God as the God in the TANAKH, and the sacred scripture of Islam, the Qur’an, contains many of the same stories as the Tanakh, though often with slight variations. Muslims, however, see the Qur’an as a corrective to errors in the Tanakh and New Testament, whereas Jews see the Qur’an as a corruption of the Tanakh. Over the centuries, there have been times of relative peace between Jews and Muslims, and times when the two have been bitter enemies. In Muhammad’s time (570–632), there were battles between the newly founded Muslim community and Jewish Arabian tribes who refused to acknowledge Muhammad as God’s greatest prophet. However, during the Golden Age in SPAIN, Jews held high-level positions and thrived under Muslim rule. In the present day, there are frequent clashes between Jews and Muslims, mostly revolving around the Arab-Israeli dispute (see ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT). Further reading: John Bunzl, ed., Islam, Judaism, and the Political Role of Religions in the Middle East (Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2004); N. J. Dawood, trans., The Koran (New York: Penguin USA, 2000); Frederick Mathewson Denny, An Introduction to Islam (New York: Macmillan, 1994); F. E. Peters, Islam, a Guide for Jews and Christians (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003).

Israel Israel as a modern Jewish state came into being on May 14, 1948, issuing its declaration of independence in Tel Aviv. However, the notion of

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ERETZ YISRAEL, the Land of Israel as the Jewish homeland, goes back to the beginnings of the Jewish people and has been a key element of Judaism ever since. According to the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, God promised Abraham (see PATRIARCHS) the land of CANAAN (as the land was then called) as a birthright for himself and all his ISRAELITE descendants. When the Israelites escaped to freedom from EGYPT and received the TORAH, their sole aim was to make their way to the Promised Land. After the Israelite conquest and a period of relative anarchy, when each of the 12 tribes governed its own lands, a Jewish kingdom was established and solidified under the heroic and pious King DAVID. When his son SOLOMON built the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM, the national religion was centralized, further unifying the country and lending additional sanctity to the land. Around the year 931 B.C.E., Solomon died and the kingdom split into two, Israel in the north and Judea in the south. In 722–721 the Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom, dispersing the 10 northern tribes, who have since disappeared. During the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E., the prophets helped to shape Israelite tradition by developing the concepts of MONOTHEISM and the ethical life (see NEVI’IM). In the year 586 B.C.E. the Temple was destroyed by the armies of BABYLONIA, and the Israelites went into EXILE. When a remnant of the Jews returned to Judea 70 years later under the patronage of PERSIA, they were composed mostly of the tribe of Judah, with elements of the tribes of Benjamin and Levi, the latter constituting the priestly class. In 332 B.C.E. Alexander the Great conquered Judea, which became a province of his Hellenistic empire. Alexander allowed the Jews to worship their God (and his name remains popular among Jewish men), but the country suffered from 125 years of war between his heirs, the Seleucids of Syria and the Ptolemys of Egypt. The Seleucids eventually won domination of the area, with Antiochus III taking power in 198 B.C.E. At first he allowed the Jews many freedoms, but after losing


236 Israel

significant battles to the Romans, Antiochus became far less tolerant. His son ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES launched a strict program to impose HELLENISM, outlawing the Sabbath (SHABBAT) and circumcision (BRIT MILAH), defiling the TEMPLE with an altar to Zeus, and allowing the sacrifice of pigs. The Jewish community split in half and civil war ensued between those favoring some Hellenization and those who wanted to return to traditional JUDAISM. Ultimately, Seleucid extremism turned the community toward the more traditional proponents. Led by the MACCABEES, the Jews won independence and redeemed the Temple in 160 B.C.E. (as celebrated in the holiday of CHANUKAH). The Hasmonean dynasty ruled Judea until 40 B.C.E., when the Romans annexed the country to their expanding empire. In 37 B.C.E. HEROD became governor of Judea. He began a massive building program, including the Temple itself, but his reputation for impiety made him unpopular with his Jewish subjects, and insurrections repeatedly broke out against the Romans. Ten years after Herod’s death in 4 B.C.E. Judea came under direct Roman rule. In 66 C.E., a massive revolt broke out. Within four years the Roman general and later emperor, Titus, had destroyed the Temple; the last group of Jewish holdouts committed suicide at MASADA when it became clear that the Romans would prevail. The Romans renamed Judea PALESTINE, previously the name of the province on the southwest coast once inhabited by the Philistines. After the Roman exile, Jewish sovereignty ended in Palestine, but Jews throughout the centuries made their way back to the Jewish homeland, and the dream of restoration of the Jewish state became a primary tenet in NORMATIVE JUDAISM. It was believed that God would eventually usher in a MESSIANIC ERA and restore the Jews to the land of Israel. At the end of the 19th century, Theodor HERZL brought ZIONISM and its goal of creating an independent Jewish state in Palestine to the attention of the world. Zionism was largely a translation of

the age-old longing for Zion (Jerusalem) into modern secular terms. Zionism created a new form of Jewish identification that required no religious belief. Many adherents of ORTHODOX JUDAISM rejected the Zionist movement, because of its nonreligious character and its lack of faith in God’s promised Messiah. Some followers of REFORM JUDAISM rejected the very idea of a Jewish nationality. However, most Jews soon embraced the idea of a return to Zion, especially in view of growing antisemitic persecution. Jews began to trickle back to Palestine in the late 19th century, reinforcing the small, impoverished community of mostly religious Jews who already lived there. The trickle grew into a flood by the 1930s. In the spring of 1948, after 2,000 years of exile, Israel proclaimed its independence as a Jewish state. Its declaration of independence noted that the land was the birthplace of the Jewish people, and the cradle of its spiritual, religious, and political identity. The modern State of Israel declared a LAW OF RETURN, granting immediate citizenship to any Jew in the world who wished to return. The law defined Jewish status not according to religious belief, but by the same definition the Nazis had used: anyone with a Jewish grandparent (so that anyone who had been persecuted by the Nazis could find refuge in Israel). While the UNITED NATIONS recognized the new Jewish state, the Arab countries refused to recognize its right to exist. Arab armies invaded, joined by local Arab irregulars. Facing heavy odds, the fledgling Jewish state held off all its opponents and wound up in control of the bulk of the former British Palestine; the Emirate of Transjordan annexed the territories on the west bank of the Jordan River (and changed its name to the Kingdom of Jordan), while Egypt took charge of the small Gaza strip. An overwhelming Israeli military victory in the SIX-DAY WAR of 1967 gave Israel control of the remainder of pre-1948 Palestine as well as the Sinai Peninsula, which it returned to Egypt 12 years later in exchange for a peace treaty. When no

Israel Defense Forces

further peace treaties emerged, Israel settled 250,000 Jews in the West Bank, which under the names JUDEA AND SAMARIA had constituted the heartland of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Peace was signed with Jordan in 1994, after an interim peace agreement had been signed the previous year with representatives of the Palestinian Arabs under Yasser Arafat. The second INTIFADA, or uprising, launched in 2000 with spectacular suicide bombings, has stymied hopes for further progress toward a hoped-for comprehensive peace with all the Arab states. While Israel fought for military security, it has had to deal with successive waves of ALIYAH or immigration. More than 2 million Jews from all over the world came to Israel, from displaced survivors of the European Holocaust to the majority of the ancient Jewish communities of the Arab and Muslim world. They have brought with them differences in religious attachment and ethnic or cultural loyalties, which has often led to internal strife. Israel is a parliamentary democracy, with a multitude of political parties reflecting many different ideologies. In the religious realm, Israeli citizens are primarily divided between Orthodox and secular, although there are efforts to develop an Israeli REFORM and CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM. There is a degree of separation between religion and state, but in matters of MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, CONVERSION, burial, and religious supervision, Orthodoxy (alongside Christian and Muslim authorities) maintains a religious monopoly over Jews, supported by the state; Christian and Muslim authorities control the same functions for their respective communities. While Jews have the right to automatic Jewish citizenship, there are more than a million Arab-Israelis who are citizens as well. In its first 50 years, Israel has developed a first-world economy. Agricultural settlements, including socialist communities called kibbutzim (see KIBBUTZ), turned swampland and desert into a green oasis. Basic industries, infrastructure, and tourism were built up in the early decades; more

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recently, the high-tech and defense industries have been the engines for economic growth. Further reading: Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Random House, 1996).

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was created by the new state in 1948 based on the HAGANAH, the formerly underground military force. For the army of a small country, the IDF has a stellar military reputation, having successfully fought five major wars in defense of the Jewish state. The IDF’s responsibilities also include a constant struggle against all forms of terrorism. While the IDF’s mission is to defend the Jewish state, it frankly reserves the right to take the offense if deemed necessary. In IDF doctrine, Israel is a tiny country with no margin of safety between being invaded and being overrun. Israel has become a leader in military electronics and weapons development, often in cooperation with other countries including, at times, FRANCE, the UNITED STATES, CHINA, and INDIA. The greatest resource available to the IDF is its soldiers. There is a universal draft of men and women at age 18. Men serve a minimum of three years and women a minimum of two. Men remain in the reserves until the age of 51, although those who have served in combat may now complete their service at the age of 45. Orthodox women are exempted, though they are expected to perform some national service. Many ultra-Orthodox men receive repeated deferments to allow for TORAH study, which has caused intense debate and communal ill will. Career military men and women enjoy a high degree of social prestige. There are three service branches within the IDF: air force, ground forces and navy. The IDF is headed by a chief of staff with the rank of lieutenant-general, who reports directly to the


238 Israeli flag

An Israel Defense Forces naval unit stands at attention on the first anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Eilat in 1967. (Teddy Brauner, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)

minister of defense, who is in turn appointed by Israel’s prime minister. The IDF remains the most effective means to integrate the various Jewish ethnic groups, from Ethiopians to Russians, and to promote national cohesion. Among the nonJewish population, the Druze and Circassian communities are also subject to the draft, and many bedouin serve on a volunteer basis. Non-Druze Arabs are exempt. Israeli society and the IDF largely overlap, with civilian life often interrupted so reservists can answer the call to arms. Further reading: Netanel Lorch and Carlos Lorch, Shield of Zion: The Israel Defense Forces (Charlottesville, Va.: Howell Press, 1992); Louis Williams, The Israel

Defense Forces: A People’s Army (Lincoln, Nebr.: Authors Choice Press, 2000).

Israeli flag The flag of the State of ISRAEL is white with two horizontal blue stripes near the top and bottom edges. A blue Shield of DAVID (in Hebrew, Magen David), often called a STAR OF DAVID, is centered between the two stripes. The flag, designed by David Wolffsohn, second president of the Zionist Organization, resembles a TALLIT, or prayer shawl. The blue color represents the ancient dyed threads that were used in knotting the TZITZIT, the fringes on the corners of the tallit. It was originally adopted

Israeli flag

by the Zionist Organization as its official flag in 1933. The Star of David had gained wide popularity among Jewish communities around the world as a symbol of Jewish identity, in the decades before it was adopted by Zionist organizations in the late 19th century. The star has no real religious signif-

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icance, and so could serve as a unifying, noncontroversial symbol for all types of Jews. Further reading: Abraham J. Edelheit and Hershel Edelheit, History of Zionism: A Handbook and Dictionary (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2000); A. L. Frankl, “Juda’s Farben,” in Ahnenbilder (Leipzig, 1864); Handelman and

Israelis proudly carry these Israeli flags at the head of an Independence Day parade in Israel. The stripes and the Star of David in the center are blue, a color that was used to dye threads on tzitzit in ancient times. (Hans Pinn, Government Press Office, The State of Israel)


240 Israelites

Lea Shamgar-Handelman, “Shaping Time: The Choice of the National Emblem of Israel,” in Emiko Ohnuki-Tierny, ed., Culture Through Time: Anthropological Approaches (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990); Gershom Sholem, “The Curious History of the Six Pointed Star: How the ‘Magen David’ became the Jewish Symbol,” Commentary 8 (1949).

Israelites The Israelites of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, were the originators of Judaism and ancestors of the later Jewish people. Sometimes called Hebrews or the Children of Israel (Israel is the name given to Jacob as an adult by God), they claimed descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see PATRIARCHS). According to the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites entered into an eternal COVENANT with God, whose laws they pledged to observe in exchange for God’s favor and possession of the land of Israel. Freed from slavery in EGYPT under the leadership of MOSES, the Israelites made their way to MOUNT SINAI to receive the TORAH. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness they entered the promised land of Canaan, or ERETZ YISRAEL. The Hebrew Bible depicts the Israelites as far from perfect, perhaps all too human. They represent common people, with common issues. The Israelites conquer the land, establish a monarchy, fight a civil war, and ultimately split into two kingdoms. After contending with many invaders and conquerors, the northern kingdom of Israel is ultimately destroyed by the Assyrians, and its people, 10 of the 12 Israelite tribes, disappeared from history. The southern kingdom of Judah survive (the word Jew, Hebrew yehudi, derives from its name). The Jews in the south suffer their own exile to BABYLONIA, after Judah is conquered and the TEMPLE in JERUSALEM is destroyed, but a remnant returns to rebuild the Temple. By now, of the original Israelites, only the tribe of Judah and a part of the tribes of Benjamin and Levi survive. In the year 70 C.E. the Romans destroy Jerusalem, and most of the Israelites

remaining in the land are killed, enslaved, or exiled. Jews today trace their spiritual ancestry to the Israelites; from the time of the Hebrew Bible to the present, the faith and practices have been passed down in an unbroken chain between the generations. However, as the Hebrew Bible itself makes clear, the Israelites were strengthened by many converts, individuals and groups. The LEVITE tribe still maintains its pure lineage, but every ethnic group in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and some beyond, is represented in today’s Jewish people. Jews trace their religion back to the Israelites, but over the centuries of exile rabbinic Judaism has deviated tremendously from the ancient sacrificial religion, which was based on an agrarian economy. Rabbinic Judaism observes the Torah as interpreted by the rabbis in the tradition of the TALMUD, and it was developed specifically to unify an exiled people. While many regard CHRISTIANITY as a child of Judaism, some scholars consider it more like a twin. In their view, Christianity and rabbinic Judaism have the same mother, Israelite religion. Further reading: Norman Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Israeli War of Independence Within hours of the UNITED NATIONS’S approval of the PARTITION PLAN on November 29, 1947, Arab violence directed toward the Jews of PALESTINE commenced. The initial violence took the form of Arab riots, at first not unlike the Arab riots of previous years. The war itself would not end until the spring of 1949. The 1948 Israeli War of Independence can be divided into two waves. The first wave was fought between the HAGANAH and Palestinian Arabs through methods of guerrilla warfare; it lasted from November 1947 until the middle of May

Israeli War of Independence

1948, when the British pulled out of the area. The second wave of the war was a conventional war, waged between the ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES (IDF) and the armies of Syria, Jordan, EGYPT, Lebanon, and IRAQ. Unlike the Jewish Haganah, which had been growing in strength and sophistication for many years, the Arab contingencies were poorly organized and poorly supplied, consisting of separate bands of Arabs that resisted Jewish force. These groups made their first major assault on January 9, 1948, when they attacked Jewish communities in northern Palestine. Approximately 1,000 Arabs participated in the attack, and the British forces turned over their military bases and weapons to these Arabs in February, claiming that they were overwhelmed by the numbers. The Jews lost control of most of the roads in Palestine and suffered high casualties. On May 4, 1948, the Arab Legion of Transjordan attacked GUSH ETZION, a Jewish settlement near JERUSALEM. Several hundred Jews were massacred, but the Haganah was able to safeguard Jerusalem and its Jewish residents. In the weeks leading up to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Haganah managed to turn back the Arab forces, recapture the northern cities of Tiberius and HAIFA, and secure the road to Jerusalem. On May 14, 1948, the British withdrew their last forces from Palestine, and the Haganah consolidated with smaller Jewish defense forces (see IRGUN) to become the IDF. Only at this point did the Israeli forces feel completely free to defend their territory, as the British presence had dictated a certain measure of restraint. Israel declared her independence, and the second phase of the Israeli War of Independence commenced. The armies of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked the tiny State of Israel, and the conventional war began. An important step in defending the new Jewish state was the creation of a fledgling air force. For the first few days of independence, bombers from Egypt, Iraq, and Syria had total control of Israeli skies. TEL AVIV, the largest Jewish town, was

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routinely bombed. Under the command of Moddy Alon, Israel assembled a small squadron, and in a legendary military action, Alon shot down two bombers from the air and drove the rest back. Not only had Israel received equipment from abroad, but thousands of trained Jewish soldiers from abroad arrived to offer their physical support. Among these men were more than 300 American and Canadian soldiers with World War II experience; almost 200 of these soldiers were trained airmen. The new air force, equipped from Czechoslovakia and the United States with funds raised from Jews abroad, eventually helped stop the Egyptian advance from the south, although battles on all fronts raged on the ground. On June 11 the “First Truce” was called, although it only lasted until July 8. A second truce lasted from July 19 to October 15. The Israeli War of Independence, however, did not officially end until April of 1949, when Israel and Syria signed the final Armistice Agreement. Israel had negotiated with all four surrounding Arab states individually, first Egypt, then Lebanon, followed by Jordan, and finally Syria. No agreement was ever made with Iraq. Israel had acquired more land than had originally been assigned to the Jews in the partition plan that had been rejected by all Arab states and Palestinian Arab organizations. The United Nations tried to arrange a comprehensive peace settlement, using the original United Nations partition guidelines, but the Arabs refused to even recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Israel refused to retreat to the old borders. Yet Israel had won the Israeli War of Independence, extending her borders and enhancing her military position. This left Israel better prepared for the major wars it would have to fight in the coming decades. Further reading: Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel (New York: Schocken Books, 2003); Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage Books, 2001); Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel:


242 Isserles, Moses ben Israel

From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Random House, 1996).

Isserles, Moses ben Israel (1525–1572) rabbinic scholar and author of the Mapah Born in Krakow, POLAND in 1525, Moses ben Israel Isserles stands in Jewish history as one of the greatest rabbinic scholars of eastern Europe. His work was instrumental in providing rabbinic direction to generations of Ashkenazic Jews (see ASHKENAZIM). He is usually known by the initials of his title and name: the Rema. Isserles was born into a family of respected rabbinic scholars, and he married the daughter of the head of a YESHIVA in Lublin, although she died at the age of 20. After remarrying and returning to Krakow, Isserles started his own yeshiva. Not only was he a teacher and respected rabbinic scholar, but Isserles’s halakhic (see HALAKHAH) opinions, opinions on Jewish law, were sought by other renowned rabbis of the time, such as Joseph CARO, author of the SHULCHAN ARUKH, one of the most significant Jewish code books in existence today. In fact, Isserles’s most major work was his commentary on the Shulchan Arukh. Shulchan Arukh means “set table,” and Isserles’s commentary was called the MAPAH, or “Tablecloth.” Caro’s rulings were based on Sephardic custom (see SEPHARDIM). Isserles adapted the work

for an Ashkenazic readership. Isserles had been working on a code of laws of his own, but Caro’s monumental work beat him to print, and he decided to adapt his manuscripts into a commentary on Caro’s work. The combination of Caro and Isserles remains the primary Jewish code book still utilized today, in one edition or another, by Jews around the world. It is through Caro’s and Isserles’s work that numerous Jewish customs have been preserved. While a great scholar of the TALMUD, from which he derived his law code, Isserles also studied secular subjects such as science, history, and philosophy. Many historians consider him a predecessor of the HASKALAH, or the Jewish ENLIGHTENMENT. Isserles died in 1572 and was buried in Krakow. His contribution to Jewish communal life, history, and literature was so significant that for generations before World War II many Jews would visit his gravesite annually. Further reading: Byron L. Sherwin, Sparks Amidst the Ashes: The Spiritual Legacy of Polish Jewry (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Yaacov Dovid Shulman, The Rema: The Story of Rabbi Moses ben Israel Isserles (Lakewood, N.J.: CIS Publishers, 1991); Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100–1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973).

J AF J: Jabotinsky, Ze’ev (1880–1940) militant Zionist theorist and leader Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky was born on October 18, 1880, in Odessa, RUSSIA. Although Jabotinsky’s father fared well economically in his position as a clerk and grain dealer, he died when Jabotinsky was six years old, leaving Jabotinsky’s mother to support the family as the proprietress of a stationery store. He attended a secular gymnasium and excelled in his studies. After studying law in both Italy and Switzerland, he became a well-known Russian journalist, writing under the pseudonym Altalena. In 1903, a terrible POGROM occurred against the Jews of Kishinev, and this prompted Jabotinsky to become an active supporter of ZIONISM. He began to actively advocate on behalf of Russian Jews, and helped form self-defense units. Jabotinsky was a delegate at the Sixth Zionist Congress. His influence altered the character of Zionism from a dreamy nationalist movement to a movement driven by pride, resistance to oppression, militarism, and confidence. His personal charisma allowed him to rally people together, whether to fight with the British during World War I, organize a nascent youth movement, or defy the BRITISH MANDATE’s authority, when necessary. In 1914, while serving as a war correspondent, Jabotinsky met Joseph Trumpeldor in Alexandria;

together they helped establish the Jewish Legion to fight with the British in World War I. Jabotinsky served as a lieutenant in the legion, and participated in military assaults to free PALESTINE from Turkish rule. Jabotinsky’s military experience in the Jewish Legion served him well, and he became the head of the HAGANAH, the Jewish defense force in Palestine. During PASSOVER of 1920, he led the Haganah against Arab rioters in JERUSALEM. The local British government condemned the move, and Jabotinsky was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. The sentence was met with great public outcry, and the British granted him amnesty. In 1921, Jabotinsky cofounded the Keren Hayesod, or the Palestine Foundation Fund, and served as an executive of the Zionist Organization. Only two years later, in 1923, he created and headed the Zionist youth movement Betar (see ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS). His goal was to train youths in military knowledge and inculcate them with a Jewish nationalistic spirit. Jabotinsky’s method for accomplishing this goal was twofold: He would teach the youths of Betar the Hebrew language and simultaneously train them in the art of self-defense and war. Through knowledge of Hebrew the youths would develop a self-confident Jewish culture that contrasted completely with the 243


244 Jacob’s Ladder

passivity of the ghetto Jew, and because of their military training, be able to defend Jewish territory and Judaism’s right to flourish in a Jewish land. After continual disagreements with fellow Zionist leaders, Jabotinsky created Hatzohar, the Union of Zionist Revisionists, which held its first conference in Paris on April 26, 1925. The primary mission of the revisionists was to establish a Jewish state without delay. Jabotinsky edited a Hebrew newspaper called Doar Hayom in 1928 and 1929, while living in Palestine, but his increasing political activity led him to leave Palestine in 1929 on a lecture tour, and the British government refused to let him back in. He continued leading the revisionists from outside Palestine. In 1935, when the Zionist Executive of the Zionist Organization again refused to adopt Hatzohar’s mission to immediately establish a Jewish state, despite Jabotinsky’s dire warnings of impending disaster for European Jews, he resigned from the Zionist Organization and founded the New Zionist Organization (NZO) to continue his work of creating a Jewish state. In 1937 Jabotinsky created and commanded the IRGUN TZVA’I LEUMI (Etzel), which became the military division of the Zionist Revisionists in parallel to the political NZO. Betar continued its mission of educating youth and recruiting Jews to be smuggled into Palestine (after the British imposed sharp limitations on immigration). The Irgun, NZO, and Betar together managed to bring more than 40 ships to Palestine’s shores, smuggling in tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. Jabotinsky maintained his political activism. During 1939 and 1940, Jabotinsky was active in trying to set up a Jewish army to fight with the Allies against Nazi GERMANY, but on August 4, 1940, while in New York to encourage the United States to aid the war effort, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. Jabotinsky had requested to be buried in Palestine, but the British would not allow his body to be brought there. However, in 1964 he was brought by the Israeli government to be reburied near the grave of Theodor HERZL in Jerusalem.

Further reading: Jacob Abadi, Israel’s Leadership: From Utopia to Crisis (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993); Vladimir Jabotinsky, The Political and Social Philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky ed. Mordechai Sarig (London: Mitchell Vallentine, 1999); Shmuel Katz, Lone Wolf: A Biography of Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinsky (New York: Barricade Books, Inc., 1996).

Jacob’s Ladder The PATRIARCH Jacob had a dream of a ladder ascending to heaven with angels moving up and down (Gn 28:12–22); the image of the ladder became an important symbol in the Jewish tradition. According to the biblical story, Jacob tricks his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing meant for his older brother, Esau (Gn 27). Once Esau discovers this, Jacob fears for his life and flees to his uncle Laban in Haran. Along the way, Jacob stops for the night and has his dream. In the dream, God renews the COVENANT originally made with Jacob’s grandfather Abraham and father, Isaac, and promises land and protection to Jacob and his descendants. According to the rabbis, the story refers not only to Jacob but to the people of ISRAEL; the angels represent various nations of the future, each of which will grow and decline in strength, while Israel endures. The ZOHAR provides more mystical commentaries on the story; in KABBALAH, Jacob’s ladder is another name for the SEFIROT, the hierarchy of emanations from God. Further reading: David Curzon, The View from Jacob’s Ladder: One Hundred Midrashim (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Japan The first Jews probably visited Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries, when Europeans were conducting limited trade with the Asian state. The first Jews to settle in the country arrived in the


1860s, mostly from POLAND, with some from ENGLAND and the UNITED STATES. They established a burial society, a cemetery, and possibly a SYNAGOGUE and a school. Since the mid-19th century, Japan’s few Jews have concentrated in Yokohama. A Jewish settlement existed in Nagasaki in the 19th century, but it did not endure, as Jews began to favor the port of Kobe instead. Later some Jews settled in Tokyo as well. In the wake of the 1905 Russian Revolution and the 1917 BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION many Jews fled Russia; some chose to settle in Japan, following advice from Jewish service organizations, such as the HEBREW IMMIGRANT AID SOCIETY. Some used Japan as a stopping-off point and later moved on to the UNITED STATES and Latin American countries such as BRAZIL and ARGENTINA, but some remained to reinforce the communities of Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe. Antisemitism was unheard of in Japan until the 1920s; Japanese thought of the Jews as a variety of Christians. However, in the 1920s troops from Japan’s Siberian Expedition (1918–22) brought back negative stories and images of Jews they had gleaned from antisemitic White Russians, connecting Jews with the BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. As World War II approached, Japan entered into an alliance with Nazi Germany, and German antisemitic pamphlets were translated into Japanese. Yet ANTISEMITISM did not take root or affect the Jewish community in Japan. Some refugees from Nazi GERMANY and RUSSIA came to Japan in the early 1940s, but they did not remain for long. For example, in 1941 members of the Lithuanian Mir Yeshiva lived safely in Japan until they were transferred to the International Settlement at Shanghai. These refugees arrived as part of the Fugu Plan, a program arranged by the Japanese that encouraged European Jews to settle in Japan’s Manchurian puppet state called Manchukuo. Thousands of Jews were saved when Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese emissary in Lithuania, issued them visas. Only when the Japanese occupied

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Shanghai did they feel compelled to gather its approximately 50,000 Jewish residents into internment camps for the duration of the war. The Jews living in Japanese cities remained safe. From 1945–52, when the United States occupied Japan, the Jewish community grew, but its activities were mostly sponsored by Jewish military chaplains with U.S. forces. Japanese people became interested in Judaism, enough to establish the scholarly Japanese Association of Jewish Studies and publish a journal called Studies on Jewish Life and Culture. A few Japanese converted to Judaism, but most converts were women who married Jewish Americans and returned to the United States with their husbands. By 1970 the population of Jews in Japan was stable at approximately 1,000. These Jews occupied a niche in the economy of Japan, working in business and the professions. The number of Jews living in Japan remained at 1,000 in 1992, but the permanent community only numbers 200. The Jewish community in Tokyo supports many of the same institutions one finds in many Jewish communities: a rabbi, a SYNAGOGUE, a religious SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL, a library, a restaurant, a MIKVAH (ritual bath), a burial society, and a Jewish community center. They also maintain membership in the World Jewish Congress, the Asia Pacific Jewish Association, and B’NAI B’RITH. Tokyo also boasts a CHABAD House, which opens its doors to all Jewish travelers. The city of Kobe also has an active Jewish community of 30 to 35 families, mostly SEPHARDIM. Antisemitism is not a problem in Japan. Since most Japanese people know little about Jews and Judaism, the Japanese Jewish community works to combat the spread of negative European Jewish stereotypes. Several Christian religious sects, including the Makuya, the Christian Friends of Israel, the Tokyo Biblical Seminary, The Holy Jesus society, and the Association for the Propagation of the Gospel, probably together numbering around 50,000 members, offer support to ISRAEL based on their belief that the Jews must return to the land of Israel before the MESSIANIC AGE can arrive. In


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addition, Japan supports other interesting groups such as the Kibbutz Society, which is inspired by the moral and social values of the KIBBUTZ, sending, for example, three groups of Japanese youths to Israel each year in the late 1960s. Relations between Israel and Japan are complex. Japan tends to be pro-Arab, but it has had friendly relations with Israel since 1952 and a positive trade relationship. However, because Japan gets 40 percent of its oil from Arab nations, it has had to join in the Arab boycott of Israel and so its trade with Israel has not reached its full potential. Further reading: Isaiah Ben-Dasan, The Japanese and the Jews (Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1972); David G. Goodman and Masanori Miyazawa, Jews in the Japanese Mind: The History and Uses of a Cultural Stereotype (New York: Free Press, 1995); Abram Setsuzau, From Tokyo to Jerusalem (New York: B. Geis Associates, 1964); Marvin Tokayer and Mary Swartz, The Fugu Plan: The Untold Story of the Japanese and the Jews (New York: Weatherhill, 1996).

Jerusalem The city of Jerusalem was the ancient capital of the Israelite kingdom and the center of its religious life from the days of King David; since that time, it has retained its central position as the focal point of Jewish prayer and the center of Jewish national identity. By extension, it has also become a holy city for CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM. Scholars disagree as to the meaning of the name “Jerusalem” (Hebrew: Yerushalayim). Some believe it is based on the word shalom, or “peace;” they translate the name as “foundation of peace,” “city of peace,” or “city of the god of Peace.” Others believe the city may have been named for the Assyrian god Shalem. The Old City of Jerusalem, site of the ancient city, is surrounded on three sides by valleys, and hemmed in by a stone wall with eight main portals: Damascus Gate, Jaffa Gate, Mercy Gate, Herod’s Gate, Dung Gate, Lion’s Gate, New Gate, and Zion Gate. It is divided into four sections

based on the religious affiliation of most of the residents: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Armenian. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, and the KOTEL, or Western Wall, all represent holy sites for various religious traditions. Jerusalem is the holiest place on earth for Jews. King DAVID unified ISRAEL by moving its capital to Jerusalem. Both the first and second TEMPLES were located there, the first built by David’s son King SOLOMON. Because of the Temple, Jerusalem was the central point of the Jewish world and was the focus of pilgrimage in ancient and medieval times. It is considered the most efficacious place for prayer, and it is said that one always ascends (makes ALIYAH) to Jerusalem, not only because of its geographical location (one-half mile above sea level) but because it is spiritually elevated as well. Many legends about Jerusalem exist. It is said that the AKEDAH (binding of Isaac) took place there. The city is said to be at the heart of the world, and was the foundation of CREATION. Legends even say its inhabitants never fell ill. Jerusalem has been wracked by war for centuries. In 586 B.C.E., the Babylonians conquered the city and destroyed the first Temple. In 167 B.C.E., the Seleucid Greeks ravaged the second Temple and Jerusalem, which were then recaptured by the Maccabees. Finally, in 70 C.E., the second Temple was completely destroyed and the people of Jerusalem were butchered, enslaved, and exiled by the Romans. Only the walls of the Temple Mount, or platform, were left standing. Jerusalem remains the focal point of the Jewish desire to return to the Land of Israel. For example, in the TANAKH, Lamentations 2:13, a voice cries, “What can I compare or liken / To you, O Fair Jerusalem.” The site of the Temple, currently occupied by two historic Muslim mosques, is still consider the holiest Jewish site. Since Jews are not permitted to pray there to avoid offending Muslims, the Kotel (Hebrew for “wall”), the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, has remained the holiest accessible Jewish site. Prayers in synagogues worldwide con-

Jesus of Nazareth

tain the hope for a rebuilt Jerusalem. On PASSOVER, the SEDER ends with the phrase “next year in Jerusalem.” According to Jewish lore, in Messianic times, Jerusalem will be a heavenly place capable of housing all nations. Jerusalem was declared the capital of the new state of Israel in 1948, and the government moved there soon after. The president, prime minister, KNESSET (parliament), Supreme Court, and nearly all government departments of the state of Israel are located there. However, most foreign nations maintain their embassies in TEL AVIV, as they consider the final status of the city to be still in question. Jerusalem today is a modern city covering a large area spreading out from the Old City in all directions. It houses more than 600,000 people, some two-thirds of them Jews, most of the rest Muslims. Further reading: Lee I. Levine, ed., Jerusalem: Its Sanctity and Centrality to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (New York: Continuum, 1999); Zev Vilnay, Legends of Jerusalem (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1995 (1973); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Jerusalem Post The Jerusalem Post is an English-language Israeli newspaper established in 1932; it was known as the Palestine Post prior to 1950. It is circulated six days a week in ISRAEL. It is not published on Saturdays, the Sabbath (see SHABBAT), or on Israeli national and religious holidays. The Jerusalem Post is circulated worldwide. It is a politically moderate newspaper, although it does lean somewhat to the right in its perspective. The Jerusalem Post generally gives support to the Israeli government, while at the same time offering criticism on economic and social policy. Another moderate newspaper in Israel, Ha-Aretz, literally “the land,” publishes an English-language version. The Jerusalem Post maintains an Internet edition, a print edition, an

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international edition, and a French-language edition. Its online archives date to 1989. Further reading: Erwin Frenkel, The Press and Politics in Israel: The Jerusalem Post from 1932 to the Present (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1994); Jerusalem Post Web site URL: http://www.jpost.com, accessed July 29, 2004.

Jesus of Nazareth (c. 3 B.C.E.–30 C.E.) founder of Christianity Jesus of Nazareth is recognized as the founder of CHRISTIANITY; he is generally believed to have been born in Judea to a Jewish mother around 3 B.C.E. and crucified some 33 years later. Jesus’s followers, who were all originally Jews, believed that he was the MESSIAH (in Greek, “Christ”), the savior who was promised in prophesies of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Christianity eventually recognized him as part of the Holy Trinity along with God and the Holy Spirit. Christians believe his death on the cross acts as an atonement for human sin and that his bodily resurrection demonstrates his power over death. Jews have never accepted these ideas. Some Jewish historians view Jesus as a teacher in the rabbinic tradition that was developing at that time. They point to similarities in some of his teachings to other contemporary rabbis, and interpret his statement: “not one dot, not one stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is accomplished” (Mt 5:18) as evidence that he supported HALAKHAH, or Jewish law, which all Christians later rejected. Others Jews view him as one of a number of false messiahs that arose in Judea in those times. Throughout the centuries many Christian communities have persecuted Jews as “Christ killers.” In the 20th century, the charge provided additional support for the HOLOCAUST. Jewish leaders have consistently denied that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, claiming that he was killed by the Romans as a dangerous Jewish rebel. At the time of Jesus’ death, they point out, capital punishment was entirely in the hands of the ruling Romans. In addition, they say, Jewish


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law forbade crucifixion because it involves torture, which is banned even for criminals. Jesus continues to be a controversial figure in dialogues between Christians and Jews. In the last half of the 20th century, the Roman Catholic Church and most of the larger Protestant churches issued statements explicitly denying the charge that Jews were responsible for killing Jesus. Further reading: E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981); A. N. Wilson, Jesus: A Life (New York: Norton, 1992); Thomas Walker, Jewish Views of Jesus (New York, 1973).

Israel) during the first EXILE in BABYLONIA. Prior to the exile these people were referred to as Bnei Yisrael, Children of Israel, emphasizing the lineage to the PATRIARCHS. Since those who remained and returned after the first Exile descended mostly from the tribe of JUDAH, whose territory had abutted JERUSALEM, they came to be known as Jews (Neh 1:2). During the time of the Greeks and Romans, and the second Exile beginning in 70 C.E., those whose ancestors came from Eretz Yisrael became known as ioudaios, or Jews. Further reading: Moshe Greenberg, Studies in the Bible and Jewish Thought (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); N. S. Hecht, An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Jethro (c. 14th century B.C.E.) biblical figure, father-in-law of Moses According to the book of EXODUS (Ex 2–3) Jethro, also referred to as Reuel, was a priest of Midian who had seven daughters. When MOSES fled to Midian after killing an Egyptian taskmaster, he defended Jethro’s daughters from a group of shepherds. Jethro invited Moses to stay with his family and later offered his daughter TZIPPORAH in marriage. Later, when Moses led the ISRAELITES to freedom, Jethro provided key advice on how to govern the people. According to tales in the MIDRASH, Jethro had been an adviser to PHARAOH but fled Egypt himself to protest the decree that Israelite babies be cast into the Nile. Thus, Jewish history holds the character of Jethro in high esteem. Further reading: Judith Reesa Baskin, Pharaoh’s Counsellors: Job, Jethro, and Balaam in Rabbinic and Patristic Tradition (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1983); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Jew The term Jew was first used as a reference to anyone who came from ERETZ YISRAEL (the Land of

Jewish Agency In 1929 the government of the BRITISH MANDATE formed the Jewish Agency for PALESTINE so that Jews living there would have a channel through which to voice their concerns. Half of the members of the Jewish Agency lived in Palestine, but another half did not, a reality engineered by the Zionist Organization (see WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS). The Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency were closely linked in form and management. The Jewish Agency played a vital role in relations between the YISHUV, the Jewish settlement in Palestine, and world Jewry and between the yishuv and world political powers. Before ISRAEL became a modern state, the Jewish Agency acted as its embryonic government. Its responsibilities included immigration, new immigrant absorption, economic development, educational and social services, and agricultural settlement. Outside Israel, the Jewish Agency took an active role in education, opportunities for investments in the yishuv, and youth activities. The Jewish Agency actively sought Jews who wanted to move to Israel and provided aid to Jews living in dangerous and violent areas. After the WHITE PAPER of 1939 was published restricting

Jewish Community Center Association

Jewish immigration to Palestine, the Jewish Agency worked to support illegal immigration. In addition, it provided support from the yishuv to the Allies during World War II. The leaders of the Jewish Agency, such as Moshe SHARETT, were active in UNITED NATIONS discussions on Palestine and in the decision to implement the PARTITION PLAN in 1947. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish Agency ceded power to the new Israeli KNESSET, becoming a department within the government. In 1954 the Israeli government recognized the combined agencies of the Jewish Agency–World Zionist Organization as the representative of world Jewry, and gave the Agency responsibilities for immigration, absorption, agricultural settlement, external relations, youth aliyah, economics, and education and culture in the DIASPORA. The Jewish Agency worked miracles, first aiding Jewish war refugees to escape Europe during the HOLOCAUST, and then helping the immigrants from displaced persons camps get to Israel and settle in after the war had ended. The Jewish Agency also helped absorb immigrants from Yemen (see OPERATION MAGIC CARPET), IRAQ, IRAN, and Turkey. In 1949, the Jewish Agency accommodated 239,000 immigrants, in 1950 169,000, and in 1951 another 174,000. The task was astronomical as most of the immigrants were shellshocked and penniless. Ultimately the Jewish Agency acted as protector for any Jew who needed assistance around the world. As mass immigration to Israel slowed, the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization reorganized their departments and structures. The Jewish Agency focused on fund-raising outside Israel, such as in the UNITED STATES, and encouraged people to immigrate to Israel by providing Jewish education, information, cultural programs, and youth work that encouraged a positive relationship between Jews living in the DIASPORA and those in Israel. In Israel, the agency provided funds for immigrant absorption, land settlement, housing, social welfare, education, and child care for

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immigrants. Two-thirds of the budget for the Jewish Agency comes from funds raised in the United States by the United Jewish Appeal, the fundraising arm of the UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES umbrella group. Further reading: Daniel J. Elazar, “The Jewish Agency: Historic Role and Current Crisis,” Jerusalem Letter 263 (October 15); Aviva Halamish, The Exodus Affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1998); Dan Horowitz and Moshe Lissak, Origins of the Israeli Polity: Palestine under the Mandate (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978); Jewish Agency for Israel Web site URL: http://www.jafi.org.il.

Jewish Community Center Association The Jewish Community Center Association is an umbrella organization uniting more than 350 Jewish community centers (JCCs), Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Associations (YMHA, YWHA), and camp sites throughout the UNITED STATES and CANADA. Many Jewish communities build a central facility to serve as a social, cultural, educational, and recreational center for Jews in the area. Local Jews can cement their ties with one another, and have a central location to engage in sports, learn about Judaism, seek social services, and take their kids to camp. The Jewish Community Center Association provides resources to make the JCCs throughout North America as successful as possible. The JCC movement began in 1854 to serve immigrants. As the needs of the Jewish communities change, so too do the services that JCCs provide. The Jewish Community Centers do not primarily serve the spiritual needs of the community, which are left to the various local SYNAGOGUES. The separation from religious polemics ensures that the centers remain open to all types of Jews. Further reading: Jerome A. Chanes, Norman Linzer, and David J. Schnall, eds., A Portrait of the American


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Jewish Community (Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publications, 1998); Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Jewish Community Center Associations Web site URL: http://www.jcca.org, accessed July 29, 2004.

In 1995 the Forward began to publish a Russianlanguage edition in New York. This edition has achieved success in the competitive market of Russian-language newspapers. Together the Yiddish, English, and Russian editions of the Forward continue the mission of the original Jewish Daily Forward in providing a voice for the American Jewish community.

Jewish Daily Forward The Jewish Daily Forward was an American Jewish newspaper founded in 1897 as a YIDDISH daily. The paper was a strong voice in New York’s immigrant community, supporting the trade unions and moderate, democratic socialism. Abraham Cahan, its dynamic founding editor, is credited with its many years of success. Cahan remained the editor of the Forward for half a century, until his death in 1950. The paper became the most important voice of the American Jewish immigrant and a permanent daily fixture in many Jewish households. The paper was a strong proponent of social justice, a necessary platform in a world of sweatshops and new immigrants. In the early 1930s the Forward had a national daily circulation of 275,000, and it also boasted a Yiddish radio station. The paper has printed the voices of many Yiddish literary figures, such as Isaac Bashevis SINGER and Elie WIESEL. The Forward was also famous for editor Cahan’s Bintel Brief, an advice column that reflected life on the LOWER EAST SIDE and the experiences of American Jewish immigrants. As eastern European Jewish immigrants accommodated to American culture and language, the Forward lost its niche. When the Yiddishspeaking world dwindled, the editors were forced to make some difficult decisions. In 1983, the Forward began to publish weekly instead of daily, and it launched an English supplement. In 1990, the Forward Association remade the English-language Forward into a new weekly voice for world Jewry. It has become a source of information on Jewish news, opinion, and culture in the contemporary world. The Forward also focuses on young people in an attempt to appeal to the entire community.

Further reading: Irving Howe and Kenneth Libo, How We Lived: A Documentary History of Immigrant Jews in America, 1880–1930 (New York: R. Marek, 1979); Jenna Weissman Joselit, The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880–1950 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994); Isaac Metzker, The Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters from the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward (New York: Schocken Books, 1990).

Jewish day school movement American Jews have historically supported the idea of public education and sent their children to public schools. In order to provide for their children’s Jewish education, parents chose either to educate their children at home, which most American Jewish parents are not qualified to do, or send them to SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOLS on weekday afternoons or Sundays. This prolonged the school day for children and infringed on after-school sports and other activities. The quality and professionalism of supplementary schools was, and continues to be, a challenge for the Jewish community. By the 1960s, despite their reluctance to pull children away from public education, many parents in Jewish communities across the UNITED STATES had decided that the afternoon school option was inadequate. They wanted their children to receive a more complete Jewish education. Most parents did not want to send their children to a traditional YESHIVA, where the focus on TORAH and TALMUD study went beyond the desires of the average American Jewish family. The Jewish day school was the solution to the problem. Jewish day schools now exist in many different varieties. Most adhere to one of the main syn-

Jewish identity

agogue movements, ORTHODOX, CONSERVATIVE, and REFORM JUDAISM, but many are nondenominational. The day school offers bicultural education, teaching traditional academic subjects such as English, history, mathematics, and science as well as Jewish subjects such as Jewish history, rabbinics (TALMUD and Jewish law), TANAKH (the Hebrew Bible), and prayer, all within the regular school day. The day usually finishes a bit later than a traditional public school, but a child attending a Jewish day school has the opportunity to attend after-school activities and sports without interfering with his or her Jewish education. Some Jewish day schools split the day in half, having the students spend half the day on secular subjects and the other half on Jewish ones, while a newer trend is to integrate Jewish and secular studies throughout the day. In 1935 there were 4,000 pupils attending Jewish day schools in the United States, all of which were located in New York City. By 1971 nearly 70,000 students were enrolled in schools in many cities. Orthodox Judaism runs the largest number of day schools, enrolling more than 100,000 students by 1980; any city with more than 5,000 Jews had at least one. Not all students attending Orthodox day schools came from Orthodox homes; rather, parents were choosing from what was available. This led to what some call cultural dissonance, where students learn rituals in school that their families do not practice at home. Yet the Jewish education the students received was solid, and it has been shown statistically that more Jewish day school students end up living Jewish lives than those without the benefit of that education. Even so, some parents wanted a school that reflected their own Jewish values, and the nonOrthodox movements eventually responded. The Conservative movement has its own group of day schools named after Solomon SCHECHTER, the first president of the Jewish Theological Seminary and a key shaper of Conservative Judaism. In 1990 there were almost 70 Solomon Schechter schools in North America. The Reform movement also

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sponsors Jewish day schools, but they are far fewer in number. In 1981 there were only nine in existence. There are currently more than 80 nondenominational community Jewish day schools. They are characterized by pluralism, inclusivity, EGALITARIANISM, and independence. While denominational schools are affiliated with synagogue associations, many community schools are members of RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network. All in all, some 200,000 children attended Jewish day schools in the United States in 2003, according to the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education. Further reading: Daniel Judah Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1999); Nachama Skolnik Moskowitz, ed., The Ultimate Jewish Teacher’s Handbook (Denver, Colo.: A.R.E. Publishing Inc., 2003); Alvin I. Schiff, “Public Education and the Jewish School,” Journal of Jewish Communal Services 6 (Summer 1985): 305–311; Edward S. Shapiro, A Time for Healing: American Jewry since World War II (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).


Jewish identity The question of Jewish identity in the modern world is complex, involving not just a person’s religious beliefs and affiliation but also his or her cultural and national identity. As the modern world became more secular, so too did the Jews (see ACCOMODATION; ASSIMILATION; MODERNITY). ORTHODOX JUDAISM defines Jewish identity fairly simply: anyone who was born to a Jewish mother or who observes Jewish law (HALAKHAH) is Jewish. In this traditional realm, it is clear that a Jew is a person who participates in Jewish rituals and believes in the tenets of the Jewish tradition.


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Yet many people in the modern world think of themselves as Jews even though they reject the binding nature of Jewish law, as has occurred in REFORM JUDAISM and RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM, and even if they do not affiliate with any Jewish religious movement at all. The issue becomes one of group identification and self-identification: how people perceive themselves, and how the family, school, and Jewish community impact the development of a person’s identity as a child and into adulthood. Orthodox and Conservative institutions only recognize a person as a Jew if he or she has a Jewish mother or has formally converted to Judaism. Reform Judaism considers a person a Jew even if only the father is Jewish and the person is raised as a Jew. This creates tensions between the movements regarding Jewish identity. Some Jews will express their Jewish identity through participating in a Jewish community center, decorating their homes with Jewish religious or cultural artifacts, volunteering their time for Jewish causes or participating in the work of Jewish federations (see UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES), belonging to or attending a SYNAGOGUE, expressing their love for the State of ISRAEL and ZIONISM, or even simply by remaining connected to other Jewish people. Mordecai KAPLAN, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, defined Judaism not as a religion, but as a civilization, with its own land, language, laws, sanctions, art, and social structure. Kaplan felt that religion was but one aspect of Jewish identity, and the Jew in the modern world seems to agree, finding myriad ways to be Jewish inside and outside of religious life.

S. Woocher, Sacred Survival: The Civil Religion of American Jews (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986).

Further reading: Calvin Goldscheider and Alan S. Zuckerman, The Transformation of the Jews (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1984); Arthur Hertzberg, Judaism: An Anthology of Key Spiritual Writings of the Jewish Tradition (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991); Edward S. Shapiro, A Time for Healing: American Jewry since World War II (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992); Jonathan

Further reading: Susan Tumarkin Goodman, The Emergence of Jewish Artists in Nineteenth-Century Europe (New York: Merrell in association with The Jewish Museum, New York, 2001); Grace Cohen Grossman, Jewish Museums of the World (Southport, Conn.: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 2003); Cecil Roth, Jewish Art: An Illustrated History (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961).

Jewish Museum The Jewish Museum in New York sits along prestigious Museum Mile of Fifth Avenue, thereby locating itself at the center of American and Jewish life. In 2004, the museum celebrated its centennial year. In 1904, Judge Mayer Sulzberger (1843–1923) donated 26 Jewish art objects to the Jewish Theological Seminary, thus laying the foundation for the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Museum is dedicated to an exploration of Jewish culture, past and present, through its collection of more than 28,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media, and through visiting and special exhibits. Together the exhibits take the Jewish or non-Jewish visitor on a tour of Jewish life and an exploration of JEWISH IDENTITY. The museum was renovated and expanded in 1993 to make it possible to display more of its collection and to offer classrooms, an auditorium, and public amenities. The museum houses the most extensive collection of Jewish visual art in the Western Hemisphere. Many institutions around the world, unrelated to the museum in New York, also use the name “the Jewish Museum,” in English or other languages. Such museums can be found in London, ENGLAND; Florence, Italy; Budapest, HUNGARY; and Melbourne, Australia.

Jewish Renewal

Jewish Publication Society ( JPS) A Jewish Publication Society of America was originally founded by Isaac Leeser (1806–68) in 1845, but it did not survive past 1851. In 1888 the society was reborn, inspired by the needs of new immigrants and of the growing rabbinical schools and seminaries (see HEBREW UNION COLLEGE–JEWISH INSTITUTE OF RELIGION) in the UNITED STATES. The new JPS was founded by intellectual leaders such as Marcus Jastrow (1829–1903), Cyrus ADLER, and Henrietta SZOLD, and funded by German-Jewish American philanthropists such as Meyer Guggenheim (see GUGGENHEIM FAMILY) and Jacob SCHIFF. It aimed to produce books on Jewish history, religion, and thought, as well as material for Jewish religious instruction. The nonprofit JPS is the oldest Englishlanguage publisher of Jewish books in the world. Its original intention to provide English-language books about Judaism to the children of Jewish immigrants in the UNITED STATES has widened; its educational mission is to enhance Jewish culture through the publication of exceptional secular and religious Jewish works. JPS publications are circulated in the United States and abroad; they include biographies, histories, art books, holiday anthologies, books for young readers, religious and philosophical studies, and translations of scholarly and popular classics. The most famous of all JPS publications is its own English translation of the TANAKH (the Hebrew Bible). Recently JPS also published a new biblical commentary called Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary. JPS is also responsible for publishing the American Jewish Yearbook on an annual basis. The JPS is supported by members and contributors. The society explains that dues and donations “support the publication of books that broaden and deepen the understanding of the Jewish heritage and advance Jewish scholarship.” Further reading: The Jewish Publication Society of America Twenty-Fifth Anniversary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1913); David L. Lieber, ed., Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish

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Publication Society, 2000); Charles Madison, Jewish Publishing in America (New York: Sanhedrin Press, 1976); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation See RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM.

Jewish Renewal Jewish Renewal is a nondenominational movement within Judaism that is committed to restoring the spiritual element to Judaism, which it believes is lacking for many people. Renewal draws upon HASIDISM in that it includes meditation, dancing, chanting, and mysticism among its practices. Yet unlike Hasidism, it encourages members from all branches of Judaism to bring what they believe to be formerly secret or hidden traditions into the mainstream. The movement sees its foundations as TORAH, KABBALAH, and other Jewish sources but is open to finding truths from introspection and communal discussion as well as from other faiths. In this way, like RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM, Jewish Renewal understands Judaism to be an evolving tradition with new and creative rituals and liturgies. Jewish Renewal is a very recent development within Judaism. It traces its roots to two late 20thcentury figures, Rabbi Schlomo Carlebach (1925–94) and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (b. 1924). These two rabbis were trained in the Hasidic movement but later left it to found their own communities and ordain their own students. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s original community, the B’nai Or Religious Fellowship, was the forerunner of the current organization ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Renewal also stems from other 20th-century phenomena, particularly the CHAVURAH movement, process theology, and feminism. Because of its emphasis on spiritual experience, many understand Jewish Renewal to be a New Age form of Judaism. Others understand Renewal to be a fifth


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denomination within Judaism since it often has its own congregations and since the founding rabbis offer ordination. The movement itself, however, resists classification as New Age because of its grounding in Jewish concepts and traditions, and similarly resists classification as a new denomination because it offers no separate theological principles or interpretations of HALAKHAH, Jewish law. The movement prefers the term trans-denominational because it respects the diversity of Jewish expression, recognizes the historical importance of each denomination, and hopes to bring spiritual renewal to members of all denominations. The two main Jewish concepts that Renewal emphasizes are TESHUVAH (repentance, return) and TIKKUN OLAM (repairing the world). Teshuvah is the term from which Renewal takes its name; it is most closely associated with the Days of Awe from ROSH HASHANAH through YOM KIPPUR. Understood as renewal, teshuvah suggests a perpetual return to faith, life, God, and spirituality. Tikkun olam denotes the mission of Jewish Renewal. The movement espouses a number of progressive activities that it considers a part of healing the world: these include empowering the disadvantaged, feminism, peace activism, gay rights activism, and environmental activism. However, these values do not take an explicitly political form within Jewish Renewal, but rather a personalized spiritual form that may or may not be expressed politically as well. Further reading: Michael Lerner, Jewish Renewal (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994); Zalman SchachterShalomi, Paradigm Shift (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1993); Arthur Waskow, Godwrestling—Round 2 (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights, 1996); Shohama Wiener, ed., The Fifty-Eighth Century: A Jewish Renewal Sourcebook (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1996).

Jewish Theological Seminary of America The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) was founded in 1886 by Rabbis SABATO MORAIS

(1823–97) and H. Pereira Mendes (1852–1937), along with a group of prominent Sephardic lay leaders from congregations in New York and Philadelphia. The original mission of JTS was to preserve the knowledge and practice of historical Judaism in direct opposition to REFORM JUDAISM, which had become far too liberal and antiritual for many Jewish leaders. The first class of JTS was taught in 1887 and was composed of 10 students who gathered in the vestry of the SpanishPortuguese Synagogue, New York City’s oldest congregation. JTS remained a small school, and in its first 15 years ordained only 15 rabbis. A new catalyst for growth came when Cyrus ADLER, who had been a private tutorial student of Morais, joined the Seminary’s board of directors. While not wealthy himself, Adler helped to secure the support of some of America’s wealthiest Jews. German-Jewish American philanthropists such as Louis MARSHALL (1856–1929) and Jacob SCHIFF (1847–1920), dedicated members of a Reform congregation, saw the rejuvenation of JTS as an opportunity to attract and Americanize the hordes of eastern European Jewish immigrants coming to American shores. Together, intellectuals and financiers built JTS into a premier Jewish institution, and after raising more than a half million dollars, they secured the teaching services of the esteemed Jewish scholar Solomon SCHECHTER (1847–1915) from Oxford University. Schechter became JTS’s new chancellor in March 1902. Modeling JTS after Zachariah FRANKEL’s (1801–75) Beslau Jewish Theological Seminary, Schechter managed to secure JTS’s reputation worldwide in his 13 years of leadership, and to create a significant endowment fund. Over the decades, JTS has been the premier seminary in training and leading Jewish scholars and professionals within CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM. Today, it is considered a Jewish university with a world-class faculty and a diverse student body. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees through five schools and offers continuing education for the Jewish community in the United States, ISRAEL, and around the world. JTS

Jews for Jesus

also operates a rabbinical school in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA. In addition to its graduate, rabbinical, cantorial, Jewish education, and undergraduate schools, JTS runs a Jewish SUPPLEMENTARY SCHOOL on the high school level, a summer school, and five research institutes. The JTS library is considered the greatest Jewish library outside of Israel, and possesses an extraordinary collection of rare Jewish books and manuscripts. It is affiliated with the JEWISH MUSEUM in New York and participates in a consortium with its prestigious academic neighbors— Columbia University, Barnard College, and Union Theological Seminary—creating a large and vibrant community of learning. JTS is still considered the intellectual and religious center of Conservative Judaism, educating the movement’s Jewish professionals and lay leadership, through both formal and informal programs. Further reading: Neil Gillman, Conservative Judaism: The New Century (West Orange, N.J.: Behrman House Publishing, 1993); Jack Wertheimer, Tradition Renewed: A History of the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York: The Seminary, 1997).

Jewish youth groups A variety of opportunities exist in the UNITED STATES for Jewish youth to socialize and learn about their heritage via Jewish youth groups. Children and teens of all ages can join a youth group associated with a SYNAGOGUE, community, or Zionist organization. These youth groups include Young Judaea, sponsored by the Zionist woman’s organization HADASSAH (see ZIONIST YOUTH MOVEMENTS); United Synagogue Youth (USY), sponsored by CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM; the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), sponsored by the REFORM JUDAISM; the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), sponsored by ORTHODOX JUDAISM; Noar Hadash, sponsored by RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM; and the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), sponsored by B’NAI B’RITH and independent Jewish

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communities. Independent Jewish youth groups also exist. Most youth groups offer leadership opportunities to Jewish youth at the chapter, divisional, regional, and international levels. Members also have opportunities to attend conventions and summer programs, often in ISRAEL. Further reading: Anita Diamant, Living a Jewish Life: Jewish Traditions, Customs and Values for Today’s Families (New York: Harper Resource, 1996); Daniel J. Elazar, Community and Polity: The Organizational Dynamics of American Jewry (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995); Don Futterman, “How to Build Utopia in Only Minutes a Day in the Privacy of Your Own Home,” Tikkun 8, 3 (May–June 1993): 33+.

Jews for Jesus Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelistic movement led and developed by Martin “Moishe” Rosen and incorporated as a nonprofit ministry in 1973. It aims at spreading the Christian gospel to Jews. Jews for Jesus considers the evangelization of Jews to be its top priority. Unlike MESSIANIC JEWS, who maintain their own synagogues and community life as ethnically Jewish Christians, Jews for Jesus is primarily a gateway for Jews to become Christians and join other churches. Many of the members of Jews for Jesus are young Jewish adults who try to remain ethnically Jewish while maintaining their belief in JESUS OF NAZARETH as the MESSIAH. The Jews for Jesus International Headquarters operates from San Francisco, California; its staff of more than 200 people works in 11 countries and 20 cities. The group values both the Old Testament and the New Testament, but they do not believe that Jewish law (HALAKHAH) is always relevant or binding. The group has centered its activity on college campuses and on city streets adjacent to urban Jewish communities, where it has become well known for passing out literature, attempting to attract Jews with a basic appeal that the Jewish heritage is not antithetical to a belief in


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Jesus as the Messiah. Jews for Jesus have also established work in JERUSALEM. The group insists that it should have a place within the spectrum of other Jewish groups. However, the leadership of mainstream Judaism has persistently and adamantly rejected the idea that Judaism is compatible with a belief in Jesus as the Messiah. Jews for Jesus are not thus accepted as a part of NORMATIVE JUDAISM. They are not considered Jews for the purposes of the Israeli LAW OF RETURN. Further reading: Juliene G. Lipson, Jews for Jesus: An Anthropological Study (New York: AMS Press, 1990); Ruth Tucker, Not Ashamed: The Story of Jews for Jesus (Sisters, Oreg.: Multnomah, 2000).

Job biblical figure The book of Job appears in the KETUVIM, or Writings, part of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. The book tells the story of Job, a righteous man who challenges God’s justice for allowing a righteous man to suffer. The book introduces Job as a good man who fulfills his responsibilities to family and community. As the story progresses, he suffers loss of livelihood and property, ill health, and finally the deaths of his wife and children. His friends try to convince him that his suffering must be a punishment for wickedness, but Job refuses to accept this explanation. Pushed by his friends to question why else God might allow these terrible things to happen to him, Job confronts God. Ultimately God speaks to Job from a whirlwind and tells him that he can possess only finite knowledge and cannot understand the divine plans for the universe. Job accepts this rebuke, and eventually is restored to health, prosperity and a new family. The book of Job is considered to be a book of wisdom, defined by ancient Jews as the pursuit of knowledge to understand one’s life and one’s religion. The book of Job asks: “Where shall wisdom be found? . . . Man does not know the way to it. It is hidden from the eyes of all living things, God

understands the way to it” (Jb 28:12, 21, 23). The book thus reaffirms that wisdom comes as a divine gift. The book of Job is unusual for the Bible in its radical questioning of conventional beliefs. The overall tone is individualistic and pessimistic, as the character Job probes the problems of justice and religion. It appears to reject the traditional Jewish perspective on suffering, which is that suffering is the result of wickedness. However, while the book questions this biblical theology, it reaffirms that one must ultimately accept the will of God. As Job says, “Though He [God] slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Jb 13:15). In modern times the book of Job has become a paradigm for some people to help them relate to the horrors of the HOLOCAUST. Ultimately, the one who suffered, Job, still trusts in God and God still trusts in Job. Further reading: Robert Altar, The Art of Biblical Poetry (New York: Basic Books, 1985); Norman Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Jon D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil (San Francisco: HarperSanFranciso, 1988); Stephen Mitchell, The Book of Job (New York: Perennial, 1992); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Joseph biblical figure The biblical story of Joseph and his brothers is the longest single-themed narrative in the book of Genesis, the first book of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible. Joseph is the PATRIARCH Jacob’s favorite son. His brothers harbor resentment toward him because of that favoritism. After he shares with them his dream that some day they will bow down before him, they decide to act. They sell him into slavery, and tell their father that he was killed by a wild animal; they present their brother’s bloodied coat of many colors, a gift from Jacob, as proof.


Joseph is brought to EGYPT, where he successfully serves in Potiphar’s home; when he rejects the advances of Potiphar’s wife, on grounds of morality, she falsely accuses him of rape, and Joseph is imprisoned. While in prison, he correctly interprets the dreams of two fellow inmates, the former baker and butler of the PHARAOH. The butler is restored to service; when Pharaoh himself is troubled by dreams the butler tells him of Joseph, who is immediately summoned. Joseph easily interprets Pharaoh’s dreams as omens of seven years of prosperity for Egypt followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh is so impressed with Joseph that he places him in charge of food collection for distribution during the famine to come. Joseph marries an Egyptian priestess, Asenath, and they have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, whose descendants eventually become two of the ISRAELITE tribes. During the famine, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognizes them, accuses them of spying, and holds Simon as a hostage while the rest of the brothers return to Canaan to retrieve their youngest brother, Benjamin. When the brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin, Joseph continues to test them, falsely accusing Benjamin of stealing, and insisting that Benjamin must remain his slave. JUDAH begs Joseph to free Benjamin and offers himself as a replacement. Touched by this act of sibling protection and love, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and forgives them for selling him into SLAVERY. Jacob learns that Joseph is still alive, and he and all his family come to relocate in Egypt, enjoying renewed prosperity. The Joseph narrative is a biblical template teaching the lesson of Providence, the need to overcome family strife, and the potential for repentance or TESHUVAH. Traditional commentators perceive Joseph’s ruse as a test of his brothers to see if they have changed. Joseph understood that God had decreed his fate at the hands of his brothers, but he wanted them to demonstrate that they understood their past sins, and would not repeat their mistakes.

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Joseph is often seen as the paradigm of a Jew who succeeds in the wider Gentile society, without forgetting his family or his God. Further reading: Norman Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985); Ross Shepard Kraemer, When Aseneth Met Joseph: A Late Antique Tale of the Biblical Patriarch and His Egyptian Wife, Reconsidered (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); David L. Lieber, ed., Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2000); Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Philadelphia and Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society, 1985).

Josephus (37–100 C.E.) Jewish historian Josephus was a writer whose works on Jewish history of his own and previous eras have been invaluable sources for historians ever since. Born a Jew in JERUSALEM, Joseph ben Matthias served as an officer in the uprising against the Roman occupation of Judea that began in 66 C.E. He is said to have somehow survived a suicide pact when he and some fellow soldiers were trapped in a cave by the Roman army. He was taken prisoner by Vespasian, who eventually adopted Josephus into his family. At this point he took the name Flavius Josephus. Josephus went on to assist TITUS, Vespasian’s son. Josephus became best known as a writer on Jewish life under Roman rule and on Jewish history. He tried to foster in his Roman readers an understanding of the Jewish people through his writings, which were sympathetic to both peoples. He has sometimes been characterized as a traitor because of his ongoing work with the Romans and because of his efforts to convince Jews in Jerusalem to surrender to Rome. Ultimately, his efforts at reconciliation between the two groups failed, and he witnessed the destruction of the city, including the second TEMPLE. Josephus’s writings include The Jewish Wars (78 C.E.), the only detailed description of the Great Revolt by a witness, and thus an important


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historical source. The text was originally written in ARAMAIC, and then translated into Greek and a number of other ancient languages. Later in his life he authored Against Apion and the Antiquities (93 C.E.). Some editions of Josephus’s writings include references to Jesus, including passages that suggest he himself may have converted to CHRISTIANITY. However, the majority of scholars now believe these references and passages were inserted later by Christian editors. Further reading: Louis H. Feldman, Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Steve Mason, ed., Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary (Leiden: Brill, 2000); William Whiston, trans., The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1960).

Scholars are currently studying this phenomenon, whose causes are unclear. The most widespread hypothesis is that Judaism as experienced by American Jews today sometimes lacks the component of inner spirituality that earlier generations may have obtained from the KABBALAH or HASIDISM, driving some Jews to seek that spirituality elsewhere. Another reason may be that many Jewish Americans by now lack a solid grounding in NORMATIVE JUDAISM. Further reading: Sylvia Boorstein, That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist (New York: HarperCollins, 1997); Roger Kamenetz, The Jew and the Lotus (New York, HarperCollins, 1994); Alan Lew and Sherril Jaffe, One God Clapping (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Lights, 2001); Judith Linzer, Torah and Dharma (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1996).

Judah biblical figure JUBU The term JUBU is a popular designation for someone who is, in some fashion, both Jewish and Buddhist. This can cover a variety of possibilities. An individual may have a Jewish family background, convert to Buddhism, and no longer participate in Jewish PRAYER and practices. Other p