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12 posts tagged with judaism and history. (View popular tags)
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The Mazel of the Irish

"[The Loyal Yiddish Sons of Erin]'s biggest event was the annual Erev St. Patrick's Day Banquet. It was a formal gala at the Americana Hotel, complete with a big band, kosher corned beef and green bagels." American-Irish-Jews still celebrate St. Patrick's Day: “It’s an American-Irish holiday, surely not Jewish. It has nothing to do with Jewish people. But I’m Irish, and I have a feeling for it.” [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Mar 17, 2013 - 36 comments

The Shuls with Sandy Floors

There are only five functioning Jewish synagogues with sand floors in the world, and four of them are in the Caribbean. How has the tradition been maintained for hundreds of years? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 26, 2013 - 5 comments

"deconstruction, in French, would be nothing without puns"

What was Of Grammatology about? When Madeleine, the heroine of Jeffrey Eugenides's campus novel The Marriage Plot, asks a young theory-head this question, she is immediately set straight: 'If it was "about" anything, then it was about the need to stop thinking of books as being about things.' That's not so far off. In all three books, Derrida's argument was that Western thought from Plato to Rousseau to Lévi-Strauss had been hopelessly entangled in the illusion that language might provide us with access to a reality beyond language, beyond metaphor: an unmediated experience of truth and being which he called 'presence'.
Not in the Mood by Adam Shatz is an essay in The London Review of Books about a new biography of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. The review does a good job of explaining Derrida's theories in simple language and putting it in the context of his life, from his childhood as French Jew in Vichy-controlled Algeria to his later years as a globetrotting academic star. For a complimentary perspective on Derrida, you can do worse than starting with these thoughts on his relevance for historians and progressives.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 14, 2012 - 36 comments

Let my people know.

While Passover is an ancient and rich tradition, the story it celebrates didn't actually ever happen. The people who eventually became the Jews were almost certainly never in Egypt in any significant numbers, were never slaves there, and never made a long journey out of Egypt across the Sinai.
posted by dmd on Apr 8, 2012 - 120 comments

Gray zone, schmay zone

Almost immediately upon my arrival in my first teaching job, I became the go-to guy for the Holocaust. Of course, this was partly due to my dissertation, but in larger part, I suspect, because of my Jewishness. This was fine with me for a number of reasons. First, as a junior faculty member, this identification, though merely professional, could only help in my quest for tenure. An expert on the Holocaust carried infinitely greater weight, I thought, than an expert on ministerial instability during the French Third Republic.

Dissolution: My life as an accidental Holocaust expert—and why I decided to quit
posted by timshel on Feb 25, 2012 - 13 comments

"Jews and Christians should be allies; and allies are equals."

In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2011 - 13 comments

Poetry in Hell

Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 23, 2010 - 9 comments

Bimah Me Up

"The special moment when the Kohanim blessed the assembly moved me deeply, for it possessed a great sense of magic and theatricality... I had heard that this indwelling Spirit of God was too powerful, too beautiful, too awesome for any mortal to look upon and survive, and so I obediently covered my face with my hands. But of course, I had to peek."--Leonard Nimoy, I Am Spock

Leonard Nimoy discusses his inspiration for the Vulcan "live long and prosper" hand gesture. Rabbi Yonassan Gershom explains its Jewish origins, and discusses Jewish themes in Star Trek. Via Laughing Squid.
posted by mattdidthat on May 21, 2009 - 47 comments

Meet the Nazi Cowboy

Billy Jenkins was "The Nazi Cowboy." One of the most popular German western stars of the 1930s, Jenkins (real name Erich Rudolf Otto Rosenthal) was a card-carrying member of the Nazi party. Pre-war Germany was crazy for cowboys, with Jenkins starring in pulp fiction books with titles like "Texasfieber" and "Aufruhr in Laredo" that were influenced by the works of Karl May. The only problem? Under Nazi Germany's racial laws, Jenkins was considered half-Jewish.
posted by huskerdont on Jan 3, 2008 - 6 comments

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit

“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” -- an online exhibit
posted by matteo on Mar 7, 2006 - 10 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Zionism - Outspoken criticism from the unlikeliest of places.

Zionism - Outspoken criticism from the unlikeliest of places. Neturei Karta, members of this orthodox clique condemn zionism, claiming there is no place in the modern world for a jewish state.
posted by johnnyboy on Jul 22, 2002 - 75 comments

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