ringelblum archive

Visual Moment | The Ringelblum Archive

Even before the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto (1940-1943) knew of the “Final Solution,” they understood that their story needed to be preserved. Under the leadership of Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum, a clandestine organization of about 60 researchers with the code name Oyneg Shabes (“the joy of Shabbat”) compiled and documented the experiences of the Jews of Warsaw under Nazi occupation. “It was an extraordinary act of civil resistance,” says historian Samuel Kassow, author of Who Will Write Our History: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto. “The Jews knew that the Germans wanted to control and determine how they would be remembered. They were determined to write their own history.” Their goals evolved over time. When the project began in 1940, the researchers—a group that included historians, writers, artists, rabbis and social workers—simply...

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rabbis seder

Ask The Rabbis | Should Jews at the Seder Ask God to Smite Our Enemies?

Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that know You not, and upon the families that call not on Your name; for they have devoured Jacob, yea, they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation... May Your blazing anger overtake them. Pursue them in wrath and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord.” — Passover Haggadah HUMANIST Even the seder itself appears to be of two minds about whether we should ask the Deity to smite our enemies on our behalf. On the one hand, there is a tradition to ask God to “pour out wrath and indignation upon the heathen who will not acknowledge him, who have devoured Jacob and laid waste to his dwelling.” On the other hand, we have a cautionary piece of advice from elsewhere in...

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in search of israel

Book Review | In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea by Michael Brenner

Brenner’s In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea chronicles the competing ambitions to preserve and nourish Jews and Judaism in safety, embraced by an array of Jewish thinkers and leaders from the late 19th century into the present. Would it be by assimilating into the dominant culture, as the Jewish German foreign minister Walther Rathenau argued?

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A History of Judaism

Book Review | A History of Judaism by Martin Goodman

A History of Judaism Martin Goodman Princeton University Press 2018, 656 pp, $28.08 Surveys of religious literacy show that, as a group, American Jews do not know very much about the history of their religious tradition. In one recent poll, for example, fewer than half of those surveyed knew that Job was the biblical figure most closely associated with remaining obedient to God despite terrible suffering. Only about four in ten recognized that Moses Maimonides, the great medieval philosopher, was Jewish. Now, thanks to Martin Goodman, a scholar of ancient Jewish history who is retiring this year as president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in England, readers have a new way to give themselves an intensive crash course in Jewish religious history. A History of Judaism distills three millennia of religious thought and experience into...

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gluten free Passover desserts

Talk of the Table | A Naturally Gluten-Free Holiday

For many Jews, Passover is about what you can’t eat. Those who observe the holiday’s dietary rules must avoid chametz: wheat, rye, spelt, barley or oats. But because these ingredients—with the exception, sometimes, of oats—also happen to be the primary sources of gluten in our food, the Passover diet and the gluten-free diet actually look a lot alike.

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