Dr. Meron Medzini, author of Under the Shadow of the Rising Sun: Japan and the Jews during the Holocaust Era, has been interviewed by Benjamin Ivry of Forward. To read the full interview and learn more about Medzini's volume, visit Forward.com
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Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture, 1880s to 2008 explores the construction of the Jew’s physical and ontological body in Russian culture as represented in literature, film, and non-literary texts from the 1880s to the present. With the rise of the dominance of biological and racialist discourse in the 1880s, the depiction of Jewish characters in Russian literary and cultural productions underwent a significant change, as these cultural practices recast the Jew not only as an archetypal “exotic” and religious or class Other (as in Romanticism and realist writing), but as a biological Other whose acts, deeds, and thoughts were determined by racial differences. This Jew allegedly had physical and psychological characteristics that were genetically determined and that could not be changed by education, acculturation, conversion to Christianity, or change of social status. This stereotype has become a stable archetype that continues to operate in contemporary Russian society and culture.
A Coat of Many Colors: Dress Culture in the Young State of Israel by Anat Helman was reviewed in Studies in Contemporary Jewry, vol. 29, A Club of Their Own: Jewish Humorists and the Contemporary World, ed. Eli Lederhendler and Gabriel Finder (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).
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Crafting the 613 Commandments:
Maimonides on the Enumeration, Classification, and Formulation of the Scriptural Commandments
ALBERT D. FRIEDBERG
Rabbinic tradition has it that 613 commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai, but it does not specify those included in the enumeration. Maimonides methodically and artfully crafts a list of 613 commandments in a work that serves as a prolegemenon to the Mishneh Torah, his monumental code of law. This book explores the surprising way Maimonides put this tradition to use and his possible rationale for using such a tradition. It also explores many of the philosophical and ethical ideas animating the composition of such a list. In the book's second half, Friedberg examines the manner by which Maimonides formulated positive commandments in the Mishneh Torah, leading him to suggest new dimensions in Maimonides' legal theory.