Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization)

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9781906764005: Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization)
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Insiders and Outsiders examines problems of Jewish cultural and political orientation, association, and self-identification in eastern Europe, sometimes from a Jewish perspective and sometimes from that of the majority society. Following an overview by the distinguished intellectual historian of German Jewry Steven Aschheim, who offers stimulating thoughts on the insider/outsider dilemma in modern times and its relevance to eastern Europe, scholars of history, art history, and literature illuminate the nuances and intricacies of the topic. The discussion evolves around three major themes: the cultural conundrum; modes of acculturation, assimilation, and identity; and the minority's inclusion in or exclusion from the political agendas of east European societies. It concludes with a focus on two remarkable cities - Czernowitz and Vilnius - where the Jewish minority has often been conceived as being no less 'inside' than other groups. In the cultural conundrum section, a consideration of artists and writers from Romania and Poland shows the multi-layered influences on their creativity while underscoring the dilemmas they faced in seeking points of meeting between their Jewish background and their national identity. In the section on acculturation, assimilation, and identity, the ways in which multiethnic and multi-national situations demand that the 'outsider', consciously or unconsciously, develop inner strategies to fashion a specific identity are examined in detail. Focusing on Czechoslovakia and Poland between the two world wars and the city of Lwow in the late nineteenth century, it presents some of the choices Jews made in changing political and cultural contexts in which questions of belonging and not belonging, the fluidity of identity, and the reconfiguration of physical, mental, social, and geographical borders acquired special relevance and urgency. The section on society and politics considers questions such as how Jews as 'outsiders' configured their political allegiance in eastern Europe, what tactics they employed to safeguard their future in such societies, how they galvanized the 'Jewish street', as well as the problematic terrain of 'Jewish informers', the 'non-Jewish Jew', and 'Jewish politics'.

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About the Author:

Richard I. Cohen holds the Paulette and Claude Kelman Chair in French Jewry Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; he co-edited The Jewish Contribution to Civilization: Reassessing an Idea (published by the Littman Library). The late Jonathan Frankel was Professor Emeritus in the
Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Stefani Hoffman is the former director of the Mayrock Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Review:

'All authors present well-grounded conclusions with regard to the specific problems they analyse and suggest that by using a methodological approach like that of "outsiders" and "insiders" it is possible to widen the scope of research on identity change and provide a fresh look at conflcts possibly based on individual choices, their contexts, and consequences. Thus, the articles in this book, each in their way, convincingly prove the viability and multi-functionality of this methodological apprach in research on modern east European Jewish culture and history.' Jurgita Siauciunaite-Verbickiene, Judaica 'This volume, thanks to the high quality and diversity of its offerings, is clearly a major contribution to east European Jewish studies and to the larger fields of Jewish history and cultural studies.' Natan Meir, H-Judaic 'Intellectual provocations and controversial and new interpretations are very important, especially if they come together with solid scholarship. This is the case of the book under review, which is a must read for everybody interested in the assimilation of east European Jews.' Piotr Wrobel, H-Judaic

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Book Description Liverpool University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry examines problems ofJewish cultural and political orientations, associations, andself-identification within a broad framework. The contributors approach thepredicament of east European Jews in various settings: some focus primarily onthe Jews' inner development and outlook, while others discuss how elements ofthe majority society viewed their presence. Scholars of history, art history,and literature display originality and insight in illuminating the nuances andintricacies of the Jewish `outsider'.Following an overview by the distinguished intellectual historianof German Jewry Steven Aschheim, who offers some comprehensive thoughts on theinsider/outsider dilemma in modern times and its relevance to eastern Europe,the discussion evolves around three major themes: the cultural conundrum; modesof acculturation, assimilation, and identity; and the minority's inclusion inor exclusion from the political agendas of certain east European societies. Itconcludes with a focus on two remarkable cities-Czernowitz and Vilnius-wherethe Jewish minority has often been conceived as being no less `inside' thanother groups.Contributors to the `cultural conundrum' section deal with artistsand writers from Romania and Poland who have gained wide public and criticalattention over the years, including Reuven Rubin, Itzik Manger, Avot Yeshurun,and Mihail Sebastian. Other essays discuss the work of a group of writers fromPoland, including Henryk Grynberg, Wilhelm Dichter, Joanna Olczak-Ronikier,Krzysztof Teodor Toeplitz, and Michal Glowinski, who reflected intensively ontheir experiences as Jews in the Second World War and tried to integrate theseexperiences into their often fractured identities. The complex personalevolution of these figures shows the multi-layered influences on theircreativity and imagination, while underscoring the dilemmas they faced to findpoints of meeting between their Jewish background and their national identity.The section on modes of acculturation, assimilation, and identityoffers detailed analyses of the ways in which multi-ethnic and multi-nationalsituations demand that the `outsider', consciously or unconsciously, developinner strategies to fashion a specific identity. Surveying such vibrant areasas Czechoslovakia and Poland between the two world wars and the city of Lwow inthe late nineteenth century, three essays present some of the choices Jews madein order to deal with the changing political and cultural context. Theirmeditations on belonging and not-belonging-onthe constitution of identity and its fluidity, and on the formation, breakdown,and reconfiguration of physical, mental, social, and geographicalborders-acquire a special relevance and urgency in these settings.How did Jews as `outsiders' configure their political allegiance ineastern Europe? How prominent were they in the radical elements of thecommunist movement in Russia? What tactics did they employ to safeguard theirfuture in such societies and what means did they employ to galvanize the`Jewish street'? These are some of the questions raised in the section onsociety and politics, which delves into such problematic terrain as `Jewishinformers', the `non-Jewish Jew', and `Jewish politics'.The concluding essays examine thetensions, paradoxes, and ironies of the phenomenon of the Jewish outsider inCzernowitz and Vilnius, two cities where, indeed, Jews were often construed tobe the true `insiders'.CONTRIBUTORS: Steven E. Aschheim, Karen Auerbach, RichardI. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel, Stefani Hoffman, Zvi Jagendorf, Hillel J. Kieval,Rachel Manekin, Amitai Mendelsohn, Joanna B. Michlic, Antony Polonsky, DavidRechter, Scott Ury, Leon Volovici, Ruth R. Wisse, Mordechai Zalkin. Seller Inventory # AAN9781906764005

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Book Description Liverpool University Press, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry examines problems ofJewish cultural and political orientations, associations, andself-identification within a broad framework. The contributors approach thepredicament of east European Jews in various settings: some focus primarily onthe Jews' inner development and outlook, while others discuss how elements ofthe majority society viewed their presence. Scholars of history, art history,and literature display originality and insight in illuminating the nuances andintricacies of the Jewish `outsider'.Following an overview by the distinguished intellectual historianof German Jewry Steven Aschheim, who offers some comprehensive thoughts on theinsider/outsider dilemma in modern times and its relevance to eastern Europe,the discussion evolves around three major themes: the cultural conundrum; modesof acculturation, assimilation, and identity; and the minority's inclusion inor exclusion from the political agendas of certain east European societies. Itconcludes with a focus on two remarkable cities-Czernowitz and Vilnius-wherethe Jewish minority has often been conceived as being no less `inside' thanother groups.Contributors to the `cultural conundrum' section deal with artistsand writers from Romania and Poland who have gained wide public and criticalattention over the years, including Reuven Rubin, Itzik Manger, Avot Yeshurun,and Mihail Sebastian. Other essays discuss the work of a group of writers fromPoland, including Henryk Grynberg, Wilhelm Dichter, Joanna Olczak-Ronikier,Krzysztof Teodor Toeplitz, and Michal Glowinski, who reflected intensively ontheir experiences as Jews in the Second World War and tried to integrate theseexperiences into their often fractured identities. The complex personalevolution of these figures shows the multi-layered influences on theircreativity and imagination, while underscoring the dilemmas they faced to findpoints of meeting between their Jewish background and their national identity.The section on modes of acculturation, assimilation, and identityoffers detailed analyses of the ways in which multi-ethnic and multi-nationalsituations demand that the `outsider', consciously or unconsciously, developinner strategies to fashion a specific identity. Surveying such vibrant areasas Czechoslovakia and Poland between the two world wars and the city of Lwow inthe late nineteenth century, three essays present some of the choices Jews madein order to deal with the changing political and cultural context. Theirmeditations on belonging and not-belonging-onthe constitution of identity and its fluidity, and on the formation, breakdown,and reconfiguration of physical, mental, social, and geographicalborders-acquire a special relevance and urgency in these settings.How did Jews as `outsiders' configure their political allegiance ineastern Europe? How prominent were they in the radical elements of thecommunist movement in Russia? What tactics did they employ to safeguard theirfuture in such societies and what means did they employ to galvanize the`Jewish street'? These are some of the questions raised in the section onsociety and politics, which delves into such problematic terrain as `Jewishinformers', the `non-Jewish Jew', and `Jewish politics'.The concluding essays examine thetensions, paradoxes, and ironies of the phenomenon of the Jewish outsider inCzernowitz and Vilnius, two cities where, indeed, Jews were often construed tobe the true `insiders'.CONTRIBUTORS: Steven E. Aschheim, Karen Auerbach, RichardI. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel, Stefani Hoffman, Zvi Jagendorf, Hillel J. Kieval,Rachel Manekin, Amitai Mendelsohn, Joanna B. Michlic, Antony Polonsky, DavidRechter, Scott Ury, Leon Volovici, Ruth R. Wisse, Mordechai Zalkin. Seller Inventory # AAN9781906764005

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