Following is the table of contents for the latest issue of the Jewish Quarterly Review.
Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Volume 112.2 Spring 2022
Eastern European Jewish Studies: The Past Thirty Years
This study, based on quantitative analysis of several bibliometric datasets, examines the position of East European Jewish studies. It is argued here that the number of studies on East European Jewry, as exemplified by the datasets analyzed here, is not proportional to its demographic, sociopolitical, or cultural position in history. The proportion seems rather to replicate the mental maps of “centrality” and “marginality” in the contemporary world, with Israel as an important exception. It is further suggested that power relations between centers and peripheries of academic Jewish studies go along the lines of the more general mechanisms of systemic inequity in academia, for which geography and social diversity, together with gender, are the primary and best recognized factors of underrepresentation. The underrepresentation of Eastern Europe is even more transparent when viewed through the map of the geographical origin of the scholarship. Most high-profile scholarship is produced in North America and Israel, while the number of contributions coming from Eastern Europe is negligible. This is surprising when confronted with the apparent boom of Jewish studies in several countries of the region. The sample material analyzed here suggests the existence of self-limiting East European practices which create alternative local circulations for publications produced and distributed there that never merge into a wider international exchange of knowledge.
One of the distinctive features of the Jewish Quarterly Review over the past seventeen years—from the time that the brilliant and dearly departed Elliott Horowitz and I became coeditors—has been our reliance on the mode of the forum to debate, revisit, and probe. Our first forum in volume 94 in 2004 brought together a diverse trio of scholars, Robert Bonfil, Gavriel Rosenfeld, and Sister Carol Rittner, to analyze Daniel Gold-hagen’s book A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair. Their critical and often sharp reflections inaugurated a new tradition and created a place of honor for the forum in JQR. Since that time, we have taken up many trends, themes, books, and scholars in our fora; they allow for more supple and compact engagement with scholarship in the field of Jewish studies than our formidable articles.
Victor Yefimovich Kelner, 1945–2021 (ז״ל)
Jan Gross’s Neighbors and Poland’s Narrative Shock
Precarious Muse: Holocaust Studies and Polish Jewish Studies
The Eastern European Problem of Hasidic Studies
This essay presents an analysis of a story which has been largely neglected by scholars of what has come to be known as the “Yavne Cycle,” and of talmudic narrative as whole: the Bavli’s version of the story of R. Dosa ben Harkinas. I begin with a close reading of the story, focusing on its sophisticated use of point of view and irony, and then go on to consider its literary and cultural contexts. I seek to establish its status as a high point of talmudic narrative art, an important and highly distinctive element of the Yavne Cycle, and a powerful counter-voice in the Bavli as a whole. I further argue that this story is part of a larger body of texts in the Bavli that challenge the Bavli’s dominant discourse and values. These sources may in turn reflect the work of a group of dissident scholars who were active in the Babylonian academies.
Using the memorbikher literature, which has received only little scholarly attention so far, this article explores the position of the Jewish midwife in eighteenth-century Germany. The memorbikher genre allows us to decipher the activity of many Jewish women who were involved in midwifery and did not leave any trace in other sources from the period. It shows that boundaries between “official” and “unofficial,” “professional” and “unprofessional” midwives were fuzzy, and that a significant number of deliveries in the Jewish community were performed by midwives who were not connected to any formal authority.
The article also traces the case of Haya’le, the Offenbach community’s official midwife, who was active in the city in the mid-eighteenth century, and whose illuminating case is described in detail in the local pinkas. Haya’le’s case enables us to grasp the complex status of Jewish midwives and to see them as active players who had the power to improve their positions, not as passive victims of the male establishment. The examination of memorbikher and pinkasim together provides a more complete picture of Jewish midwives in this period, and points to shifts in their social position that constituted an institutionalization of Jewish midwifery.
This essay offers a new perspective on childhood and youth in Morocco and western Algeria beginning in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Since most current studies of childhood and youth in that era focus mainly on Europe, and very seldom on Asia and Africa, our knowledge of the latter is limited, particularly with respect to the Jewish communities of Muslim lands as opposed to those of Europe. Furthermore, existing research has relied on texts authored by adults which normally depict childhood solely in the context of the Jewish calendar and Jewish life cycle, but ignores the political, social, and cultural processes set in motion during the mid-nineteenth century which precipitated changes across North Africa with a bearing on children and youth. Based on a review of French texts written by youth in Morocco and western Algeria during the early 1930s and published in a Morocco-based Jewish newspaper, I propose a model of multiple modernities in Jewish childhood and youth throughout the region. The model comprises a variety of programs: the adoption of modern European ideals, educational values, and leisure culture; the emergence of a modern national Jewish identity, Hebrew and Zionist; the continued observance of family and community traditions; and finally, the cultural segregation of Jewish youth from the surrounding population.
DaKH: On One Reference Sign in Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts
Joel Binder, Mordechai Weintraub
This essay describes a signe de renvoi that appears in Hebrew manuscripts from the tenth century up to the eighteenth. This sign can be found in almost all geographic regions in which Hebrew manuscripts were copied and in all literary genres. Unlike graphic signes de renvoi which appear in Hebrew manuscripts, the sign described in this paper consists of two Hebrew letters: דך. In the first part of the paper the various ways in which manuscript copyists employed this sign are described in detail. The second part describes the ancora sign, which can be found in Greek, and later also in Latin, papyri and manuscripts from the first century b.c.e. until the fifth century c.e., and attention is being called to the graphic and functional similitude between these two signs.
Submitted by Paul Chase, Penn Press Journals