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Building a Diaspora

Russian Jews in Israel, Germany and the USA

Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Mikhail Lyubansky, Olaf Gluckner, Paul Harris, Yael Israel, Willy Jasper and Julius Schoeps

The crumbling of the USSR has set Russian-speaking Jews free to emigrate. From the threat of antisemitism to economic disaster, their “good reasons” to do so were numerous and within one and a half decade most of them moved out and scattered throughout the world. This book is about the million that settled in Israel, the half million now in the US and the 200.000 who settled in Germany.
This book presents the comparative work of an international team of researchers which delves into the building of communities, the formulation of collective identities and the articulation of public discourse by people who, after eighty years of Marxism-Leninism and compulsory removal from Jewish culture, are now reconstructing their ethnicity.
In every place, they face contrasting challenges and as a whole, constitute an ideal case for the study of the making of contemporary transnational diasporas.

Sparks of the Logos

Essays in Rabbinic Hermeneutics

Daniel Boyarin

There are two major themes running through the essays reprinted in this book: the first is the typological relation of rabbinic Judaism to Christianity, while the second is the re-animation, by going back to the roots, of a rabbinic Judaism that would not manifest some of the deleterious social ideologies and practices that modern orthodox Judaism generally does, a project that was thought of as “radical orthodoxy,” long before that term achieved its current—and almost diametrically opposing—sense among Christian theologians.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part consists of several essays on midrash, exploring various aspects of rabbinic culture and their relation to hermeneutic practices. These papers are essentially more detailed studies of particular issues that were raised in two of Boyarin’s books, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash and Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (California, 1993). The second part of the book consists of reprints of four essays published in the journal Diacritics during that same decade. The material treated in the book should be of interest to historians of Judaism and Christianity, Talmudists, and scholars and readers interested in the cultural study of religion.