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VCU Menorah Review Winter/Spring 2010
Number 72
For the Enrichment of Jewish Thought

Books in Brief: New and Notable

Testimony, Tensions, and Tikkun: Teaching the Holocaust in Colleges and Universities, edited and introduced by Myrna Goldenberg and Rochelle L. Millen. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

The Holocaust has been forcing scholars for more than 60 years to assess its impact on their disciplines. Educators whose work is represented in this volume ask their students to grapple with one of the grand horrors of the 20th century and to accept the responsibility of building a more just, peaceful world (tikkun olam). They acknowledge that their task as teachers of the Holocaust is both imperative and impossible; they must teach something that cannot be taught, as one contributor puts it, and they recognize the formidable limits of language, thought, imagination, and comprehension that thwart and obscure the story they seek to tell. Yet they are united in their keen sense of pursuing an effort that is pivotal to our understanding of the past, and to whatever prospects we may have for a more decent and humane future. A Holocaust course refers to an instructional offering that may focus entirely on the Holocaust; may serve as a touchstone in a larger program devoted to genocide studies; or may constitute a unit within a wider curriculum, including art, literature, ethics, history, religious studies, jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, film studies, Jewish studies, German studies, composition, urban studies, or architecture. It may also constitute a main thread that runs through an interdisciplinary course. The first section of Testimony, Tensions, and Tikkun can be read as an injunction to teach and act in a manner consistent with a profound cautionary message: that there can be no tolerance for moral neutrality about the Holocaust, and that there is no subject in the humanities or social sciences where its shadow has not reached. The second section is devoted to the process and nature of students’ learning. These chapters describe efforts to guide students through terrain that hides cognitive and emotional land mines. The authors examine their responsibility to foster students’ personal connection with the events of the Holocaust, but in such a way that they not instill hopelessness about the future. The third and final section moves the subject of the Holocaust out of the classroom and into broader institutional settings: universities and community colleges and their surrounding communities, along with museums and memorial sites. For the educators represented here, teaching itself is testimony. The story of the Holocaust is one that the world will fail to master at its own peril.

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher.

In 70 CE, after a four-year war, three Roman legions besieged and eventual devastated Jerusalem, destroying Herod’s Temple. Sixty years later, after further violent rebellions and the city’s final destruction, Hadrian built the new city of Aelia Capitolina where Jerusalem had once stood. Jews were barred from entering its territory. They were taxed simply for being Jewish. They were forbidden to worship their God. They were wholly reviled.

What brought about this conflict between the Romans and the subjects they had previously treated with tolerance? Martin Goodman examines this conflict, its causes, and its consequences with unprecedented authority and thoroughness. He delineates the incompatibility between the cultural, political, and religious beliefs and practices of the two peoples. He explains how Rome’s interests were served by a policy of brutality against the Jews. He makes clear how the original Christians first distanced themselves from their origins, and then became increasingly hostile toward Jews as Christian influence spread within the empire. The book thus also offers an exceptional account of the origins of anti-Semitism, the history of which still reverberates.

Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible by Ronald Hendel.
New York: Oxford University Press.

According to an old tradition preserved in the Palestinian Targums, the Hebrew Bible is the Book of Memories. The sacred past recalled in the Bible serves as a model and wellspring for the present. The remembered past, says Ronald Hendel, is the material with which biblical Israel constructed its identity as a people, a religion, and a culture. It is a mixture of history, collective memory, folklore, and literary brilliance, and is often colored by political and religious interests. In Israel’s formative years, these memories circulated orally in the context of family and tribe. Over time they came to be crystallized in various written texts. The Hebrew Bible is a vast compendium of writings, spanning a thousand-year period from roughly the twelfth to the second century BCE, and representing perhaps a small slice of the writings of that period. The texts are often overwritten by later texts, creating a complex pastiche of text, reinterpretation, and commentary. The religion and culture of ancient Israel are expressed by these texts, and in no small part also created by them, as they formulate new or altered conceptions of the sacred past. Remembering Abraham explores the interplay of culture, history, and memory in the Hebrew Bible. Hendel examines the Hebrew Bible’s portrayal of Israel and its history, and correlates the biblical past with our own sense of the past. He addresses the ways that culture, memory, and history interweave in the self-fashioning of Israel’s identity, and in the biblical portrayals of the patriarchs, the Exodus, and King Solomon. A concluding chapter explores the broad horizons of the biblical sense of the past. This accessibly written book represents the mature thought of one of our leading scholars of the Hebrew Bible.

This book is the first to explore fully the role that Zionism played in the political thought of Winston Churchill. Michael Makovsky traces the development of Churchill’s positions toward Zionism from the period leading up to the First World War through his final years as prime minister in the 1950s. Setting Churchill’s attitudes toward Zionism within the context of his overall worldview as well as within the context of 20th-century British diplomacy, Makovsky offers a unique contribution to our understanding of Churchill.

Moving chronologically, the book looks at Churchill’s career within the context of several major themes: his own worldview and political strategies, his understanding of British imperial interests, the moral impact of the Holocaust, his commitment to ideals of civilization, and his historical sentimentalism. While Churchill was largely sympathetic to the Jews and to the Zionist impulse, he was not without inconsistencies in his views and policies over the years. Makovsky’s book illuminates key aspects of Middle Eastern history; Zionist history; and British political, imperial, and diplomatic history; and further helps us understand one of the pivotal figures of the 20th century.

Culture Front: Representing Jews in Eastern Europe, edited by Benjamin Nathans and Gabriella Safran. Philadelphia: Penn Press.

For most of the last four centuries, the broad expanse of territory between the Baltic and the Black Seas, known since the Enlightenment as Eastern Europe, has been home to the world's largest Jewish population. The Jews of Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Galicia, Romania, and Ukraine were prodigious generators of modern Jewish culture. Their volatile blend of religious traditionalism and precocious quests for collective self-emancipation lies at the heart of Culture Front.

This volume brings together contributions by both historians and literary scholars to take readers on a journey across the cultural history of East European Jewry from the mid-17th century to the present. The articles collected here explore how Jews and their Slavic neighbors produced and consumed imaginative representations of Jewish life in chronicles, plays, novels, poetry, memoirs, museums and more.
Culture Front puts culture at the forefront of analysis, treating verbal artistry itself as a kind of frontier through which Jews and Slavs imagined, experienced, and negotiated with themselves and each other. The book’s four sections investigate the distinctive themes of that frontier: violence and civility, popular culture, politics and aesthetics, and memory. The result is a fresh exploration of ideas and movements that helped change the landscape of modern Jewish history.

Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews by Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Written for religious and nonreligious people alike in clear and accessible language, the authors explore a teaching central to both Jewish and Christian traditions: the teaching that at the end of time God will cause the dead to live again. Although this expectation, known as the resurrection of the dead, is widely understood to have been a part of Christianity from its beginnings nearly 2000 years ago, many people are surprised to learn that the Jews believed in resurrection long before the emergence of Christianity. In this sensitively written and historically accurate book, Madigan and Levenson aim to clarify confusion and dispel misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins.

A History of Modern Israel by Colin Shindler. West Nyack, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Shindler’s book traces Israel’s history across sixty years, from its optimistic beginnings - immigration, settlement, the creation of its towns and institutions - through the wars with its Arab neighbours, and the confrontation with the Palestinians. Shindler paints a broad canvas which affords unusual insights into this multicultural society, forged from over a hundred different Jewish communities and united by a common history. Despite these commonalities, however, Israel in the 21st century is riven by ideological disputes and different interpretations of Jewishness and Judaism. Nowhere are these divisions more revealingly portrayed than in the lives and ideologies of Israel’s leaders. Biographical portraits of Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime-minister, Yitzhak Rabin, whose assassination is still a traumatic memory for many Israelis, and the controversial Ariel Sharon, offer fascinating examinations of those who have led the country to where it is today. Shindler offers unusual insights into this multicultural society, forged from over a hundred different Jewish communities and united by a common history.

Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life by Hilary Putnam. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Putnam questions the thought of three major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, and Emmanuel Levinas to help him reconcile the philosophical and religious sides of his life. An additional presence in the book is Ludwig Wittgenstein who, although not a practicing Jew, thought about religion in ways that Putnam juxtaposes to the views of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Levinas. Putnam explains the leading ideas of each of these great thinkers, bringing out what, in his opinion, constitutes the decisive intellectual and spiritual contributions of each of them. Although the religion discussed is Judaism, the depth and originality of these philosophers, as incisively interpreted by Putnam, make their thought nothing less than a guide to life.

The Jewish Bible: JPS Guide, prepared by multiple authors, is an invaluable companion to the Hebrew Bible, providing readers with ready access to important facts and Bible basics: how the Bible became the Bible, its origins, content, and organization; distinctions between the Jewish Bible (Tanach) and Christian Bibles; a short history of Bible translations and how they differ; Bible commentaries; storytelling, poetry, law, prophecy, and Wisdom literature; popular methods of Bible study; finding meaning through midrash. In addition, there are summaries of all the biblical books; dozens of text boxes; an extensive glossary of Bible terms, places, and people; maps, charts, and tables; and large foldout timelines and family trees.

Hitler, the Germans, and the Final Solution by Ian Kershaw. Yale University Press.

This volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Kershaw’s research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sectionsHitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiographyand Kershaw provides an introduction and a closing section in the uniqueness of Nazism and on war and violence in 20th and 21st century Europe.

Hebrew Writers on Writing, edited by Peter Cole. San Antonio: Trinity University Press.

The anthology offers a fresh look at well-known figures such as Haim Nahman Bialik and Yehuda Amichai, and also introduces to English a host of fascinating yet little- or never before translated writers. It explores, as no English volume has done before, the shifting cultural and political landscape out of which the literature emerges and provides an intimate vision of a startlingly rich and diverse body of work.

The Catholic Church and the Jews, Argentina, 1933-1945 by Gabriela Ben-Dror. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

The impact of events in Nazi Germany and Europe was keenly felt in neutral Argentina among its predominantly Catholic population and its significant Jewish minority. The author considers the images of Jews presented in standard Catholic teaching of that era, the attitudes of the lower clergy and faithful toward the country’s Jewish citizens, and the response of the politically influential Church hierarchy to the national debate on accepting Jewish refugees from Europe. The issue was complicated by such factors as the position taken by the Vatican, Argentina’s unstable political situation, and the sizeable number of citizens of German origin who were Nazi sympathizers eager to promote German interests.

New Age Judaism, edited by Celia E. Rothenberg and Anne Vallely. Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell.

Experimentation with yoga, drumming, meditation, eclectic musical forms, Buddhism, and egalitarian prayer were once the province of the most marginal of Jewish religious practices. Today, however, they are being embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm within mainstream Jewish denominations, revealing the gradual normalization of New Age Judaism’s religious forms. New Age Judaism focuses much-needed scholarly attention on these new forms and expressions of Judaism both within and outside of the synagogue setting.

Memories of Jewish Life: From Italy to Jerusalem, 1918-1960 by Augusto Segre. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

In this lyrical memoir, Augusto Segre not only recounts his rich life experiences but also evokes the changing world of Italian Jewry in the 20th century. Raised in the traditional Jewish community of Casale Monferrato in the former ghetto, Segre depicts the changes wrought on his people by emancipation, fascism, world wars, and the Holocaust. The trend of Italian Jews toward assimilation was evident in Segre’s time, and an awareness of it pervades this work, providing a rare glimpse into a traditional, religious, and vibrant working-class Jewish community that no longer exists.

Jewishness and the Human Dimension by Jonathan Boyarin. New York: Fordham University Press.

The essays in this book are an important contribution to understanding the modern identity of Jewishness. It is the author’s report on an effort to bring Jewishness, broadly construed, into dialogue with a wide range of thought in contemporary criticism, while linking those themes in turn to the question of planetary crisis.

Crisis, Revolution, and Russian Jews by Jonathan Frankel. New York: Cambridge University Press.

This collection of essays examines the politicization and the politics of the Jewish people in the Russian empire during the late tsarist period. The focal point is the Russian revolution of 1905, when the political mobilization of the Jewish youth took on massive proportions, producing a cohort of radicalized activists committed to socialism, nationalism, or both. Frankel describes the dynamics of 1905 and the leading role of the intelligentsia as revolutionaries, ideologues, and observers. But he also looks backward to the emergent stage of modern Jewish politics in both Russia and the West and forward to the part played by the veterans of 1905 in Palestine and the United States.

Jewish Philanthropy and Enlightenment in Late-Tsarist Russia by Brian Horowitz. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

The Society for the Promotion of Enlightenment among the Jews of Russia ()PE) was a philanthropic organization, the oldest Jewish organization in Russia. Founded by a few wealthy Jews in St. Petersburg who wanted to improve opportunities for Jewish people in Russia by increasing their access to education and modern values, OPE was secular and nonprofit. The group emphasized the importance of modern education both for the unity of Jewish culture and to help Jews integrate themselves into Russian society by opening, supporting, and subsidizing schools throughout the country. This book offers a model of individuals and institutions struggling with the concern so central to contemporary Jews in America and around the world: how to retain a strong Jewish identity while fully integrating into modern society.

We Remember with Reverence and Love: American Jews and the Myth of Silence after the Holocaust, 1945-1962 by Hasia R. Diner. New York University Press.

It was an accepted truth that after World War II, American Jews chose to be silent about the mass murder of millions of their European brothers and sisters at the hands of the Nazis. The Jewish community simply did not memorialize the Holocaust until the Eichmann trial. In a compelling work, Diner shows this assumption of silence to be categorically false. Uncovering a rich and varied trove of remembrances, her new book shows that publicly memorializing those who died in the Holocaust arose from a deep and powerful element of Jewish life in postwar America. She marshals enough evidence to dismantle the idea of American Jewish forgetfulness and brings to life the moving and manifold ways that this widely diverse group paid tribute to the tragedy. Her book radically alters our understanding not only of postwar American Jewry, but of the ways that the Holocaust and the 1960s alike continue to reverberate in our lives.

The Making of Modern Israel, 1948-1967 by Leslie Stein. Malden, MA: The Polity Press.

On May 14, 1948 the State of Israel was declared by David Ben-Gurion at a small gathering assembled in the main hall of the Tel Aviv Museum. Within a time frame of 19 years, culminating in the Six-Day War, Israel fought three separate wars and within its first four years, thanks to mass immigration, its population doubled. Furthermore, Israel had been confronted with acute economic difficulties, intra-Jewish ethnic tensions, a problematic Arab minority and a secular-religious divide. Apart from defense issues, Israel faced a generally hostile or, at best, indifferent international community rendering it hard pressed in securing great power patronage or even official sympathy and understanding. Based on a wide range of sources, both in Hebrew and English, this book contains a judicious synthesis of the received literature to yield the general reader and student alike a reliable, balanced, and novel account of Israel’s fateful and turbulent beginnings.

Religion or Ethnicity? Jewish Identities in Evolution, edited by Zvi Gitelman. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Leading scholars trace the evolution of Jewish identity and examine Judaism from the Greco-Roman age through medieval times, modern western and eastern Europe, to today. Jewish identity has been defined as an ethnicity, a nation, a culture, and even a race. This book questions what it means to be Jewish. The contributions show how the Jewish people have evolved over time in different ethnic, religious, and political movements.

Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosua by Allen Wells. Durhan, NC: Duke University Press.

750 Jewish refugees fled Nazi Germany and founded the agricultural settlement of Sosua in the Dominican Republic, then ruled by one of Latin America’s most repressive dictators. Wells tells the compelling story of General Trujillo, Franklin Roosevelt, and those fortunate pioneers who founded a successful employee-owned dairy cooperative on the north shore of the island. At the Evian Conference in 1938, the Dominican Republic was the only nation that agreed to open its doors. Trujillo sought to whiten the Dominican populace, welcoming Jewish refugees who were themselves subject to racist scorn in Europe. The Roosevelt administration sanctioned the Sosua colony. Wells weaves vivid narratives about the founding of Sosua, the original settlers and their families, and the life of the unconventional beach-front colony.

From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust by Meir Litvak and Ester Webman. New York: Columbia University Press.

The authors track the evolution of post-World War II perceptions of the Holocaust and their parallel emergence in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab attitudes toward the Holocaust became entangled with broader anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiments. They track this discourse through the works of leading intellectuals. Their chronological history provides a remarkable perspective on the origins, development, and tenacity of anti-Holocaust belief.

The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Wright develops a hidden pattern that he great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved and one that reveals the key to harmony among the Abrahamic faiths. Taking the reader from the Stone Age to the Information Age, Wright overturns bas assumptions about the three religions. Rooting his research in archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, his provocative findings are sure to inspire new debate.

Pontius Pilate, Anti-Semitism, and the Passion in Medieval Art by Colum Hourihane. Princeton University Press.

For the first time, Hourihane provides a complete look at the shifting visual and textual representations of Pilate throughout early Christian and medieval art. He examines neglected and sometimes sympathetic portrayals, and shows how negative characterizations of Pilate, which were developed for political and religious purposes, reveal the anti-Semitism of the medieval period. Combining a wealth of previously unpublished sources with explorations of historical developments, this book puts forth for the first time an encyclopedic portrait of a complex legend.

Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald 1935-1945, edited by Richard Breitman et al. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

New evidence presented in this book challenges widely held opinions about Franklin D. Roosevelt's views on the rescue of European Jews before and during the Holocaust. The struggles of presidential confidant James G. McDonald, who resigned as League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1935, and his allies to transfer many of the otherwise doomed are disclosed here for the first time. Although McDonald’s efforts as chairman of FDR’s advisory committee on refugees from May 1938 until nearly the end of the war were hampered by the pervasive anti-Semitic attitudes of those years, fears about security, and changing presidential wartime priorities, tens of thousands did find haven. McDonald's 1935-1936 diary entries and the other primary sources presented here offer new insights into these conflicts and into Roosevelt's inconsistent attitudes toward the Jewish question in Europe.

Jewish Sages of Today: Profiles of Extraordinary People, edited by Aryeh Rubin. New York Devora Publishing.

Twenty-seven people who are making a profound and positive impact on the Jewish world are profiled. They are individuals who, through their Judaism and their relationship to their work, are living meaningful and purposeful lives, despite the many challenges of our times. They are an eclectic group, drawn from across the U.S. and Israel, from a variety of professions, and diverse in religious observance.

The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, edited by Danya Ruttenberg. New York University Press.

With incisive essays from contemporary rabbis, scholars, and writers, this collection not only surveys the challenges that sexuality poses to Jewish belief, but also offers fresh new perspectives and insights on the changing place of sexuality within Jewish theology and Jewish lives. Topics covered, among others, are monogamy, interfaith relationships, reproductive technology, and homosexuality.

Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal by Dana Evan Kaplan. New York: Columbia University Press.

While pessimists worry about the vanishing American Jew, Kaplan focuses on the creative responses to contemporary spiritual trends that have made a Jewish religious renaissance possible. He believes that the reorientation of American Judaism has been a bottom up process, resisted by elites who have only reluctantly responded to the demands of the spiritual marketplace. The American Jewish denominational structure is therefore weakening at the same time that religious experimentation is rising, leaving to innovative approaches that are supplanting existing institutions. The result is an exciting transformation of what it means to be a religious Jew in 21st century America.

Jewish Musical Modernism, Old and New, edited by PhilipV. Bohlman. The University of Chicago Press.

This volume’s contributors present a series of essays that trace the intersections of Jewish history and music from the rise of early modern Europe to the present. Covering the sacred and secular, the European and non-European, and all the domains where these realms converge, the essays recast the established history of Jewish culture and its influences on modernity. They expand the boundaries of the field to an unprecedented degree.

Some Measure of Justice: The Holocaust Era Restitution Campaign of the 1990s by Michael R. Marrus. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

During the 1990s, claimants and their lawyers sought to rectify the horrendous wrongs committed more than 50 years earlier. This book explores the most recent wave of justice-seeking: why it emerged when it did, how it fits with earlier reparation to the Jewish people, its significance for the historical representation of the Holocaust, and its implications for justice-seeking in our time. Ultimate the author asks: What constitutes justice for a great historic wrong? And, is such justice possible?

America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler. New York: William Morrow.

Feiler travels across the country to experience the influence of Moses firsthand. He sails on the trail of the pilgrims who quoted Moses on the Mayflower, climbs the bell tower of Independence Hall where the Liberty Bell bears a quote from Moses, uncovers the story of how Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams proposed Moses be on the seal of the United States, and so on. He shows that the country's affinity for Moses dates back to Columbus and has continued through every major social and political movement from the Revolution to the present.

Far from Zion: In Search of a Global Jewish Community by Charles London. New York: William Morrow.

London explains that he feels little connection to Judaism or it people until he goes on a year-long quest to seek out Jewish communities around the world. The journey is both physical and spiritual; he travels thousands of miles and explores the depths of his own soul. He is perplexed and fascinated by the longing for Zion; and equally intrigued by Jewish people in nations all over the world who choose to stay put, establishing strong roots among cultures where they are the clear minority. In the end, he is profoundly inspired by the people and communities he has met.

The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture by Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Maria Rosa Menocal, and Abigail Krasner Balbale. Yale University Press.

This lavishly illustrated book explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tylaytula, now Toledo, in the 11th century and traced the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.

Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer. New York University Press.

The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor: Musical Authority, Cultural Investment by Judah M. Cohen. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Cohen provides an unprecedent look into the meaning of attaining musical authority among American Reform Jews at the turn of the 21st century. How do aspiring cantors adapt traditional musical forms to the practices of contemporary American congregations? What is the cantor’s role in American Jewish religious life today? Cohen follows cantorial students at the School of Sacred Music over the course of their training, as they prepare to become modern Jewish musical leaders. Opening a window on the practical, social, and cultural aspects of aspiring to musical authority, this book provides unusual insights into issues of musical tradition, identity, gender, community, and high and low musical culture.

Ann Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol. New York: Roaring Book Press.

This book is an indispensable guide to her tragic but inspiring story. It is a beautifully designed and elegantly crafted book as a stand-alone introduction to Anne’s life and a photographic companion to a classic of Holocaust literature.

The Atheist and the God Particle by Edwin Eugene Klingman. San Gregorio, CA: Ekom Publishing.

Atheism relies heavily on science for self-justification, but the God Particle has been a missing link. Scientists currently believe the Large Hadron Collider is sufficient to find the particle if it exists. So if it cannot be found, there will be serious implications for a larger sector of physics and for atheists, which is discussed at length in this book. While most popular atheistic books are simply attacks on religion with little insight into the meaning and foundation of atheistic beliefs, the author spends considerable effort defining the atheist’s belief system. He further examines the influence of these beliefs on science, philosophy, and society. For those who are serious about the implications of atheism, either pro or con, this book is essential to understand the significance of the God Particle concept.

The Holocaust: A Concise History by Doris L. Bergen. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

In examining one of the defining events of the 20th century, Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, this history traces not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Gypsies, homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the disabled and other groups deemed undesirable. With clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi program of conquest and genocide purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Including illustrations and firsthand accounts from perpetrators, victims and eyewitnesses, the book is immediate, human, and eminently readable.

Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel by Elhanan Yakira. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The common theme of the author’s three essays is the uses and abuses of the Holocaust as an ideological arm in the anti-Zionist campaigns. The first essay examines the French group of left-wing Holocaust deniers. The second deals with a number of Israeli academics and intellectuals, the so-called post-Zionists, and tries to follow their use of the Holocaust in their different attempts to demonize and delegitimize Israel. The third deals with Hannah Arendt and her relations with Zionism and the State of Israel. Yakira argues that each of these is a particular expression of an outrage: anti-Zionism and a wholesale delegitimation of Israel.

Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters by Louis Begley. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Begley dissects the prosecution of Dreyfus, teasing apart a web of lies, forgeries, and virulent prejudice. Bringing into focus the details of this famously complicated case, he illuminate remarkable parallels with our own time; questions raised by the Dreyfus case hold new relevance. As we struggle with the moral, legal and political issues at hand, Begley’s book warns us that the Dreyfus Affair really does matter.

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