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Reconstructing Jewish Identity in Pre- and Post-Holocaust Literature and Culture

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Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich and Malgorzata Pakier

The volume aims to illuminate the issue of Jewish identity in the context of its pre-Holocaust European origins and post-Holocaust American and Israeli settings. Jewish experience and identity construction in Europe, America and Israel are presented through diverse perspectives: Merchant of Venice in the light of Levinas’ ethics, Italian Jews in the 20th century, German-speaking Jewish authors in the Nazi 1930s, the Hassidic culture of learning, the representation of contemporary Poland in Jewish photography, Jewish life in America in a kashrut observing Orthodox neighbourhood, Kaballah in feminist cyberpunk fiction by Marge Piercy, constructing Jewish identity in British fiction in novels by Will Self and Muriel Spark, and Israeli films focusing on ethical solutions to political problems.

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Drama as a Political Code: Professor Mannheim at the Habima Theater, 1934. Na’ama Sheffi

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Drama as a Political Code: Professor Mannheim at the Habima Theater, 1934 Na’ama Sheffi The 20 years in which the National-Socialist movement developed from a mass movement into the ruling party were also the years in which a large number of German works were translated into Hebrew. There is a rational explanation for this seemingly paradoxical occurrence: the large percentage of Jews among the authors of the works translated from German attested to an ideational war against Nazi attempts to marginalize Jewish culture, and after the Nazis came into power – eradicate it entirely. Since the end of the 18th century, when some of Moses Mendelssohn’s writings were translated into Hebrew, this was the first time that the percentage of Hebrew translations of works written by German- Jewish writers outnumbered those of non-Jewish writers. This choice of reper- toire was an indication of the use made of German culture as a tool in the pro- cess of shaping an Eretz Israeli identity. Publicistic articles also attested to the fact that foreign culture – German culture – was employed in the service of the consolidation of a local identity. An outstanding example can be seen in the play Professor Mannheim produced by the Habima Theater in the 1934/5 season, which depicted the evolving split between Germans and Jews. The focal point of this article is the analysis of the attitude of the Eretz Israeli intellectuals to the play; this study will offer a closer look at the way in which the Yishuv intellectu- als...

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