Jewish Book Month begins today! In honor of this occasion, we offer the following reading selections to help further your understanding of Jewish history and culture:
This volume, the third in a series of James G. McDonald’s edited diaries and papers, covers his work from 1945, with the formation of the Anglo-American Committee, through 1947, with the United Nations' decision to partition Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The “Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine” was a group charged with finding a solution to the problem of European Jewish Refugees in the context of the increasingly unstable British Mandate in Palestine. McDonald’s diaries and papers offer the most thorough personal account we have of the Committee and the politics surrounding it.
When American Jewish men intermarry, goes the common assumption, they and their families are “lost” to the Jewish religion. In this provocative book, Keren R. McGinity shows that it is not necessarily so. She looks at intermarriage and parenthood through the eyes of a post-World War II cohort of Jewish men and discovers what intermarriage has meant to them and their families. She finds that these husbands strive to bring up their children as Jewish without losing their heritage.
Though relatively fleeting in rock history, the "RJC moment" forged a new vision of Jewish identity in the contemporary world, one that sought to restore the bond between past and present, to interrogate the limits of racial and gender categories, and to display the tensions between secularism and observance, traditional values and contemporary concerns.
In this major biography of an important politician and statesman, Dean Kotlowski presents the life of Paul V. McNutt, a great understudied figure in the era of FDR. McNutt was governor of Indiana, high commissioner to the Philippines (while serving he helped 1,300 Jews flee Nazi Germany for Manila), head of the WWII Federal Security Agency, and would-be presidential candidate.
As a force that had to serve two masters, both the Jewish population of the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania and its German occupiers, the Kovno Jewish ghetto police walked a fine line between helping Jews survive and meeting Nazi orders. In 1942 and 1943 some of its members secretly composed this history and buried it in tin boxes. The book offers a rare glimpse into the complex situation faced by the ghetto leadership and the Jewish policemen, caught between carrying out the demands of the Germans and mollifying the anger and frustration of their own people.
At the turn of the 20th century, Jewish families scattered by migration could stay in touch only through letters. But for many Jews who were unaccustomed to communicating their public and private thoughts in writing, correspondence was a challenge. How could they make sure their spelling was correct and they were organizing their thoughts properly? A popular solution was to consult brivnshtelers, Yiddish-language books of model letters. Dear Mendl, Dear Reyzl translates selections from these model-letter books and includes essays and annotations that illuminate their role as guides to a past culture.