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Against the Grain: Jewish Intellectuals in Hard Times

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Against the Grain

Jewish Intellectuals in Hard Times

Edited by Ezra Mendelsohn, Stefani Hoffman, & Richard I. Cohen

320 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-002-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (October 2013)

eISBN 978-1-78238-003-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…a stellar anthology that belongs not only in every university library but also in the libraries of Jewish institutions serving serious readers.”  ·  Jewish Book World

“[T]he essays are well-written, clear, and interesting…the collection reads well and is informed by a high level of scholarship and expertise and has a diversity that should appeal to many readers.”  ·  Michael L. Morgan, Chancellor’s Professor, Emeritus, Indiana University


Highlighting the seminal role of German Jewish intellectuals and ideologues in forming and transforming the modern Jewish world, this volume analyzes the political roads taken by German Jewish thinkers; the impact of the Holocaust on the Central and East European Jewish intelligentsia; and the conundrum of modern Jewish identity. Several of German Jewry’s most outstanding figures such as Scholem, Strauss, and Kohn are discussed. Inspired by Steven E. Aschheim’s work, several contributors focus on the fraught relationship between German and East European Jews (the so-called Ostjuden) and between German Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. More generally, this book examines how Central European Jewish thinkers reacted to the terrible crises of the twentieth century—to war, genocide, and the existential threat to the very existence of the Jewish people. It is essential reading for those interested in the triumphs and tragedies of modern European Jewry.

Ezra Mendelsohn (1940-2015) was Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry and in Russian Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was author of Painting a People: Maurycy Gottlieb and Jewish Art (2002).

Stefani Hoffman is the former director of the Mayrock Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is co-editor of Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry (with Richard I. Cohen and Jonathan Frankel, 2010).

Richard I. Cohen holds the Paulette and Claude Kelman Chair in French Jewry Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has recently edited Visualizing and Exhibiting Jewish Space and History (vol. 26 of Studies in Contemporary Jewry, 2012).

Subject: Jewish StudiesHistory: 20th Century to Present
Area: GermanyCentral/Eastern Europe


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