Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust

In the aftermath of World War II, virtually all European countries struggled with the dilemma of citizens who had collaborated with Nazi occupiers. Jewish communities in particular faced the difficult task of confronting collaborators among their own ranks—those who had served on Jewish councils, worked as ghetto police, or acted as informants. European Jews established their own tribunals—honor courts—for dealing with these crimes, while Israel held dozens of court cases against alleged collaborators under a law passed two years after its founding. In Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust, editors Laura Jockusch and Gabriel N. Finder bring together scholars of Jewish social, cultural, political, and legal history to examine this little-studied and fascinating postwar chapter of Jewish history.

The volume begins by presenting the rationale for punishing wartime collaborators and purging them from Jewish society. Contributors go on to examine specific honor court cases in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, and France. One essay also considers the absence of an honor court in Belgium. Additional chapters detail the process by which collaborators were accused and brought to trial, the treatment of women in honor courts, and the unique political and social place of honor courts in the nascent state of Israel. Taken as a whole, the essays in Jewish Honor Courts illustrate the great caution and integrity brought to the agonizing task of identifying and punishing collaborators, a process that helped survivors to reclaim their agency, reassert their dignity, and work through their traumatic experiences.

For many years, the honor courts have been viewed as a taboo subject, leaving their hundreds of cases unstudied. Jewish Honor Courts uncovers this forgotten chapter of Jewish history and shows it to be an integral part of postwar Jewish rebuilding. Scholars of Jewish, European, and Israeli history as well as readers interested in issues of legal and social justice will be grateful for this detailed volume.

Finalist of the 2015 National Jewish Book Awards

Avigail Manekin Bamberger. 2015. “Jewish legal formulae in the aramaic incantation bowls.” Aramaic Studies, 13, 1, Pp. 69-81.
Prioritizing Death and Society: The Archaeology of Chalcolithic and Contemporary Cemeteries in the Southern Levant

Death, grief and funerary practices are central to any analysis of social, anthropological, artistic and religious worlds. However, cemeteries - the key conceptual and physical site for death - have rarely been the focus of archaeological research. 'Prioritizing Death and Society' examines the structure, organisation and significance of cemeteries in the Southern Levant, one of the key areas for both migration and settlement in both prehistory and antiquity. Spanning 6,000 years, from the Chalcolithic to the present day, 'Prioritizing Death and Society' presents new research to analyse the formation and regional variation in cemeteries. By examining both ancient and present-day - nationally Jewish - cemeteries, the study reveals the commonalities and differences in the ways in which death has been and continues to be ritualised, memorialised and understood.

“A much-needed analysis of the rich dataset for Chalcolithic burials. Comparative analysis of more recent cemeteries highlights aspects of Chalcolithic activity that might otherwise have escaped comment. Nativ has made an important contribution: it deserves a wide audience.”
– Graham Philip, University of Durham
“Elegantly illustrates the power of the comparative approach and the methods of archaeology to generate new insights into human societies of the past and present. It is essential reading for all archaeologists.”
– Katina T. Lillios, University of Iowa, USA
“In this disciplined, boundary-transgressing study, Nativ offers archaeologists a profoundly thoughtful gift, showing how material discourses and negotiations surrounding death reveal deep truths about the societies that produced them.” – Raphael Greenberg, Tel Aviv University, Israel

What kind of Body? The Affects of the MinGuf process on intersexed peoples' lives
Intersexed people are born with many sexual characteristics which differ from the typical male/female bodies. Usually intersexed people are concealed from the public discourse and living with secrecy. How do intersexed people experience their lives? How do they live in the Israeli society or in any society with intersexed bodies?
This book analyzes intersexed bodies' variations; it describes the bio-medical discourse on intersexuality and the medical treatment exists in Israel and in many countries. It also follows the constant conflict between the body and the social norms. While the human body undefinable, multi-characteristic and infinite being, the social norms and cultural values reproduce and sustain the ideology of two possible human bodies, and constrain natural variation of soma-sexual developments. This conflict establishes the MinGuf process (soma-normalization process), in which the medical system normalizing intersexed bodies to fit to one sex/one gender category.
The MinGuf process includes diagnosing intersex bodies, shaping it through cosmetic surgeries and hormonal replacement therapy and follows it through time. Secrecy exists and plays significant role in the MinGuf process and together with the shaping practices intersexed people supposed to be in normal male/female bodies and heterosexual identities. Are they? Is it possible to normalize intersex bodies? How do parents of intersex people in Israel deals with the MinGuf process? on these questions and many more this book tries to answer in order to expose the crucial price intersexed people pay in order to exist and live in society who worship (imaginable) norms.
Meditations on Authority

This volume, the first in the Notebook Series of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, addresses the notion of authority in a set of multi-disciplinary and inter-cultural perspectives.

The essays share a meditative quality, perhaps more accessible than the usual academic format would allow: a great mathematician reflects on the kind of authority mathematical truths can (and cannot) claim; historians explore shifting forms of institutional authority in different historical contexts; a linguist probes the authority implicit in the use of the second person singular in modern Hebrew oral narratives by soldiers serving in the territories; a political scientist offers an unsettling account of the largely fictive authority implicit in democratic systems and the role of science in rationalizing that authority; and so on. Many of the essays embody or give voice to the ambivalence endemic to issues of authority, which habitually arouses inner protest and resistance that can become authoritative in their own right. Wide-ranging, irreverent, and often highly personal in tone, these essays reflect the rich conversations and the sheen of intellection at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows.

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Avigail Manekin Bamberger. 2013. “An Akkadian Demon in the Talmud: Between Šulak and Bar-Širiqa.” Journal for the Study of Judaism, 44, 2, Pp. 282-287.
Mysticism and Philosophy in Al-Andalus: Ibn Masarra, Ibn Al- Arab and the Ism L Tradition
Muslim Spain gave rise to two unusual figures in the mystical tradition of Islam: Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab. Representing, respectively, the beginning and the pinnacle of Islamic mysticism in al-Andalus, Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab embody in their writings a type of mystical discourse which is quite different from the Sufi discourse that evolved in the Islamic east during the 9th-12th centuries. In "Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus," Michael Ebstein points to the Ism l tradition as one possible source which helped shape the distinct intellectual world from which both Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab derived. By analyzing their writings and the works of various Ism l authors, Michael Ebstein unearths the many links that connect the thought of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al- Arab to the Ism l tradition
Kerstin Hünefeld. 2013. “Niẓām al-Yahūd (“The} Statute of the Jews”): Imām Yaḥyā’s writing to the Jews of Ṣanʿāʾ from 1323/1905.” Chronique du Manuscrit au Yémen, 16, Pp. 26-74.
Collect and Record!: Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe

This book describes the vibrant activity of survivors who founded Jewish historical commissions and documentation centers in Europe immediately after the Second World War. In the first postwar decade, these initiatives collected thousands of Nazi documents along with testimonies, memoirs, diaries, songs, poems, and artifacts of Jewish victims. They pioneered in developing a Holocaust historiography that placed the experiences of Jews at the center and used both victim and perpetrator sources to describe the social, economic, and cultural aspects of the everyday life and death of European Jews under the Nazi regime.

This book is the first in-depth monograph on these survivor historians and the organizations they created. A comparative analysis, it focuses on France, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Italy, analyzing the motivations and rationales that guided survivors in chronicling the destruction they had witnessed, while also discussing their research techniques, archival collections, and historical publications. It reflects growing attention to survivor testimony and to the active roles of survivors in rebuilding their postwar lives. It also discusses the role of documenting, testifying, and history writing in processes of memory formation, rehabilitation, and coping with trauma.

Jockusch finds that despite differences in background and wartime experiences between the predominantly amateur historians who created the commissions, the activists found documenting the Holocaust to be a moral imperative after the war, the obligation of the dead to the living, and a means for the survivors to understand and process their recent trauma and loss. Furthermore, historical documentation was vital in the pursuit of postwar justice and was deemed essential in counteracting efforts on the part of the Nazis to erase their wartime crimes. The survivors who created the historical commissions were the first people to study the development of Nazi policy towards the Jews and also to document Jewish responses to persecution, a topic that was largely ignored by later generations of Holocaust scholars.

Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards
Winner of the 2013 Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize
Finalist of the 2013 Yad Vashem International Book Prize

Amit Gvaryahu. 2012. “Dinei ha-habbalot be-torat ha-tannaim”.
The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in Its Sasanian Context

Although the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, has been a text central and vital to the Jewish canon since the Middle Ages, the context in which it was produced has been poorly understood. Delving deep into Sasanian material culture and literary remains, Shai Secunda pieces together the dynamic world of late antique Iran, providing an unprecedented and accessible overview of the world that shaped the Bavli.

Secunda unites the fields of Talmudic scholarship with Old Iranian studies to enable a fresh look at the heterogeneous religious and ethnic communities of pre-Islamic Iran. He analyzes the intercultural dynamics between the Jews and their Persian Zoroastrian neighbors, exploring the complex processes and modes of discourse through which these groups came into contact and considering the ways in which rabbis and Zoroastrian priests perceived one another. Placing the Bavli and examples of Middle Persian literature side by side, the Zoroastrian traces in the former and the discursive and Talmudic qualities of the latter become evident. The Iranian Talmud introduces a substantial and essential shift in the field, setting the stage for further Irano-Talmudic research

Amit Gvaryahu. 2012. “A New Reading of the Three Dialogues in Mishnah Avodah Zarah.” Jewish Studies Quarterly, 19, 3, Pp. 207-229. Abstract
This paper is an attempt to understand the construction and redac- tion of this tractate through the study of these dialogue-stories and their context.6 It will demonstrate sensitivity to genre and aesthetics in explor- ing questions of higher criticism. Additionally, I explicate the role of the dialogues as a stylistic and rhetorical device in the shaping of tractate Avodah Zarah. This will be a three-fold process. First, I read the dia- logues as “stories.”7 Next, I examine them in light of the collections of mishnayot into which they are embedded. Finally, I present a reevalua- tion of the place of these dialogues in the overall textual structure of the tractate.
Routes of War: The World of Movement in the Confederate South

The Civil War thrust millions of men and women-rich and poor, soldiers and civilians, enslaved and free-onto the roads of the South. During four years of war, Southerners lived on the move. In the hands of Yael A. Sternhell, movement becomes a radically new means to perceive the full trajectory of the Confederacy's rise, struggle, and ultimate defeat.

By focusing not only on the battlefield and the home front but also on the roads and woods that connected the two, this pioneering book investigates the many roles of bodies in motion. We watch battalions of young men as they march to the front, galvanizing small towns along the way, creating the Confederate nation in the process. We follow deserters straggling home and refugees fleeing enemy occupation, both hoping to escape the burdens of war. And in a landscape turned upside down, we see slaves running toward freedom, whether hundreds of miles away or just beyond the plantation's gate.

Based on a vast array of documents, from slave testimonies to the papers of Confederate bureaucrats to the private letters of travelers from all walks of life, Sternhell unearths the hidden connections between physical movements and their symbolic meanings, individual bodies and entire armies, the reinvention of a social order and the remaking of private lives. Movement, as means of liberation and as vehicle of subjugation, lay at the heart of the human condition in the wartime South.

Kerstin Hünefeld. 2011. “The Imām Is Responsible for Me Before God! –The Dimension of Protection (Dhimma) Granted by Imām Yaḥyā to the Jews of Yemen.” In Mittuv Yosef: Yosef Tobi Jubilee Volume, Vol. 2: The Jews of Yemen: History and Culture, edited by Ayelet Oettinger and Danny Bar-Maoz, 3: Pp. lxxxii-cii. Haifa: The Center for the Study of Jewish Culture in Spain and Islamic countries: University of Haifa.
Die Dimen­sion von Schutz (Dhimma) in den Doku­menten der Samm­lung des Rabbi Salim b. Said al-Jamal »Unter wessen Verant­wort­lich­keit steht denn meine Inhaf­tie­rung, oh mein Schutz­herr? Es gibt niemanden, der über mich wacht außer Gott und dem Imam.« Dies schreibt der jemeni­ti­sche Rabbiner Salim Said al-Jamal, bekannt auch als Rabbi Gamliel (1907-2001), im Februar 1931 an den König des Jemen und Ober­haupt des fünfer­schii­ti­schen Islams, Imam Yahya Hamid ad-Din (1869-1948).Im Jemen lebten Juden als Schutz­be­foh­lene (Dhimmis) unter der Herr­schaft des zaidi­ti­schen Imamats, bis die Mehr­heit von ihnen 1948 auf einem »Magic Carpet« nach Israel emigrierte.Wie aber sah dieses grund­sätz­lich ambi­va­lente und sehr unter­schied­lich gehand­habte Schutz­ver­hältnis im konk­reten Fall des Jemen aus? Wie funk­tio­nierte es in der Praxis und wie wiegen sich Schutz und Sicher­heit gegen­über Unter­ord­nung und Diskri­mi­nie­rung im Verhältnis zwischen Imam Yahya und den Juden in Sanaa auf? Unter dieser Frage­stel­lung analy­siert Kerstin Hüne­feld drei ausge­wählte Fall­bei­spiele der Quel­len­samm­lung al-Jamals.Mit diesem Buch liegt erst­mals eine wissen­schaft­liche Aufar­bei­tung der in arabi­scher Hand­schrift verfassten Doku­mente vor. Die Autorin gewinnt dabei nicht nur inter­es­sante Erkennt­nisse zum Schutz­ver­hältnis, sondern zieht auch weiter­füh­r­ende Schlüsse auf Imam Yahyas Selbst­ver­ständnis als zaidi­ti­scher Imam und seine Art der Regie­rungs­füh­rung. Über­zeu­gend sind dabei sowohl die fakti­sche Dichte der Darstel­lung wie auch die analy­ti­sche Einord­nung verschie­dener Narra­tive, Ereig­nisse und Hand­lungs­weisen sowie die kriti­sche Ausein­an­der­set­zung mit der Quel­len­samm­lung und der Person al-Jamals. The book brings an important aspect of Imam Yahya’s reign into living focus. The topic has not only kindled much discus­sion and contro­versy in scho­larly circles, but has a bearing on wider contem­porary issues and social and political attitudes. (Werner Daum, Bulletin of the Society for Arabien Studies 16, 2011)
Y. Nativ, A. and Paz. 2005. “Salvage Excavation Reports 2”. Abstract
Publications of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv