The Genius of Judaism

Author: Bernard-Henri Lévy
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780812992724
Release Date: 2017-01-10
Genre: History

"oA world without Jews would not be a world. A world in which the Jews once again would become the scape goats for all people's fears and frustrations would be a world in which free people could not breathe easy.o Today, anti-Semitism is on the rise in countries all around the world. This bigotry imperils millions of men, women and children. It is also a rejection of the glories of Judaism- the ideas of man and God, of history and time, of power, voice, light, liberty, revolt, memory and nature that have informed and enriched both Western and Eastern cultures for millennia. In his most personal book yet, Bernard-Henri LUvy reveals how his life has been shaped by his faith. It compelled him to become oThe Godfather of the Arab Spring,o just as the realization that so many of our notions about history, the individual, and freedom of thought are fundamentally Jewish transformed his philosophy. This is a riveting, impassioned narrative from one of our foremost thinkers."

The Genius of Judaism

Author: Bernard-Henri Lévy
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780679643791
Release Date: 2017-01-10
Genre: Religion

From world-renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy comes an incisive and provocative look at the heart of Judaism. “A smart, revealing, and essential book for our times.”—The Washington Post For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri Lévy has been a singular figure on the world stage—one of the great moral voices of our time. Now Europe's foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him—but that he has never fully reckoned with. The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we’re used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as Lévy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. Lévy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a “chosen people,” Lévy explains, but a “treasure” whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today. Lévy’s most passionate book, and in many ways his most personal, The Genius of Judaism is a great, profound, and hypnotic intellectual reckoning—indeed a call to arms—by one of the keenest and most insightful writers in the world. Praise for The Genius of Judaism “In The Genius of Judaism, Lévy elaborates on his credo by rebutting the pernicious and false logic behind current anti-Semitism and defends Israel as the world’s most successful multi-ethnic democracy created from scratch. Lévy also makes the case for France’s Jews being integral to the establishment of the French nation, the French language, and French literature. And last, but certainly not least, he presents a striking interpretation of the Book of Jonah. . . . A tour de force.”—Forbes “Ardent . . . Lévy’s message is essentially uplifting: that the brilliant scholars of Judaism, the authors of the Talmud, provide elucidation into ‘the great questions that have stirred humanity since the dawn of time.’ . . . A philosophical celebration of Judaism.”—Kirkus Reviews “Lévy (Left in Dark Times), a prominent French journalist and politically engaged philosopher, turns his observations inward here, pondering the teachings of Judaism and the role they have played in contemporary European history as well as in his own life and intellectual inquiry. . . . [Lévy’s] musings on the meaning of the story of Jonah and the relevance of symbolic Ninevahs in our time are both original and poetic. . . . A welcome addition to his oeuvre.”—Publishers Weekly

The Genius of Judaism

Author: BERNARD-HENRI LEVY
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780812982510
Release Date: 2017-09-05
Genre:

From world-renowned public intellectual Bernard-Henri L�vy comes an incisive and provocative look at the heart of Judaism. "A smart, revealing, and essential book for our times."--The Washington Post For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri L�vy has been a singular figure on the world stage--one of the great moral voices of our time. Now Europe's foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him--but that he has never fully reckoned with. The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we're used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as L�vy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing "lost causes," from Bosnia to Africa's forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga's desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. L�vy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a "chosen people," L�vy explains, but a "treasure" whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today. L�vy's most passionate book, and in many ways his most personal, The Genius of Judaism is a great, profound, and hypnotic intellectual reckoning--indeed a call to arms--by one of the keenest and most insightful writers in the world. Praise for The Genius of Judaism "In The Genius of Judaism, L�vy elaborates on his credo by rebutting the pernicious and false logic behind current anti-Semitism and defends Israel as the world's most successful multi-ethnic democracy created from scratch. L�vy also makes the case for France's Jews being integral to the establishment of the French nation, the French language, and French literature. And last, but certainly not least, he presents a striking interpretation of the Book of Jonah. . . . A tour de force."--Forbes "Ardent . . . L�vy's message is essentially uplifting: that the brilliant scholars of Judaism, the authors of the Talmud, provide elucidation into 'the great questions that have stirred humanity since the dawn of time.' . . . A philosophical celebration of Judaism."--Kirkus Reviews "L�vy (Left in Dark Times), a prominent French journalist and politically engaged philosopher, turns his observations inward here, pondering the teachings of Judaism and the role they have played in contemporary European history as well as in his own life and intellectual inquiry. . . . [L�vy's] musings on the meaning of the story of Jonah and the relevance of symbolic Ninevahs in our time are both original and poetic. . . . A welcome addition to his oeuvre."--Publishers Weekly

The Genius of the Jewish Joke

Author: Arthur Asa Berger
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351482257
Release Date: 2017-07-12
Genre: Literary Criticism

The Genius of the Jewish Joke focuses on what is distinctive and unusual about Jewish jokes and Jewish humor. Jewish humor is humor by Jews and about Jews, in whatever medium this humor is found. Jokes are defined as short stories, meant to amuse, with a punch line, though Jewish humor exists in many other forms—riddles, comic definitions, parodies—as well. The book makes a "radical" suggestion about the origin of Jewish humor—namely, that Sarah and Abraham's relation to God, and the name of their son Isaac (which, in Hebrew, means laughter), recognizes a special affinity in Jews for humor. Abraham does not sacrifice Isaac (humor) and, thus, humor and the Jews are linked early in Jewish history. Berger discusses techniques of humor and how they can be used to analyze jokes. He also compares "Old World Jewish Humor"—the humor of the shtetl, with its fabulous schlemiels, schlimazels, schnorrers, and other characters—and "New World Humor"—the humor of Jewish doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professional types living mostly in the suburbs nowadays. Jewish humor is contrasted with other forms of ethnic humor, such as Polish jokes and Italian American jokes. This humor, in addition to providing pleasure, reveals a great deal about Jewish character and culture and, in addition, the human condition. Now available with a new introduction by the author, The Genius of the Jewish Joke is an entertaining and informative inquiry into Jewish humor that explores its distinctiveness, its unique spirit, and its role in Jewish identity.

Left in Dark Times

Author: Bernard-Henri Lévy
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588367570
Release Date: 2008-09-16
Genre: Philosophy

In this unprecedented critique, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of the world’s leading intellectuals revisits his political roots, scrutinizes the totalitarianisms of the past as well as those on the horizon, and argues powerfully for a new political and moral vision for our times. Are human rights Western or universal? Does anti-Semitism have a future, and, if so, what will it look like? And how is it that progressives themselves–those who in the past defended individual rights and fought fascism–have now become the breeding ground for new kinds of dangerous attitudes: an unthinking loathing of Israel; an obsessive anti-Americanism; an idea of “tolerance” that, in its justification of Islamic fanaticism, for example, could become the “cemetery of democracies”; and an indifference, masked by relativism, to the greatest human tragedies facing the world today? Illuminating these and other questions, Lévy also brings to life his own autobiography, highlighting the thinkers he has known and scrutinized and the ideological battles he has fought over thirty years–revealing their bearing on the present. Above all, Lévy offers a powerful new vision for progressives everywhere, one based neither on the failed idealisms of the past neither nor on their current misguided, bigoted, and dangerously sentimental attachments but on an absolute commitment to combat evil in all its guises. The “new barbarism” Levy compellingly diagnoses is real and must be confronted. At a time of ideological and political transition in America, Left in Dark Times is a polemical, incendiary articulation of the threats we all face–in many cases without our even being aware of it–and a riveting, cogent stand against those threats. Surprising and sure to be controversial, wise and free of cynicism, it is one of the most important books yet written by one of the crucial voices of our time. Praise for Bernard-Henri Lévy’s American Vertigo “An entertaining trip, as much in the tradition of Jack Kerouac as Tocqueville.” –The New York Times “Perceptive, pugnacious, passionate [and] exquisitely written.” –The New York Observer “It’s difficult to remember when a writer of any nationality so clearly and thoughtfully delineated both the good and bad in America. [Grade:] A.” –Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice) “Lévy is a true friend of the American experiment and a comrade in the American struggle against the barbarisms.” –The New Republic “Lévy writes brilliantly. American Vertigo is filled with insights and goodwill.” –The Wall Street Journal “Provocative . . . [Lévy is] a writer of enormous power and vitality.” –San Francisco Chronicle “Vigorous . . . impressive.” –The Boston Globe From the Hardcover edition.

American Vertigo

Author: Bernard-Henri Lévy
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780307430625
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Political Science

What does it mean to be an American, and what can America be today? To answer these questions, celebrated philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Lévy spent a year traveling throughout the country in the footsteps of another great Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, whose Democracy in America remains the most influential book ever written about our country. The result is American Vertigo, a fascinating, wholly fresh look at a country we sometimes only think we know. From Rikers Island to Chicago mega-churches, from Muslim communities in Detroit to an Amish enclave in Iowa, Lévy investigates issues at the heart of our democracy: the special nature of American patriotism, the coexistence of freedom and religion (including the religion of baseball), the prison system, the “return of ideology” and the health of our political institutions, and much more. He revisits and updates Tocqueville’s most important beliefs, such as the dangers posed by “the tyranny of the majority,” explores what Europe and America have to learn from each other, and interprets what he sees with a novelist’s eye and a philosopher’s depth. Through powerful interview-based portraits across the spectrum of the American people, from prison guards to clergymen, from Norman Mailer to Barack Obama, from Sharon Stone to Richard Holbrooke, Lévy fills his book with a tapestry of American voices–some wise, some shocking. Both the grandeur and the hellish dimensions of American life are unflinchingly explored. And big themes emerge throughout, from the crucial choices America faces today to the underlying reality that, unlike the “Old World,” America remains the fulfillment of the world’s desire to worship, earn, and live as one wishes–a place, despite all, where inclusion remains not just an ideal but an actual practice. At a time when Americans are anxious about how the world perceives them and, indeed, keen to make sense of themselves, a brilliant and sympathetic foreign observer has arrived to help us begin a new conversation about the meaning of America. From the Hardcover edition.

The Genius

Author: Eliyahu Stern
Publisher:
ISBN: 0300205929
Release Date: 2014-01-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Elijah ben Solomon, the "Genius of Vilna," was perhaps the best-known and most understudied figure in modern Jewish history. This book offers a new narrative of Jewish modernity based on Elijah's life and influence. While the experience of Jews in modernity has often been described as a process of Western European secularization--with Jews becoming citizens of Western nation-states, congregants of reformed synagogues, and assimilated members of society--Stern uses Elijah's story to highlight a different theory of modernization for European life. Religious movements such as Hasidism and anti-secular institutions such as the yeshiva emerged from the same democratization of knowledge and privatization of religion that gave rise to secular and universal movements and institutions. Claimed by traditionalists, enlighteners, Zionists, and the Orthodox, Elijah's genius and its afterlife capture an all-embracing interpretation of the modern Jewish experience. Through the story of the "Vilna Gaon," Stern presents a new model for understanding modern Jewish history and more generally the place of traditionalism and religious radicalism in modern Western life and thought.

Public Enemies

Author: Bernard-Henri Lévy
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9781588369192
Release Date: 2011-01-11
Genre: Philosophy

The international publishing sensation is now available in the United States—two brilliant, controversial authors confront each other and their enemies in an unforgettable exchange of letters. In one corner, Bernard-Henri Lévy, creator of the classic Barbarism with a Human Face, dismissed by the media as a wealthy, self-promoting, arrogant do-gooder. In the other, Michel Houellebecq, bestselling author of The Elementary Particles, widely derided as a sex-obsessed racist and misogynist. What began as a secret correspondence between bitter enemies evolved into a remarkable joint personal meditation by France’s premier literary and political live wires. An instant international bestseller, Public Enemies has now been translated into English for all lovers of superb insights, scandalous opinions, and iconoclastic ideas. In wicked, wide-ranging, and freewheeling letters, the two self-described “whipping boys” debate whether they crave disgrace or secretly have an insane desire to please. Lévy extols heroism in the face of tyranny; Houellebecq sees himself as one who would “fight little and badly.” Lévy says “life does not ‘live’” unless he can write; Houellebecq bemoans work as leaving him in such “a state of nervous exhaustion that it takes several bottles of alcohol to get out.” There are also touching and intimate exchanges on the existence of God and about their own families. Dazzling, delightful, and provocative, Public Enemies is a death match between literary lions, remarkable men who find common ground, confident that, in the end (as Lévy puts it), “it is we who will come out on top.” From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Genius

Author: Eliyahu Stern
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300179309
Release Date: 2013-01-08
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Elijah ben Solomon, the "Genius of Vilna,” was perhaps the best-known and most understudied figure in modern Jewish history. This book offers a new narrative of Jewish modernity based on Elijah's life and influence. While the experience of Jews in modernity has often been described as a process of Western European secularization—with Jews becoming citizens of Western nation-states, congregants of reformed synagogues, and assimilated members of society—Stern uses Elijah’s story to highlight a different theory of modernization for European life. Religious movements such as Hasidism and anti-secular institutions such as the yeshiva emerged from the same democratization of knowledge and privatization of religion that gave rise to secular and universal movements and institutions. Claimed by traditionalists, enlighteners, Zionists, and the Orthodox, Elijah’s genius and its afterlife capture an all-embracing interpretation of the modern Jewish experience. Through the story of the “Vilna Gaon,” Stern presents a new model for understanding modern Jewish history and more generally the place of traditionalism and religious radicalism in modern Western life and thought.

Stars of David

Author: Abigail Pogrebin
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 0307419320
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Genre: Social Science

Sixty-two of the most accomplished Jews in America speak intimately—most for the first time—about how they feel about being Jewish. In unusually candid interviews conducted by former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin, celebrities ranging from Sarah Jessica Parker to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Larry King to Mike Nichols, reveal how resonant, crucial or incidental being Jewish is in their lives. The connections they have to their Jewish heritage range from hours in synagogue to bagels and lox; but every person speaks to the weight and pride of their Jewish history, the burdens and pleasures of observance, the moments they’ve felt most Jewish (or not). This book of vivid, personal conversations uncovers how being Jewish fits into a public life, and also how the author’s evolving religious identity was changed by what she heard. · Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers, and Leonard Nimoy talk about their startling encounters with anti-Semitism. · Kenneth Cole, Eliot Spitzer, and Ronald Perelman explore the challenges of intermarriage. · Mike Wallace, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ruth Reichl express attitudes toward Israel that vary from unquestioning loyalty to complicated ambivalence. · William Kristol scoffs at the notion that Jewish values are incompatible with Conservative politics. · Alan Dershowitz, raised Orthodox, talks about why he gave up morning prayer. · Shawn Green describes the pressure that comes with being baseball’s Jewish star. · Natalie Portman questions the ostentatious bat mitzvahs of her hometown. · Tony Kushner explains how being Jewish prepared him for being gay. · Leon Wieseltier throws down the gauntlet to Jews who haven’t taken the trouble to study Judaism. These are just a few key moments from many poignant, often surprising, conversations with public figures whom most of us thought we already knew. “When my mother got her nose job, she wanted me to get one, too. She said I would be happier.”—Dustin Hoffman “It’s a heritage to be proud of. And then, too, it’s something that you can’t escape because the world won’t let you; so it’s a good thing you can be proud of it.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg “My wife [Kate Capshaw] chose to do a full conversion before we were married in 1991, and she married me as a Jew. I think that, more than anything else, brought me back to Judaism.”—Steven Spielberg “As someone who was born in Israel, you’re put in a position of defending Israel because you know how much is at stake.”—Natalie Portman

The People and the Books 18 Classics of Jewish Literature

Author: Adam Kirsch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393608311
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Genre: Religion

An accessible introduction to the classics of Jewish literature, from the Bible to modern times, by “one of America’s finest literary critics” (Wall Street Journal). Jews have long embraced their identity as “the people of the book.” But outside of the Bible, much of the Jewish literary tradition remains little known to nonspecialist readers. The People and the Books shows how central questions and themes of our history and culture are reflected in the Jewish literary canon: the nature of God, the right way to understand the Bible, the relationship of the Jews to their Promised Land, and the challenges of living as a minority in Diaspora. Adam Kirsch explores eighteen classic texts, including the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Esther, the philosophy of Maimonides, the autobiography of the medieval businesswoman Glückel of Hameln, and the Zionist manifestoes of Theodor Herzl. From the Jews of Roman Egypt to the mystical devotees of Hasidism in Eastern Europe, The People and the Books brings the treasures of Jewish literature to life and offers new ways to think about their enduring power and influence.

Who Killed Daniel Pearl

Author: Bernard Henri Levy
Publisher: Hardie Grant Publishing
ISBN: 9781740662062
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Journalism

The on-camera murder of journalist Daniel Pearl was a horrible tragedy, but was there a darker side to the story. In this book the author traces Pearl's final steps through the Islamic underworld in an investigation that plunges the author into his own heart of darkness.

Rivalry of Genius A

Author: Marc Hirshman
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 1438406797
Release Date: 2012-02-01
Genre: Religion

Compares Rabbinic midrash and Patristic exegesis in late antiquity and provides an introduction to the various forms of Patristic literature.

The Animators

Author: Kayla Rae Whitaker
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780812989281
Release Date: 2017-01
Genre: Fiction

"In their first year of college, two young women, one from a Florida swamp, the other from a Kentucky holler, both outsiders at their prestigious east coast college, meet in "Introduction to Sketch" and become instant best friends. A decade later, Mel and Sharon's lives remain intertwined, but so much else has changed. Now a semi-famous New York filmmaking duo, they draw upon their own pasts to make intimate animated movies, a process that has left their personal lives--including their friendship--in tatters. When tragedy strikes, Mel and Sharon must return to their home states to confront long-buried secrets and try to restore damaged relationships with their families, lovers, and each other" --