Cover image for Best contemporary Jewish writing
Best contemporary Jewish writing
Lerner, Michael, 1943-
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxvii, 436 pages ; 24 cm
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS508.J4 B47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Jewish culture, identity, and spirituality through the eyes of the brightest and best authors

Best Contemporary Jewish Writing is a treasure trove of short stories, poetry, and essays from such renowned contributors as Naomi Wolf, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, William Safire, and Marge Piercy. Dive into this rich arrayof writing and you ll see that the Jewish experience reflects universal themes.

The writers in this collection have something to say to Jews, not only to those struggling with their Jewish identity, and also to the wider world. Whether your main interest is in poetry or politics, spirituality or cultural identity, social healing or individual transformation, you ll find Best Contemporary Jewish Writing to be a collection that inspires, excites, and provokes. It also reflects the diversity of thought, opinion, and sensibility of today s best known Jewish thinkers and writers.

This volume is the first in the much anticipated annual series "Best Jewish Writing."

Author Notes

Michael Lerner is the editor of Tikkun magazine and rabbi of the Beyt Tikkun Jewish Renewal synagogue in San Francisco

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Widely known as a religious and political liberal, Tikkun editor Michael Lerner brings together poetry, fiction, essays and memoir from across the spectrum in Best Contemporary Jewish Writing, which includes work by Philip Roth, Yehuda Amichai, Naomi Wolf, Daniel Pipes and Rodger Kamenetz. Still, Lerner aims for writing "that connects to or reflects the fundamental Jewish project of healing and transformation," both of the person and the world. This book also includes Lerner's list of the 100 best contemporary Jewish books, available in English and published since 1985. This book covers the years 1994-2000; the 2002 edition will include material from the years 2000 and 2001. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this collection of Jewish writings dating from 1994 to 2000, Lerner, the editor of Tikkun magazine, highlights his idea of the politics of meaning and the Jewish religious themes of healing and reconciliation. A wide range of authors (writing fiction, POETRY, and essays) discusses questions of Jewish identity, religion, culture, the Holocaust, and Israel. Feminism, gay studies, and environmental concerns are important aspects of the selections. Many well-known authors are included, among them Adrienne Rich, Philip Roth, Yehuda Amichai, Aharon Appelfeld, and Norman Podhoretz. Zalman Schacter Shalomi presents an open and honest attempt to rethink Jewish religious thought, Marge Piercy and Jacqueline Osherow's poems bring new elements to Jewish thinking, and Morris Dickstein describes the changing themes and ideas of writers in the United States. The result is an interesting and diverse anthology. Recommended for Jewish studies collections. Gene Shaw, NYPL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Michael LernerKenneth KochDavid BialeAdrienne RichDaniel BoyarinRuth Knafo SettonJonathan MarkWilliam SafireSteve GreenbergPhilip RothRobert PinskyJoseph I. LiebermanYehuda AmichaiRachel Naomi RemenIrena KlepfiszMarge PiercyNaomi WolfZalman M. Schachter-ShalomiDavid WolpeArthur GreenDennis PragerArthur WaskowNancy FlamRami ShapiroMordechai GafniJoseph TelushkinJacqueline OsherowRachel AdlerIlana PardesAnita DiamantYehuda AmichaiSarah PolsterSusan SchnurThane RosenbaumMartin JayAlan ShapiroJonathan RosenZygmunt BaumanPeter GabelBenny MorrisDaniel PipesJerome SlaterAharon AppelfeldSidra Dekoven EzrahiYehuda AmichaiDahlia RavikovitchJonathan SchorschC. K. WilliamsYona WallachNomi EveNathan EnglanderRebecca GoldsteinTsvi BlanchardMorris DicksteinNorman PodhoretzRodger Kamenetz
Introduction: Jewish Writing and Healing the Worldp. xiii
The Many Identities of a Jew
To Jewishnessp. 3
The Melting Pot and Beyond: Jews and the Politics of American Identityp. 8
Poems: Reversion and What Kind of Times Are Thesep. 15
Justify My Lovep. 17
Ten Ways to Recognize a Sephardic 'Jew-ess'p. 29
Redemption on East Tremont: The kindness of Christians and a seder's matzah helps the daughter of Mendel Beilis fix the old fearsp. 36
News About Jewsp. 40
Gay and Orthodoxp. 42
Slipping the Punchp. 55
The Night Gamep. 70
From The Roots of a Public Lifep. 73
From And What Is My Lifespan?p. 79
Stories: Grandmother Eve, Consecrating the Ordinary, Blessing, and The Rewardp. 80
The Legacy: A Parable About History and Bobe-mayses, Barszcz, and Borscht and the Future of the Jewish Pastp. 86
Reclaiming the Spirit in Judaism
Nishmatp. 95
Starting on My Spiritual Pathp. 97
On Renewing Godp. 103
Eternity Utters a Dayp. 113
A Kabbalah for the Environmental Agep. 115
Is God in Trees?p. 127
The Emergence of Eco-Judaismp. 134
A Theology of Illness and Healingp. 145
Death and What's Nextp. 150
Eros and the Ninth of Avp. 152
From The Book of Jewish Valuesp. 155
Poems: Yom Kippur Sonnet and Science Psalmp. 162
Rereading Sacred Texts of Our Tradition
From And Peace and Justice Shall Kissp. 169
From Imagining the Birth of a Nationp. 186
From The Red Tentp. 193
From The Bible and You, the Bible and You and Other Midrashimp. 199
Aaron's God--and Ours: A Yom Kippur Reflectionp. 200
Our (Meaning Women's) Book-of-Esther Problemp. 205
Living in the Shadows of the Holocaust
Cattle Car Complexp. 213
Force Fieldsp. 221
The Sanctuaryp. 228
The Trivialization of Tragedyp. 230
Hereditary Victimhood: The Holocaust's Life as a Ghostp. 241
The Meaning of the Holocaust: Social Alienation and the Infliction of Human Sufferingp. 252
Israel in Conflict
The New Historiography: Israel Confronts Its Pastp. 265
Land for What?p. 281
Occupation and Antisemitismp. 284
A Novelist's Optimism: Reclaiming the Jewish Traditionp. 297
From Booking Passagep. 300
Poems: From In My Life, On My Life; Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Why Jerusalem?; and The Jewish Time Bombp. 323
Hovering at a Low Altitudep. 326
The Pleasure of Jewish Culture
Making Judaism Coolp. 331
Old Manp. 339
Poems: When You Come to Sleep with Me, Come Like My Father and Hebrewp. 342
Esther and Yochananp. 346
The Twenty-seventh Manp. 352
Against Logicp. 367
The Healing Power of Jewish Storiesp. 371
The Complex Fate of the Jewish American Writerp. 375
Bellow at 85, Roth at 67p. 392
Jewish Writing and the Spiritual Journey: A Speculative Journeyp. 409
The One Hundred Best Contemporary Jewish Booksp. 417
The Editorp. 423
The Contributorsp. 425
Creditsp. 431