New Books Network

Karen E. H. Skinazi, “Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture” (Rutgers UP, 2018)
Media portrayals of Orthodox Jewish women frequently depict powerless, silent individuals who are at best naive to live an Orthodox lifestyle, and who are at worst, coerced into it. In Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture (Rutgers University Press,... Read More
Kenneth Austin, “The Jews and the Reformation” (Yale UP, 2020)
Kenneth Austin, who teaches history at the University of Bristol, UK, is well-known for his work on Jews and Judaism in early modern Europe. His new book, The Jews and the Reformation (Yale University Press, 2020), offers the most thorough description and analysis of its subject to date. Austin describes... Read More
Aaron Koller, “Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought” (Jewish Publication Society, 2020)
In Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought (Jewish Publication Society, 2020), Aaron Koller, professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, provides a compelling contemporary perspective on one of the Bible’s most famous and difficult texts, the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. By plumbing the... Read More
Matthew Thiessen, “Jesus and the Forces of Death” (Baker Academic, 2020)
Although most people acknowledge that Jesus was a first-century Jew, interpreters of the Gospels often present him as opposed to Jewish law and customs—especially when considering his numerous encounters with the ritually impure. In Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels’ Portrayal of Ritual Impurity within First-Century Judaism (Baker... Read More
Ezra Cappell and Jessica Lang, “Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism” (SUNY Press, 2020)
Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism (SUNY Press, 2020), edited by Ezra Cappell and Jessica Lang, combines powerful first-person accounts with incisive scholarly analysis to understand the phenomenon of ultra-Orthodox Jews who leave their insular communities and venture into the wider world. In recent years, many formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews have... Read More
Alexander Kaye, “The Invention of Jewish Theocracy: The Struggle for Legal Authority in Modern Israel” (Oxford UP, 2020)
The tension between secular politics and religious fundamentalism is a problem shared by many modern states. This is certainly true of the State of Israel, where the religious-secular schism provokes conflict at every level of society. Driving this schism is the idea of the halakhic state, the demand by many... Read More
T. P. Kaplan and W. Gruner, “Resisting Persecution: Jews and Their Petitions during the Holocaust” (Berghahn, 2020)
In 20 years of studying the Holocaust, it didn’t occur to me that German officials might, when petitioned by German Jews or by Germans advocating for German Jews, change their minds.  But it turns out that, sometimes, they did. And even when they didn’t, petitioning local, regional or national officials... Read More
Assaf Gavron, “The Hilltop” (Scribner, 2015)
Mordantly funny and deeply moving, The Hilltop about life in a West Bank settlement has been hailed as “brilliant” (The New York Times Book Review) and “The Great Israeli Novel [in which] Gavron stakes his claim to be Israel’s Jonathan Franzen” (Tablet). On a rocky hilltop stands Ma’aleh Hermesh C,... Read More
Yehoshua November, “Two Worlds Exist” (Orison Books, 2016)
Yehoshua November’s second poetry collection, Two Worlds Exist (Orison Books), movingly examines the harmonies and dissonances involved in practicing an ancient religious tradition in contemporary America. November’s beautiful and profound meditations on work and family life, and the intersections of the sacred and the secular, invite the reader–regardless of background–to... Read More
Tamar Herzig, “A Convert’s Tale: Art, Crime, and Jewish Apostasy in Renaissance Italy” (Harvard UP, 2019)
On this episode of New Books in History, Jana Byars talks with Tamar Herzig, Professor of History at Tel Aviv University, the Director of Tel Aviv University’s Morris E Curiel Institute for European Studies, and as the Vice Chairperson of the Historical Society of Israel about her new book, A... Read More