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College of Arts & Sciences
Jewish Studies Program

Faculty Publications, Essays, and Blogs

Federica K. Clementi. Holocaust Mothers and Daughters: Family, History, and Trauma. Brandeis University Press, 2013.

This brave and original work focuses on the mother-daughter bond as depicted in works by women who experienced the Holocaust with or through their mothers. The daughters’ memoirs, which record the “all-too-human” qualities of those who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, show that the Holocaust cannot be used to quarantine lives into neat categories such as "before" and "after." Clementi’s discussions of differences in social status, along with the persistence of antisemitism and patriarchal structures, support this point strongly, demonstrating the tenacity of trauma—individual, familial, and collective—among Jews in the twentieth-century.

  Link to Brandeis University Press   



Saskia Coenen Snyder. Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Harvard University Press, 2013.

Nineteenth-century Europe saw an unprecedented rise in the number of synagogues. Building a Public Judaismconsiders what their architecture and the circumstances surrounding their construction reveal about the social progress of modern European Jews. Looking at synagogues in four important centers of Jewish life—London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin—Saskia Coenen Snyder argues that the process of claiming a Jewish space in European cities was a marker of acculturation but not of full acceptance. Whether modest or spectacular, these new edifices most often revealed the limits of European Jewish integration.

Building a Public Judaism grants the peculiarities of place greater authority than they have been given in shaping the European Jewish experience. At the same time, its place-specific description of tensions over religious tolerance continues to echo in debates about the public presence of religious minorities in contemporary Europe.

Link to Harvard University Press  




Harvey Starr and Stanley Dubinsky (eds.). The Israeli Conflict System: Analytic Approaches. Routledge, 2015.

The Middle East conflict system is perhaps the world’s most important and intractable problem area, whose developments carry global consequences. An effective investigation of the context and change in the region calls for a melding of academic approaches, methods and findings with policy oriented needs.  

The Israeli Conflict System brings together leading conflict scholars primarily from political science, applying a range of advanced, rigorous analytic and data-gathering techniques to address this single empirical domain—the contemporary Israeli Conflict System. Recognizing the causal complexity of this conflict system, the volume’s central theme is that the system’s current conditions are best understood in their broader temporal/historic, cultural/linguistic, and spatial/geographic contexts. Through the lens of economic, geographic, historical, linguistic, and political analyses, and the application of data analysis, experiments, simulations, and models of rational choice, this volume shows how diverse disciplinary perspectives and methodologies can complement each other effectively. In this way, its chapters provide a model for the integration of factors and contexts necessary for understanding contemporary world politics, and a sampling of theories, approaches, and methods that are applicable, useful, or valid under different conditions. 

This book offers a cutting-edge resource for scholars and students of Political Science, International Relations, Conflict Studies and Middle East Studies.

 Link to Routledge Publications



Andrew Berns. The Bible and Natural Philosophy in Renaissance Italy. Cambridge University Press, 2014. 

This publication explores the reciprocal relationship between biblical interpretation and natural philosophy in sixteenth-century Italy. Based on previously unstudied manuscripts from European archives, this book offers new interpretations of early medical works, classical texts, and commentaries on the Bible Andrew. Berns demonstrates that many physicians in sixteenth-century Italy, Jewish and Christian alike, took a keen interest in the Bible and postbiblical religious literature. He argues that the changing nature of medical culture in the Renaissance inspired physicians to approach the Bible not only as a divine work but also as a historical and scientific text.


Link to Cambridge Publications