Synopses & Reviews
The latter part of the thirteenth century is regarded as a key period in the history of Italian Jewry. During that time many Jewish communities sprang up in the regions of central and northern Italy. Their appearance marked a turning-point in the history of Jews in the Italian peninsula as the Jewish presence had previously been focused on Rome and the south.In this much-acclaimed study, originally published in Italian, Ariel Toaff captures all the intricacies of everyday life in the medieval Jewish communities of Umbria. A thorough examination of Hebrew and Italian archival sources enables him to characterize in detail the defining features of Jewish life in the region at that time and to show clearly how the common stereotype of a single, undifferentiated Jewish community does not reflect the reality. Instead, he presents a picture of a complex society that-far from being a 'mere' minority and somewhat isolated-actually contributed greatly to contemporary society and played a significant role in shaping it, while at the same time also being influenced by the surrounding Christian society.Professor Toaff elaborates contemporary Jewish traditions and practices associated with love, marriage, food, work, sickness, and death in the context of everyday social relations between Christians and Jews. In so doing he presents a full and fascinating reconstruction of the Jewish life of the period that faithfully reflects the links and divides between the two communities.Engagingly written, Love, Work, and Death: Jewish Life in Medieval Umbria will be of interest to the general reader, while its detailed references to archival documentation make it a particularly valuable source for students of medieval Jewish history and specialists in the social history of medieval and Renaissance Italy.
In this much-acclaimed study, Ariel Toaff captures all the intricacies of everyday life in the medieval Jewish communities of Umbria and shows clearly how the common stereotype of a single, undifferentiated Jewish community does not reflect the reality. He presents a picture of a complex society that, far from being an isolated minority, actually contributed greatly to contemporary society and played a significant role in shaping it.
The two volumes of this work comprise the first comprehensive history of the kibbutz movement in any language. Origins and Growth covers the first thirty years of this fascinating story, from the formation of the kibbutz in the opening years of the twentieth century to the eve of the Second World War. It is a masterly analysis of the genesis and expansion of the kibbutzim and their relations with the world around them. It considers not only the various components of the kibbutz movement but also the pioneering youth movements from which their members came. Henry Near's analysis of the ideological, political, economic, and social development of the kibbutz movement is illustrated throughout by excerpts from historical sources, affording a wealth of colourful insights into the changing quality of kibbutz life as experienced by its members. The second volume, Crisis and Achievement, 1939-1995 extends the detailed historical analysis to 1977 and gives a comprehensive overview of subsequent developments.