Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender, and History

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  5. Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender, and History

Stereotyped as delicate and feeble intellectuals, Jewish men in German-speaking lands in fact developed a rich and complex spectrum of male norms, models, and behaviors.

History of Jewish Holocaust - यूरोप में यहूदियों के साथ क्या हुआ था? - Nazi Germany & World War II

Jewish Masculinities explores conceptions and experiences of masculinity among Jews in Germany from the 16th through the late 20th century as well as emigrants to North America, Palestine, and Israel. The volume examines the different worlds of students, businessmen, mohels, ritual slaughterers, rabbis, performers, and others, shedding new light on the challenge for Jewish men of balancing German citizenship and cultural affiliation with Jewish communal solidarity, religious practice, and identity.


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By focusing on the male side of Jewish gender history. Whose Body Is It Anyway? Hermaphrodites, Gays, and Jews in N.

Jewish Masculinities

Gilman 7. A Kinder Gentler Strongman?

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Brighton: Academic Studies Press, There is no single stereotype, let alone actual performance, of Jewish masculinity. Two recent books usefully problematize this notion. The anthology is, itself, multiple in its conclusions.

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One of the few nonjudicial sources he cites is, curiously, R. These and other figures extolled the virtues of Jewish women—piety, love, faithfulness—and praised Jewish culture in general for reflecting such virtues rather than the masculine pursuits of power and war. How such stereotypes sat alongside those of male feminization remains a central contradiction of anti-Semitism. In fact, as Judd shows, both professions were internally governed by ever-increasing standards of hygiene and morality, perhaps to a fault.

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One senses a certain anxiety regarding these bloody rites, and indeed, the German manuals Judd adduces draw a contrast between themselves and the barbaric Ostjuden. Baer, also known as N. Body, an intersex individual whose pseudonymous autobiography appeared in Sander L. Some of these early accounts included lesbians; others did not.

Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender, and History

Baer—born with ambiguous genitalia, raised as a girl, but insistent on his male identity—was a case study in such biological determinism. At the same time, Gilman situates Baer in the context of anti-Semitic discourses of Jewish hermaphroditism, which saw Jewish men as so effeminate that they secretly menstruated. Though perhaps longer than its subject warrants, it is an excellent introduction to the Zionist remasculinization of the Jewish male.

By displaying a Jewish soul in a Romanesque body, he transformed the constructions of each. Ironically, Gerson says, this made them seem more like women. Inspired by Polish nationalism, scouting movements both Polish and German , and some of the same neo-Romantic, back-to-nature rhetoric that inspired German far rightists, the two groups, which eventually combined to form Hashomer Hazair, were particularist and elitist , and as contemptuous of the Diaspora Jew as any anti-Semite—here, Nur focuses on the writings of Yosef Haim Brenner as paradigmatic.

Sexuality was already at the forefront of their concerns. Today, we may associate hypermasculinity with aggressive sexuality—but for Hashomer Hazair, it was, in fact, its opposite. A kind of bridge between nineteenth-century notions of sexual vitality and Freudian notions of the libido, this construction of Eros enabled these future pioneers to reject both decadent sexuality on the one hand, and deracinated masculinity on the other. The tragedy of which Nur speaks is described in chapter 3—and it is the most surprising of his themes. These two themes are combined by Nur in chapter 4, which focuses on a twenty-page letter by Meir Yaari, the leader of Bitania, and a manifesto by David Horowitz published in The two texts are, it must be said, quite surprising.


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They are Nietzschean, almost Schopenhauerian, in their depiction of the human will.