Introduction

Vol. 2, No. 1 – February, 2010

David N. Myers (UCLA)

It is the goal of Perush to bring to the reader’s attention innovative trends in scholarship, as well as to stimulate debate on key issues of contemporary concern. This issue of the journal seeks to do both. The first section addresses frontally a perennial question, albeit one posed with new urgency: Is anti-Semitism alive and well today? Does recent criticism of Israel mark a new and disturbing phase in what has been called the “longest hatred?” Or have claims of anti-Semitism been overstated, especially in American public (and university) life?

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The second half of the journal is devoted to important new work in Jewish urban history. We need hardly belabor the fact that the city has been an exceptionally significant site for the Jews, particularly over the past two centuries. It has offered both liberation from the shackles of traditional ghetto life and the prospect of re-aggregating in unmistakably Jewish neighborhoods (e.g., the Scheunenviertal, the Pletzl, the East End, the Lower East Side, Once, Boyle Heights). It has been the site of radical political activity and stunning cultural innovation, as well as of intense religious reconnection. It has produced great artists, intellectuals, and rabbis—anarchists, communists, and conservatives.

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