Having unfolded in the diverse communities of the diaspora, Jewish experience lends itself almost effortlessly to comparative treatment. The contributors to this volume take up the challenge, examining Jewish societies from medieval to modern times, in Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America, North Africa, India, China, and the Middle East.
The essays use the methodological strategies and theoretical insights of history, sociology, anthropology, and political science to explore such topics as Jewish and African nationalism; Arab and Jewish railway workers in British-ruled Palestine; East European Jewish immigrants in New York, London, and Paris; ritual murder trials in fin-de-siècle Central Europe; and Catholic and Jewish enlightenment movements.
Further, because of their comparative structure and method, these essays stimulate fresh questions about the larger societies in which Jews lived—their values, practices, and structures.
Comparing Jewish Societies will appeal to students and scholars at all levels who wish to break out of old frameworks to observe the Jews and their religion with a new, methodologically sophisticated eye.