Jewish Lives, Jewish Lives Series, Jewish Biography, Jewish History, Jewish Culture, Jewish Books, Biography books, Top selling books, Jewish Book, Bestselling biographies, Best biography books, Judaism, Jewish, King David, Jacob, King Solomon, Rabbi Akiva, Moses, Peggy Guggenheim, Mark Rothko, Leonard Bernstein, Bernard Berenson, Sarah Bernhardt, Barbra Streisand, Groucho Marx, Hank Greenberg, Steven Spielberg, Louis Brandeis, Disraeli, Leon Blum, Ben-Gurion, Jabotinsky, Moshe Dayan, Walter Rathenau, Leon Trotsky, Emma Goldman, Yitzhak Rabin, Marcel Proust, Lillian Hellman, Primo Levi, Franz Kafka, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Rav Kook, Moses Mendelssohn, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud
By David Biale
Published June 19, 2018
"A superb, much-awaited biography.”—Steven Aschheim, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
A new biography of the seminal twentieth-century historian and thinker who pioneered the study of Jewish mysticism and profoundly influenced the Zionist movement
Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) was perhaps the foremost Jewish intellectual of the twentieth century. Pioneering the study of Jewish mysticism as a legitimate academic discipline, he overturned the rationalist bias of his predecessors and revealed an extraordinary world of myth and messianism. In his youth, he rebelled against the assimilationist culture of his parents and embraced Zionism as the vehicle for the renewal of Judaism in a secular age. He moved to Palestine in 1923 and participated in the creation of the Hebrew University, where he was a towering figure for nearly seventy years.
David Biale traces Scholem’s tumultuous life of political activism and cultural criticism, including his falling-out with Hannah Arendt over the Eichmann trial. Mining a rich trove of diaries, letters, and other writings, Biale shows that his subject’s inner life illuminates his most important writings. Scholem emerges as a passionately engaged man of his times—a period that encompassed two world wars, the rise of Nazism, and the Holocaust.
By Steven Nadler
Published August 21, 2018
“Truly excellent” —Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton
An illuminating biography of the great Amsterdam rabbi and celebrated popularizer of Judaism in the seventeenth century
Menasseh ben Israel (1604–1657) was among the most accomplished and cosmopolitan rabbis of his time, and a pivotal intellectual figure in early modern Jewish history. He was one of the three rabbis of the “Portuguese Nation” in Amsterdam, a community that quickly earned renown worldwide for its mercantile and scholarly vitality.
Born in Lisbon, Menasseh and his family were forcibly converted to Catholicism but suspected of insincerity in their new faith. To avoid the horrors of the Inquisition, they fled first to southwestern France, and then to Amsterdam, where they finally settled. Menasseh played an important role during the formative decades of one of the most vital Jewish communities of early modern Europe, and was influential through his extraordinary work as a printer and his efforts on behalf of the readmission of Jews to England. In this lively biography, Steven Nadler provides a fresh perspective on this seminal figure.
By Wendy Lesser
Published October, 9, 2018
“A compact and incisive portrait” —Kirkus Reviews
A lively and inspired biography celebrating the centennial of this master choreographer, dancer, and stage director
Jerome Robbins (1918–1998) was born Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz and grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, where his Russian-Jewish immigrant parents owned the Comfort Corset Company. Robbins, who was drawn to dance at a young age, resisted the idea of joining the family business. In 1936 he began working with Gluck Sandor, who ran a dance group and convinced him to change his name to Jerome Robbins. He went on to become a choreographer and director who worked in ballet, on Broadway, and in film. His stage productions include West Side Story, Peter Pan, and Fiddler on the Roof. In this deft biography, Wendy Lesser presents Jerome Robbins’s life through his major dances, providing a sympathetic, detailed portrait of her subject.