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Queer Jews Hardcover – July 5, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0415931663 ISBN-10: 0415931665
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Editorial Reviews


The collection has taken important strides in redefining the boundaries of Jewish America, as well as the Queer community, by insisting that the voices of Queer Jews be heard--and accounted for. -- Gender Agenda
Queer Jews is so exuberantly queer that it changes the old adage, 'When you're in love, the whole world is Jewish' to 'When you're in heat, the whole world is.' This collection from women and men is chock full of 'shtemme,' soul. -- Lambda Book Report
Queer Jews welcomes us into the worlds and the lives of Jews who identify as queer: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. These twenty-one essays-by Hebrew school teachers, principals, rabbis, Jews in the pews, and those who define themselves as secular-challenge readers to wrestle not only with sexual diversity, but also with gender identity...The contributors to this bold collection write with clarity, a healthy measure of chutzpah, and hope that their words will establish a permanent place of recognition and honor for the thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning Jews who gather at family and communal tables across our Jewish world. -- LILITH
A youthful vision of the dynamic intersection of what it means to be Jewish and gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Bravo/a to the editors for compiling such a wide-ranging spectrum of thinking on the topic. -- Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood's Reform Synagogue
Fresh, original, and provocative essays will challenge readers of Queer Jews to think more deeply about being Jewish, gendered, and sexed. A rare book, with new and exciting ideas. -- Susannah Heschel, co-editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist
In the best prophetic tradition, Queer Jews pushes the envelope of possibilities for what Jewish community and identity can be. -- Rabbi Yoel H. Kahn, scholar-in-residence, Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco
We've been long overdue for the book that shows where queer Jewishthought has been over the last few years-and more importantly-where it's headed. Queer Jews addresses just about every aspect of queer Jewish experience, and does so with insight, humor, and a whole lot of chutzpah. This book has vitally important things to teach anyone and everyone who picks it up. -- Danya Ruttenberg, editor of Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism
Queer Jews is a fun book which delicately balances politics and humor, GBLT and Jewish identity and humanity with spirituality...[The authors'] voices, and the stories they told, made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think. Don't forget to buy a few copies for your parents, rabbis, friends and lovers. -- The Empty Closet
The book should appeal to a wide readership. The first-person story of Steve Greenberg, an openly gay Orthodox rabbi, is as inspiring as the confession-style tribulations of anonymous, closeted rabbinical students are painful. Eve Sicular plumbs the academic depths of Yiddish cinema, finding queer contexts from the 1930's in films like Yidl Mitn Fidl. Meanwhile Sandi Simcha Dubowski's free-form diary charts the progress of his truly ground-breaking film, Trembling Before G-d, as he took it to film festivals across the globe, offering proof that there are queers who are also quite frum (religiously observant) despite the real threat of excommunications from their congregations. -- Gay City News
Shneer and Aviv have assembled a first-rate collection of essays that will permanently alter all perceptions about Queer Jews. These vivid, cutting edge tales of the lives of transgender, bisexual, gay and lesbian Jews delight and challenge. If this book reflects the state of queer thinking in Jewish life, we may indeed count our blessings. -- Rebecca Alpert, author of Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition

About the Author

David Shneer is Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Denver and former Director of Education at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav in San Francisco.

Caryn Aviv is a sociologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who currently directs the Program for Collaborative Care at the UCSF Breast Care Center.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (July 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415931665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415931663
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,251,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

David Shneer is the Louis P. Singer chair in Jewish history, professor of history and director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His newest book, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (Rutgers University Press, 2011), finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, looks at the lives and works of two dozen Soviet Jewish World War II military photographers to examine what kinds of photographs they took when they encountered evidence of Nazi genocide on the Eastern Front.His other books include Queer Jews, finalist for the Lambda Literary award, Yiddish and the Creation of Soviet Jewish Culture, finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and New Jews: The End of the Jewish Diaspora, which has sparked discussion in publications like the Economist and the Jerusalem Post. His new project, Not On Their Last Road, examines Yiddish musical culture's role in the clash between fascism and Communism through the life and work of Lin Jaldati, a Dutch-Jewish Yiddish-singing cabaret singer, who survived the Holocaust and was the last person to see Anne Frank alive. After the war, she moved to East Germany and became the Yiddish diva of the Communist world until her death in 1988.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By G. Kessler on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Queer Jews" deserves its place among the previous Lesbian and Lesbigay Jewish Anthologies, Evelyn Torton-Beck's Nice Jewish Girls (1982, reprint and expanded 1989) and Christi Balka and Andy Rose's Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish (1989). It not only pays homage to its predecessors (see the Introduction and Balka and Rose's own contribution), it honors them by reflecting some of the changes that have occurred in the past 20 years.
This is immediately intimated by the title's use of the word `queer' and further carried through with essays by transgender or non-traditionally gendered Jews. Although `queer,' is used throughout the book mainly as an umbrella term "to include lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people" (14) when one delves more deeply into a number of the individual contributions, one senses the mobilization of the term queer as something that "marks a suspension of identity as something fixed, coherent, and natural"(Jagose, Queer Theory, p. 98). Queerness and Jewishness are thus both expanded--or stretched--within this book's pages. Thus Queer Jews not only calls into question conventional understandings of sexual identity by deconstructing the categories, oppositions and equations that sustain them, it similarly calls into question (many) conventional understandings of `Jewish identity'. This is a good thing.
And so it that an essay about a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding is bound together with a cogent questioning of the Reform Movement's recent decision to recognize (sanction?) `same-sex' marriage. And the stories of a non-traditionally gendered Reform Hebrew School teacher, a gay Orthodox rabbi, a closeted Conservative rabbinical student, and a secular `liberationist fem' are similarly bound together in this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By The Cowboy on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Shneer & Aviv's Queer Jews presents a striking collection of academic thought, personal experience and political views expressed by an interesting and diverse group of contributors who have much to offer on the issues affecting people who identify as a minority group within a minority group - both queer and Jewish.
This informed volume bravely assesses where queer & Jewish people currently are in the progression towards acceptance by both their own culture as well as the wider society, whilst providing important pointers for future work that must yet be done.
As a non-Jew, I have found this milestone work to be a useful and fascinating insight into understanding the experiences and issues dealt with by friends who are both queer and Jewish. As a gay man, I have been personally challenged and inspired by the strength of character and determination to be accepted as part of a community, as demonstrated throughout the essays in Queer Jews.
From out and proud Reformist Rabbis and closeted Orthodox Rabbis to a personal dilemma of whether to pray on the male or female side of the Western Wall; from queer Jewish education to queer Jewish students' first public protest; from the challenges of queer Jewish weddings to queer Jewish parenting and adoption, Queer Jews is a significant positive step in the right direction for inclusiveness, acceptance and unity - a book that should be read by anyone connected with queer and/or Jewish culture. You can't help but be impressed with the great strides that queer Jewish people have made in their communities, whilst also recognising that there are still difficulties ahead to face.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Shull on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Queer Jews provides a wonderful introduction to the subject of homosexuality & Judaism. The essays are well-written and thought provoking and the notes at the end of the essays provide a good starting place for readers who want to delve more deeply into a certain subject. The glossary at the back of the book made the Yiddish and other potentially unfamiliar terminology accessible to a much wider audience.

The essays are written by various artists and employ various terminologies. One should have at least some familiarity with lingo used in connection with the LGBT community, although no extensive knowledge would be required (for example, authors may use queer, lgbt and gay interchangeably). The essays range from exceptionally well written to decently well written, but there are a variety of topics covered so I believe most readers would find something of interest within the pages.

The book is written primarily for a Jewish audience and would be particularly helpful to LGBT Jews and congregations or organizations seeking to make themselves more LGBT-affirming. As the topics and voices are so diverse, however, I believe its applicability will extend far beyond this limited audience. This is one book that is definitely worth a read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "sf_gregg70" on August 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
I thank Shneer and Aviv for this wonderful, thought-provoking anthology. As I read the collection I found myself becoming more and more engaged with the essays, the authors themselves, and the sometimes conflicting worlds they described. I learned something from all of the contributors, even those whose politics, understanding of Judaism, or presentation of themselves as "queer" rankled or frustrated me. (Actually, I think I learned the most from the authors who frustrated me!)
The editors and all the book's contributors have done an excellent job of capturing the diversity of a new generation of queer Jews and the impact they are having on both the Jewish and queer communities. This book has made me re-examine what being a gay man and a Jew means to me. Bravo to Shneer and Aviv for putting together such a timely and insightful book!
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