Archive for July 2008
Last night I posted my review of Jacob Neusner‘s Learn Talmud. This morning the author himself posted a comment to my blog entry, confirming my suspicion that it was written for younger readers, specifically eight graders in mind. Professor Neusner also wrote:
But they [the series of books Learn Talmud] is part were adopted for college and adult education courses. A lot of credit for the success of the books goes to my editor, Seymour Rossel, and consulting editor, David Altshuler. It’s nice to think that the series still lives.
For those of you who are not familiar with Jacob Neusner‘s name: he wrote or edited hundreds of books. The wikipedia page devoted to his bibliography lists over 600 of them. His own homepage lists his articles and reports as well. Do not be fooled by the sheer volume and assume that the quality of these works are not high. Professor Neusner is amongst the most acknowledged scholars of Rabbinic literature.
Our library has six of his books. Here are their quick summaries (with the exception of the one covered yesterday),
Vanquished Nation, Broken Spirit. The Virtues of the Heart in Formative Judaism.
The author “analyzes the place of emotions in Jewish society and culture. Explaining that emotions are learned and represent judgments, Neusner then postulates that from the 2nd century onwards emotions, politics, and social culture conformed to one another in Jewish society, permitting the nation to survive. Turning to the Rabbinic texts, he finds important change in form but not in what the proper emotions should be: restraint and genial acceptance and concern for the feeling of others.”
The Oral Torah. The Sacred Books of Judaism. An Introduction.
Normative Judaism accepts a dual divine revelation: the written Torah (the five books of Moses) and the oral law, both given by God to the lawgiver on Sinai. Neusner’s excellent introduction explains how the oral law handed down from generation to generation was eventually put into writing and became the Mishnah, and how the Mishnah generated the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. Neusner adeptly elucidates two important points: that God speaks to humanity even today through a continuous interpretation of the oral law, and that Judaism differs from its daughter religions, Christianity and Islam, in its acceptance of the equal validity of the oral law.
The Enchantments of Judaism. Rites of Transformation from Birth through Death.
An excellent explanation of the whys and wherefores of the basic rites and practices of Judaism, including circumcision, marriage, the Passover Seder, grace after meals, mourning and burial, the Sabbath, and the synagogue. This is not a “how-to” book but an in-depth philosophical argument showing why some of these rites exert such a powerful influence on contemporary believing Jews while others do not. Beautifully written, this moving work is reminiscent of the thinking of the great theologian A. J. Heschel of whom Neusner is a disciple.
Invitation to the Talmud. A Teaching Book.
The foreword opens with ” This book invites the reader to try to get in the Talmud. Nowadays, people are scarcely able to try. They do not know how to begin or where–or why. Getting into the Talmud is no easy matter, even for those Jews who are ardent to recover for themselves what their ancestors once knew. This invitation is to join a community of learning men and women, for Talmudic learning is collective. You do not “read” the Talmud, you “learn” it, preferably with a haver, or a fellow student, and always with a rabbi.”
The Way of Torah. An Introduction to Judaism.
The book introduces students to Judaism via a three-pronged examination of its history, its scriptures, and its practices. Neusner first defines Judaism across time, showing its changes and development. He then introduces students to the classic texts of Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, and beyond. Finally, the Torah and Judaism are presented in their living contexts. It is the only interpretive work that addresses Judaism within the context of religious studies in general as opposed to the many other texts that use an historical or scriptural approach exclusively.
I admit I did something I was not supposed to with Jacob Neusner‘s Learn Talmud: I read it instead of using it as intended for studying. It was fun and great experience, but did not benefit from it as much as if I had followed the author’s instructions. This book is a “teach yourself how to learn Talmud” kind of book, with the great advantage of having an expert guide to do so. After two short introductory chapters about what the Talmud is and why/how it should be studied the following 21 chapters are divided into four parts as shown in the table below. I drew the table of contents into a table format to point out the similarities of the structures of the parts.
Each chapter starts off with defining the subject of the lesson and points our attention to specific question to keep in mind while reading a particular Mishnah or Talmud section. Those are presented in their original Hebrew/Aramaic with vowels along with a line-by-line translation. As the objective of the book is to teach, each of these quotes have their vocabulary collected afterward for easier reference.
Each of the four major parts takes one Talmud page and helps the student learn it form beginning to end. This is designed to make you understand how a Talmud page is built up. In the chapters titled “The Talmud all together” you will be presented the whole Talmud page put together without vowels. By the time you get to those you are supposed to be able to read an understand it.
Based on the vocabulary of the author’s text, the design of the book and the nature of the selected Talmud sections I believe this book is designed for older children or young adults. Anyone can learn from it of course, but it is important that even younger people can do so. By the design of the book I refer not just to the drawings on the front and back cover (clearly showing younger students, but the similarly designed initial letters of most English only sections.
The book can be studied on its own but it is even more beneficial if you studied first Neusner’s “Learn Mishnah,” because this book is using the very same passages that one did. (Unfortunately I was not aware of this when I read this book. Now I will have to go back to Learn Mishnah.)
While I haven’t studied the book as I should have but I did collect some favorite quotes from it. Let me share them with you, hoping that it would encourage you to find out the context I grabbed these quotes out of and read the whole book.
- The Talmud is (1) the Mishnah and (2) the Talmudic commentary to, explanation of, the Mishnah. (page 7)
- The Talmud does not merely tell stories. It makes points. (13)
- The Talmud has kept the attention of the Jewish people for hundreds of years and not only because it is a holy book. The Talmud has fascinated Jews because it is a fascinating book. (14)
- What makes the Talmud “Talmudic” is its power to see the complicated sides of a simple problem. (18)
- We must be able to take the rule and find its general principle, then apply that general principle to a wide variety of cases. Otherwise we are stuck with useless facts. (28)
- Aggadah and halakhah when properly brought together and made into neighbors, talk to one another. (67)
- The Talmud represents a series of careful and deliberate choices, among many possibilities of how someone wanted things to be. (82)
- Judaism is a religion about keeping your word because it speaks about ordinary, everyday circumstances, moments when you say something you later regret. (84)
- We are what we do. But we do what we believe. (86)
- We cannot enjoy anything of this world without saying a blessing. (93)
- Supposed contradictions [in scriptures] may be solved by reference to different times or different situations. (98)
- Saying a blessing is a way of expressing our thanks to G-d. (102)
- If you work for a living, when will you ever find time to study Torah? (105)
- The Talmud is concerned with a life of holiness, but we live in a world uninterested in what is holy. (118)
- A paradox exists. The world belongs to G-d, but we must work to gain the benefits that should come freely if we serve G-d. (119)
- When the Mishnah tells us what to do, the Talmud asks why we should do it. (121)
- The conception of the Mishnah and the Talmud is that we can discover rules that will apply everywhere and to all the Jewish people. (125)
- The Day of Atonement will do us no good if we do not do our share of the work of repentance. (128)
- You have to make yourself available to the party against whom you have a grievance. (138)
- The Talmud is put together with amazing care. We se there is close attention to form and formality. (140)
- We must always discover for ourselves those things that in the end, we shall affirm and believe. (151)
- Part of the right reason to study Torah s that it is a joy and fun! […] The other part is that G-d wants us to study. (164)
If you study this book it will help you learn to think, it will hone your mental capabilities. Or as Neusner wrote,
The Talmud is important for Judaism today not because it was important a long time ago, but because it teaches us to think about the world in which we live. (42)
Having read three of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan‘s book in the past I was happy to discover in our library a volume I was not familiar with. It was as titled “The Real Messiah? A Jewish response to missionaries.” (A side note: I had a discussion about the book’s title in a LibraryThing forum. This social cataloging site had two entries for the same book and I asked them to combine them. When they did the “?” was missing from the joined title. I insisted that they add that back, because it really makes a difference in the meaning of the title.) As I read on the book’s inner cover the publication was sponsored by an organization called “Jews for Judaism.” Their declared goals are to create “preventive counter-missionary education program that instill a greater appreciation and commitment to Jewish values and beliefs” and “winning back those Jews who have been influenced by Christian missionaries.”
As I learned from the pages of the book itself that their undeclared aim is to counteract the activities of Jews for Jesus. The book attempts to support these objectives through ten chapters, three of which were not written by Aryeh Kaplan. Before I would share my own opinion about the book let me summarize these chapters.
The introduction consists of 10 advices for Jews what to do with/how to react to the missionary problem caused by Christians who proselytize Jews. These include, learn Torah, d not argue with missionaries, do not debate, do not be taken by the “Jewish Christian” ploy, do not lose your cool, get the facts, plan strategy, focus on the teenagers and create opportunities for youth participation.
The second chapter, titled “Why aren’t we Christians?” takes four basic teachings of Christianity and explains why they Jews cannot accept them. These tenets are Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the prophets; man is evil and sinful; the Jews are no longer G-d’s chosen people, those who accept Jesus are; there is only one law: love.
The third chapter answers the question “What can a Jew lose by embracing Christianity? The answer is: Everything.” In detailing the answer Kaplan takes the differences to the concept of trinity, incarnation and meditation. In addition he also has suggestions how to find spirituality within Judaism in case that is missing for the Jewish person.
The fourth chapter compares the Jewish concept of Messiah to that of the Christian. The Jewish Messiah will “bring the world back to G-d, and make it a place of peace justice and harmony”. Christians on the other hand when Jesus did not accomplish these had to radically alter the concept and introduce the notion of a second coming. Kaplan rejects it as it extraneous to the original idea.
The fifth chapter, written by Berel Wein, looks at the history of ecumenicism. Taking one particular incident, a dialogue in 1263 CE, under the rule of James I of Aragon of Spain between Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) and Dominican monks Wein recounts the arguments of both sides and posist that there were and are no long term advantages of such “dialog.”
Pinchas Stolper, in chapter six, compares the historical Jesus’ activities with the Biblical prophecies regarding the Messiah. He takes 24 specific examples and shows how Jesus did not fulfill them, therefore he could not have been the Messiah.
Kaplan examines the missionaries’ most common, Tanakh based arguments in chapter seven and dissects them one by one. Through careful analysis he proves how the very quotes proselytizers attempt to use from Jewish resources for their agenda are misguided, misunderstood or deliberately misinterpreted.
Chapter eight is an unfavorable comparison of Jesus words and acts, based on New Testament quotes. For example it gives examples how he did not “turn the other cheek” when attacked, how he was vindictive, and vengeful, did not practice love all the time.
The penultimate and longest chapter of the book specifies the characteristics of Messianic age as known through Jewish sacred writings. The fact that the state of Israel has been reestablished is considered a foretold sign that the Messianic age is getting closer. The accelerated pace of technological and social changes in the last few hundred years are also interpreted in similar manner. The human free will, the process of divine creation is synthesized in the Messianic age with the statement that “the ultimate goal of the historic process is the perfection of society. Since everything was created by G-d, all must eventually be perfected.” (page 84) The significance and nature of miracles is considered in relation to our worthiness for them. The return of all Jews to the land of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and worldwide peace are all covered in this context. The consequence of the coming of the Messiah, both as a human person and as an embodiment of the Messianic age is separated from the Jesus figure’s second coming.
The last chapter presents yet another approach to help Jews to fight the urge to listen to Jews for Jesus group’s message. It is a retelling of a story of a Jewish girl (yes, not young woman), who joined Jews for Jesus group for a while, but under the influence of articulate rabbis, communal feeling of a Shabbaton and learning she rediscovered and returned to Judaism.
As you can see from the above summary there is plenty of mental ammunition for Jews to counter proselytizers’ arguments. That is the best point of the book in my opinion. However I found it repetitive, because some arguments appear over and over in almost every chapter. To be fair, there are plenty points, which are covered only once.
As a Jew I understand and emphasize with the goals of the Jews for Judaism group. I think a different version of this book, however, would have been an even better tool to promote them. I think the focus of their agenda has clouded their otherwise rational thinking. There is quite a bit of unnecessary hostility venom in the writing. I believe in order to provoke your points and discredit your opponents it is not necessary to depict your adversary as evil. Uncovering their agenda and operational mechanics is more than enough. I understand and share the emotional reaction bursting out when meeting with Jews for Jesus. However in a book intended for everyday usage and for academic purposes I would have preferred a more neutral tone, that still respects the other side’s faith and humanity even if vehemently disagree with them.
I also found it ironic that on one hand the authors of the book admonish Christians for using Hebrew Scriptures in their efforts to convert Jews, but on the other hand they are using New Testament quotes to disprove Jesus’ qualities that are important for Christians. I believe similarly as the authors accuse proselytizers to using and misinterpreting Hebrew sentences out of context, they would be accused by Christians of doing the very same from the Gospels. I do not think it is the best tactic, while I recognize that for a Jew being familiar with the New Testament itself is already a sign of respect.
Having raised these observations about the book I am still happy that I read it. I learned a lot from it about the Messiah/Messianic age and ho to defend Jewish belief. I would like to close this essay with the sentence from page 85 that keeps reverberating in my mind needing more work to get fully expound.
This week we will show Free Zone, the 2005 film by acclaimed director Amos Gitai (Kedma, Eden, Kadosh, Kippur … and many other films.) The film follows the complicated and slowly developing friendship of three women, coming from different backgrounds. Rebecca is a Jewish American, who is in Israel only for a short period of time. She is played by Natalie Portman, who is an Israeli citizen and was indeed in Israel only for a year to study at the university. Her taxi-driver is Hanna who has some business to do in the Free Zone, a place surrounded by Syria, Iraq and South Arabia. They eventually meet with a Palestinian woman and the three of them go through some adventures. The movie is built up around their interactions and reactions to events around them. When I first watched it I had no access to subtitles. It was fascinating and challenging trying to follow the cavalcade of languages and the quick changes between them: English, Hebrew, Arabic and even Spanish. This time we will have subtitles, so if you are fluent in all of these languages you will have a better chance to understand it.
The running time of the movie is 90 minutes. It is unrated, but those countries where it got rated it was OK-ed for ages 12 and up. I recommend the movie to those who are sensitive to and interested in the various facets of the struggle in the Middle East represented by three women. I also recommend the movie to you if you are not yet sensitized, because this movie might help you to understand the sides better through a deeply personal story, superb acting, and exciting story line.
The trailer below starts with the award winning ceremony of Hanna Laszlo, who won the Best Actress category at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance.
Last Thursday four of us watched through Esther Kahn and it made all of us think a little. For those who missed it I am happy to report that the DVD is available for borrowing from the library.
In retrospect this movie is better watched from a chair or sofa at the comfort of your home, than at a public place, which could not be darkened fully for the first third of the movie due to being daylight. Most of the film consisted of dark inside shots. The audio had varying volume too, but most often it was too low, even at the loudest setting. Some of us did not fully enjoy the way the camera followed Esther, the jumpiness due to the fact of being a handheld camera and/or the direction it was shooting at. There might have been some other unraised objections too.
Nevertheless we agreed that it was a thought provoking movie. Here are some of the thoughts that occurred in me while I watched. The rest of this post may contain spoilers so if you plan to see the movie, you may want read afterwards only.
Esther was brought up in a busy Jewish household and was explicitly asked as a young girl to suppress her coping mechanism of copying other people’s speech and mimicry. She internalized this and by the time she became a young woman (the movie does not show the intervening years) she seems to have repressed her emotions to the point where she was not even aware of them. She could not even express them even if she wanted.
I think the reason she chose acting as a career has a lot do with this suppression. Yes, she had natural talents that had to come out. What better way to learn to show emotions than acting? But, I also think that it was her way of assimilation. There were not too many routs to get out of her old circles that suffocated her. She physically and literally crossed the river to start afresh. She only went back once for support, when she was not sure in her own talent. She forced her own assimilation shedding away her Jewish roots. The angriest we’ve seen her was with her encounter with the rabbi. She expressed her anger at G-d, saying that because she was poor G-d did not care about her. This was the only outward expression she shared about anything related to Judaism. She was angrier at being poor, than being a Jew. But in her mind the two seemed to have been connected.
The biggest criticism I have against this movie is that we do not really see the development in Esther’s intonation. She spoke throughout the movie with a closely lips, barely opening her mouth. The film would have been more convincing if it had shown the flowering of her thespian gifts in terms of dramatic changes in her acting. But I could not really tell the difference from when she started up in a minor role with two lines to the end when she was the diva of a major play.
Camp Chai started today. The theme for this week is Israel. Every day, after their lunch I will be reading a story for the campers. (Except one day, when we will be watching a Sesame Street episode about Tel-Aviv.) Here are the books I plan to introduce them to.
Jim Haskins: Count your way through Israel
This book helps to learn the numbers from one to ten in Hebrew. On each page there is a story or relevant fact about Israel that is connected to one of the numbers. These themes are also shown with images, water-paintings. The list includes 1-the land of Israel, 2-David and Goliath, 3-religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity), 4-questions asked at Pesach, 5-agricultural products of Israel for export (citrus fruits, vegetables, nuts, cotton, flowers, 6-six-pointed Star of David, 7-branches of the menorah, 8-animals that got reintroduced to the desert in modern Israel (Judean Desert leopard, ibex, Mesopotamian fallow deer, striped hyena, hyrax, Asiatic wild ass, white oryx, ostrich), 9-Israeli export products (polished diamonds, military equipment, x-ray machines, clothing, leather goods, computers, chemicals, solar-energy technology, irrigation system), and 10- lost tribes.
I was surprised that the “One” did not refer to G-d. Also the focus on the export goods was a bit forced. Finally I think for the target audience (young children) it would have been beneficial if the Hebrew words/numbers were pointed, including the vowels. Despite these observations the book and its drawing was fun enough.
Sheila Segal: Joshua’s dream
A mother tells her young son (both living in the Diaspora, presumably in the US) about his Great-Aunt Rivka, who was a Zionist in the early 20th century. The boy, inspired by Aunt Rivka’s heroic work to make the desert bloom, plants a tree himself there the first time the family visits Israel. The book is illustrated with pencil sketches. Except on the last page; that has a black-and-white photograph showing a young boy planting a tree. This makes me believe that the story is based on the author and her son. It teaches about family connections/values, and the importance of making the world (in this case the desert) a better place. What’s not to like?
Samuel Grand: The children of Israel
As the title suggest this book shows the lives of the children in Israel. It does so by providing two-four photographs on each page and two-four paragraphs of texts as well. There are two details that I appreciated about this book. One of them is that the text boldfaced keywords on each page, making it easier to scan and remember. The other is that key words and phrases are introduced in fully pointed Hebrew (and transliteration as well), making it easier to learn those words. The result of observing the pictures, having the words emphasized and seeing them in Hebrew is effective learning. The book is divided into ten chapters, each focusing on one of these themes: the children, school, play, kibbutz, nature, diversity, arab children, Jerusalem, holidays, and finally how to keep in touch with children in Israel. The book was published in 1972, so it might feel dated, but the photos are great, making the children and the land alive. The text is informative enough too.
Ephraim Sidon, Hanan Kaminski and Gil Elkabetz: The animated Israel – a homecoming
I already blogged about this book here.
Those of you, who came to services Friday night, had a chance to meet with Nathan Roller, my friend and roommate from college, who eventually became my best man. Amongst his many ventures he has been the librarian at the Santa Barbara Hillel. In the course of his work he noticed that there wasn’t a single source where one can find the list of winners of various Judaica book awards. Filling in this gap he created the list of lists and compiled the winning books, going back as far as he could. If you visit his Amazon page you will find the winners for the
- Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation Prize for Jewish Fiction
- Sophie Brody Award for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature
- Harold U. Ribalow Prize
- Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
- Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction
- National Jewish Book Award Finalists for the last two years
This post is not just an unsolicited plug for his work and page, but also a suggestion to check those lists to find good Judaica books. If the library doesn’t have an item already you are interested in, ask for it and we might be able to purchase it.
If Sherwin B. Nuland, in his Nextbook/Schocken book titled Maimonides, would only have given a detail picture of 12th century history of the Mediterranean region, including the various rulers’ rise and fall, characteristics of their empire, extending it both in space (covering Africa and Europe) and time (earlier and later centuries) … it would have been enough.
If the book would only have analyzed why so many Jews became doctors from the earliest of times, listing such reasons as medical knowledge being portable, when Jews were forced to move often; or the fact that the minds honed on Talmudic debates could easily use the same techniques for scientific/medical argumentation and produce better results, than other healers’, who were often uneducated … it would have been enough.
If Nuland would only have covered Rambam’s biography, including his travels and the reasons behind them, his relationships to his father, brother, students and women as much as possible; talked about his studies, positions, correspondence, alliances, and enemies … it would have been enough.
If the book would only have introduced Rambam’s major works, putting them in the context of their origin, including how the “Commentary on the Mishnah” with its combination of Greek philosophy and Rabbinic commentary manages to balance and keep scientific approach and unbending faith at their places; how the Rambam spent ten years on writing the “Mishneh Torah”‘s fourteen volumes to create a reduction of Talmudic law, making its decrees available for the less educated mind; and how “The Guide for the Perplexed” created divisions between those who understood it, those who did not and those who thought they did… it would have been enough.
If Nuland, as a medical doctor and historian himself, would only have evaluated Maimonides reputation as a medical luminary, pointing out how much of his writings and practice depended on Hippocrates, Galen, Arabic and Christian sources, how Maimonides cannot be really considered an original thinker in terms of medical science, but more of a re-interpreter, similar to all of his contemporaries, but nevertheless not belittling his mental powers… it would have been enough.
If the book would only have pointed out why Rambam viewed health important (so people could devote more time to the most important duty of attaining knowledge of G-d) … it would have been enough.
But, the author also pointed out on page 190,
“The real reason that Maimonides has been an ageless icon to Jews everywhere […is the] memory of a man whose life was devoted to the continuity of the Jewish people.”
(Some of you might have recognized that the “it would have been enough” phrase is from a Pesach song. I wrote this review following that pattern in honor of the Rambam/Maimonides, who was born on the first night of Pesach in 1135.)
As the filmclub in June and July was a success we are extending it to the month of August. In order not to conflict with Rabbi Schlesinger’s Torah and Talmud class on Thursdays the movies will be shown on Wednesday nights. The starting time remains 7:30 PM. As we had to postpone the showing of Walk in Water in July we will start August series off with that movie. Here is the full schedule for August.
- August 6: Walk on Water
(2004) [Rated R] (103 minutes)
(In Hebrew, German, Arabic with English subtitles)
Following the suicide of his wife, an Israeli intelligence agent is assigned to befriend the grandchildren of a Nazi war criminal.
- August 13: Edges of the Lord
(2001) [Rated R] (95 minutes)
A 12-year-old Jewish boy (Haley Joel Osment) hides with a family of Catholic peasant farmers to escape the Nazis. Also starring Willem Dafoe as a priest.
- August 20: Monsieur Ibrahim
(2003) [Rated R] (95 minutes)
(In French, with English subtitles)
In Paris, a Turkish shop owner (Omar Sharif) befriends a Jewish boy in his mid-teens. He gives paternal love and teaches the knowledge of the Koran to the boy, receiving in return love and respect.
- August 27: Keeping Up With the Steins
(2006) [Rated PG13] (99 minutes)
This comedy is the story of a 13-year-old boy who uses his upcoming bar mitzvah to reconcile the strained relationship between his father and grandfather.
66 years ago today, on July 24, 1942, the gates of Treblinka II opened. In this extermination camp at least 700,000 people, vast majority of them Jews, were killed, including the 310,000 deported from the Warsaw ghetto. Some estimates for the number of victims are as high as 1.4 million. I have no words to describe the horrors, no mental capacity to process this kind of numbers, where every single one represents a human life.
But others did manage to write and document one of the worst places in human history. The library has several accounts of what happened. Jean-Francois Steiner‘s father was killed in Treblinka. Twenty years later (Treblinka was published in 1966 in French) Steiner pieced together the story from scattered records and interviews with the survivors and created a unique blend of history and novel. Simone de Beauvoir wrote in her preface,
“The horrors evoked in its day-to-day banality and almost as if they were natural. In a voice that rejects any overly human inflection, the author describes a dehumanized world.”
The bulk of another book–edited by Alexander Donat, titled “The Death Camp Treblinka; a Documentary,” and published in 1979–is made up by six individual eyewitness accounts. Donat was a survivor. His intention for the book is stated in the introduction, “I dedicate this Scroll of mourning and anger to the memory of the men, women, and children who became the ashes of Treblinka.” The purpose being to document Treblinka the book includes 20 pages of pictures, a detailed list of “hangmen, rebels and survivors,” and excerpts from the first and second Treblinka trials.
Donat wrote two books before the title mentioned above. We have his memoir from 1965, “The Holocaust Kingdom.” This, being the whole account to what he went through between 1939 and 1945, contains events taking places outside Treblinka, but gives a context for that experience. We do not have a copy of Donat’s first book from 1964, “Jewish Resistance.”
The last book I would like to draw your attention to in relation to Treblinka is Yitzhak Arad‘s “Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps.” The book’s first half, titled “The extermination machine” expounds the details of the “Final Solution.” The short middle section describes “Life in the shadow of death.” The second half of the book is about “Escape and resistance.” This item places the horrors of Treblinka in yet another context, how it was part of the machine that killed 6,000,000.
Let me close this post with Donat’s description of what Treblinka was,
“[It] was the reign of ultimate undiluted evil, the mesmerizing dread of unmitigated terror, combined with masterly delusion and camouflage.”