The Arty Semite

The Love Song of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

By Benjamin Ivry

The American historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, who died at age 77 in 2009 was author of “Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory”; “Freud’s Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable”; and “Haggadah and History,” among other key texts.

Yerushalmi was particularly appreciated in France, where Sylvie Anne Goldberg of l’École des Hautes Études organized a 2011 colloquium in his honor and produced two new homages published by Éditions Albin Michel: “History and the Memory of History”, articles from the colloquium, and “Transmitting Jewish History: Conversations with Sylvie Anne Goldberg.”. Goldberg explains that their exchanges were conducted in “Hebrew, English, and French” starting in 1987, although plans for a book began in earnest only around 2004. Getting to know Yerushalmi the man turns out to be enchanting, and “Transmitting Jewish History” contains some surprises. Among these is his admiration for the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga, author of “The Autumn of the Middle Ages” as the “first person who gave [Yerushalmi] the desire to become a historian like him.”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jorge Luis Borges, Peter Shaffer, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi




Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.