The Kabbalah of Forgiveness: The Thirteen Levels of Mercy in Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s Date Palm of Devorah (Tomer Devorah) (Smashwords, 2014)
The Kabbalah of Forgiveness is a new translation of the first chapter of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s classic work Date Palm of Devorah (Tomer Devorah) with a modern commentary by Dr. Henry Abramson. Emerging from the 16th-century Safed Circle, a group of kabbalists working in northern Israel, Date Palm of Devorah earned a rare place in the history of Jewish ethical literature, primarily based on the glorious introductory chapter that discusses the Thirteen Levels of Mercy and how these Divine attributes can be applied in daily life. Steeped in metaphysics and mysticism, Date Palm of Devorah brings the loftiest, most esoteric concepts of Judaism and translates them to the everyday realities of human interaction. The profound value of this work for personal moral development prompted many renowned scholars to exempt it from the ban on the study of Kabbalah for students under the age of 40. The 17th-century Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (known as the Shela ha-Kodesh) advocated its study in particular during the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Rabbi Israel Salanter (the 19th-century founder of the Musar movement) promoted its study during the preceding month of Elul as well. The Hasidic Rabbi Chaim Halberstam (known as the Divrei Chaim) asserted that studying Date Palm of Devorah has the power to cure many diseases, and today many pious students review the book on a monthly basis to address both physical and spiritual ailments.
The Kabbalah of Forgiveness is an extended meditation of Thirteen Levels of forgiveness, exploring how we may emulate God to forgive others, and in some cases, to forgive ourselves as well.
Moses Maimonides on Teshuvah: The Ways of Repentance, A New Translation and Commentary (Smashwords/Createspace, 2012).
Scholarly yet readable, The Sea of Talmud combines basic, authoritative information on the Talmud with the author’s unique and personal journey to traditional Judaism. Tracing the history of the Talmud from its origins in ancient Israel and Babylon to Internet-based texts, Dr. Abramson describes the excitement and thrill of studying Talmud from an insider’s perspective. The Sea of Talmud alternates between dispassionate, objective discussions of the Talmud as a document in the western religious canon and descriptions of Dr. Abramson’s journey to traditional Judaism, studying Talmud in rabbinical seminaries in Jerusalem and elsewhere.
(Feldheim 2006; Smashwords/Createspace 2012).
Reading the Talmud is a textbook designed for students who want to move beyond translations to learning the Talmud on their own. This book presents a proven, “no shortcuts” approach based on the traditional Yeshiva model. If you have enough Hebrew skills to work out a Biblical verse, and a healthy determination to toil in the Talmud, this book will help you develop independence in Gemara learning.
The Art of Hatred: Images of Intolerance in Florida Culture
(Jewish Museum of Florida, 2001)
Museum catalog for travelling exhibit on the history of antisemitic iconography.
A Prayer for the Government: Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times, 1917-1920
After the fall of the Russian Empire, Jewish and Ukrainian activists worked to overcome previous mutual antagonism by creating a Ministry of Jewish Affairs within the new Ukrainian state and taking other measures to satisfy the national aspirations of Jews and other non-Ukrainians. This bold experiment ended in terrible failure as anarchic violence swept the countryside amidst civil war and foreign intervention. Pogromist attacks resulted in the worst massacres of Jews in Europe in almost three hundred years. Some 40 percent of these pogroms were perpetrated by troops ostensibly loyal to the very government that was simultaneously extending unprecedented civil rights to the Jewish population.
Abramson explores this paradox and sheds new light on the relationship between the various Ukrainian governments and the communal violence, focusing especially on the role of Symon Petliura, the Ukrainian leader later assassinated by a Jew claiming revenge for the pogroms. A Prayer for the Government treats a crucial period of Ukrainian and Jewish history, and is also a case study of ethnic violence in emerging political entities.
“Two Jews, Three Opinions: Politics in the Shtetl at the Turn of the 20th century,” The Shtetl: New Evaluations ed. Steven Katz, New York: New York University Press, 2007, 85-101.
“Deciphering the Ancestral Paradigm: A Hasidic Court in the Warsaw Ghetto,” Ghettos 1939-1945: New Research and Perspectives on Definition, Daily Life, and Survival ed. Paul A Shapiro, Washington DC: Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Museum, 2005, 129-146.
“A Double Occlusion: Sephardim and the Holocaust,” Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times, ed. Zion Zohar, New York: New York University Press, 2005, 285-299.
“‘This is the Way it Was!’ Textual and Iconograpic Images of Jews in the Nazisponsored Ukrainian Press of Distrikt Galizien,” Why didn’t the Press Shout? Journalism and the Holocaust, ed. Robert Moses Shapiro, New York: Yeshiva University Press, 2003, 537-556.
“Metaphysical Nationality in the Warsaw Ghetto: Poles and other Non-Jews in the Wartime Writings of Rabbi Kalonimus Kalmish Shapiro,” Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its Aftermath, ed. Joshua Zimmerman, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2003, 158-169.
“Depicting the Ambiguous Wound: Circumcision in Medieval Art,” (with Carrie Hannon) Circumcision: New Perspectives on an Ancient Rite, ed. Elizabeth Wyner Mark, Hanover and London: Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, 2003, 98-113.
“Nachrichten aus Lemberg: Lokale Elemente in der antisemitischen Ikonographie der NS-Propaganda in ukrainischer Sprache,” in Grenzenlose Vorurteile: Antisemitismus, Nationalismus und ethnische Konflikte in verschiedenen Kulturen, Series; Jahrbuch des Fritz Bauer Institut, Band 6, ed. Irmtrud Wojak and Susanne Meinl, Frankfurt am Main: Fritz Bauer Institut, 2002, 249-267.
“Foreword to the Turei Zahav of Rabbi David ben Shmuel HaLevi (Volodymyr 1586 L’viv 1667)” in Ukraine: Developing a Democratic Polity, Essays in Honour of Peter J. Potichnyj, ed. Stefania Szlek Miller, Edmonton: CIUS, 1996, 97-108. [Also published as journal article, listed below]
“Shouldering the Burdens of History: Aspects of the Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter since Independence,” Society in Transition: Social Change in Ukraine in Western Perspectives, ed. Wsevolod Isajiw, Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2003, 203-212.
“The End of Intimate Insularity: New Narratives of Jewish History in the Post-Soviet Era,” Construction and Deconstruction of National Identities in Post-Soviet Eurasia, ed. Tadayuki Hayashi, Sapporo: Hokkaido University, 2003, 87-115.
Journal Articles, Encyclopedia Entries, Newspaper Articles
“Circumcision: Visual Arts,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011)
“Ukraine,” The YIVO Encyclopedia of the Jews of Eastern Europe ed. Gershon David Hundert, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2:1930-1937.
“Well – yes, a new Synthesis! A Response to Mr. Fisher,” Revolutionary Russia 16:2 (London, 2003), 94-100.
“Studying the Talmud: 400 Repetitions and the Divine Voice,” Thought and Action 27:1 (Spring 2001), 9-18. Winner of the Excellence in the Academy Award for 2001 in the category of The Art of Teaching, see Teaching Awards below.
“Just Different: The Last Jewish Family of Ansonville, Ontario,” Canadian Jewish Studies: Etudes Juives Canadiennes 9 (2001), 155-169.
“The Esh Kodesh of Rabbi Kalonimus Kalmish Shapiro: an Unique Treatise on Communal Trauma among Hasidim in the Holocaust,” Transcultural Psychiatry 37:3 (Montreal, 2000), 321-335.
“The Prince in Captivity: Reading Hasidic Discourses from the Warsaw Ghetto as Sources for Social and Intellectual History,” Journal of Genocide Research 1:2 (London, 1999), 213-225.
“Life Imitates Art Imitates Life: The Famine, the Holocaust, and Australia’s Darville/Demidenko Affair,”The Ukrainian Quarterly 50:4 (New York, 1997), 353-365.
“A Ready Hatred: Depictions of the Jewish Woman in Medieval Antisemitic Art and Caricature,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 62 (Jerusalem and New York, 1996) 1-18.
“Foreword to the Turei Zahav of Rabbi David ben Shmuel HaLevi (Volodymyr 1586 L’viv 1667),” Journal of Ukrainian Studies 21:1/2 (Toronto, 1996), 97-108. [Also published as book chapter, listed above]
“The Scattering of Amalek: A Model for Understanding the UkrainianJewish Conflict,” East European Jewish Affairs 24:1 (London, 1994), 3947.
“Collective Memory and Collective Identity: Jews and the Rusyns During the Holocaust,” CarpathoRusyn American 17:3 (New York, 1994).
“Electronic Mail for the Technologically Timid,” American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies Newsletter 33:2 (Stanford, 1993), 21.
“Jewish Representation in the Independent Ukrainian Governments of 19171920,” Slavic Review 50:3 (Stanford, 1991), 542550.
“Metropolitan Sheptyts’kyi’s Hebrew Correspondence, 1903,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 15:1/2 (Cambridge, 1991), 172176.
“Historiography on the Jews and the Ukrainian Revolution,” Journal of Ukrainian Studies 15:2 (Edmonton, 1990), 3346.
Encyclopedia of Ukraine, 5 vols. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 19881993:
“Nakhman of Bratslav,” 3:527
“Schechtman, Joseph,” 4:551
“Tcherikower, Elias,” 5:180
“The Jew in History,” Nishma 8 (New York, Toronto Newspaper), August 1991.
“Standing Up for Ukrainian Jews,” The Globe and Mail, (Toronto Newspaper) May 4, 1990, A7.
–, Novyi shlakh, (Toronto Newspaper), June 9, 1990, 4.
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