‘Are you still my brother?’
Author: Simha Goldin

In this study, the various aspects of the way the Jews regarded themselves in the context of the lapse into another religion will be researched fully for the first time. We will attempt to understand whether they regarded the issue of conversion with self-confidence or with suspicion, whether their attitude was based on a clear theological position or on doubt and the coping with the problem as part of the process of socialization will be fully analysed. In this way, we will better understand how the Jews saw their own identity whilst living as a minority among the Christian majority, whose own self-confidence was constantly becoming stronger from the 10th to the 14th century until they eventually ousted the Jews completely from the places they lived in, England, France and large parts of Germany. This aspect of Jewish self-identification, written by a person who converted to Christianity, can help clarify a number of

Simha Goldin

3 Theological confrontation with Christianity’s success Apostasy and Jewish identity Theological confrontation with Christianity T he success of the Christians in defeating the Muslims in the Holy Land, conquering it and establishing a Christian colony there, particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem, was a harsh blow to the Jews from a theological viewpoint. The theological difficulty, which emerged during the course of the twelfth century, became a central issue, one which also affected the status of voluntary converts to Christianity. The Jewish sources

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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The literature of pietists (Ashkenazic hasidim)
Simha Goldin

6 Alternative perspectives: The literature of pietists (Ashkenazic hasidim) Apostasy and Jewish identity Alternative perspectives T he halakhic responses examined in the previous chapters are not only what is required for a discussion of the issue of self-definition. From a methodological viewpoint, we also need to examine issues and attitudes pertaining to mentalities that are not exclusively halakhic, by whose means we may also view the attitude towards those who abandoned the Jewish religion. The book Sefer Hasidim, written during the first half of the

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Simha Goldin

2 Forced conversion during the First Crusade Apostasy and Jewish identity Forced conversion during the First Crusade T he tendency that emerges from Rashi’s words reflects a decisive leadership approach, establishing a clear direction of attempting to return converts to Christianity to Judaism. The self-definition of Judaism its leaders sought to establish was that of a religion that felt confident in its ability to deal with Christian theological claims and in its political ability to deal with the threat of forced conversion. This situation changed during

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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Simha Goldin

5 Attitudes towards women Apostasy and Jewish identity Attitudes towards women T he Christian sources provide us with various examples of the fact that Jewish women voluntarily converted to Christianity and, moreover, that this female conversion was honest and authentic. As matters are presented by Miri Rubin: ‘Women, like children, were more likely than men to become good converts as they were seen as pliant, easily influenced, and lacking in the adamant and obstinate preoccupation with Jewish law.’1 The Christian sources speak primarily of Jewish women who

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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The change in mentality
Simha Goldin

8 Conclusions: The change in mentality Apostasy and Jewish identity Conclusions: The change in mentality J ewish self-definition in medieval Europe was based upon classical Jewish values: first, the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people as the chosen people; second, an explicit Jewish identity deriving from the world of commandments unique to Judaism. As the Jewish group lived within Christian society, the essence of whose theological view was that Christians and Christianity had supplanted Jews and Judaism as God’s chosen people and religion

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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Simha Goldin

7 Converts to Judaism Apostasy and Jewish identity Converts to Judaism T he Jewish ethos sees the Jew as unique, by virtue of his being the offspring of the chosen group of people who left Egypt, stood at Mount Sinai, received God’s Torah, and entered into an eternal covenant with God. This ethos constituted the foundation of the Jew’s identity during the Middle Ages. The concept is expressed in the personality of the Jew and is transmitted in a direct and unmediated way to his descendants. Thus, only a Jew, himself the descendant of Jews, can recite the

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Simha Goldin

4 Self-definition and halakhah Apostasy and Jewish identity Self-definition and halakhah T he halakhic definition of Jewishness is one of the prime factors fashioning the Jew’s understanding both of himself and of his environment. The halakhic attitude towards those Jews who voluntarily embraced Christianity, or who were forced to accept that religion, shaped the disposition of those Jews who remained Jews as against those who became Christians. While the halakhic literature contains decisions deriving, by and large, from explicitly halakhic considerations

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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Simha Goldin

1 Early beginnings Apostasy and Jewish identity Early beginnings I n a society defined by religion, the attitude towards those who leave it or who wish to join it is one of the fundamentals of self-definition. The attitude of Jews in the Christian world of the Middle Ages towards those Jews who converted to Christianity, or to Christians who sought to join the Jewish religion, reflects the central characteristics of Jewish self-definition as a unique, monotheistic group, chosen by God, which sees itself as fulfilling a particular task in the world.1 In the

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
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The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author: Neil Macmaster

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.