The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for by Alan M. Dershowitz

By Alan M. Dershowitz

During this pressing booklet, Alan M. Dershowitz indicates why American Jews are at risk of disappearing, and what needs to be performed to create a renewed feel of Jewish id for the following century.

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He intends the “years of persecution and sufferings” mentioned in Epistle of Rav Sherira Gaon, ed. Lewin, 99, “at the end of the rule of the Persians,” which corresponds to 550–589, judging by the context in Sherira’s narrative. Sherira states that the sages of Pumbedita came to the “outskirts of Nehardea, to the city of Peroz-Shapur” at this time, which might also imply that the Pumbedita academy was destroyed. 18 Specific legal and cultural influences in such domains as purity law, family structure and lineage aside, did the interpretation, composition, and editing of texts in the Persian world have any impact on the same processes of the Bavli?

Are not the words of the Amora but of the Stammaim, as found in several Talmudic passages. The Stammaim wished to explain why this Amora, whose words are quoted in close proximity to the objection with the formulation “Rather, R. So-and-so said . . ,” disagreed with the other Amora, whose statement is quoted previously. I first commented on this phenomenon in MM, Pesahim, 454–55. (However I also noted there that “in general one cannot assume that ‘R. So-and-so objected . ’ is not a quotation of R.

Knew that this was not a real answer and stated it only so as to incorporate the case of the quavering blast in the discussion. Likewise in Sanh 3a: “Is not ‘full-damages (nezeq)’ the same [category] as ‘injuries (havalot)’ [so why does the mishnah mention both]? Because he wished to teach [the matter of ] ‘half-damages (hatsi nezeq),’ so [he also mentioned full-damages] . . 49 Tosafot Ri”d (Isaiah di Trani, c. 1080–c. v. leima). By “the nature of the Talmud” we should understand “the nature of the Stammaim,” as the Amoraim did not engage in rhetoric.

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