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Products for Grant FT-54724-07

FT-54724-07
Converso: The Religious Life of the Sephardim of Colonial Newport
Laura Leibman, Reed College

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-54724-07

Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life (Book)
Title: Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism: A New Interpretation of Early American Jewish Life
Author: Laura Arnold Leibman
Abstract: Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism tells the history of Early American Jews, focusing on the objects of everyday life used and created by Jews, such as ritual baths, food, gravestones, portraits, furniture, as well as the synagogue. By uncovering these objects and exposing the common culture of the Jewish Atlantic world, the book provides a fresh understanding of a crucial era in Jewish and American history. It offers new insights about the origins of Jewish American messianism, helping readers better understand messianism in contemporary American society. It charts the shared culture of these Jews who lived in the port towns on both sides of the Atlantic, and author Laura Leibman argues that thinking about Judaism as an embodied religion is key to understanding their culture. Messianism, Secrecy and Mysticism makes early Jewish American history entertaining, accessible, and interesting to general readers, as well as academic audiences. A companion website contains thousands of photographs of material culture from throughout the Jewish Atlantic world, as well as study guides for using the images.
Year: 2012
Primary URL: http://www.isbs.com/partnumber.asp?cid=27379&pnid=373430
Primary URL Description: Publisher
Secondary URL: http://www.amazon.com/Messianism-Secrecy-Mysticism-Interpretation-American/dp/0853038333
Secondary URL Description: Amazon
Publisher: Vallentine Mitchell
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0853038333

Sephardic Sacred Space in Colonial America (Article)
Title: Sephardic Sacred Space in Colonial America
Author: Laura Arnold Leibman
Abstract: The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest extant synagogue building in the United States, has provoked a certain amount of controversy regarding its origins: while the architect is known, scholars have disputed whether the essential attributes of the structure should be traced to eighteenth-century English pattern books, descriptions of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam provided to architect Peter Harrison by congregants, or the Bevis Marks Synagogue in London. The origins of the structure are important, as most of the Portuguese synagogues in colonial American and the Caribbean bear the same basic and unusual design features as the Touro structure. This essay argues that the resolution to this controversy lies in the structural ideal behind both the pattern books and the synagogues in Amsterdam and London: the Biblical Tabernacle and Temple as described by Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon de Templo in his messianic study, the Retrato del Templo de Selomo (1642). Early modern synagogue architects mimicked both the proportions prescribed by Leon de Templo and key symbolic design features of the Temple. By echoing the divinely-inspired structures, eighteenth-century Sephardic Jews in colonial America hoped to draw their worship closer to God and to help bring about the messianic era.
Year: 2011
Primary URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/d74812344320g081/
Primary URL Description: Journal Website
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Jewish History
Publisher: Springer

Early American Mikvaot: Ritual Baths as the Hope of Israel (Article)
Title: Early American Mikvaot: Ritual Baths as the Hope of Israel
Author: Laura Arnold Leibman
Abstract: Rather than seeing Jewish ritual baths (mikvaot) a timeless and “pre-modern” institution that were used to regulate female bodies in a punitive fashion, I argue that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ritual baths were part of a larger Enlightenment-inflected religious discourse of redemption and medicinal “water cures” that postulated a more positive view of women than was found in non-Jewish communities in the colonies. For my analysis I draw upon recent excavations of ritual baths in Amsterdam, Recife, Barbados, Curaçao and St. Eustatius as well as still-standing colonial mikvaot in Suriname. I place a structural reading of these baths within the vision of redemption proposed by Amsterdam Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel, and the idealized discourse about purity laws and ritual baths in the popular eighteenth-century Sephardic biblical commentary, Me’am Loez.
Year: 2009
Primary URL: http://www.amspressinc.com/rae.html
Primary URL Description: Journal Website
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Religion in the Age of Enlightenment
Publisher: AMS Press, Inc.

From the Holy Land to New England Canaan: Rabbi Karigal and Sephardic Itinerant Preaching in the 18th Century (Article)
Title: From the Holy Land to New England Canaan: Rabbi Karigal and Sephardic Itinerant Preaching in the 18th Century
Author: Laura Arnold Leibman
Abstract: In this article, I use Carigal’s Shavuot sermon delivered in Newport, RI to call attention to two key differences between Jewish and Protestant itinerancy during this era. First while itinerant preaching, particularly among Sephardim, was a crucial aspect of eighteenth-century religious practice, both Carigal and his audience were more deeply transnational than most of their white Protestant equivalents. Thus any analysis of Carigal’s sermon needs to reach beyond the colonies to understand fully the religious and cultural context. Second whereas Protestant itinerants often disrupted local hierarchies, Jewish preachers like Carigal cemented far-flung communities to a tribal center and reinforced rabbinic privilege.
Year: 2009
Primary URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/early_american_literature/v044/44.1.leibman.html
Primary URL Description: Project Muse
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Early American Literature
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Cities of the Dead: Architectural Motifs and Burial Practices in Curaçao’s Religious and Ethnic Communities (Article)
Title: Cities of the Dead: Architectural Motifs and Burial Practices in Curaçao’s Religious and Ethnic Communities
Author: Kent Coupé
Author: Laura Arnold Leibman
Abstract: In this study we analyze the cemeteries of Curaçao, a small desert island in the Dutch West Indies near the coast of Venezuela that was once a crucial player in colonial smuggling and the slave trade. Our study compares the island’s Jewish (Spanish-Portuguese), Protestant (primarily Dutch), and Catholic (Afro-Curaçaoan) cemeteries. Following the work of Dickran and Ann Tashijian, Keith Cunningham, Lynn Gosnell, Suzanna Gott and others, we interpret these stones within the religio-cultural context of the people who used them. We argue that whereas ethnic cemeteries in the United States often emphasize the distinctiveness of the communities, Curaçao’s cemeteries emphasize both ethnic distinction and ethnic elision. The permeability of racial and religious boundaries in the cemeteries reflects the island’s complicated racial history and is an important reminder of how race is often constructed differently outside of the United States. This permeability should not be confused with social equality: indeed, as racial categories became more fluid following emancipation, islanders used other categories such as wealth and status displays to reinforce social privilege within (as opposed to between) ethnic groups.
Year: 2011
Primary URL: http://www.gravestonestudies.org/publications.htm#Markers
Primary URL Description: Association of Gravestone Studies Website
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Markers: Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies
Publisher: Association for Gravestone Studies


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