Broth­er Keep­ers: New Per­spec­tives on Jew­ish Masculinity

Har­ry Brod and Rab­bi Shawn Israel Zevit, eds.
  • Review
By – August 30, 2011
This col­lec­tion of essays address­es a vari­ety of themes under the umbrel­la of an explo­ration of Jew­ish mas­cu­line iden­ti­ty.

The lead edi­tor, Har­ry Brod, is a pio­neer in the field of men’s stud­ies and a pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy. The co-edi­tor, Rab­bi Zevit, is involved in Jew­ish spir­i­tu­al renew­al and teach­ing and writ­ing in the areas of lead­er­ship, prayer, midrash, and Jew­ish val­ues as well as men’s issues.

Read­ers who are com­fort­able and recep­tive to Jew­ish spir­i­tu­al human­ism as pro­mul­gat­ed by Rab­bi Zal­man Schachter-Shalo­mi, and those ordained by him (Rab­bi Zevit), will enjoy the auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal reflec­tions on Jew­ish mas­culin­i­ty writ­ten by sev­er­al con­trib­u­tors. Those seek­ing a uni­form­ly schol­ar­ly text will be dis­ap­point­ed. Sev­er­al high qual­i­ty aca­d­e­m­ic pieces are includ­ed and one could only wish that with bet­ter edit­ing and greater selec­tiv­i­ty a more high qual­i­ty book would have result­ed.

That being said, a paper by Sil­ver­man on cir­cum­ci­sion, Gluzman’s psy­chohis­tor­i­cal read­ing of Herzl’s Alt­neu­land and Bartal’s con­tri­bu­tion on the inter­nal strug­gles of Jew­ish men dur­ing the Haskalah are each seri­ous, absorb­ing, and thought pro­vok­ing.

The edi­tors are to be com­mend­ed for mak­ing this attempt to explore such a com­plex top­ic as con­tem­po­rary male Jew­ish iden­ti­ty. A future vol­ume includ­ing the per­spec­tives of Jew­ish athe­ists, the Ortho­dox, the Israeli mil­i­tary, and Jew­ish men in posi­tions of pow­er in law, med­i­cine, the media, finance, and pol­i­tics would be a most valu­able and wel­come addi­tion to the lit­er­a­ture. After­word, con­trib­u­tors, index, web resources.
Steven A. Luel, Ph.D., is asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of edu­ca­tion and psy­chol­o­gy at Touro Col­lege, New York. He is a devel­op­men­tal psy­chol­o­gist and psy­cho­an­a­lyst in pri­vate prac­tice. He is co-edi­tor (with Paul Mar­cus) of Psy­cho­an­a­lyt­ic Reflec­tions on the Holo­caust: Select­ed Essays.

Discussion Questions