- VOLUME 10
- MY LIBRARY
Intellectual culture encompasses diverse forms of writing that mediate contemporary ideas regarding politics, education, and cultural change. More than any other form, intellectual culture discusses, analyzes, and interprets Jewishness. Often it makes explicit themes that are implicit in genres; what was subtext in other forms becomes text in intellectual culture. These characteristics often lead to debates about meaning. Unlike literature, art, music, and movies, intellectual culture remains tethered more tightly to the local contexts in which it emerges. It crosses boundaries less easily. Although genres overlap, we have chosen from five categories: politics, reportage, thought (including scholarship that has influenced the larger culture), pedagogy, and music history.
These categories implicitly include publications, venues for reportage, and political and intellectual discussions. Here a distinction between Israel and the rest of the Jewish world, especially the United States, becomes apparent. In Israel, all sorts of publications including the daily press reflect debate on current topics, although these years saw an enormous increase in the number of new publications, most notably Mita’am, Nekuda, Politika, Alpai’im, Teoria v’bikoret, Cathedra, and Zemanim. By contrast, in the United States, much Jewish discussion occurs within magazines, journals, and newspapers specifically devoted to Jewish topics and sponsored by Jewish organizations. Since the mid-1970s, a number of new publications appeared in the United States devoted to liberal politics (Tikkun 1976; Present Tense 1979), feminism (Lilith 1976; Bridges 1990), academic scholarship (Prooftexts 1980; Modern Judaism 1981), alternative Jewish culture (Davka 1996; Heeb 2002), and college student perspectives (New Voices 1995). Similarly, the appearance of such publications as Leviathan (1975), Babylon (1986), and Mult Es Jovo (1988) initiated new conversations on Jewish issues.
The category of pedagogy, on the other hand, specifically represents a self-conscious concern of American Jews to inculcate Jewish awareness in the next generation. Unlike in Israel where the transmission of culture from one generation to another occurs through all cultural channels, in the