The Info List - Jewish Culture

Jewish culture
Jewish culture
is the culture of the Jewish people
Jewish people
from the formation of the Jewish nation in biblical times through life in the diaspora and the modern state of Israel. Judaism
guides its adherents in both practice and belief, so that it has been called not only a religion, but an orthopraxy.[1] Not all individuals or all cultural phenomena can be classified as either "secular" or "religious", a distinction native to Enlightenment thinking.[2] Jewish culture
Jewish culture
in its etymological meaning retains linkage to the Jewish people's land of origin, the people named for the Kingdom of Judah, study of Jewish texts, practice of community charity, and Jewish history. The term "secular Jewish culture" therefore refers to many aspects, including: Religion and World View, Literature, Media, and Cinema, Art
and Architecture, Cuisine and Traditional Dress, attitudes to Gender, Marriage, and Family, Social Customs and Lifestyles, Music and Dance.[3] "Secular Judaism," is a distinct phenomenon related to Jewish secularization - a historical process of divesting all of these elements of culture from their religious beliefs and practices.[4] Secular Judaism, derived from the philosophy of Moses
Mendelssohn,[5] arose out of the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, which was itself driven by the values of the Enlightenment. In recent years, the academic field of study has encompassed Jewish Studies, History, Literature, Sociology, and Linguistics. Historian David Biale[6] has traced the roots of Jewish secularism back to the pre-modern era. He, and other scholars highlight the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who was dubbed "the renegade Jew who gave us modernity" by scholar and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein[7] in an intellectual biography of him. Today, the subject of Jewish secularization is taught, and researched, at many North American and Israeli universities, including Harvard, Tel Aviv University, UCLA, Temple University
Temple University
and City University
of New York which have significant Jewish alumni. Additionally, many schools include the academic study of Judaism
and Jewish culture
Jewish culture
in their curricula. Throughout history, in eras and places as diverse as the ancient Hellenic world, in Europe before and after the Age of Enlightenment, in Al-Andalus, North Africa and the Middle East, in India and China, and in the contemporary United States and Israel, Jewish communities have seen the development of cultural phenomena that are characteristically Jewish without being at all specifically religious. Some factors in this come from within Judaism, others from the interaction of Jews
with host populations in the diasporas, and others from the inner social and cultural dynamics of the community, as opposed to religion itself. This phenomenon has led to considerably different variations of Jewish culture
Jewish culture
unique to their own communities.


1 History 2 Philosophy 3 Education and politics 4 Economic activity 5 Science and technology 6 Literature and poetry 7 Theatre

7.1 Yiddish
theatre 7.2 European theatre 7.3 English-language theatre 7.4 Hebrew
and Israeli theatre

8 Cinema 9 Radio and television 10 Music

10.1 Classical music 10.2 Popular Music

11 Dance 12 Humor 13 Visual arts
Visual arts
and architecture 14 Comics, cartoons, and animation 15 Cuisine 16 See also 17 References 18 Further reading 19 External links


Tombstones from a Jewish cemetery, 13th century, Paris

There has not been a political unity of Jewish society since the united monarchy. Since then Israelite
populations were always geographically dispersed (see Jewish diaspora), so that by the 19th century the Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
were mainly in Eastern and Central Europe; the Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
were largely spread among various communities in the Mediterranean region; Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
were primarily spread throughout Western Asia; and other populations of Jews
were in Central Asia, Ethiopia, the Caucasus, and India. (See Jewish ethnic divisions.) Although there was a high degree of communication and traffic between these communities — many Sephardic exiles blended into the Ashkenazi communities in Central Europe
Central Europe
following the Spanish Inquisition; many Ashkenazim migrated to the Ottoman Empire, giving rise to the characteristic Syrian-Jewish family name "Ashkenazi"; Iraqi-Jewish traders formed a distinct Jewish community in India; many of these populations were cut off to some degree from the surrounding cultures by ghettoization, by Muslim
laws of dhimma, and traditional discouragement of contact with polytheistic populations. Medieval
Jewish communities in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
continued to display distinct cultural traits over the centuries. Despite the universalist leanings of the Enlightenment (and its echo within Judaism
in the Haskalah
movement), many Yiddish-speaking Jews
in Eastern Europe continued to see themselves as forming a distinct national group — " 'am yehudi", from the Biblical Hebrew
— but, adapting this idea to Enlightenment values, they assimilated the concept as that of an ethnic group whose identity did not depend on religion, which under Enlightenment thinking fell under a separate category. Constantin Măciucă writes of "a differentiated but not isolated Jewish spirit" permeating the culture of Yiddish-speaking Jews.[8] This was only intensified as the rise of Romanticism
amplified the sense of national identity across Europe generally. Thus, for example, members of the General Jewish Labour Bund
General Jewish Labour Bund
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were generally non-religious, and one of the historical leaders of the Bund was the child of converts to Christianity, though not a practicing or believing Christian himself.[citation needed]

Napoleon grants freedom to the Jews, herald of Jewish emancipation in Europe

The Haskalah
combined with the Jewish Emancipation
Jewish Emancipation
movement under way in Central and Western Europe
Western Europe
to create an opportunity for Jews
to enter secular society. At the same time, pogroms in Eastern Europe provoked a surge of migration, in large part to the United States, where some 2 million Jewish immigrants resettled between 1880 and 1920. By 1931, shortly before The Holocaust, 92% of the World's Jewish population was Ashkenazi
in origin. Secularism originated in Europe as series of movements that militated for a new, heretofore unheard-of concept called "secular Judaism". For these reasons, much of what is thought of by English-speakers and, to a lesser extent, by non-English-speaking Europeans as "secular Jewish culture" is, in essence, the Jewish cultural movement that evolved in Central and Eastern Europe, and subsequently brought to North America by immigrants. During the 1940s, the Holocaust
uprooted and destroyed most of the Jewish communities living in much of Europe. This, in combination with the creation of the State of Israel
and the consequent Jewish exodus from Arab lands, resulted in a further geographic shift.

Sephardi Jewish couple from Sarajevo in traditional clothing. Photo taken in 1900.

Defining secular culture among those who practice traditional Judaism is difficult, because the entire culture is, by definition, entwined with religious traditions: the idea of separate ethnic and religious identity is foreign to the Hebrew
tradition of an " 'am yisrael". (This is particularly true for Orthodox Judaism.) Gary Tobin, head of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, said of traditional Jewish culture:

The dichotomy between religion and culture doesn’t really exist. Every religious attribute is filled with culture; every cultural act filled with religiosity. Synagogues themselves are great centers of Jewish culture. After all, what is life really about? Food, relationships, enrichment … So is Jewish life. So many of our traditions inherently contain aspects of culture. Look at the Passover Seder — it's essentially great theater. Jewish education and religiosity bereft of culture is not as interesting.[9]

Yaakov Malkin, Professor of Aesthetics and Rhetoric at Tel Aviv University
and the founder and academic director of Meitar College for Judaism
as Culture[10] in Jerusalem, writes:

Today very many secular Jews
take part in Jewish cultural activities, such as celebrating Jewish holidays
Jewish holidays
as historical and nature festivals, imbued with new content and form, or marking life-cycle events such as birth, bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, and mourning in a secular fashion. They come together to study topics pertaining to Jewish culture
Jewish culture
and its relation to other cultures, in havurot, cultural associations, and secular synagogues, and they participate in public and political action coordinated by secular Jewish movements, such as the former movement to free Soviet Jews, and movements to combat pogroms, discrimination, and religious coercion. Jewish secular humanistic education inculcates universal moral values through classic Jewish and world literature and through organizations for social change that aspire to ideals of justice and charity.[11]

In North America, the secular and cultural Jewish movements are divided into three umbrella organizations: the Society for Humanistic Judaism
(SHJ), the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (CSJO), and Workmen's Circle. Philosophy[edit] Main article: Jewish Philosophy See also: List of Jewish philosophers

The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides
(circa 1190)

Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy
includes all philosophy carried out by Jews, or in relation to the religion of Judaism. The Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy
is extended over several main eras in Jewish history, including the ancient and biblical era, medieval era and modern era (see Haskalah). The ancient Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy
is expressed in the bible. According to Prof. Israel Efros the principles of the Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy
start in the bible, where the foundations of the Jewish monotheistic beliefs can be found, such as the belief in one god, the separation of god and the world and nature (as opposed to Pantheism) and the creation of the world. Other biblical writings that associated with philosophy are Psalms
that contains invitations to admire the wisdom of God through his works; from this, some scholars suggest, Judaism
harbors a Philosophical under-current[12] and Ecclesiastes
that is often considered to be the only genuine philosophical work in the Hebrew
Bible; its author seeks to understand the place of human beings in the world and life's meaning.[13] Other writings related to philosophy can be found in the Deuterocanonical books
Deuterocanonical books
such as Sirach
and Book
of Wisdom. During the Hellenistic
era, Hellenistic
aspired to combine Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture and philosophy. The philosopher Philo
used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy
Greek philosophy
with Jewish philosophy. His work attempts to combine Plato and Moses
into one philosophical system.[14] He developed an allegoric approach of interpreting holy scriptures (the bible), in contrast to (old-fashioned) literally interpretation approaches. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers
Church Fathers
and some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos
as God's creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo
and Early Christianity
borrow from a common source.[15]

The opening page of Spinoza's magnum opus, Ethics

Between the Ancient era
Ancient era
and the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
most of the Jewish philosophy concentrated around the Rabbinic literature that is expressed in the Talmud
and Midrash. In the 9th century Saadia Gaon wrote the text Emunoth ve-Deoth which is the first systematic presentation and philosophic foundation of the dogmas of Judaism. The Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain
Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain
included many influential Jewish philosophers such as Moses
ibn Ezra, Abraham ibn Ezra, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Yehuda Halevi, Isaac Abravanel, Nahmanides, Joseph Albo, Abraham ibn Daud, Nissim of Gerona, Bahya ibn Paquda, Abraham bar Hiyya, Joseph ibn Tzaddik, Hasdai Crescas
Hasdai Crescas
and Isaac ben Moses
Arama. The Most notable is Maimonides
who is considered, beside the Jewish world, as a prominent philosopher and polymath in the Islamic and Western worlds. Outside of Spain, other philosophers are Natan'el al-Fayyumi, Elia del Medigo, Jedaiah ben Abraham Bedersi and Gersonides. Philosophy by Jews
in Modern era
Modern era
was expressed by philosophers, mainly in Europe, such as Baruch Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza
founder of Spinozism, whose work included modern Rationalism
and Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism
and laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment.[16] His work has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers; Others are Isaac Orobio de Castro, Tzvi Ashkenazi, David Nieto, Isaac Cardoso, Jacob Abendana, Uriel da Costa, Francisco Sanches and Moses
Almosnino. A new era began in the 18th century with the thought of Moses
Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn has been described as the "'third Moses,' with whom begins a new era in Judaism," just as new eras began with Moses
the prophet and with Moses
Maimonides.[17] Mendelssohn was a German Jewish philosopher to whose ideas the renaissance of European Jews, Haskalah
(the Jewish Enlightenment) is indebted. He has been referred to as the father of Reform Judaism, though Reform spokesmen have been "resistant to claim him as their spiritual father".[18] Mendelssohn came to be regarded as a leading cultural figure of his time by both Germans and Jews. The Jewish Enlightenment philosophy included Menachem Mendel Lefin, Salomon Maimon and Isaac Satanow. The next 19th century
19th century
comprised both secular and religious philosophy and included philosophers such as Elijah Benamozegh, Hermann Cohen, Moses
Hess, Samson
Raphael Hirsch, Samuel Hirsch, Nachman Krochmal, Samuel David Luzzatto, Nachman of Breslov founder of Breslov and Karl Marx
Karl Marx
founder of Marxist
worldview. The 20th century
20th century
included the notable philosophers Jacques Derrida, Karl Popper, Emmanuel Levinas, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Hilary Putnam, Alfred Tarski, Ludwig Wittgenstein, A. J. Ayer, Walter Benjamin, Raymond Aron, Theodor W. Adorno, Isaiah Berlin
Isaiah Berlin
and Henri Bergson.

Philo (c. 25 BCE–c. 50 CE)) Nahmanides (1194–1270) Maimonides (1135/1138–1204) Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) Moses
Mendelssohn (1729–1786) Karl Marx (1818–1883) Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Hannah Arendt (1906–1975)

Education and politics[edit] Main article: Jewish education See also: Jewish political movements
Jewish political movements
and List of Jews
in politics A range of moral and political views is evident early in the history of Judaism, that serves to partially explain the diversity that is apparent among secular Jews
who are often influenced by moral beliefs that can be found in Jewish scripture, and traditions. In recent centuries, secular Jews
in Europe and the Americas have tended towards the liberal political left[citation needed], and played key roles in the birth of the 19th century's labor movement and socialism. While Diaspora Jews
have also been represented in the conservative side of the political spectrum, even politically conservative Jews
have tended to support pluralism more consistently than many other elements of the political right. Some scholars[19] attribute this to the fact that Jews
are not expected to proselytize, derived from Halakha. This lack of a universalizing religion is combined with the fact that most Jews live as minorities in diaspora countries, and that no central Jewish religious authority has existed since 363 CE. Economic activity[edit]

David Ricardo
David Ricardo
(1772–1823). He was one of the most influential of the classical economists[20][21]

In the Middle Ages, European laws prevented Jews
from owning land and gave them powerful incentive to go into other professions that the indigenous Europeans were not willing to follow.[22] During the medieval period, there was a very strong social stigma against lending money and charging interest among the Christian majority. In most of Europe until the late 18th century, and in some places to an even later date, Jews
were prohibited by Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
governments (and others) from owning land. On the other hand, the Church, because of a number of Bible
verses (e.g., Leviticus
25:36) forbidding usury, declared that charging any interest was against the divine law, and this prevented any mercantile use of capital by pious Christians. As the Canon law did not apply to Jews, they were not liable to the ecclesiastical punishments which were placed upon usurers by the popes. Christian rulers gradually saw the advantage of having a class of men like the Jews
who could supply capital for their use without being liable to excommunication, and so the money trade of western Europe by this means fell into the hands of the Jews. However, in almost every instance where large amounts were acquired by Jews
through banking transactions the property thus acquired fell either during their life or upon their death into the hands of the king. This happened to Aaron of Lincoln
Aaron of Lincoln
in England, Ezmel de Ablitas in Navarre, Heliot de Vesoul in Provence, Benveniste de Porta in Aragon, etc. It was often for this reason that kings supported the Jews, and even objected to them becoming Christians (because in that case they could not be forced to give up money won by usury). Thus, both in England
and in France
the kings demanded to be compensated for every Jew converted. This type of royal trickery was one factor in creating the stereotypical Jewish role of banker and/or merchant. As a modern system of capital began to develop, loans became necessary for commerce and industry. Jews
were able to gain a foothold in the new field of finance by providing these services: as non-Catholics, they were not bound by the ecclesiastical prohibition against "usury"; and in terms of Judaism
itself, Hillel had long ago re-interpreted the Torah's ban on charging interest, allowing interest when it's needed to make a living.[citation needed] Science and technology[edit] See also: List of Jewish scientists and philosophers, List of Jewish Nobel laureates, and List of Jewish mathematicians Further information: Science and technology in Israel, Jewish medicine, and Hebrew
astronomy The strong Jewish tradition of religious scholarship often left Jews well prepared for secular scholarship. In some times and places, this was countered by banning Jews
from studying at universities, or admitted them only in limited numbers (see Jewish quota). Over the centuries, Jews
have been poorly represented among land-holding classes, but far better represented in academia, professions, finance, commerce and many scientific fields. The strong representation of Jews in science and academia is evidenced by the fact that 193 persons known to be Jews
or of Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2014.[23] Of whom, 26% in physics,[24] 22% in chemistry[25] and 27% in Physiology or Medicine.[26] In the fields of mathematics and computer science, 31% of Turing Award
Turing Award
recipients[27] and 27% of Fields Medal
Fields Medal
in mathematics[28] were or are Jewish.

The structure of DNA. The Jewish X-ray crystallographer, Rosalind Franklin, made a crucial contribution to the discovery of DNA's structure, when she discovered its double helix structure with a backbone consisting of phosphate groups[29][30][31]

The early Jewish activity in science can be found in the Hebrew
bible where some of the books contain descriptions of the physical world. Biblical cosmology
Biblical cosmology
provides sporadic glimpses that may be stitched together to form a Biblical impression of the physical universe. There have been comparisons between the Bible, with passages such as from the Genesis creation narrative, and the astronomy of classical antiquity more generally.[32] The Old Testament also contains various cleansing rituals. One suggested ritual, for example, deals with the proper procedure for cleansing a leper ( Leviticus
14:1-32). It is a fairly elaborate process, which is to be performed after a leper was already healed of leprosy ( Leviticus
14:3), involving extensive cleansing and personal hygiene, but also includes sacrificing a bird and lambs with the addition of using their blood to symbolize that the afflicted has been cleansed. The Torah
proscribes Intercropping
(Lev. 19:19, Deut 22:9), a practice often associated with sustainable agriculture and organic farming in modern agricultural science.[33][34] The Mosaic
code has provisions concerning the conservation of natural resources, such as trees (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) and birds (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). During Medieval
era astronomy was a primary field among Jewish scholars and was widely studied and practiced.[35] Prominent astronomers included Abraham Zacuto
Abraham Zacuto
who published in 1478 his Hebrew book Ha-hibbur ha-gadol[36] where he wrote about the solar system, charting the positions of the Sun, Moon and five planets.[36] His work served Portugal's explorering journeys and was used by Vasco da Gama and also by Christopher Columbus. The lunar crater Zagut is named after Zacuto's name. The mathematician and astronomer Abraham bar Hiyya Ha-Nasi authored the first European book to include the full solution to the quadratic equation x2 - ax + b = 0,[37] and influenced the work of Leonardo Fibonacci. Bar Hiyya proved by geometro-mechanical method of indivisibles the following equation for any circle: S = LxR/2, where S is the surface area, L is the circumference length and R is radius.[38]

German edition of the astronomy book De scientia motvs orbis, originally by Mashallah ibn Athari

Garcia de Orta, Portuguese Renaissance
Jewish physician, was a pioneer of Tropical medicine. He published his work Colóquios dos simples e drogas da India in 1563,[39] which deals with a series of substances, many of them unknown or the subject of confusion and misinformation in Europe at this period. He was the first European to describe Asiatic tropical diseases, notably cholera; he performed an autopsy on a cholera victim, the first recorded autopsy in India. Bonet de Lattes known chiefly as the inventor of an astronomical ring-dial by means of which solar and stellar altitudes can be measured and the time determined with great precision by night as well as by day. Other related personalities are Abraham ibn Ezra, whose the Moon crater Abenezra named after, David Gans, Judah ibn Verga, Mashallah ibn Athari an astronomer, The crater Messala on the Moon is named after him. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
was a German-born theoretical physicist and is considered as one of the most prominent scientists in history, often regarded as the "father of modern physics". His revolutionary work on the relativity theory transformed theoretical physics and astronomy during the 20th century. When first published, relativity superseded a 200-year-old theory of mechanics created primarily by Isaac Newton.[40][41][42] In the field of physics, relativity improved the science of elementary particles and their fundamental interactions, along with ushering in the nuclear age. With relativity, cosmology and astrophysics predicted extraordinary astronomical phenomena such as neutron stars, black holes, and gravitational waves.[40][41][42] Einstein formulated the well-known Mass–energy equivalence, E = mc2, and explained the photoelectric effect. His work also effected and influenced a large variety of fields of physics including the Big Bang theory (Einstein's General relativity
General relativity
influenced Georges Lemaître), Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
and nuclear energy.

Castle Romeo
Castle Romeo
(nuclear test), a large number of Jewish scientists were involved in Project Manhattan

The Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II
World War II
and many Jewish scientist had a significant role in the project.[43] The theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer, often considered as the "father of the atomic bomb", was chosen to direct the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1942. The physicist Leó Szilárd, that conceived the nuclear chain reaction; Edward Teller, "the father of the hydrogen bomb" and Stanislaw Ulam; Eugene Wigner
Eugene Wigner
contributed to theory of Atomic nucleus
Atomic nucleus
and Elementary particle; Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe
whose work included Stellar nucleosynthesis
Stellar nucleosynthesis
and was head of the Theoretical Division at the secret Los Alamos laboratory; Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, Victor Weisskopf
Victor Weisskopf
and Joseph Rotblat. The mathematician and physicist Alexander Friedmann
Alexander Friedmann
pioneered the theory that universe was expanding governed by a set of equations he developed now known as the Friedmann equations. Arno Allan Penzias, the physicist and radio astronomer co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which helped establish the Big Bang theory, the scientists Robert Herman and Ralph Alpher
Ralph Alpher
had also worked on that field. In quantum mechanics Jewish role was significant as well and many of most influential figures and pioneers of the theory were Jewish: Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
and his work on the atom structure, Max Born (Schrödinger equation), Wolfgang Pauli, Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
(Quantum chromodynamics), Fritz London
Fritz London
work on London dispersion force
London dispersion force
and London equations, Walter Heitler
Walter Heitler
and Julian Schwinger
Julian Schwinger
work on Quantum electrodynamics, Asher Peres
Asher Peres
a pioneer in Quantum information, David Bohm (Quantum potential). Sigmund Freud, known as the father of psychoanalysis, is one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst,[44] Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex
Oedipus complex
as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as for elaboration of his theory of the unconscious as an agency disruptive of conscious states of mind.[45] Freud postulated the existence of libido, an energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt.[46]

The first functioning laser, created by Theodore H. Maiman
Theodore H. Maiman
in 1960[47][48]

John von Neumann, a mathematician and physicist, made major contributions to a number of fields,[49] including foundations of mathematics, functional analysis, ergodic theory, geometry, topology, numerical analysis, quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics and game theory.[50] In made also a major work with computing and the development of the computer, he suggested and described a computer architecture called Von Neumann architecture
Von Neumann architecture
and worked on linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics. Emmy Noether
Emmy Noether
was an influential mathematician known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Described by many prominent scientists as the most important woman in the history of mathematics,[51][52][incomplete short citation] she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. In physics, Noether's theorem
Noether's theorem
explains the fundamental connection between symmetry and conservation laws.[53]

Israeli Shavit
space launcher

More remarkable contributors include Heinrich Hertz
Heinrich Hertz
and Steven Weinberg in Electromagnetism; Carl Sagan, his contributions were central to the discovery of the high surface temperatures of Venus
and known for his contributions to the scientific research of extraterrestrial life; Edward Witten
Edward Witten
(M-theory); Vitaly Ginzburg
Vitaly Ginzburg
and Lev Landau
Lev Landau
(Ginzburg–Landau theory); Yakir Aharonov
Yakir Aharonov
(Aharonov–Bohm effect); Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen
Nathan Rosen
(EPR paradox);Moshe Carmeli (Gauge theory). Rudolf Lipschitz
Rudolf Lipschitz
(Lipschitz continuity); Paul Cohen (Continuum hypothesis, Axiom of choice); Laurent Schwartz
Laurent Schwartz
(theory of distribution); Grigory Margulis
Grigory Margulis
(Lie group); Richard M. Karp
Richard M. Karp
(Theory of computation); Adi Shamir
Adi Shamir
(RSA, cryptography); Judea Pearl (Artificial intelligence, Bayesian network); Max Newman (Colossus computer); Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi
Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi
(Jacobi elliptic functions, Jacobian matrix and determinant, Jacobi symbol). Sidney Altman (Molecular biology, RNA); Melvin Calvin
Melvin Calvin
(Calvin Cycle); Otto Wallach (Alicyclic compound); Paul Berg
Paul Berg
(biochemistry of nucleic acids); Ada Yonath (Crystallography, structure of the ribosome); Dan Shechtman (Quasicrystal); Julius Axelrod
Julius Axelrod
and Bernard Katz (Neurotransmitter); Elie Metchnikoff
Elie Metchnikoff
(discovery of Macrophage); Selman Waksman
Selman Waksman
(discovery of Streptomycin); Rosalind Franklin
Rosalind Franklin
(DNA); Carl Djerassi
Carl Djerassi
(the pill); Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
(Evolutionary biology); Baruch Samuel Blumberg ( Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B
virus); Jonas Salk
Jonas Salk
and Albert Sabin
Albert Sabin
(developers of the Polio vaccines); Paul Ehrlich
Paul Ehrlich
(discovery of the Blood–brain barrier); In fields such as psychology and neurology: Otto Rank, Viktor Frankl, Stanley Milgram and Solomon Asch; linguistics: Noam Chomsky, Franz Boas, Roman Jakobson, Edward Sapir, Joseph Greenberg; and sociology: Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Nathan Glazer, Erving Goffman, Georg Simmel. See also: Category:Jewish inventors and List of Israeli inventions and discoveries Beside Scientific discoveries and researches, Jews
have created significant and influential innovations in a large variety of fields such as the listed samples: Siegfried Marcus- automobile pioneer, inventor of the first car; Emile Berliner- developer of the disc record phonograph; Mikhail Gurevich- co-inventor of the MIG aircraft; Theodore Maiman- inventor of the laser; Robert Adler- inventor of the wireless remote control for televisions; Edwin H. Land - inventor of Land Camera; Bob Kahn- inventor of TCP and IP; Bram Cohen- creator of Bittorent; Sergei Brin
Sergei Brin
and Larry Page- creators of Google; Laszlo Biro - Ballpoint pen; Simcha Blass- Drip irrigation; Lee Felsenstein
Lee Felsenstein
- designer of Osborne 1; Zeev Suraski
Zeev Suraski
and Andi Gutmans co-creators of PHP
and founders of Zend Technologies; Ralph H. Baer, "The Father of Video Games".

Garcia de Orta (1501/2–1568) Albert Einstein (1879–1955) John von Neumann (1903–1957) Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Niels Bohr (1885–1962) Emmy Noether (1882–1935) Richard Feynman (1918–1988) Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967)

Literature and poetry[edit] Main articles: Jewish literature and Jewish poetry See also: Yiddish
literature, Ladino language
Ladino language
§ History, Hebrew literature, Jewish American literature, and List of Jews
in literature and journalism In some places where there have been relatively high concentrations of Jews, distinct secular Jewish subcultures have arisen. For example, ethnic Jews
formed an enormous proportion of the literary and artistic life of Vienna, Austria
at the end of the 19th century, or of New York City 50 years later (and Los Angeles in the mid-late 20th century). Many of these creative Jews
were not particularly religious people. In general, Jewish artistic culture in various periods reflected the culture in which they lived.

Gutenberg Bible. The Bible
was authored by Jews
during the Iron Ages and the Classical era. It comprise cultural values, basic human values, mythology and religious beliefs of both Judaism
and Christianity[54]

Literary and theatrical expressions of secular Jewish culture
Jewish culture
may be in specifically Jewish languages
Jewish languages
such as Hebrew, Yiddish
or Ladino, or it may be in the language of the surrounding cultures, such as English or German. Secular literature and theater in Yiddish
largely began in the 19th century
19th century
and was in decline by the middle of the 20th century. The revival of Hebrew
beyond its use in the liturgy is largely an early 20th-century phenomenon, and is closely associated with Zionism. Apart from the use of Hebrew
in Israel, whether a Jewish community will speak a Jewish or non-Jewish language as its main vehicle of discourse is generally dependent on how isolated or assimilated that community is. For example, the Jews
in the shtetls of Poland and the Lower East Side
Lower East Side
of New York during the early 20th century
20th century
spoke Yiddish
at most times, while assimilated Jews
in 19th and early 20th-century Germany spoke German, and American-born Jews
in the United States speak English. Jewish authors have both created a unique Jewish literature and contributed to the national literature of many of the countries in which they live. Though not strictly secular, the Yiddish
works of authors like Sholem Aleichem
Sholem Aleichem
(whose collected works amounted to 28 volumes) and Isaac Bashevis Singer
Isaac Bashevis Singer
(winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize), form their own canon, focusing on the Jewish experience in both Eastern Europe, and in America. In the United States, Jewish writers like Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, and many others are considered among the greatest American authors, and incorporate a distinctly secular Jewish view into many of their works. The poetry of Allen Ginsberg often touches on Jewish themes (notably the early autobiographical works such as Howl
and Kaddish). Other famous Jewish authors that made contributions to world literature include Heinrich Heine, German poet, Mordecai Richler, Canadian author, Isaac Babel, Russian author, Franz Kafka, of Prague, and Harry Mulisch, whose novel The Discovery of Heaven was revealed by a 2007 poll as the "Best Dutch Book

Week in Jerusalem

In Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide, Yaakov Malkin, Professor of Aesthetics and Rhetoric at Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
and the founder and academic director of Meitar College for Judaism
as Culture
in Jerusalem, writes:

Secular Jewish culture
Jewish culture
embraces literary works that have stood the test of time as sources of aesthetic pleasure and ideas shared by Jews and non-Jews, works that live on beyond the immediate socio-cultural context within which they were created. They include the writings of such Jewish authors as Sholem Aleichem, Itzik Manger, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, S.Y. Agnon, Isaac Babel, Martin Buber, Isaiah Berlin, Haim Nahman Bialik, Yehuda Amichai, Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman. It boasts masterpieces that have had a considerable influence on all of western culture, Jewish culture included - works such as those of Heinrich Heine, Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Chagall, Jacob Epstein, Ben Shahn, Amedeo Modigliani, Franz Kafka, Max Reinhardt (Goldman), Ernst Lubitsch, and Woody Allen.[11]

The Metamorphosis
The Metamorphosis
by Franz Kafka

Other notable contributors are Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
author of the Foundation series and others such as I, robot, Nightfall and The Gods Themselves; Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller
(Catch-22); R.L. Stine
R.L. Stine
( Goosebumps
series); J. D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye); Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon
(The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish
Policemen's Union); Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
(In Search of Lost Time); Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
(Death of a Salesman and The Crucible); Will Eisner
Will Eisner
(A Contract with God); Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree); Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler
(Darkness at Noon, The Thirteenth Tribe); Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
(Herzog); The historical novel series The Accursed Kings
The Accursed Kings
by Maurice Druon
Maurice Druon
is an inspiration for George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
A Song of Ice and Fire
novels.[56][57][58] Another aspect of Jewish literature is the ethical, called Musar literature. Among recipient of Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
in Literature, 13% were or are Jewish.[59] See also: Biblical poetry, piyyut, Jewish poetry from Al-Andalus, and Modern Hebrew
poetry Hebrew
poetry is expressed by various of poets in different eras of Jewish history. Biblical poetry is related to the poetry in biblical times as it expressed in the Hebrew bible
Hebrew bible
and Jewish sacred texts. In medieval times the Jewish poetry was mainly expressed by piyyutim and several poets such as Yehuda Halevi, Samuel ibn Naghrillah, Solomon ibn Gabirol, Moses
ibn Ezra, Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra
and Dunash ben Labrat. Modern Hebrew poetry is mostly related to the era of and after the revival of the Hebrew
language, pioneered by Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
in the Haskalah
era and succeeded by poets such as Hayim Nahman Bialik, Nathan Alterman and Shaul Tchernichovsky.

Yehuda Halevi (c. 1075–1141) Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) Sholem Aleichem (1859–1916) Franz Kafka (1883–1924) Boris Pasternak (1890–1960) Ayn Rand (1905–1982) Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997)

Theatre[edit] Yiddish
theatre[edit] Main article: Yiddish

Hana Rovina
Hana Rovina
in The Dybbuk
The Dybbuk
(1920), a play by S. Ansky

The Ukrainian Jew Abraham Goldfaden
Abraham Goldfaden
founded the first professional Yiddish-language theatre troupe in Iași, Romania
in 1876. The next year, his troupe achieved enormous success in Bucharest. Within a decade, Goldfaden and others brought Yiddish
theater to Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Germany, New York City, and other cities with significant Ashkenazic populations. Between 1890 and 1940, over a dozen Yiddish
theatre groups existed in New York City
New York City
alone, in the Yiddish
Theater District, performing original plays, musicals, and Yiddish
translations of theatrical works and opera. Perhaps the most famous of Yiddish-language plays is The Dybbuk
The Dybbuk
(1919) by S. Ansky. Yiddish
theater in New York in the early 20th century
20th century
rivalled English-language theater in quantity and often surpassed it in quality. A 1925 New York Times
New York Times
article remarks, "… Yiddish
theater… is now a stable American institution and no longer dependent on immigration from Eastern Europe. People who can neither speak nor write Yiddish
attend Yiddish
stage performances and pay Broadway prices on Second Avenue." This article also mentions other aspects of a New York Jewish cultural life "in full flower" at that time, among them the fact that the extensive New York Yiddish-language press of the time included seven daily newspapers.[60] In fact, however, the next generation of American Jews
American Jews
spoke mainly English to the exclusion of Yiddish; they brought the artistic energy of Yiddish
theater into the American theatrical mainstream, but usually in a less specifically Jewish form. Yiddish
theater, most notably Moscow State Jewish Theater directed by Solomon Mikhoels, also played a prominent role in the arts scene of the Soviet Union until Stalin's 1948 reversal in government policy toward the Jews. (See Rootless cosmopolitan, Night of the Murdered Poets.) Montreal's Dora Wasserman Yiddish
Theatre continues to thrive after 50 years of performance. European theatre[edit]

Sarah Bernhardt, 1864

From their Emancipation to World War II, Jews
were very active and sometimes even dominant in certain forms of European theatre, and after the Holocaust
many Jews
continued to that cultural form. For example, in pre-Nazi Germany, where Nietzsche
asked "What good actor of today is not Jewish?", acting, directing and writing positions were often filled by Jews. Both MacDonald and Jewish Tribal Review would generally be counted as anti-Semitic sources, but reasonably careful in their factual claims. "In Imperial Berlin, Jewish artists could be found in the forefront of the performing arts, from high drama to more popular forms like cabaret and revue, and eventually film. Jewish audiences patronized innovative theater, regardless of whether they approved of what they saw."[61] The British historian Paul Johnson, commenting on Jewish contributions to European culture at the Fin de siècle, writes that

The area where Jewish influence was strongest was the theatre, especially in Berlin. Playwrights like Carl Sternheim, Arthur Schnitzler, Ernst Toller, Erwin Piscator, Walter Hasenclever, Ferenc Molnár and Carl Zuckmayer, and influential producers like Max Reinhardt, appeared at times to dominate the stage, which tended to be modishly left-wing, pro-republican, experimental and sexually daring. But it was certainly not revolutionary, and it was cosmopolitan rather than Jewish.[62]

also made similar, if not as massive, contributions to theatre and drama in Austria, Britain, France, and Russia (in the national languages of those countries). Jews
in Vienna, Paris and German cities found cabaret both a popular and effective means of expression, as German cabaret in the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
"was mostly a Jewish art form".[63] The involvement of Jews
in Central European theatre was halted during the rise of the Nazis and the purging of Jews
from cultural posts, though many emigrated to Western Europe
Western Europe
or the United States and continued working there. English-language theatre[edit]

Rodgers (left) and Hammerstein (right), with Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
(middle) and Helen Tamiris, watching auditions at the St. James Theatre in 1948

See also: Association for Jewish Theatre and List of Jewish American playwrights In the early 20th century
20th century
the traditions of New York's vibrant Yiddish Theatre District both rivaled and fed into Broadway. In the English-speaking theatre Jewish émigrés brought novel theatrical ideas from Europe, such as the theatrical realist movement and the philosophy of Konstantin Stanislavski, whose teachings would influence many Jewish-American acting teachers such as the Yiddish theatre-trained acting theorist Stella Adler. Jewish immigrants were instrumental in the creation and development of the genre of musical theatre and earlier forms of theatrical entertainment in America, and would innovate the new, distinctly American, art form, the Broadway musical.[64] Brandeis University
Professor Stephen J. Whitfield has commented that "More so than behind the screen, the talent behind the stage was for over half a century virtually the monopoly of one ethnic group. That is... [a] feature which locates Broadway at the center of Jewish culture".[65] New York University
Professor Laurence Maslon says that "There would be no American musical without Jews… Their influence is corollary to the influence of black musicians on jazz; there were as many Jews
involved in the form".[66] Other writers, such as Jerome Caryn, have noted that musical theatre and other forms of American entertainment are uniquely indebted to the contributions of Jewish-Americans, since "there might not have been a modern Broadway without the "Asiatic horde" of comedians, gossip columnists, songwriters, and singers that grew out of the ghetto, whether it was on the Lower East Side, Harlem
(a Jewish ghetto before it was a black one), Newark, or Washington, D.C.."[67] Likewise, in the analysis of Aaron Kula, director of The Klezmer

…the Jewish experience has always been best expressed by music, and Broadway has always been an integral part of the Jewish-American experience… The difference is that one can expand the definition of "Jewish Broadway" to include an interdisciplinary roadway with a wide range of artistic activities packed onto one avenue--theatre, opera, symphony, ballet, publishing companies, choirs, synagogues and more. This vibrant landscape reflects the life, times and creative output of the Jewish-American artist.[68]

In the 19th and early 20th centuries the European operetta, a precursor the musical, often featured the work of Jewish composers such as Paul Abraham, Leo Ascher, Edmund Eysler, Leo Fall, Bruno Granichstaedten, Jacques Offenbach, Emmerich Kalman, Sigmund Romberg, Oscar Straus and Rudolf Friml; the latter four eventually moved to the United States and produced their works on the New York stage. One of the librettists for Bizet's Carmen
(not an operetta proper but rather a work of the earlier Opéra comique
Opéra comique
form) was the Jewish Ludovic Halévy, niece of composer Fromental Halévy
Fromental Halévy
(Bizet himself was not Jewish but he married the elder Halevy's daughter, many have suspected that he was the descendant of Jewish converts to Christianity, and others have noticed Jewish-sounding intervals in his music).[69] The Viennese librettist Victor Leon summarized the connection of Jewish composers and writers with the form of operetta: "The audience for operetta wants to laugh beneath tears—and that is exactly what Jews have been doing for the last two thousand years since the destruction of Jerusalem".[70] Another factor in the evolution of musical theatre was vaudeville, and during the early 20th century
20th century
the form was explored and expanded by Jewish comedians and actors such as Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, The Marx Brothers, Anna Held, Al Jolson, Molly Picon, Sophie Tucker
Sophie Tucker
and Ed Wynn. During the period when Broadway was monopolized by revues and similar entertainments, Jewish producer Florenz Ziegfeld
Florenz Ziegfeld
dominated the theatrical scene with his Follies.

Lee Strasberg

By 1910 Jews
(the vast majority of them immigrants from Eastern Europe) already composed a quarter of the population of New York City, and almost immediately Jewish artists and intellectuals began to show their influence on the cultural life of that city, and through time, the country as a whole. Likewise, while the modern musical can best be described as a fusion of operetta, earlier American entertainment and African-American
culture and music, as well as Jewish culture
Jewish culture
and music, the actual authors of the first "book musicals" were the Jewish Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, George and Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. From that time until the 1980s a vast majority of successful musical theatre composers, lyricists, and book-writers were Jewish (a notable exception is the Protestant Cole Porter, who acknowledged that the reason he was so successful on Broadway was that he wrote what he called "Jewish music").[71] Rodgers and Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Lerner and Loewe, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Schwartz, Kander and Ebb and dozens of others during the "Golden Age" of musical theatre were Jewish. Since the Tony Award for Best Original Score was instituted in 1947, approximately 70% of nominated scores and 60% of winning scores were by Jewish composers. Of successful British and French musical writers both in the West End and Broadway, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Lionel Bart are Jewish, among others. One explanation of the affinity of Jewish composers and playwrights to the musical is that "traditional Jewish religious music was most often led by a single singer, a cantor while Christians emphasize choral singing."[72] Many of these writers used the musical to explore issues relating to assimilation, the acceptance of the outsider in society, the racial situation in the United States, the overcoming of obstacles through perseverance, and other topics pertinent to Jewish Americans and Western Jews
in general, often using subtle and disguised stories to get this point across.[73] For example, Kern, Rodgers, Hammerstein, the Gershwins, Harold Arlen
Harold Arlen
and Yip Harburg
Yip Harburg
wrote musicals and operas aiming to normalize societal toleration of minorities and urging racial harmony; these works included Show Boat, Porgy and Bess, Finian's Rainbow, South Pacific and The King and I. Towards the end of Golden Age, writers also began to openly and overtly tackle Jewish subjects and issues, such as Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof
and Rags; Bart's Blitz!
also tackles relations between Jews
and Gentiles. Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's Parade is a sensitive exploration of both anti-Semitism and historical American racism. The original concept that became West Side Story was set in the Lower East Side
Lower East Side
during Easter-Passover celebrations; the rival gangs were to be Jewish and Italian Catholic.[74] The ranks of prominent Jewish producers, directors, designers and performers include Boris Aronson, David Belasco, Joel Grey, the Minskoff family, Zero Mostel, Joseph Papp, Mandy Patinkin, the Nederlander family, Harold Prince, Max Reinhardt, Jerome Robbins, the Shubert family and Julie Taymor. Jewish playwrights have also contributed to non-musical drama and theatre, both Broadway and regional. Edna Ferber, Moss Hart, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller
and Neil Simon
Neil Simon
are only some of the prominent Jewish playwrights in American theatrical history. Approximately 34% of the plays and musicals that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
were written and composed by Jewish Americans.[75] The Association for Jewish Theater is a contemporary organization that includes both American and international theaters that focus on theater with Jewish content. It has also expanded to include Jewish playwrights. Hebrew
and Israeli theatre[edit]

theater, 2011

The earliest known Hebrew language
Hebrew language
drama was written around 1550 by a Jewish-Italian writer from Mantua.[76] A few works were written by rabbis and Kabbalists in 17th-century Amsterdam, where Jews
were relatively free from persecution and had both flourishing religious and secular Jewish cultures.[77] All of these early Hebrew
plays were about Biblical or mystical subjects, often in the form of Talmudic parables. During the post-Emancipation period in 19th-century Europe, many Jews
translated great European plays such as those by Shakespeare, Molière
and Schiller, giving the characters Jewish names and transplanting the plot and setting to within a Jewish context. Modern Hebrew
theatre and drama, however, began with the development of Modern Hebrew
in Europe (the first Hebrew
theatrical professional performance was in Moscow in 1918)[78] and was "closely linked with the Jewish national renaissance movement of the twentieth century. The historical awareness and the sense of primacy which accompanied the Hebrew
theatre in its early years dictated the course of its artistic and aesthetic development".[79] These traditions were soon transplanted to Israel. Playwrights such as Natan Alterman, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Leah Goldberg, Ephraim Kishon, Hanoch Levin, Aharon Megged, Moshe Shamir, Avraham Shlonsky, Yehoshua Sobol
Yehoshua Sobol
and A. B. Yehoshua have written Hebrew-language plays. Themes that are obviously common in these works are the Holocaust, the Arab–Israeli conflict, the meaning of Jewishness, and contemporary secular-religious tensions within Jewish Israel. The most well-known Hebrew
theatre company and Israel's national theatre is the Habima
(meaning "the stage" in Hebrew), which was formed in 1913 in Lithuania, and re-established in 1917 in Russia; another prominent Israeli theatre company is the Cameri Theatre, which is "Israel's first and leading repertory theatre".[80] Cinema[edit] See also: Cinema of Israel
Cinema of Israel
and List of Jewish film directors In the era when Yiddish
theatre was still a major force in the world of theatre, over 100 films were made in Yiddish. Many are now lost. Prominent films included Shulamith (1931), the first Yiddish
musical on film His Wife's Lover (1931), A Daughter of Her People (1932), the anti-Nazi film The Wandering Jew
Wandering Jew
(1933), The Yiddish
King Lear (1934), Shir Hashirim (1935), the biggest Yiddish
film hit of all time Yidl Mitn Fidl (1936), Where Is My Child? (1937), Green Fields
Green Fields
(1937), Dybuk (1937), The Singing Blacksmith (1938), Tevya (1939), Mirele Efros (1939), Lang ist der Weg (1948), and God, Man and Devil (1950). The roster of Jewish entrepreneurs in the English-language American film industry is legendary: Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, the Warner Brothers, David O. Selznick, Marcus Loew, and Adolph Zukor, Fox to name just a few, and continuing into recent times with such industry giants as super-agent Michael Ovitz, Michael Eisner, Lew Wasserman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and David Geffen. However, few of these brought a specifically Jewish sensibility either to the art of film or, with the sometime exception of Spielberg, to their choice of subject matter. The historian Eric Hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm
described the situation as follows:[81]

It would be ... pointless to look for consciously Jewish elements in the songs of Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
or the Hollywood movies of the era of the great studios, all of which were run by immigrant Jews: their object, in which they succeeded, was precisely to make songs or films which found a specific expression for 100 per cent Americanness.

A more specifically Jewish sensibility can be seen in the films of the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, or Woody Allen; other examples of specifically Jewish films from the Hollywood film industry are the Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
vehicle Yentl (1983), or John Frankenheimer's The Fixer (1968). Radio and television[edit] The first radio chains, the Radio Corporation of America and the Columbia Broadcasting System, were created by the Jewish-American David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff
and William S. Paley, respectively. These Jewish innovators were also among the first producers of televisions, both black-and-white and color.[82] Among the Jewish immigrant communities of America there was also a thriving Yiddish
language radio, with its "golden age" from the 1930s to the 1950s. Although there is little specifically Jewish television in the United States (National Jewish Television, largely religious, broadcasts only three hours a week), Jews
have been involved in American television from its earliest days. From Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
and Milton Berle
Milton Berle
to Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Andy Kaufman
Andy Kaufman
to Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
to Jerry Seinfeld, Jewish stand-up comedians have been icons of American television. Other Jews
that held a prominent role in early radio and television were Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Walter Winchell and David Susskind. More figures are Larry King, Michael Savage and Howard Stern. In the analysis of Paul Johnson, "The Broadway musical, radio and TV were all examples of a fundamental principle in Jewish diaspora history: Jews
opening up a completely new field in business and culture, a tabula rasa on which to set their mark, before other interests had a chance to take possession, erect guild or professional fortifications and deny them entry."[83] One of the first televised situation comedies, The Goldbergs was set in a specifically Jewish milieu in the Bronx. While the overt Jewish milieu of The Goldbergs was unusual for an American television series, there were a few other examples, such as Brooklyn Bridge (1991–1993) and Bridget Loves Bernie. Jews
have also played an enormous role among the creators and writers of television comedies: Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Selma Diamond, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, and Neil Simon
Neil Simon
all wrote for Sid Caesar; Reiner's son Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
worked with Norman Lear on All in the Family
All in the Family
(which often engaged anti-semitism and other issues of prejudice); Larry David
Larry David
and Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld
created the hit sitcom Seinfeld, Lorne Michaels, Al Franken, Rosie Shuster, and Alan Zweibel of Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
breathed new life into the variety show in the 1970s. More recently, American Jews
American Jews
have been instrumental to "novelistic" television series such as The Wire
The Wire
and The Sopranos. Variously acclaimed as one of the greatest television series of all time, The Wire was created by David Simon. Simon also served as executive producer, head writer, and show runner. Matthew Weiner
Matthew Weiner
produced the fifth and sixth seasons of The Sopranos
The Sopranos
and later created Mad Men. More remarkable contributors are David Benioff
David Benioff
and D. B. Weiss, creators of Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
TV series; Ron Leavitt co-creator of Married... with Children; Damon Lindelof
Damon Lindelof
and J. J. Abrams, co-creators of Lost; David Crane and Marta Kauffman, creators of Friends; Tim Kring creator of Heroes; Sydney Newman
Sydney Newman
co-creator of Doctor Who; Darren Star, creator Sex and the City
Sex and the City
and Melrose Place; Aaron Spelling co-creator of Beverly Hills, 90210; Chuck Lorre, co-creator of The Big Bang
Big Bang
Theory and Two and a Half Men; Gideon Raff, creator of Prisoners of War which Homeland is based on; Aaron Ruben and Sheldon Leonard co-creators of The Andy Griffith Show; Don Hewitt
Don Hewitt
creator of 60 Minutes; Garry Shandling, co-creator of The Larry Sanders Show; Ed. Weinberger, co-creator of The Cosby Show; David Milch, creator of Deadwood; Steven Levitan, co-creator of Modern Family; Dick Wolf, creator of Law & Order; David Shore, creator House; Max Mutchnick and David Kohan creators of Will & Grace. There is also a significant role of Jews
in acting by actors such as Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Mila Kunis, Zac Efron, Hank Azaria, David Duchovny, Fred Savage, Zach Braff, Noah Wyle, Adam Brody, Katey Sagal, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Michelle Trachtenberg, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow
and Mayim Bialik. Music[edit] Main article: Jewish music See also: Secular Jewish music Jewish musical contributions also tend to reflect the cultures of the countries in which Jews
live, the most notable examples being classical and popular music in the United States and Europe. Some music, however, is unique to particular Jewish communities, such as Israeli music, Israeli Folk music, Klezmer, Sephardic and Ladino music, and Mizrahi music. Classical music[edit]

The Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra's 70th Anniversary

Before Emancipation, virtually all Jewish music in Europe was sacred music, with the exception of the performances of klezmorim during weddings and other occasions. The result was a lack of a Jewish presence in European classical music
European classical music
until the 19th century, with a very few exceptions, normally enabled by specific aristocratic protection, such as Salamone Rossi
Salamone Rossi
and Claude Daquin
Claude Daquin
(the work of the former is considered the beginning of "Jewish art music").[84] After Jews
were admitted to mainstream society in England
(gradually after their return in the 17th century), France, Austria-Hungary, the German Empire, and Russia (in that order), the Jewish contribution to the European music scene steadily increased, but in the form of mainstream European music, not specifically Jewish music. Notable examples of Jewish Romantic composers (by country) are Charles-Valentin Alkan, Paul Dukas
Paul Dukas
and Fromental Halevy
Fromental Halevy
from France, Josef Dessauer, Karl Goldmark and Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
from Bohemia (most Austrian Jews
during this time were native not to what is today Austria
but the outer provinces of the Empire), Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
and Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer
from Germany, and Anton and Nikolai Rubinstein
Nikolai Rubinstein
from Russia. Singers included John Braham
John Braham
and Giuditta Pasta. There were very many notable Jewish violin and pianist virtuosi, including Joseph Joachim, Ferdinand David, Carl Tausig, Henri Herz, Leopold Auer, Jascha Heifetz, and Ignaz Moscheles. During the 20th century
20th century
the number of Jewish composers and notable instrumentalists increased, as did their geographical distribution. Sample Jewish 20th-century composers include Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
and Alexander von Zemlinsky
Alexander von Zemlinsky
from Austria, Hanns Eisler
Hanns Eisler
and Kurt Weill
Kurt Weill
from Germany, Viktor Ullmann
Viktor Ullmann
and Jaromír Weinberger from Bohemia and later the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
(the former perished at the Auschwitz
extermination camps), George Gershwin
George Gershwin
and Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
from the United States, Darius Milhaud
Darius Milhaud
and Alexandre Tansman from France, Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
and Lera Auerbach from Russia, Lalo Schifrin
Lalo Schifrin
and Mario Davidovsky from Argentina and Paul Ben-Haim and Shulamit Ran from Israel. There are some genres and forms of classical music that Jewish composers have been associated with, including notably during the Romantic period French Grand Opera. The most prolific composers of this genre included Giacomo Meyerbeer, Fromental Halévy, and the later Jacques Offenbach; Halevy's La Juive was based on Scribe's libretto very loosely connected to the Jewish experience. While orchestral and operatic music works by Jewish composers would in general be considered secular, many Jewish (as well as non-Jewish) composers have incorporated Jewish themes and motives into their music. Sometimes this is done covertly, such as the klezmer band music that many critics and observers believe lies in the third movement of Mahler's Symphony No. 1, and this type of Jewish reference was most common during the 19th century
19th century
when openly displaying one's Jewishness would most likely hamper a Jew's chances at assimilation. During the 20th century, however, many Jewish composers wrote music with direct Jewish references and themes, e.g. David Amram (Symphony – "Songs of the Soul"), Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
(Kaddish Symphony, Chichester Psalms), Ernest Bloch
Ernest Bloch
(Schelomo), Arnold Schoenberg, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (Violin Concerto no. 2) Kurt Weill
Kurt Weill
(The Eternal Road) and Hugo Weisgall (Psalm of the Instant Dove).

Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864) Fanny Mendelssohn (1805–1847) Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813–1888) Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880) Anton Rubinstein (1829–1894) Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) Clara Haskil (1895–1960)

In the late twentieth century, proeminent composers like Morton Feldman, Gyorgy Ligeti or Alfred Schnittke
Alfred Schnittke
gave significant contributions to the history of contemporary music Popular Music[edit] The great songwriters and lyricists of American traditional popular music and jazz standards were predominantly Jewish, including Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Frank Loesser, Richard Rodgers, Philip Glass
Philip Glass
and Irving Berlin. Dance[edit] Main article: Jewish dance Deriving from Biblical traditions, Jewish dance
Jewish dance
has long been used by Jews
as a medium for the expression of joy and other communal emotions. Each Jewish diasporic community developed its own dance traditions for wedding celebrations and other distinguished events. For Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
in Eastern Europe, for example, dances, whose names corresponded to the different forms of klezmer music that were played, were an obvious staple of the wedding ceremony of the shtetl. Jewish dances both were influenced by surrounding Gentile traditions and Jewish sources preserved over time. "Nevertheless the Jews
practiced a corporeal expressive language that was highly differentiated from that of the non-Jewish peoples of their neighborhood, mainly through motions of the hands and arms, with more intricate legwork by the younger men."[85] In general, however, in most religiously traditional communities, members of the opposite sex dancing together or dancing at times other than at these events was frowned upon. Humor[edit]

The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Main article: Jewish humor Jewish humor
Jewish humor
is the long tradition of humor in Judaism
dating back to the Torah
and the Midrash, but generally refers to the more recent stream of verbal, frequently self-deprecating and often anecdotal humor originating in Europe. Jewish humor
Jewish humor
took root in the United States over the last hundred years, beginning with vaudeville, and continuing through radio, stand-up, film, and television. A significant number of American comedians have been or are Jewish.[citation needed] Visual arts
Visual arts
and architecture[edit] See also: List of Jews
in the visual arts Further information: Visual arts
Visual arts
in Israel

"Death of King Saul", by Elie Marcuse (1848). (Tel Aviv Museum of Art)

Compared to music or theater, there is less of a specifically Jewish tradition in the visual arts. The most likely and accepted reason is that, as has been previously shown with Jewish music and literature, before Emancipation Jewish culture
Jewish culture
was dominated by the religious tradition of aniconism. As most Rabbinical authorities believed that the Second Commandment prohibited much visual art that would qualify as "graven images", Jewish artists were relatively rare until they lived in assimilated European communities beginning in the late 18th century.[86][87] It should be noted however, that despite fears by early religious communities of art being used for idolatrous purposes, Jewish sacred art is recorded in the Tanakh
and extends throughout Jewish Antiquity and the Middle Ages.[88] The Tabernacle
and the two Temples in Jerusalem form the first known examples of "Jewish art". During the first centuries of the Common Era, Jewish religious art also was created in regions surrounding the Mediterranean such as Syria
and Greece, including frescoes on the walls of synagogues, of which the Dura Europas Synagogue
is the only survivor[89] as well as the Jewish catacombs in Rome.[90][91]

Zodiac Wheel Mosaic
in the great synagogue of Tzippori (5th century) in Galilee, Israel

A Jewish tradition of illuminated manuscripts in at least Late Antiquity has left no survivors, but can be deduced from borrowings in Early Medieval
Christian art. A number of luxury pieces of gold glass from the later Roman period have Jewish motifs. Several Hellenistic-style floor mosaics have also been excavated in synagogues from Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
in Israel
and Palestine, especially of the signs of the Zodiac, which was apparently acceptable in a low-status position on the floor. Some, such as that at Naaran, show evidence of a reaction against images of living creatures around 600 CE. The decoration of sarcophagi and walls at the cave cemetery at Beit She'arim shows a mixture of Jewish and Hellenistic
motifs. However, for a period of several centuries between about 700 and 1100 CE there are scarely any survivals of identifiably Jewish art. Middle Age Rabbinical and Kabbalistic literature also contain textual and graphic art, most famously illuminated haggadahs such as the Sarajevo Haggadah, and other manuscripts like the Nuremberg Mahzor. Some of these were illustrated by Jewish artists and some by Christians; equally some Jewish artists and craftsmen in various media worked on Christian commissions.[92] Outside of Europe, Yemenite Jewish silversmiths developed a distinctive style of finely wrought silver that is admired for its artistry. Johnson again summarizes this sudden change from a limited participation by Jews
in visual art (as in many other arts) to a large movement by them into this branch of European cultural life:

Again, the arrival of the Jewish artist was a strange phenomenon. It is true that, over the centuries, there had been many animals (though few humans) depicted in Jewish art: lions on Torah
curtains, owls on Judaic coins, animals on the Capernaum
capitals, birds on the rim of the fountain-basis in the 5th century
5th century
synagogue in Tunis; there were carved animals, too, on timber synagogues in eastern Europe - indeed the Jewish wood-carver was the prototype of the modern Jewish plastic artist. A book of Yiddish
folk-ornament, printed at Vitebsk
in 1920, was similar to Chagall's own bestiary. But the resistance of pious Jews
to portraying the living human image was still strong at the beginning of the 20th century.[93]

Wall painting in the Dura Europos synagogue, circa 250 CE

There were few Jewish secular artists in Europe prior to the Emancipation that spread throughout Europe with the Napoleonic conquests. There were exceptions, and Salomon Adler
Salomon Adler
was a prominent portrait painter in 18th-century Milan. The delay in participation in the visual arts parallels the lack of Jewish participation in European classical music until the nineteenth century, and which was progressively overcome with the rise of Modernism in the 20th century. There were many Jewish artists in the 19th century, but Jewish artistic activity boomed during the end of World War I. The Jewish artistic Renaissance
has its roots in the 1901 Fifth Zionist Congress, which included an art exhibition featuring Jewish artists E.M. Lilien and Hermann Struck. The exhibition helped legitimize art as an expression of Jewish culture.[94] According to Nadine Nieszawer, "Until 1905, Jews
were always plunged into their books but from the first Russian Revolution, they became emancipated, committed themselves in politics and became artists. A real Jewish cultural rebirth".[95] Individual Jews
figured in the modern artistic movements of Europe— With the exception of those living in isolated Jewish communities, most Jews
listed here as contributing to secular Jewish culture also participated in the cultures of the peoples they lived with and nations they lived in. In most cases, however, the work and lives of these people did not exist in two distinct cultural spheres but rather in one that incorporated elements of both.

Itzhak Danziger
Itzhak Danziger
Nimrod, 1939 The Israel
Museum, Jerusalem Collection

During the early 20th century
20th century
figured particularly prominently in the Montparnasse
movement, and after World War II
World War II
among the abstract expressionists: Alexander Bogen, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Al Held, Lee Krasner, Barnett Newman, Milton Resnick, Jack Tworkov, Mark Rothko, and Louis Schanker
Louis Schanker
as well as among Contemporary artists, Modernists and Postmodernists.[96] Many Russian Jews
were prominent in the art of scenic design, particularly the aforementioned Chagall and Aronson, as well as the revolutionary Léon Bakst, who like the other two also painted. One Mexican Jewish artist was Pedro Friedeberg; historians disagree as to whether Frida Kahlo's father was Jewish or Lutheran. Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
was not Jewish, but nearly all of his patrons and several of his models were. Among major artists Chagall may be the most specifically Jewish in his themes. But as art fades into graphic design, Jewish names and themes become more prominent: Leonard Baskin, Al Hirschfeld, Ben Shahn, Art
Spiegelman and Saul Steinberg. Jews
have also played a very important role in medias other than painting; in photography some notable figures are André Kertész, Robert Frank, Helmut Newton, Garry Winogrand, Cindy Sherman, Steve Lehman,[97] and Adi Nes; in installation art and street art some notable figures are Sigalit Landau,[98] Dede,[99] and Michal Rovner.

Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) Camille Pissarro (1830–1903) Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) Diego Rivera (1886–1957) Marc Chagall (1887–1985)

Comics, cartoons, and animation[edit] See also: List of Jewish American cartoonists

Stan Lee
Stan Lee
(left) and Jack Kirby
Jack Kirby
(right) made a major contribution to the American comic book
American comic book
industry. Their work includes The Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and X-Men

Graphic art, as expressed in the art of comics, has been a key field for Jewish artists as well. In the Golden and Silver ages of American comic books, the Jewish role was overwhelming and large number of the medium's foremost creators have been Jewish.[100] Max Gaines
Max Gaines
was a pioneering figure in the creation of the modern comic book when in 1935 he published the first one called Famous Funnies.[101] In 1939, he founded, with Jack Liebowitz
Jack Liebowitz
and Harry Donenfeld, All-American Publications
All-American Publications
(the AA Group).[102] The publication is known for the creation of several superheroes such as the original Atom, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Wonder Woman. Donenfeld and Liebowitz were also the owners of National Allied Publications which distributed Detective Comics
Detective Comics
and Action Comics. That company was also a precursor of DC Comics. In 1939, the pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman formed Timely Publications,[103] a company to be known, since the 1960s, as Marvel Comics. At Marvel, Artists such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby,[104] Larry Lieber and Joe Simon
Joe Simon
created a large variety of characters and cultural icons including Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, and the teams Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men (including many of its characters) and S.H.I.E.L.D.. Stan Lee attributed the Jewish role in comics to the Jewish culture.[105]

Marvel Comics, was founded by Martin Goodman as Timely Publications

At DC Comics
DC Comics
Jewish role was significant as well; the character of Superman, which was created by the Jewish artists Joe Shuster
Joe Shuster
and Jerry Siegel,[100] is partly based on the biblical figure of Samson.[106] It was also suggested the Superman
is partly influenced by Moses,[107][108] and other Jewish elements. More at DC Comics
DC Comics
are Bob Kane, Bill Finger
Bill Finger
and Martin Nodell, creators of Green Lantern, Batman[100] and many related characters as Robin, The Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow and Catwoman; Gil Kane, co-creator of Atom
and Iron Fist. Many of those involved in the later ages of comics are also Jewish, such as Julius Schwartz, Joe Kubert, Jenette Kahn, Len Wein, Peter David, Neil Gaiman, Chris Claremont
Chris Claremont
and Brian Michael Bendis. There is also a large amount of Jewish characters among comics superheroes such as Magneto, Quicksilver, Kitty Pryde, The Thing, Sasquatch, Sabra, Ragman, Legion, and Moon Knight, of whom were and are influenced by events in Jewish history
Jewish history
and elements of Jewish life.[109] In 1944, Max Gaines
Max Gaines
founded EC Comics.[110] The company is known for specializing in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenStories
Crime SuspenStories
and Shock SuspenStories. Jewish artists that are associated with the publisher include Al Feldstein, Dave Berg, and Jack Kamen. Will Eisner
Will Eisner
was an American cartoonist and was known as one of the earliest cartoonists to work in the American comic book
American comic book
industry. He is the creator of the Spirit comics series and the graphic novel A Contract with God.[111] The Eisner Award was named in his honor, and is given to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium.

Ralph Bakshi
Ralph Bakshi
is a director of animated and live-action films, known for films such as Wizards (1977), The Lord of the Rings (1978), and Fire and Ice (1983)

In 1952, William Gaines
William Gaines
and Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman
founded Mad, an American humor magazine. It was widely imitated and influential, affecting satirical media as well as the cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein
Al Feldstein
increasing readership to more than two million during its 1970s circulation peak.[112] Other known cartoonists are Lee Falk
Lee Falk
creator of The Phantom
The Phantom
and Mandrake the Magician; The Hebrew
comics of Michael Netzer
Michael Netzer
creator of Uri-On
and Uri Fink
Uri Fink
creator of Zbeng!; William Steig, creator of Shrek!; Daniel Clowes, creator of Eightball; Art
Spiegelman creator of graphic novel Maus
and Raw (with Françoise Mouly). In animation, Jewish animators role is expressed by many: Genndy Tartakovsky is the creator of several animation TV series such as Dexter's Laboratory
Dexter's Laboratory
and Samurai Jack;[113] Matt Stone
Matt Stone
co-creator of South Park; David Hilberman who helped animate Bambi
and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Friz Freleng, Looney Tunes; Ralph Bakshi, Fritz the Cat, Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, Wizards, The Lord of the Rings, Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, Hey Good Lookin', Fire and Ice, and Cool World;[114] Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls; Dave Fleischer and Lou Fleischer, founders of Fleischer Studios; Max Fleischer, animation of Betty Boop, Popeye
and Superman. Several companies producing animation were founded by Jews, such as DreamWorks, which its products include Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda
and The Prince of Egypt; Warner Bros., which its animation division is known for cartoons such as Looney Tunes, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Freakazoid!
. Cuisine[edit]

Latkes with smetana

Main article: Jewish cuisine Jewish cooking combines the food of many cultures in which Jews
have settled, including Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, German and Eastern European styles of cooking, all influenced by the need for food to be kosher. Thus, "Jewish" foods like bagels, hummus, stuffed cabbage, and blintzes all come from various other cultures. The amalgam of these foods, plus uniquely Jewish contributions like tzimmis, cholent, gefilte fish and matzah balls, make up Jewish cuisine. See also[edit]

of Israel Humanistic Judaism Jewish studies Yiddishkeit


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Further reading[edit]

Landa, M.J. (1926). The Jew in Drama. New York: Ktav Publishing House (1969). Veidlinger, Jeffrey. Jewish Public Culture
in the Late Russian Empire. Bloomington: Indiana University
Press, 2009.

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Jewish Art.

The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations Global Directory of Jewish Museums News and reviews about Jewish literature and books Festival of Jewish Theater and Ideas The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art Heeb - an online magazine about Jewish culture

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