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A Typical Extraordinary Jew: From Tarnow to Jerusalem

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A Typical Extraordinary Jew

From Tarnow to Jerusalem

By Calvin Goldscheider, Jeffrey M. Green

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Format: Paperback, 150 pages
Published In: United States, 24 August 2011
This book tells the life story of an extremely engaging and charming Polish Jew, Shmuel Braw (1906-1992), who lived through the traumatic historical events that shaped Jewish experiences in the twentieth century. The story is told largely in Shmuel's own Yiddish- inflected Australian English to two avid listeners: Calvin Goldscheider, a social scientist, and Jeffrey M. Green, a writer and translator. Both the Holocaust and Shmuel's harrowing experience as a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp in Siberia figure prominently in this book, but Shmuel also describes his community of Tarnow, a town in southeastern Poland, in rich detail. After World War II, Shmuel settled in Melbourne, Australia before eventually immigrating to Israel. Shmuel was lively, colorful, entertaining, deeply concerned about other people, and a devoted and kind family man. The book is true to Shmuel's spirit and shares the life of a man whom everyone fondly remembers as a typical extraordinary Jew.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Introducing Shmuel Chapter 2 Chapter 1: A Personal Pilgrimage to Tarnow, Poland, 2008 Chapter 3 Chapter 2: "It Happened, but It Didn't Happen" Chapter 4 Chapter 3: "A City in My Bones" Chapter 5 Chapter 4: "A Shtinkindike Shtik Flaish" Chapter 6 Chapter 5: "How Far will it Go" Chapter 7 Chapter 6: "I Wasn't Lucky in Australia" Chapter 8 Chapter 7: "They Dry Out" Chapter 9 Chapter 8: "Not Lonely but Lost" Chapter 10 Chapter 9: "A Normal Life" Chapter 11 Chapter 10: New Places Chapter 12 Chapter 11: A Poem about Tarnow Part 13 Epilogue: Kibbutz Ein Zurim, Israel, July 2008

About the Author

Calvin Goldscheider is professor emeritus of sociology and Ungerleider Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies at Brown University. He previously taught at the Hebrew University and is now affiliated with American University's Center for Israel Studies, Washington, D.C. Goldscheider has published extensively on sociology and demography. Several of his books focus on comparative Jewish communities in the United States, Israel, and Europe. Jeffrey M. Green was born and raised in New York City. He earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Green has translated numerous books and articles from Hebrew and French and has also written several books, including two in Hebrew. He moved to Israel in 1973.


As a child of Holocaust survivors, I read this book with great interest and personal involvement. In a loving act of storytelling, Calvin Goldscheider and Jeffrey Green have resurrected the memories of the late Shmuel Braw, a Holocaust survivor to whom they became powerfully attached as worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue. A man brimming with tales, Braw recounts his extraordinary narrative of pain, survival and triumph, bringing the authors and their readers into direct contact with his indefatigable spirit and stubborn attachment to life. His story and personality, so ably captured here, will echo in your memory long after the book is closed. -- Samuel Heilman, distinguished professor of sociology, Harold M. Proshansky Chair of Jewish Studies, CUNY Queens College and The Graduate Center This book by Calvin Goldscheider and Jeffrey M. Green is a moving account of a Polish Jew whose life experience traversed the tragedies, ambiguities, and dilemmas of twentieth century Jewry... Braw's experiences reflect the ways modern Jews have struggled with religious observance, Jewish identity, [and] belonging in gentile and in Jewish society. Goldscheider and Green do an extraordinary job [of] preserving Braw's voice, his Yiddish-inflected English, and his character. They weave quotations from him-gleaned from extensive interviews-into a carefully crafted narrative which always remains true to the joy, the sadness, and the plucky spirit of their subject. Especially moving is the account of Braw's experience in a Soviet labor camp during World War II, an experience which is not well known in Holocaust accounts, but had its own share of horror and despair. Goldscheider and Green should be commended for trying to understand this extraordinarily interesting twentieth century European Jew. -- Marsha L. Rozenblit, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Jewish History, University of Maryland

EAN: 9780761856436
ISBN: 0761856439
Publisher: Hamilton Books
Dimensions: 23 x 15.5 x 1.1 centimetres (0.24 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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