The Holocaust's Jewish Calendars

The Holocaust's Jewish Calendars

Keeping Time Sacred, Making Time Holy
Alan Rosen
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/01/2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03826-5
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Calendars map time, shaping and delineating our experience of it. While the challenges to tracking Jewish conceptions of time during the Holocaust were substantial, Alan Rosen reveals that many took great risks to mark time within that vast upheaval. Rosen inventories and organizes Jewish calendars according to the wartime settings in which they were produced—from Jewish communities to ghettos and concentration camps. The calendars he considers reorient views of Jewish circumstances during the war and show how Jews were committed to fashioning traditional guides to daily life, even in the most extreme conditions. Rosen presents a revised idea of time, continuity, the sacred and the mundane, the ordinary and the extraordinary even when death and destruction were the order of the day. Rosen’s focus on the Jewish calendar—the ultimate symbol of continuity, as weekday follows weekday and Sabbath follows Sabbath—sheds new light on how Jews maintained connections to their way of conceiving time even within the cauldron of the Holocaust.

Author Bio

Alan Rosen is author of The Wonder of Their Voices: The 1946 Holocaust Interviews of David Boder, editor of Literature of the Holocaust, and editor (with Steven T. Katz) of Elie Wiesel: Jewish, Literary, and Moral Perspectives. He lectures regularly at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem and other Holocaust study centers.


“With penetrating acumen Alan Rosen demonstrates the relationship between time and meaning, between meaning and holiness, between holy days and the divine presence—all of which came under assault in the Nazis’ effort to kill Jewish souls before destroying Jewish bodies.”
 — David Patterson, author of The Holocaust and the Nonrepresentable: Literary and Photographic Transcendence

“Alan Rosen shows how calendars provided a sacred territory to defy the Nazi attempt to impose a futureless existence of mundane time, religious time, and Jewish history over the centuries.”
 — Gershon Greenberg, author of Modern Jewish Thinkers: From Mendelssohn to Rosenzweig

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Table of Contents




Part I: Time at the End of a Jewish Century

Part II: The Ordeal of Tracking Time in the New Jewish Century: Holocaust-era Ghettos

Part III: Concentration Camps, Endless Time, and Jewish Time

Part IV: While in Hiding: Calendar Consciousness on the Edge of Destruction

Part V: At the Top of the Page: Calendar Dates in Holocaust Diaries

Part VI: The Holocaust as a Revolution in Jewish Time


Appendix 1: Inventory of Wartime Jewish Calendars

Appendix 2: Months of the Jewish Calendar, with Their Holidays and Fast Days

Appendix 3: English-Language Rendering of Rabbi Scheiner Calendar