This article examines the hitherto unquestioned consensus in Judaic studies that Judaism embraces a positive attitude towards sexuality. Grounded in the new scholarly trends of cultural and gender analysis as well as feminist critique and their impact on Jewish studies, it singles out four focal issues: sexuality in ancient rabbinic thought, to which the most scholarly attention has been directed; and issues in modern Halakhah that have just begun to inform scholarly research: the ethos of modesty and the construction of the female body; homosexuality and lesbianism; and reproduction and sexuality. The discussion reflects the tension between these two scholarly trends, and between the conceptual-theological stratum of Judaism and its reflection in the practical-legal sphere of Jewish law (Halakhah). This examination of Jewish attitudes towards sexuality, in light of the new scholarship, leads to the conclusion that although Judaism affirms sexuality, this cannot be grasped in a simple, superficial, or monolithic fashion.
Eric D. Weitz
National Socialism sought a radical restructuring of the European population. The drive to assert German domination over the continent entailed not only territorial conquest and political dictatorship but also demographic engineering, in which the annihilation of the Jews was the core aspiration. This article shows that a program of this sort was one possible outcome of nationalism, since that idea and race thinking are closely linked. Both forms of understanding human diversity and defining community developed from the 15th and especially the 18th century onward in the western world. National Socialism provided particularly intertwined and vicious definitions of nation and race that reveal in stark terms how nationalism, which always carries an exclusionary component, was a necessary enabling condition for the Holocaust.