This article examines how Leah Goldberg's modernist novel Avedot, written between 1936 and 1939, but unpublished in her lifetime, theorizes the intersections of gender, Hebrew secularism, and Orientalism. Goldberg's novel dramatizes the crisis of secular European Hebrew through the perspective of a modern Hebrew poet and Orientalist scholar, Elhanan Yehuda Kron, who travels from Palestine to Berlin to pursue his research on the Islamic origins of Jewish mysticism. Through Kron1s experiences in Berlin in the 1930s, the novel calls attention to how the origin of modern secular Hebrew shares roots with an Orientalist Christian world view that is allied with Nazism. Goldberg's protagonist attempts to resolve this crisis by addressing a community of women readers whose exclusion from the world of traditional Jewish texts might enable them to envision and create a secular Hebrew culture.
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Research Article| September 01 2013
Allison Schachter; Orientalism, Secularism, and the Crisis of Hebrew Modernism: Reading Leah Goldberg's Avedot. Comparative Literature 1 September 2013; 65 (3): 345–362. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-2325131
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