Andrea Gondos, "Kabbalah in Print: The Study and Popularization of Jewish Mysticism in Early Modernity" (SUNY Press, 2020)

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Long before Kabbalah books lined multiple books shelves in bookstores, Jewish educators in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thought of copious ways of making Kabbalah more accessible for readers who were not acquainted with this lore. The book, Kabbalah in Print: The Study and Popularization of Jewish Mysticism in Early Modernity (SUNY Press, 2020), introduces the reader to an early seventeenth-century rabbi, Yissachar Baer, who lived and worked in Prague. Each of his four works seeks to illuminate a different facet of the Zohar (Book of Splendour), the medieval classic of kabbalistic speculation. His goal was to simplify the language of the Zohar as well as to assemble its halakhic teachings so Jews could enrich their daily observance of the commandments with the corresponding mystical explanation. He also wrote a short introduction to the study of Kabbalah and organized brief excerpts of the Zohar into an anthology. His works were important mediators of the Zohar and Kabbalah to Jewish and Christian readers alike.

Andrea Gondos is an Emmy Noether post-doctoral fellow at Freie Universität (Berlin) where her current research centers on women's health and healing as discussed in early modern Jewish recipe books of magic and practical Kabbalah Her next book project will examine how the female body and its reproductive powers constituted a unique epistemological space for ba’alei shem (Jewish wonder-working healers) where knowledge concerning creation and regeneration could be accessed and controlled. Prior to joining the Emmy Noether research group, she held post-doctoral positions at Tel Aviv University and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She was also a fellow at the Katz Centre of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com

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