The Jewish contribution to civilization has been remarkable. In Great Jewish Men Elinor Slater and Robert Slater pay tribute to Jews who have achieved prominence worldwide by virtue of the excellence of the works they have produced, the discoveries they have made, and the countless ways in which they have contributed toward improving the lot of humanity.
As in the Slaters’ acclaimed Great Jewish Women, the “greats” featured in this volume were chosen by the authors based on carefully established criteria: the individual must have made a significant contribution to his field of endeavor and he must be Jewish in accordance with the traditional definition-that is, either born of a Jewish mother or having joined the Jewish faith by formal conversion. Even within limits of these guidelines, the task of selecting a relatively small number of outstanding men from thousands of noteworthy Jews was a challenge indeed.
The men of distinction profiled in this work have been drawn from a wide range of professions, including literature, sports, the performing arts, science, politics, and business. The esteemed group includes the biblical figures from Abraham and Moses, forgers of the Jewish nation; Rashi and Maimonides, great interpreters of the Bible and of Jewish law; and Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann, visionary leaders of the Zionist movement. It also includes the literary figures Franz Kafka and Saul Bellow; the songwriters Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern; and some of the most original minds in history, such as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Profiled also are David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and others who have devoted their lives to ensuring the survival and well-being of the modern state of Israel.
Through personal interviews and correspondence, the Slaters have been able to gain insight into the lives of some of the most prominent contemporary Jewish figures, including Larry King, Stephen Breyer and Isaiah Berlin. How their upbringing affected their thinking, what led to their success, the role that Judaism plays in their lives – all of this and more is shared with us in the pages of Great Jewish Men. With black-and-white photographs.
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