Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters

Maya Barzilai

Associate Professor
Modern Hebrew and Jewish Culture
University of Michigan

ISBN: 9781479889655

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Winner of the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award (AJS) in the category of Jewish Literature and Linguistics.

Honorable Mention, Salo Baron Book Prize (AAJR).


“Fascinating and well argued, Golem examines the modern incarnations of the old Jewish myth, tracking its many meanings as it crosses between generations and cultures, from the muddy trenches of WWI to the killing fields of science fiction. An indispensable text for anyone looking to understand our ongoing fascination with the golem figure, in all its malleable forms.” —Helene Wecker, The Golem & the Jinni

Reviewed by Simichi Cohen in In Geveb

Reviewed by Temma Berg in Studies in American Jewish Literature

Selected Articles

“Translation on the Margins: Avraham Ben Yitzhak and Yoel Hoffmann.” The Journal of Jewish Identities 7:1 (2014): 109-128.

“Witnessing Dying in the Tongue of Revival: Shaul Tchernikhovsky’s World War I Poetry.” Yearbook of the Simon Dubnow Institute 13 (2014): 177-192.

“Reading Camera Lucida in Gaza: Ronit Matalon’s Photographic Travels.” Comparative Literature. 65, no. 2 (2013): 200-219.

S. Y. Agnon’s German Consecration and the ‘Miracle’ of Hebrew Letters.” Prooftexts 33, no.1 (2013): 48-75.


“If mainstream media is one of Spencer’s arch-opponents, then his strategy is to take its rhetoric and metaphors and remold them in his own image.”

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“Just as the golem in some Jewish tales protected the borders of the Jewish ghetto against Christian incursion, Trump promises to fortify the United States, literally by building a wall, a barrier, and metaphorically, by refusing entrance to refugees and immigrants. He speaks to Americans’ desire for isolation and insulation, promoting a fantasy of vulnerability.”

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