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My Books

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Gender and Sexuality in Israeli Graphic Novels

This book explores how Israeli graphic novelists present depictions of masculinity and femininity that differ from conventional portrayals of gender in Israeli society, rejecting the ways that hypermasculinity and docile femininity have come to be associated with men and women.

The book is the first to explore Israeli graphic novels through the lens of gender. It argues that breaking down existing gender delineations with regards to masculinity and femininity is a core feature of the Israeli graphic novel and comics tradition and that through their works, the authors and artists use their platforms to present a freer and looser conceptualization of gender for Israeli society. Undertaking close readings of Israeli graphic novels that have been published in English and/or Hebrew in the last 20 years, the book’s texts include Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and The Property, Ari Folman and David Polonsky’s Waltz with Bashir, Galit and Gilad Seliktar’s Farm 54, and Asaf Hanuka’s "The Realist".

This book is of interest to students and scholars in comics studies, Israel Studies, Jewish Studies, and Gender Studies.

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"Thoughtfully focusing on a particularly tempestuous period of instability and political uncertainty, Reingold’s incisive study brilliantly illuminates a vibrant selection of bold artistic responses to many of the cultural, political and religious contradictions and controversies seething within Israel’s complex society and fragile democracy. A lively and insightful exploration of the provocations and risks taken by political cartoonists that rewards readers with gripping visual exemplars and compelling analysis. This superb book sets a high standard, an invaluable resource for scholars of contemporary Israeli society and political cartoons alike."

- Ranen Omer-Sherman

University of Louisville

Reenvisioning Israel through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018–2021 Electoral Crisis

Reenvisioning Israel through Political Cartoons: Visual Discourses During the 2018–2021 Electoral Crisis examines the ways in which the work of Israeli political cartoonists broadens conversations about contemporary challenges in the country. Matt Reingold shows how 21 cartoonists across 10 different Israeli newspapers produced cartoons in response to the country’s social and political crises between December 2018–June 2021, a period where the country was mired in four national elections. Each chapter is structured around an issue that emerged during this period, with examples drawn from multiple cartoonists. This allows for fertile cross-cartoonist discussion and analysis, offering an opportunity to understand the different ways that an issue affects national discourse and what commentaries have been offered about it. By focusing on this difficult period in contemporary Israeli society, the volume highlights the ways that artists have responded to these national challenges and how they have fashioned creative reimaginings of their country.

"Reingold’s timely study of recent Israeli political cartoons is searching and compelling. Addressing challenging subjects with sharp insight, he fleshes out the complexities of Israeli society. He demonstrates how Israel's political cartoonists operate as editorialists, bravely commenting on their own country and calling for political and cultural change. His work expands our understanding of Israel during a period of tumultuous politics and of the nature of political cartooning as a distinct field of visual media."

- Samantha Baskin

Cleveland State University

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Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives offers a superb overview of this subfield in comics studies, clearly explaining the various nuances behind the terms of comic books and graphic novels, as well as what makes such graphic narratives Jewish. This is an excellent critical guide to English-language Jewish graphic narratives ... offering a savvy interdisciplinary and comparative assessment of their signposts, uncovering their history, socio-cultural impacts, and the circulation arc... Reingold's thoroughly researched, poignant, and highly readable book ... is a must-have study and research tool for scholars, students and anyone invested in Jewish literature and the comics field.

Dana Mihailescu, Northwestern University

Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives

The most up-to-date critical guide mapping the history, impact, key critical issues, and seminal texts of the genre, Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives interrogates what makes a work a "Jewish graphic narrative", and explores the form's diverse facets to orient readers to the richness and complexity of Jewish graphic storytelling.

Accessible but comprehensive and in an easy-to-navigate format, the book covers such topics as:

- The history of the genre in the US and Israel - and its relationship to superheroes, Underground Comix, and Jewish literature
- Social and cultural discussions surrounding the legitimization of graphic representation as sites of trauma, understandings of gender, mixed-media in Jewish graphic novels, and the study of these works in the classroom
- Critical explorations of graphic narratives about the Holocaust, Israel, the diasporic experience, Judaism, and autobiography and memoir
- The works of Will Eisner, Ilana Zeffren, James Sturm, Joann Sfar, JT Waldman, Michel Kichka, Sarah Glidden, Rutu Modan, and Art Spiegelman and such narratives as X Men, Anne Frank's Diary, and Maus

Jewish Comics and Graphic Narratives makes a significant contribution to the interrelated fields of Comics Studies, Graphic Novel Studies, and Jewish Studies. The original readings of key texts are illustrative of the complexity of this rich and developing genre.

- Victoria Aarons, Trinity University

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The Wolf of Baghdad - Educator Guide

Produced alongside Carol Isaacs' this educators guide provides teachers with invaluable resources and curricular suggestions for how to make use of The Wolf of Baghdad in schools with students of all ages. 

The resource can be downloaded here.

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“Asaf Hanuka has long been one of Israel’s most provocative cartoonists and voices of dissent, and in these pages Matt Reingold’s terrifically incisive criticism illuminates compelling dimensions of Hanuka’s eclectic artistry, whether commemorating the Shoah, the insider-outsider identity of Mizrahi Israelis, anxieties about Israel’s faltering democracy, militarism, and human rights record, or the perils of fatherhood and masculinity. Hanuka’s vibrant graphic storytelling ranges from the fantastical and  grotesque to the mundane, and Reingold captures all of it splendidly, demonstrating why Hanuka’s edgy work resonates both in Israel and internationally. An indispensable, captivating guide for both scholars and the classroom to a brilliant artist at the forefront of contemporary visual culture.”

— Ranen Omer-Sherman, Editor of Amos Oz: The Legacy of a Writer in Israel and Beyond

“This fascinating in-depth study of the work of Asaf Hanuka fluidly demonstrates the political, social, cultural, and artistic range of the cartoonist’s vision. Drawing upon Hanuka's hybrid background, Reingold shows the ways in which constructs of identity shape his richly figured comics. This is an important book that situates Hanuka’s comics in a narrative of social and political critique and speaks to the significant and enduring influence of this groundbreaking cartoonist.”

— Victoria Aarons, O.R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature, Trinity University

The Comics of Asaf Hanuka

The Comics of Asaf Hanuka: Telling Particular and Universal Stories tells the story of how cartoonist Asaf Hanuka illustrates both universal and particular narratives. Through close readings of Hanuka’s entire catalogue of comics and graphic narratives, Hanuka’s work is situated within the broader story of his own experiences of being an insider (as a Jew and Israeli) and an outsider (as a Mizrahi, or Judeo-Arab) in Israeli society. By moving chronologically through Hanuka’s works, the book traces how Hanuka navigates these disparate particular identities alongside more universal concerns about how to be a present partner to his spouse and to his children.

“The Comics of Asaf Hanuka: Telling Particular and Universal Stories significantly contributes to contemporary scholarship on the diversity of Israeli identities in visual media by providing the first thorough examination of the cartoons, comics, and graphic narratives of the award-winning Israeli artist Asaf Hanuka. Reingold’s compelling book captures how Hanuka’s oeuvre spanning over two decades has offered an increasingly nuanced and sharp critique of contemporary Israeli society, especially the erosion of democracy and the unfair treatment of its minorities, one which mirrors the evolution of the artist’s understanding of his own intersectional Israeli, Mizrachi, Jewish, and gendered identities. This is an indispensable book for everyone interested in the evolution of Israeli comics and identity issues.”

— Dana Mihăilescu, University of Bucharest

“This is a robust, layered reading that helps the reader understand Hanuka’s work in its Israeli context and helps to reveal what is truly groundbreaking about it. I enjoyed it immensely.”

— Kevin Haworth, author of The Comics of Rutu Modan: War, Love, and Secrets

“Matt Reingold’s close examination of Eisner Award winning cartoonist Asaf Hanuka's entire body of work adeptly analyzes the artist-writer’s diverse subjects and styles. Expanding our understanding of the comics’ landscape, this penetrating study fleshes out the many dimensions of Israeli society, Jewish identity, and Mizrahi heritage through Hanuka’s artistic navigation of that complex universe.”

— Samantha Baskind, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Cleveland State University

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"Teaching Israel" is a superb collection of essays that sheds light on the central issues and challenges confronting all Israel educators. Zakai and Reingold have made an invaluable contribution by showcasing a wide range of pedagogical reflections informed by the authors’ personal experiences in the classroom. The volume is also a must read for scholars in the general field of education who will find in Israel a fascinating case study to test their pedagogical approaches and techniques, and develop new ones.

Csaba Nikolenyi, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies, Concordia University

"Teaching Israel" centers the dilemmas and decisions of educators teaching a topic viewed by many as fraught and divisive, and is oriented to diverse learners and distinct pedagogic goals across a spectrum of settings. An important contribution to the scholarship of teaching and Israel education, practitioners will appreciate the opportunity to peer inside the classrooms of other educators as a means to illuminate their own challenges and choices.

Arielle Levites, Managing Director, CASJE (Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education), George Washington University

Teaching Israel (co-edited with Sivan Zakai)

An edited volume that grapples with the complex issues and conflicts that face those who teach about Israel.

Jewish Americans are divided in their views on Israel. While scholars have outlined philosophical principles to guide educators who teach about Israel, there has been less scholarship focused on the pedagogy surrounding the country. This book re-situates teaching—the questions, dilemmas, and decision-making that teachers face—as central to both Israel studies and Israel education. Contributors illuminate how educators from differing pedagogical orientations, who teach in a range of educational settings learn, understand, undertake, and ultimately improve the work of teaching Israel. The volume also looks at the professional support and learning opportunities teachers may need to engage with these pedagogical questions.

"Teaching Israel"... initiates a worthwhile dialogue between Israel education and Israel studies by conceptualizing an area of inquiry that can be beneficial for both fields, specifically, with insights on aims, pedagogy, context, and identity. Most importantly, Zakai and Reingold highlight that the scholarly dialogue is mutually beneficial. I recommend Teaching Israel for any educator or scholar interested in practical insights about the "pedagogical choices that teachers make when Israel, in all its many forms, is the subject matter." I hope this anthology is only the first of many volumes of empirical studies on what Zakai and Reingold have conceptualized as teaching Israel.

- Journal of Jewish Education

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