10938 Russian Jewry and the Challenges of Modernity 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Modern History of the Jewish People

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including one course in Modern History of the Jewish People. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Authors: Abraham Nowersztern, Jonathan Frankel, Eli Lederhendler, Immanuel Etkes, Mordechai Zalkin

In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish society in Russia underwent processes of modernization and consequently major changes arose. The course examines these changes and new opportunities that opened up. It centers on the conflicts and tensions that resulted from these processes.

Objectives: The course aims (1) to impart skills in critical reading and analysis of historical sources; (2) to acquaint students with historical research; (3) to develop in students a critical approach, independent thinking, and the ability to explain and justify their stand regarding the issues discussed.

Topics: The Jewish Enlightenment in Eastern Europe; From a traditional society to orthodoxy; The Hasidic movement řin the 19th century: New institutions and the emergence of new leadership; The rise of modern Hebrew literature; The rise of modern Yiddish literature; The growth of the Hebrew and Yiddish press; The Jewish intelligentsia in Russia; Social radicalism: Jewish socialism and labor movements in Eastern Europe; National radicalism: The emergence of the Jewish national movement; Migration to the west and the new world: Offshoots of eastern European Jewry.


1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.