Zvi Gitelman: The Politics and Culture of Modern East European Jewry



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Zvi Gitelman: The Politics and Culture of Modern East European Jewry
This course focuses on the interplay of ethnicity, politics and culture, with specific reference to the Jews of Eastern Europe since the latter part of the nineteenth century. Students should gain an appreciation of both the history and culture of East European Jewry as well as of the interplay of ethnicity and politics. For our purpose, “Eastern Europe” means, in the main, present day Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Reference will also be made to Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
I. Ethnopolitics and East European Jewry

1. Joseph Rothschild, Ethnopolitics (Columbia University Press, 1981) pp.1-66.

2. Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The East European Era in Jewish History,” in Deborah Dash Moore, ed., East European Jewry in Two Worlds ( Northwestern University Press, 1990) pp.1-21.

3. Rebecca Himber Berg, “Childhood in Lithuania,” in Leo Schwarz, ed., Memoirs of My People (Schocken, 1963) pp. 269-280.

4. Lucy Dawidowicz, The Golden Tradition (Schocken or Syracuse University Press), pp. 5-89.
II. Ethnic Relations and the Beginnings of Modern Politics

1. Robert Chazan,“Medieval Jewish Political Institutions” in Zvi Gitelman, ed., The Quest for Utopia (M.E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. 67-80.

2. Bernard Weinryb, The Jews of Poland (Jewish Publication Society, 1972) ch. 2

and 5 (pp.33-55; 119-155).

3. Milton Esman,“Political and Psychological Factors in Ethnic Conflict,” in Joseph Montville, ed., Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic States (Lexington, 1990).

4. Gershon Hundert,“The Implications of Jewish Economic Activity for Christian-

Jewish Relations in the Polish Commonwealth,” in Chimen Abramsky, et al, eds.,

The Jews in Poland (Basil Blackwell, 1986) pp.55-63.

5. M.J. Rosman, “Jewish Perceptions of Insecurity and Powerlessness in 16th-18th

Century Poland,” Polin I (1986) pp.19-27
II. Institutions

1. Abraham Ain,“Swislocz: Portrait of a Jewish Community in Eastern Europe,” in

Moore, East European Jews in Two Worlds, pp. 22-50.

2. Israel Cohen, Vilna (Jewish Publication Society, 1943), ch.7-9 (pp. 114-163).

3. Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World, (Oxford University Press, Second edition, 1995) pp. 394-399.
III. Politics in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

1. Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews (Jewish Publication Society,

1983) ch. 1 & 2 (pp. 13-48).

2. Eli Lederhandler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics (Oxford University Press,

1989) pp. 58-157.
3. Nicholas Riasanovsky, A History of Russia (Oxford University Press, 1963), pp.433-482.

4. Zvi Gitelman, A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present (Indiana University Press, second edition, 2001), ch. 1.

5. Hans Rogger, “Conclusion and Overview”, in John Klier and Shlomo Lambroza,

eds. Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge University Press, 1992) pp. 314-372.

6. Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, Jew in the Modern World [first ed., 1980], p. 309, 328-332.

7. Hans Rogger, Jewish Policies and Right Wing Politics in Imperial Russia

(University of California, 1986) pp. 25-39.

8. Aleksander Hertz, The Jews in Polish Culture (Northwestern University Press,

1988) pp.17-32, 59-85.

9. John-Paul Himka,“Ukrainian-Jewish Antagonism in the Galician Countryside

During the Late Nineteenth Century,” in Peter Potichnyj and Howard Astor, eds. Ukrainian-Jewish Relations in Historical Perspective (University of Toronto Press,

1988), pp. 111-149.


IV. Modern Political Movements and Ideologies

1. Salo Baron, The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets, pp.163-181.

2. Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World [first ed., 1980], pp. 337-349, 421-431,441-447.


  1. Lucy Dawidowicz, The Golden Tradition, pp. 367-457, 461-492.

  2. Hertz, The Jews in Polish Culture, pp. 143-167.

5. Jonathan Frankel, “Modern Jewish Politics East and West (1840-1939),” in Zvi Gitelman, ed., The Quest For Utopia (M.E. Sharpe,1992) pp. 81-104.

6. Benjamin Nathans, “The Other Modern Jewish Politics: Integration and Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle Russia,” in Zvi Gitelman, ed., The Emergence of Modern Jewish Politics: Bundism and Zionism in Eastern Europe (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) 20-34.


V. Politics and Culture

Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz, Jew in the Modern World (2nd ed.) 401-404.


Modern Hebrew Literature

1. Mendele Mocher Sforim,“Shem and Japheth on the Train,” in Robert Alter, ed.



Modern Hebrew Literature (Behrman House, 1975), pp. 19-38.

2. Y.L. Peretz, “Scenes from Limbo,”in ibid., pp. 41-64.

3. M.Z. Feierberg, Whither? and Other Stories (Jewish Publication Society, 1972).

[Read “Whither?”].


Modern Yiddish Literature

4. Simon Dubnov, “From Jargon to Yiddish,” in Joseph Leftwich, ed., The Way We



Think, Vol. 2, (Thomas Yoseloff, 1969), pp. 519-527.

  1. Y.L. Peretz, “Hope and Fear,” in Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg, eds.,

Voices from the Yiddish (University of Michigan Press, 1972), pp. 22-24.



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