Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Jewish Studies Russia
by
ChaeRan Freeze

Introduction

Following the partitions of Poland (1772–1795), the Russian Empire inherited one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. Catherine II extended religious tolerance to her new subjects, a decision that exploited existing confessional structures to maintain the status quo and impose a semblance of order in the borderlands. At the same time, eager to integrate her new subjects, Catherine II required Jews to register in the social estate system, which defined juridical identities. The dual impulse to integrate while exploiting separation was one of the key characteristics of tsarist policies toward the Jews throughout the imperial period. The Jews became subject to an increasingly invasive complex of legislation including conscription, compulsory education, and other reforms intended to break down Jewish insularity. At the same time, they confronted legal discrimination, especially the notorious Pale of Settlement, which enforced Jewish segregation. During the Great Reforms, the regime began to liberalize policy, allowing “useful” categories of Jews to settle beyond the Pale, creating unprecedented opportunities for social and geographic mobility and professional advancement. The state also unintentionally unleashed dangerous expectations and ambitions for more radical change, planting the seeds of revolution and violence. By the mid-1880s, the regime began to reverse its concessions, promulgating the infamous May Laws (1882) with educational quotas and other legal restrictions and failing to act decisively against the pogroms. In response to violence, discrimination, poverty, and the tumultuous events of the Revolution of 1905 and World War I, Jews opted to emigrate, revitalize Jewish life in Russia through civic and cultural initiatives, or participate in revolutionary political movements. The Jewish population in the Russian Empire was astonishingly diverse in terms of its religious traditions and subcultures. The rapid spread of Hasidim during the 19th century spurred opposition and reinvigorated institutions of Torah study among the mitnagdim and ethical studies among the adherents of the Musar movement. The Jewish Enlightenment movement, though it boasted only a small number of adherents, was influential in shaping new sensibilities and cultural codes. It gave birth to a modern Jewish literature in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian and a secular culture. Though Jewish enlightened thinkers embraced modernization, some feared radical assimilation and searched for national solutions, especially following the failure of reformism and the rise of anti-Semitism and nationalism. Movements such as Zionism, Bundism, and autonomism provided a secular framework for expressing Jewish identity and political aspirations.

General Overviews

The earliest general histories of the Jews of Russia and Poland, Gessen 1993 and Dubnow 1975, focused on the discriminatory policies of the tsarist state, which the latter blamed on religious antipathy and the former on the state’s mistaken belief in the Jews’ economic harmfulness. Critical of this “lachrymose” concept of Russian-Jewish history, Baron 1976 sought to contextualize the Jewish experience within a broader Russian context, though it did not fully succeed in its quest. Löwe 1993 followed this impulse to examine how conservative bureaucrats equated modernization with Jews. More recently, Bartal 2005 has sharpened the analysis by examining the role of the centralizing state and economic factors in the transformation of Jewish society in Russia. Polonsky (Polonsky 2010a, Polonsky 2010b) provides the most up-to-date synthesis of secondary scholarship, including studies that have employed declassified archival materials from countries of the former Soviet Union. Israel Bartal is presently editing a series on the history of the Jews of Russia, of which Kulik 2010 on the history of the Jews in medieval and early modern Russia is the first volume.

  • Baron, Salo W. The Russian Jew under Tsars and Soviets. 2d ed. New York: Macmillan, 1976.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critical of the “lachrymose [view] of Jewish history” (p. 153), which emphasized suffering and persecution, the author seeks to place Jewish history into a broader Russian context. Though he is not entirely successful in his goal, the author goes beyond a description of tsarist discriminatory legislation to examine the economic, demographic, social, and cultural forces that shaped the Russian-Jewish experience.

    Find this resource:

  • Bartal, Israel. The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772–1881. Translated by Chaya Naor. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Challenges the centrality of the Haskalah as the primary engine of change and modernity. Emphasizes instead the role of the centralizing state, the decline of Jewish autonomy, and the impact of socioeconomic transformations such as the rise of capitalism, the decline of a feudal economy, and urbanization. These changes in turn transformed the political aims and methods of the elites, giving rise to modern Jewish politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Dubnow, S. M. The History of Jews in Russia and Poland from the Earliest Times until the Present Day. 3 vols. Translated by I. Friedlaender. New York: Ktav, 1975.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reprint of the classic (1916–1920), this work departs from the exclusively legal-political approach of predecessors. Influenced by his preoccupation with Jewish statelessness, the tenacity of national identity, and the broader trajectory of Jewish history, Dubnow focuses on the internal life of Russian Jewry and its connection to the past. Employs Jewish communal records (pinkasim) to valorize the institutions of self-government. Views Russia’s tradition of religious antipathy toward the Jews as the motive for oppression.

    Find this resource:

  • Gessen, Iulii. Istoriia evreiskogo naroda v Rossii. 2 vols. Moscow: Evreiskii Universitet, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reprint of original (1914). Influenced by the legal-political method pioneered by jurist Il’ia Orshansky, Gessen employs the narrative of discriminatory tsarist legislation that stifled Jewish life in Russia. First to utilize extensive archival materials to expose the complex workings of the state and the underlying tensions between the center and periphery. The key motive for the state’s discriminatory policies was the mistaken belief in the Jews’ economic harmfulness.

    Find this resource:

  • Kulik, Alexander, ed. Toldot yehude Rusyah mi-yeme kedem ’ad ha-’et ha-hadashah ha-mukedemet. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the ancient to early modern period of Jewish history in Russia. Includes a historiographic essay about Jewish historical writing. Divided into four segments: the history of Jews in southern Russia, central Asia, the Caucasus, Georgia, and Armenia; the history of the Khazars; Jews in Old Rus, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Muscovite Russia; and cultural contacts between Jews and surrounding cultures. First volume of the series Toldot Yehude Rusyah, edited by Israel Bartal.

    Find this resource:

  • Löwe, Heinz-Dietrich. The Tsars and the Jews: Reform, Reaction, and Anti-Semitism in Imperial Russia, 1772–1917. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An expansion and reworking of an earlier book, Antisemitismus und Reaktionäre Utopie: Russicher Konservatismus in Kampf gegen den Wandel von Staat und Gesellschaft, 1890–1917. By the late 19th century, conservative bureaucrats feared that modernization was inevitable and that “it would undermine . . . their power” (p. 3). Jews came to represent the gauge by which to measure social and political change.

    Find this resource:

  • Polonsky, Antony. The Jews in Poland and Russia. Vol. 1, 1350 to 1881. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010a.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The most up-to-date synthesis of numerous specialized studies that have emerged in recent years. The first volume of this trilogy focuses on the Jewish life in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth prior to the partitions of Poland and the diverse experience of Jews under different absolutist monarchies of Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and tsarist Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Polonsky, Antony. The Jews in Poland and Russia. Vol. 2, 1881 to 1914. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010b.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The second volume of the synthetic history of the Jews in Poland and Russia, which covers the period from the assassination of Alexander until the Revolution of 1917. Chapters also devoted to specific themes such as Jewish spaces in shtetlekh and towns, modern Jewish literature, religious life, women, and the rise of Jewish mass culture.

    Find this resource:

Archival and Library Guides

The breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought profound changes, including the declassification of hitherto secret collections. The challenge for researchers was the dearth of finding aids to help them identify collections pertaining to Jews. Starting in 1991, Project Judaica—a cooperative venture undertaken by the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow), Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York), and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York)—documented the materials in the archives of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus as found in Ivanov, et al. 2011; Melamed 2009; Melamed and Kupovetskii 2005; Kupovetskii, et al. 1997; Kupovetskii, et al. 2003; and Kupovetskii, et al. 2005. Baker 2003 describes these and other similar projects. For archives in America that deal with Eastern European Jewish history, Mohrer and Web 1998 provides an excellent finding guide to the collections at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

  • Baker, Zachary M., ed. Judaica in the Slavic Realm, Slavica in the Judaic Realm: Repositories, Collections, Projects, Publications. New York: Haworth Information Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An indispensible guide to the archives and museums in the former Soviet Union, the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Also includes articles on Jewish periodicals in Ukraine, Jewish book publishing in the former Soviet Union, bibliographical projects in Polish-Jewish studies since 1989, and resources on genealogy.

    Find this resource:

  • Ivanov, Alexander, M. S. Kupovetskii, and Alexander Lokshin, eds. Dokumenty po istorii i kul’ture evreev v arkhivakh Sankt-Peterburga: Putevoditel’; Federal’nye arkhivy. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Izdatel’skii Dom “Mir” 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The sixth volume of the Project Judaica archival guide series describes the Judaica holdings in the Saint Petersburg repositories, specifically the Russian State Historical Archive and the Russian State Archive of the Navy.

    Find this resource:

  • Kupovetskii, M. S., E. V. Starostin, and Marek Web, eds. Dokumenty po istorii i kul’ture evreev v arkhivakh Moskvy: Putevoditel’. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First volume of the Project Judaica archival guide series, on Jewish materials in Moscow repositories. Organized by archival depository and divided into general records, Jewish records, and personal papers. The Archives of the President of the Russian Federation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and KGB collection in the Center for Preservation of Contemporary Documentation are not included.

    Find this resource:

  • Kupovetskii, M. S., E. M. Savitskii, and Marek Web, eds. Dokumenty po istorii i kul’ture evreev v arkhivakh Belarusi: Putevoditel’. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Second volume in the Project Judaica archival guide series. Focuses on the national and regional archives of Belarus and institutional archives and libraries. Organized by archival depository; each section is divided into major chronological periods: the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Imperial Russia, the Provisional Government, Poland during the interwar period, and the Soviet period.

    Find this resource:

  • Kupovetskii, M. S., E. M. Savitskii, and Marek Web, eds. Dokumenty po istorii i kul’ture evreev v trofeinykh kollektsiiakh Rossiiskogo gosudarstvennogo voennogo arkhiva. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The third volume of the Project Judaica archival guide series that focuses on materials in the Russian State Military Archive in Moscow.

    Find this resource:

  • Melamed, E. I., ed. Dokumenty po istorii i kul’ture evreev v regional’nykh arkhivakh Ukrainy: Putevoditel’ Volynskaia, Zhitomirskaia, Rovenskaia, Cherkasskaia oblasti. Kiev, Ukraine: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The fifth volume of the Project Judaica archival guides focuses on the repositories in Volhynia, Zhitomir, Rovno, and Cherkassy.

    Find this resource:

  • Melamed, E. I., and M. S. Kupovetskii, eds. Dokumenty po istorii i kulʹture evreev v arkhivakh Kieva: Putevoditel’. Kiev, Ukraine: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The fourth volume of the Project Judaica archival guides focuses on the history and culture of the Jews in Kiev.

    Find this resource:

  • Mohrer, Fruma, and Marek Web, comps. and eds. Guide to the YIVO Archives. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is the first finding aid to the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research in New York, which holds more than 1,400 collections. The guide includes a history of YIVO and its archives, descriptions of each collection, and a detailed index.

    Find this resource:

Bibliographies

One of the earliest and comprehensive bibliographies on Russian Jewry was the Sistematicheskii ukazatel’ literatury o evreiakh na russkom iazyke. It was updated by Kel’ner 2004 with supplemental literature published up to 1953. Hundert and Bacon 1984 was the first significant bibliography of Eastern European Jewish history published in the West. Even if outdated in terms of recent scholarship, it can still be useful to researchers, especially the essays about the development of Eastern European Jewish scholarship until the early 1980s. Topic-specific bibliographies include Assaf 2000 on Bratslav Hasidism, Auerbach 2005 on Jewish women, Baker 1998 on memorial books, Wierzbieniec 1999 on Polish Jewry, and Roskies 1977 on the heder.

  • Assaf, David. Breslav: Bibliyografyah mu’eret R. Nahman mi-Breslav, toldatav u-morashto ha-sifrutit; Sifre talmidav ve-talmide talmidav; Hasidut Breslav u-sevivoteha. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources on Bratslav Hasidism.

    Find this resource:

  • Auerbach, Karen. “Bibliography: Jewish Women in Eastern Europe.” Polin 18 (2005): 273–288.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An annotated bibliography of primary and secondary works on Jewish women in Eastern Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Baker, Zachary, comp. “Bibliography of Eastern European Memorial (Yizkor) Books.” In From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry. 2d ed. Edited by Jack Kugelmass and Jonathan Boyarin, 273–298. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comprehensive bibliography of Jewish memorial books (yizker bikher) of Eastern Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Hundert, Gershon David, and Gershon C. Bacon, eds. The Jews in Poland and Russia: Bibliographical Essays. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Though this bibliographical work is now out of date, the broad overviews of the literature on the Jews of Poland and Russia from the earliest times to the early 1980s are still very useful. The bibliographic essays are divided chronologically and thematically for each period.

    Find this resource:

  • Kel’ner, Viktor Efimovich. Literatura o evreiakh na russkom iazyke, 1890–1953: Knigi, broshiury, ottiski statei, dopolneniia k bibliograficheskomu ukazateliu. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Evropeiskii Dom, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This extensive bibliography picks up where the Sistematicheskii ukazatel’ literatury o evreiakh na russkom iazyke (Systematic guide to literature about the Jews in the Russian language) left off to include materials to 1953. It includes a list of books, brochures, reprints of articles, and periodical editions, and an excellent bibliographical index.

    Find this resource:

  • Roskies, Diane. Heder: Primary Education among European Jews: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography of Published Sources. New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1977.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Survey of printed sources on the heder in Eastern Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Sistematicheskii ukazatel’ literatury o evreiakh na russkom iazyke so vremeni vvedeniia grazhdanskago shrifta (1708) po dekabr’ 1889. Cambridge, UK: Oriental Research Partners, 1973.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A prerevolutionary bibliography of books, articles, brochures, and other literature about the Jews in the Russian language originally published in 1892. It covers various topics, including religion, history, ethnography, economic life, and Jews and the state.

    Find this resource:

  • Wierzbieniec, Wacław. Judaika polskie z XIX wieku: Materiały do bibliografii. Krakow: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Międzywydziałowy Zakład Historii i Kultury Żydów w Polsce, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bibliography of Judaica in Poland in the 19th century.

    Find this resource:

Encyclopedias

The classic Kazenelson, et al. 1991 is still one of the most comprehensive and detailed reference works on prerevolutionary Jews in Imperial Russia. More recently, Hundert 2008 is a magisterial two-volume encyclopedia that goes beyond places, personalities, and events to address aspects of culture and society that were integral to Eastern European Jewish life. Oren and Zand 1976–1992, which was published for Soviet Jews as the primary audience, includes definitions of basic terms and concepts of Judaism, as well as material on Jewish history.

  • Hundert, Gershon D., ed. The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. 2 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Definitive two-volume reference work explores the history and culture of the Jews in Eastern Europe from their early settlement to the present. It describes not only places, names, and events but also social and cultural aspects of Jewish life “in all its variety and complexity.” The 2,400-page encyclopedia, which draws on the latest scholarship and research, also includes 1,200 images and fifty-five useful maps. Also available in an online version.

    Find this resource:

  • Kazenelson, J. L., Simon Dubnow, David Günzburg, and Albert Harkavy, eds. Evreiskaia entsiklopediia: Svod znanii o evreistvie i ego kul’ture v proshlom i nastoiashchem. 16 vols. Moscow: Terra, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most comprehensive prerevolutionary encyclopedia on the history of the Jews in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia, first published in 1906–1913. Offers entries on biblical and historical personalities (including contemporary Russian-Jewish public figures), religious philosophy, history, holidays, geographic areas (provinces and towns in the Russian Empire), institutions, and much more. The articles include bibliographies, and the final volume has an index to all the other volumes.

    Find this resource:

  • Oren, Y., and M. I. Zand. Kratkaia evreiskaia entsiklopediia. 11 vols. Jerusalem: Keter, 1976–1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First Russian-language encyclopedia to follow the publication of Brokgauz and Efron’s Evreiskaia entsiklopediia. First written for Jews in the Soviet Union, it includes basic terms and key concepts as well as entries on Jewish history and civilization. An electronic version of the encyclopedia is available online and is continually being updated.

    Find this resource:

Historiography

Russian-Jewish historiography has focused primarily on the works of Simon Dubnow, whose foundational histories of the Jews of Poland and Russia have shaped generations of scholarship. Dubnow 1958 (see Autonomism [Diaspora Nationalism], Yiddishism, and Folkist Ideologies) and Groberg and Greenbaum 1998 elucidate his cornerstone concept of the successive centers of hegemony, while Frankel 1991 examines his notion of the triadic process of Jewish history. Hilbrenner 2003 analyzes Dubnow’s scholarship as a sign of opposition to the tsarist state, and Veidlinger 2004 proposes that the nationalist ideologies that shaped his scholarship were influenced by the works of Russian intellectuals. In contrast to all these works, Feiner 2002 challenges the view that Dubnow’s histories ushered in a new phase of modern historical writing in Russia. Feiner argues instead that the writing of history began with the Haskalah writers. Nathans 1999 also broadens the discussion in his sophisticated analysis of the archetypal, juridical, nationalist, and Marxist paradigms of Russian Jewish historiography by including other historians such as Iulii Gessen, Il’ia Orshansky, and others. Bartal 1994 offers a completely new perspective in its analysis of Orthodox historiography by writers such as Yaakov Halevi Lipschitz and Joseph Isaac Schneersohn (see Orthodox Politics). Stanislawski 2002 provides an overview of scholarship on Russian Jewish history from Dubnow to today.

  • Bartal, Israel. “‘True Knowledge and Wisdom’: On Orthodox Historiography.” Studies in Contemporary Jewry 10 (1994): 178–192.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the development of Orthodox historiography in tsarist Russia, with special attention to Yaakov Halevi Lipschitz and his history of the Jews in Poland and Russia (Zikhron Yaakov) and the works of Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn. Argues that this historiography emerged as a response to the radical changes wrought by modernity in the Jewish world.

    Find this resource:

  • Feiner, Shmuel. Haskalah and History: The Emergence of a Modern Jewish Historical Consciousness. Translated by Chaya Naor and Sondra Silverton. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Challenges the predominant view that the maskilim were antihistoricist and that only with the emergence of Dubnow’s histories did a modern Russian-Jewish historical consciousness emerge that linked the Jews to their past. Documents the historical writings of the maskilim from 18th-century Berlin to 19th-century Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Frankel, Jonathan. “S. M. Dubnov, Historian and Ideologist.” In The Life and Work of S. M. Dubnov: Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish History. By Sophie Dubnova-Erlich, 1–29. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces Dubnow’s development of a triadic process of Jewish history: the negation of tradition; the triumph of assimilationism, which in turn is negated; and the ascendancy of Jewish nationalism.

    Find this resource:

  • Groberg, Kristi, and Avraham Greenbaum, eds. A Missionary for History: Essays in Honor of Simon Dubnov. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of articles on Simon Dubnow as a father, intellectual, and scholar. Segment on historiography addresses Dubnow’s treatment of general Jewish history, the image of medieval autonomy, and other historical themes.

    Find this resource:

  • Hilbrenner, Anke. “Simon Dubnov’s Master Narrative and the Construction of a Jewish Collective Memory in the Russian Empire.” Ab Imperio 4 (2003): 143–164.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Dubnow’s writing of history differed from the scholarship of the Wissenschaft des Judentums. Written from the cultural margins, his works did not represent a “bourgeois enterprise.” Rather than a sign of elitism (as in the West), Dubnow’s intellectual work implied opposition to the regime in the Russian tradition of the intelligentsia.

    Find this resource:

  • Nathans, Benjamin. “On Russian-Jewish Historiography.” In The Historiography of Imperial Russia: The Profession and Writing of History in a Multinational State. Edited by Thomas Sanders, 397–432. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the development of historical inquiry in Russia from the 1860s to the 1920s. The author analyzes the “archetypal, juridical, nationalist, and Marxist” paradigms (p. 398) of Russian Jewish historiography.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. “Eastern European Jewry in the Modern Period: 1750–1939.” In The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies. Edited by Martin Goodman, 396–411. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers an overview of Eastern European Jewish scholarship from the earliest works of Simon Dubnow to today.

    Find this resource:

  • Veidlinger, Jeffrey. “Simon Dubnow Recontextualized: The Sociological Conception of Jewish History and the Russian Intellectual Legacy.” Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook 3 (2004): 411–427.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Posits that Dubnow’s historical national theories were influenced by the Russian intellectual legacy, especially the writings of Petr Lavrov on the role of individual intellectuals on the moral development of nations, Konstantin Aksakov on the separation of territorial sovereignty and spiritual development, and Vladimir Soloviev on the compatibility of nationalism and a universal ethos.

    Find this resource:

Anthologies of Primary Sources

The opening of the Soviet archives has given access to Jewish materials that were previously unavailable. Collections of documents include Anderson 2010 on the Bund, Antropova 2004 on prerevolutionary Jewish life in the Urals, Khiterer 1999 on the Jews of Kiev Province, and Ulitskii 2006 on the Jews of Moscow. Collections of Jewish memoirs and writings include Dawidowicz 1996, Etkes and Tikochinski 2004, and Cohen and Feiner 2006.

  • Anderson, K. M., ed. Bund: Dokumenty i materialy, 1894–1921. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of documents of the Bund (General Jewish Labor Bund) such as notifications about congresses and conferences, minutes, letters and articles by Bundist leaders, propaganda literature, materials on the participation of the Bund in the All-Party congresses and conferences, and reports to the congresses of the Second Communist International.

    Find this resource:

  • Antropova, I. E. Sbornik dokumentov po istorii evreev Urala: Iz fondov uchrezhdenii dosovetskogo perioda Gosudarstvennogo arkhiva Sverdlovskoi oblasti. Edited by M. Beizer and D. I. Raskin. Moscow: Drevlekhranilishche, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of documents on prerevolutionary Jewish history in the Urals that focuses on residency rights, regulations on professions and businesses, Jews in the revolutionary movement, participation in Russian social life, anti-Semitism, conversion to Christianity and return to Judaism, and letters and autobiographies.

    Find this resource:

  • Cohen, Tova, and Shmuel Feiner, eds. Kol ’almah ’ivriyah: Kitve nashim maskilot ba-me’ah ha-tesha-esreh. Tel Aviv: Hot’sa’at ha-Kibuts ha-Me’uhad, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of writings by enlightened women (Heb. maskilot) comprised of their private letters, essays and letters published in newspapers, and belles lettres. Features well-known women such as Miriam Markel-Mosessohn and Rachel Morpurgo, as well as more obscure writers such as Malkah Katz.

    Find this resource:

  • Dawidowicz, Lucy S., ed. The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life and Thought in Eastern Europe. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A reprint of a classic anthology of autobiographies, memoirs, and letters (translated from Hebrew and Yiddish) of some sixty historical figures. The writings reflect different Jewish responses to modernity. First published in 1967.

    Find this resource:

  • Etkes, Immanuel, and Shlomo Tikochinski, eds. Yeshivot Lita: Pirke zikhronot. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Memoirs of students who attended the Lithuanian yeshivot of Volozhin, Telz, Mir, Lida, Slobodka, and Novaredok. Memoirs address the image of each yeshiva and its head from the perspective of the students; introduction to the Haskalah; student revolts in Volozhin and Telz; and details about personalities, curriculum, culture, and everyday life.

    Find this resource:

  • Khiterer, Viktoriia. Dokumenty sobrannye evreiskoi istoriko-arkheograficheskoi komissiei vseukrainskoi akademii nauk. Kiev, Ukraine: Instytut Iudaiki, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Excerpts from archival documents collected by the Jewish Historical Archaeographical Commission on the history of the Jews and other documents in the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine, Kiev. Documents focus on religious life, censorship of Jewish books, education, Jewish-state relations, anti-Semitism, Zionism, the assassination of Petr Stolypin, and the pre-pogrom situation in Kiev and more.

    Find this resource:

  • Ulitskii, E. N. Istoriia Moskovskoi evreiskoi obshchiny: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow: Olimp, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    History of the Jewish community in Moscow divided into four parts: a survey of the history of the Jews in Moscow, archival documents on Jewish settlement and religious and educational institutions, orders and decrees of the imperial administration (including the police), and transcripts of the testimony of Rabbi Iakov Maze in the Beilis trial (1913).

    Find this resource:

Memoirs and Autobiographies

There are numerous memoirs and autobiographies depicting Jewish life in the Russian Empire. Scholars tend to utilize this genre of writing in different ways: some works, such as Baskin 2004, Magnus 2004, and Schwarz 2005 (see Scholarly Studies of Autobiographies), accept these texts as accurate reflections of their social realities, while others, like Mintz 1989, Moseley 2006, and Stanislawski 2004 (see Scholarly Studies of Autobiographies) question this approach. They attempt to examine the constructedness of these writings.

Scholarly Studies of Autobiographies

Due to the predominance of maskilic autobiographies in Eastern European literature and their compelling narratives, studies tend to focus on these texts. Mintz 1989 offers an analysis of the interaction between apostasy narratives and maskilic autobiographies. Similarly, Schwarz 2005 explores the connection between fiction and autobiography. Stanislawski 2004 and Moseley 2006 suggest new ways to read memoirs, not as ethnographic accounts of social realities but as constructed texts that reveal much more about the enterprise of writing the self and self-fashioning. Baskin 2004 and Magnus 2004 offer new insights on the role of women who wrote memoirs and the gendered concerns of their works.

  • Baskin, Judith R. “Piety and Female Aspiration in the Memoirs of Pauline Epstein Wengeroff and Bella Rosenfeld Chagall.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 7 (June 2004): 65–96.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores female piety and practices in the childhood home as depicted in the memoirs of Pauline Wengeroff and Bella Chagall. Posits that these two women sought “to recapture their piety and innocence through their writings” (p. 65).

    Find this resource:

  • Magnus, Shulamit. “Kol Ishah: Women and Pauline Wengeroff’s Writing of an Age.” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues 7 (June 2004): 28–64.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents Pauline Wengeroff’s memoirs as a reflection of a “culture in the process of dissolution” and a “society in transition” (p. 29).

    Find this resource:

  • Mintz, Alan. “Banished from Their Father’s Table”: Loss of Faith and Hebrew Autobiography. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines four major Hebrew writers (Moshe Leib Lilienblum, Mordecai Feierberg, Micah Yosef Bedichevsky, and Yosef Haim Brenner) and their loss of faith in God and traditional beliefs as they encountered the modern world. Explores the intersection between their “apostasy narratives” and the autobiographic form in their writings.

    Find this resource:

  • Moseley, Marcus. Being for Myself Alone: Origins of Jewish Autobiography. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Groundbreaking monograph that proposes “literary and historical explanatory paradigms” (promotional copy) for the emergence of Jewish autobiographies in different contexts and places. Includes an analysis of several key Eastern European Jewish autobiographies, including those of Moshe Leib Lilienblum, Mordechai Aaron Gintzburg, and Micah Yosef Berdichevsky.

    Find this resource:

  • Schwarz, Jan. Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the interaction between autobiography and fiction. Argues that Yiddish autobiography developed in opposition to the Rousseauian model; instead of a focus on the individual, the Yiddish autobiographer is more interested in the collective. “The Yiddish autobiographer tells the story of his life as embedded in the broader context of a community and culture lost to the forces of assimilation, emigration, war and the Holocaust” (p. 6).

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Criticizes the tendency of Jewish historians to accept the historicity of autobiographies at face value. Analyzes a range of autobiographies—including Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam in Russia—to understand the process of self-fashioning. Argues that “any achieved identity always contains within itself the signs of its own subversion” (p. 14) such as selective memories and the substitution of truths.

    Find this resource:

Primary Sources

Memoirs and autobiographies by Jews in the Russian Empire are plentiful. Selections of texts written in Yiddish and Hebrew can be found in Dawidowicz 1996 (cited under Anthologies of Primary Sources). Recent publications include Dubnow 2004 and Dubnova-Erlich 2005 on Dubnow’s historical works, politics, and family life. Kotik 2002 offers an intimate glimpse into the conflicts between Hasidism and mitnagdism through the author’s family narrative as well as insights into the rise of the Haskalah movement. Shapiro 2002 also reconstructs Hasidic spiritual, family, and court life, while Kel’ner 2000 contains narratives of the Haskalah movement and acculturation. Rakovsky 2002 reflects on Jewish involvement in political and social movements from a gendered perspective, while Wengeroff 2000 and Wengeroff 2010 trace the impact of modernization on Jewish women and family in Russia.

  • Dubnova-Erlich, Sophie. Bread and Matzoth. Translated by Alan Shaw. Tenafly, NJ: Hermitage, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation of Khleb i matsa (published in 1995). Sophia Dubnova-Erlich describes her participation in literary, social, and political life in Russia and Poland from 1890 to 1939. Provides insight on revolutionary years, prominent Jewish and Russian cultural figures, hybrid identities, and literary trends. Interesting work in its own right and also as a window into the life of her father, Simon Dubnow, and husband, Henryk Erlich.

    Find this resource:

  • Dubnow, Simon. Kniga zhizni: Materialy dlia istorii moego vremeni; Vospominaniia i razmushleniia. Moscow: Mosty Kul’tury, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Memoirs of Simon Dubnow (b. 1860–d. 1941) based on his diaries. Portrait of revolutionary Jewish life and prominent political and cultural figures and a description of the author’s activities in Odessa, Vilna, and Saint Petersburg. First two sections focus on Dubnow’s life in Russia; the third is devoted to Russian-Jewish immigration to Germany, where Dubnow found himself in 1922. Introduction, notes, and commentary by Viktor Kel’ner.

    Find this resource:

  • Kel’ner, Viktor Efimovich, ed. Evrei v Rossii XIX vek: Rossia v memuarakh. Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reprints of three important memoirs: Avraham Paperna’s Iz Nikolaevskoi epokhi, Avraam Kovner’s Iz zapisok evreia, and Genrikh Sliozberg’s Dela minuvshikh dnei.

    Find this resource:

  • Kotik, Yekhezkel. Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik. Edited by David Assaf. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yekhezkel Kotik (b. 1847–d. 1921) reconstructs life in his native town of Kamenets—his family history, the social hierarchies in the Jewish community, religious conflicts, social types, and Jewish-Polish relations culminating in the Polish Uprisings of 1863. The last part of the book turns to Kotik’s own life history as a maskil and activist.

    Find this resource:

  • Rakovsky, Puah. My Life as a Radical Jewish Woman: Memoirs of a Zionist Feminist in Poland. Edited by Paula E. Hyman. Translated by Barbara Harshav. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Autobiography of Puah Rakovsky (b. 1865–d. 1955) of a Polish-Jewish woman who was a pioneer in the spheres of girls’ education, Zionism, and feminism (especially with the creation of a national Jewish women’s organization in the 1920s). Focuses on her childhood, marriage, education, and political and social activities until her immigration to Palestine in 1935.

    Find this resource:

  • Shapiro, Malkah. The Rebbe’s Daughter: Memoir of a Hasidic Childhood. Translated by Nehemia Polen. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rare coming-of-age memoir set around 1905 by the daughter of Yerachmiel Hopstajn, the notable rebbe of Kozhnitz. Reflections on her physical and spiritual maturity, family relations and the domestic sphere, and the culture of a prewar Hasidic court. Details about holiday preparations, Hasidic worship, hosting visitors from Palestine, and domestic culture through a young girl’s eyes.

    Find this resource:

  • Wengeroff, Pauline. Rememberings: The World of a Russian-Jewish Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Translated Henny Wenkart. Edited by Bernard D. Cooperman. Bethesda: University Press of Maryland, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Memoirs of Pauline Wengeroff (b. 1833–d. 1916) offer a woman’s perspective on the transformation of Russian Jewish society from the 1840s to 1890s. Focuses on the family and religious life, the Haskalah, culture, acculturation and assimilation, and other issues of the day.

    Find this resource:

  • Wengeroff, Pauline. Memoirs of a Grandmother: Scenes from the Cultural History of the Jews of Russia in the Nineteenth Century. Vol. 1. Translated by Shulamit S. Magnus. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rare glimpse into the disintegration of traditional Jewish culture and family life during the reign of Nicholas I and the intrusion of modernity into Jewish life from a woman’s perspective. Extensive notes and commentary.

    Find this resource:

Biographies

Biographies of Jewish public figures not only provide intimate portraits of individuals but also illuminate their broader surroundings, culture, and history. Two studies that shed light on anthropology and ethnography are Kan 2009 on Lev Shternberg and Safran 2010 on Shloyme-Zanvil Rapoport (S. An-sky). Stanislawski 1988 focuses on the maskil Judah Leib Gordon and the world of the Haskalah, while Govrin 1988 examines the writer Devorah Baron. Two biographies of prominent Russian-Jewish historians are Eliasberg 2005 on Sergei Lazarovich Tsinberg and Gessen 2004 on Iulii Gessen. Goldshtain 1999 offers an intimate portrait of the Zionist activist Menahem Ussishkin and his activities.

  • Eliasberg, Galina. Odin iz prezhnego Peterburga: S. L. Tsinberg—Istorik evreiskoi literatury, kritik i publitsist. Moscow: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Gumanitarnyi Universitet, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the life of Sergei Lazarovich Tsinberg (b. 1873–d. 1939), a historian of Jewish literature and publicist. He was best known for his Istoriia evreiskoi pechati v Rossii v sviazi s obshchestvennymi techeniiami (1915).

    Find this resource:

  • Gessen, V. I. Istorik Iulii Gessen i ego blizkie. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A history of the life, works, and family of the historian Iulii Isidorovich Gessen (b. 1871–d. 1939), the prolific author of some 190 publications on the history of the Jews in Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldshtain, Yosi. Usishkin: Biyografyah. Vol. 1, Ha-Tekufah ha-rusit, 1863–1919. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First volume of a biography on Menahem Ussishkin (b. 1863–d. 1941) and his early Zionist career and activities in Russia until his migration to Palestine in 1919. Ussishkin led the Odessa Committee, which sought to create a mass movement but met with obstacles including government restrictions and opposition from traditional Jewish leaders. A “practical Zionist,” he opposed Ahad Ha’am’s cultural Zionism and Chaim Weizmann’s political Zionism.

    Find this resource:

  • Govrin, Nurith. Ha-mahatsit ha-rishonah: Devorah Baron—hayehah vi-yetsiratah, 648–683. Jerusalem: Mosad Byalik, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First section focuses on the early biography of Devorah Baron’s life—her childhood in a rabbinic household in Lithuania; her youth in Minsk, Kovno, and Vilna; immigration to Palestine; marriage; and exile from Palestine during World War I. The second section is devoted to her early stories, which Govrin argues shed light on Baron’s early development as a writer.

    Find this resource:

  • Kan, Sergei. Lev Shternberg: Anthropologist, Russian Socialist, Jewish Activist. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Intellectual biography of Lev Shternberg and his contribution to the development of professional anthropology in late Imperial Russia and the early Soviet period.

    Find this resource:

  • Safran, Gabriella. Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. An-sky. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Biography of Shloyme-Zanvil Rapoport (b. 1863–d. 1920), better known as S. An-sky, who expressed his multiple identities—Jewish, Russian, and European—in his cultural productions and political activities. Explores his roles as a radical revolutionary, modernist, romantic, “savior of his people and its artifacts” (p. 355), and other aspects of his complex personality and times.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. For Whom Do I Toil? Judah Leib Gordon and the Crisis of Russian Jewry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses the life and works of Judah Leib Gordon as a prism to understand the program of the Haskalah for emancipation and the construction of a modern Jewish identity. As an educator, publicist, and communal activist, Gordon aimed to rouse Russian Jewry out of their backward stupor. He promoted moderate reform and some form of synthesis of “Western humanism blended with Jewish dignity” (p. 5).

    Find this resource:

Histories by Period

Russian-Jewish history generally follows the periodization employed in general Russian history, which divides the imperial period into several periods: the era of Enlightenment and imperial expansion of Catherine II, the pre-reform period of Alexander I and Nicholas, the Great Reform era of Alexander II and counterreform of Alexander III, and revolutionary Russia under Nicholas II.

The Era of Enlightenment and Imperial Expansion, 1772–1801

Pipes 1975 revises Dubnow’s depiction of the judeophobic Russian state (see Historiography) by arguing that Catherine II’s policies of tolerance toward her new Jewish subjects after the partitions of Poland were remarkably enlightened. Discriminatory policies were directed not only toward Jews but to all poll-tax-paying subjects. Klier 1986 similarly posits that state policies were not intentionally judeophobic but rather incoherent and inconsistent, especially due to the weakness of the state in the western provinces. Anishchenko 1998 and Fel’dman 2005 provide new perspectives about the relationship between the Jews and their neighbors based on archival materials. They also offer solid archival evidence for arguments already articulated by Klier 1986.

  • Anishchenko, E. K. Cherta osedlosti: Belarusskaia sinagoga v tsarstvovanie Ekateriny II. Minsk, Belarus: Arti-Feks, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the consolidation of the Pale of Settlement and its impact on the Jews. Despite the author’s lack of access to Western scholarship, he makes extensive use of archival sources from Belorussia and Lithuania and provides data and new details about local conditions, especially about the competition between Jews and the gentry in the liquor trade, the state’s empowerment of the oligarchic kahals, and urban politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Fel’dman, D. Z. Stranitsy istorii evreev Rossii XVIII–XIX vekov: Opyt arkhivnogo issledovaniia. Moscow: Drevlekhranilishche, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the legal status of Jews and tsarist policies in the Russian Empire based on the documents in the Russian State Archives of Medieval Russia (RGADA). Includes a broad narrative of the Jews in Russia from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Describes specific archival files in RGADA on the Pale of Settlement and Jewish social groups such as merchants, manufacturers, and farmers.

    Find this resource:

  • Klier, John Doyle. Russia Gathers Her Jews: The Origins of the “Jewish Question” in Russia, 1772–1825. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1986.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Following the partitions of Poland, the imperial administration aimed to transform Jews into productive and “harmless” subjects through reforms based on European Enlightenment models. Given its weak presence in the periphery and Jewish resistance, the state’s policies were inconsistent and incoherent from 1772 to 1825. Translation into Russian (Rossiia sobiraet svoikh evreev: Proiskhozhdenie evreiskogo voprosa v Rossii, 1772–1825, 2000) includes new archival findings.

    Find this resource:

  • Pipes, Richard. “Catherine II and the Jews: The Origins of the Pale of Settlement.” Soviet Jewish Affairs 5 (1975): 3–20.

    DOI: 10.1080/13501677508577216Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Earliest revisionist work on Russian-Jewish history. Argues that Catherine II’s policies toward the Jews were remarkably enlightened for the time and “in some respects Russia indeed pioneered the emancipation of the Jews” (p. 4). Jews were placed on equal footing with other religious confessions in the empire and were not singled out for discrimination but suffered the legal disabilities of any poll-tax-paying population.

    Find this resource:

Pre-Reform Russia: 1801–1855

In contrast to traditional historiography, which portrayed the Jewish policies of Alexander I as ineffective and of Nicholas I as draconian, new studies argue that these administrations laid the ground for the Great Reforms under Alexander II. Avrutin 2010 shows how the state increasingly sought to incorporate the Jews as subjects of the polity through elaborate documentation and record keeping, while Petrovsky-Shtern 2009 explores the impact of military conscription. Stanislawski 1983 analyzes the role of compulsory Enlightenment as a method of integration. Stanislawski argues that the Haskalah movement, which was relatively small in terms of numbers, was successful largely due to the support of the state.

  • Avrutin, Eugene M. Jews and the Imperial State: Identification Politics in Tsarist Russia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how the Russian state incorporated Jews as subjects of the polity through elaborate documentation and record keeping, which created greater “legibility” and regulation. The state also imposed modern dress on Jews to diminish their physical peculiarities. As Jews came under greater surveillance of the state, they devised ways to negotiate, evade, and protest laws that they perceived to be contradictory and unfair.

    Find this resource:

  • Petrovsky-Shtern, Yohanan. Jews in the Russian Army, 1827–1917: Drafted into Modernity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Revises the traditional view that the conscription decree of 1827 represented the most anti-Jewish policy. Argues instead that the military experience turned Jewish men into Russia’s first modern Jews—individuals who spoke Russian, dressed in non-Jewish clothing, and lived in non-Jewish communities after their service. Maintains that there were fewer coerced conversions than previously assumed, and Jews were able to observe Judaism in the army.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia, 1825–1855. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1983.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contends that reforms under Tsar Nicholas I, viewed by traditional historians as excessively draconian, laid the groundwork for the momentous changes under Alexander II. Policies such as conscription and compulsive Enlightenment eroded the authority of traditional communal leaders. Government policies and support transformed the Haskalah into an ideology and movement and created new educational and economic opportunities, as well as a new intelligentsia.

    Find this resource:

From Reform to Revolution: 1855–1917

By the end of the Nikolaevan era, two key notions—utility and reclassification—emerged as distinct policies that would shape plans for the Great Reforms, including transformations in Jewish status and rights. Nathans 2002 explores the state’s new policy of selective integration, which allowed useful categories to leave the Pale of Settlement and reside in the Russian interior. State concessions, however, unintentionally unleashed dangerous expectations and ambitions for more radical change, especially among disadvantaged social groups such as the peasants and ethnic minorities such as the Poles. Dolbilov 2010 argues that in the northwest provinces, where the Polish-Russian rivalry was especially intense, the state wavered between religious tolerance and discrimination against the Jews. It sought to Russify Jews to create loyal subjects. Klier 1995 also examines the policy of Russification and factors that led the state to withdraw its promise of greater integration and the outbreak of anti-Jewish violence. Hoffman and Mendelsohn 2008 examines the Revolution of 1905, which was largely a response to the failures of the Great Reforms. The authors show how the revolution opened up new venues for the development of Jewish culture. Gatrell 1999 and Lohr 2001 analyze how World War I interrupted the course of events, which led to the destruction, displacement, and dismantling of the Pale of Settlement.

  • Dolbilov, Mikhail. Russkii krai, chuzhaia vera: Etnokofessional’naia politika imperii v Litve i Belorussii pri Aleksandre II. Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the “dialectical” imperial policy of religious tolerance and discrimination against Jews. Central and local authorities differed on the most effective course of reform to transform the Jews into loyal subjects. The religious identity of Jews remained a central focus of reformers, who desired to prevent the strengthening of a “distinct and autonomous Jewish nationality in Russia” by promoting integrated education and radical Russification.

    Find this resource:

  • Gatrell, Peter. A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War I. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First significant treatment of the refugee crisis in Russia during the Great War. Explores the rupture and destruction generated by total war and the harsh treatment of “suspect” groups, including Jews, Poles, Latvians, and Armenians, and their deportation from zones of conflict. Many Russians dealt face-to-face with national minorities for the first time as they flooded the Russian interior.

    Find this resource:

  • Hoffman, Stefani, and Ezra Mendelsohn, eds. The Revolution of 1905 and Russia’s Jews. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Rather than viewing the Revolution of 1905 as a “dress rehearsal” for the Revolution of 1917, the authors treat it as an event in its own right, as “a crucible for ideas and practices that would shape Jewish life in Europe and beyond” (p. 1). Explores new bourgeois forms of communal and civic institutions, cultural projects, transformed relations with Russian and Polish society, and Jewish legal status.

    Find this resource:

  • Klier, John Doyle. Imperial Russia’s Jewish Question, 1855–1881. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers a thorough analysis of the transformation of the “Jewish question” and attitudes toward the Jews in public discourse during the Great Reform period. Argues that the optimism of the 1850s, based on the belief that Jews could be reformed through policies of Russification, gave way to hostile attitudes on the part of the Russian intelligentsia and the state.

    Find this resource:

  • Lohr, Eric. “The Russian Army and the Jews: Mass Deportations, Hostages, and Violence during World War I.” Russian Review 60.3 (July 2001): 404–419.

    DOI: 10.1111/0036-0341.00177Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The army was responsible for the violent Jewish policies of mass deportation, internment, and hostage taking during World War I. Local civilian officials opposed actions but were subject to the authority of the military. Division of the population into reliable and unreliable subjects legitimized a framework for anti-Jewish violence. Argues that Russia’s failure to “embrace a liberal form of civil or national belonging” (p. 405) led to violence and discrimination.

    Find this resource:

  • Nathans, Benjamin. Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the state’s experiment of “selective integration,” whereby it allowed “useful” categories of Jews (such as first-guild merchants, retired soldiers, university students, and skilled artisans) to settle beyond the Pale of Settlement. Examines demographics and urbanization, the melting pot of the universities, and the entrance of Jews into the legal profession in Saint Petersburg to understand the processes of social integration in late Imperial Russia.

    Find this resource:

Urban and Local Histories

Broad histories of the Jews in the Russian Empire have the tendency to overlook local conditions and developments in order to present the big picture. Urban and regional histories provide nuances to the general narratives and demonstrate the importance of place in Jewish history.

Congress Poland (Kingdom of Poland), 1815–1914

Eisenbach 1991 and Bacon 1992 examine Jewish reforms instituted in Congress Poland, which aimed to transform Jews into model subjects worthy of emancipation. Guesnet 1998 shows that these reforms included dismantling the infrastructures of Jewish autonomy and a ban on Jewish associations, including the powerful burial societies; reformers also expected Jews to study the Polish language in the new school system (see Education in State and Private Institutions). Garncarska-Kadary 1985, Guesnet 1997, and Corrsin 1989 offer detailed studies on the economic and social spheres of Jewish life in Congress Poland. These Polish lands later turned into hotbeds of discontent and nationalism, erupting in rebellion against tsarist rule in 1830–1831 and 1863–1865. Weeks 2006 analyzes the rise of anti-Semitism in the aftermath of these revolts.

  • Bacon, Gershom. “La société juive dans le royaume de la Pologne du Congrés, 1860–1914.” In La sociéte juive à travers l’histoire. Vol. 1. Edited by Shmuel Trigano, 623–664. Paris: Fayard, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the characteristics of Jewish society in Congress Poland from 1860 to 1914.

    Find this resource:

  • Corrsin, Stephen D. Warsaw before the First World War: Poles and Jews in the Third City of the Russian Empire, 1880–1914. Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that the main result of the rapid economic, demographic, and urban changes in Warsaw between 1880 and 1914 was “conflict rather than accommodation” (p. 108) in Polish-Jewish relations. Examines the nature of Russian rule in Warsaw, the urban population, employment patterns, press, the elections to the Russian State Duma, and the Jewish question from 1906 to 1912.

    Find this resource:

  • Eisenbach, Artur. The Emancipation of the Jews in Poland, 1780–1870. Edited by Antony Polonsky. Translated by Janina Dorosz. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the status of the Jews following the partitions of Poland into the Grand Duchy of Posen, Galicia, the Russian Pale of Settlement, and Congress Poland. Chronicles the process of emancipation of the Jews in 1862 and its aftermath, especially the rise of anti-Semitism.

    Find this resource:

  • Garncarska-Kadary, Bina. Helkam shel ha-yehudim be-hitpathut ha-ta’asiyah shel Varshah ba-shanim 1816/20–1914. Tel Aviv: Ha-Makhon le-Heker ha-Tefutsot, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of the role of Jews in the development of industry in Poland from 1816 to 1914 and the condition of workshops and factories for Jewish workers.

    Find this resource:

  • Guesnet, François. Lodzer Juden im 19. Jahrhundert: Ihr Ort in einer multikulturellen Stadtgesellschaft. Leipzig: Simon-Dubnow-Institut für Jüdische Geschichte und Kultur, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of the Jews of Lodz and their position in a multicultural urban setting during the 19th century.

    Find this resource:

  • Guesnet, François. Polnische Juden im 19. Jahrhundert: Lebensbedingungen, Rechtsnormen und Organisation im Wandel. Cologne: Böhlau, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the daily living conditions, legal norms, and self-organization of the Jews in the Kingdom of Poland during the 19th century.

    Find this resource:

  • Weeks, Theodore R. From Assimilation to Antisemitism: The Jewish Question in Poland, 1850–1914. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the transformation of Polish-Jewish relations through the Polish press. Traces the development from “liberal invitation to assimilation” in the 1850s and 1860s to racial anti-Semitism in subsequent years.

    Find this resource:

The Pale of Settlement and Beyond

The shtetl, or market town in the Pale of Settlement, has been the focus of several studies, including Estraikh and Krutikov 2000, Katz 2007, and Nadav 2008. Others have focused on Jewish life outside the Pale of Settlement, such as Beizer 1989 on Saint Petersburg, Burmistrov 2003 on Moscow, Meir 2010 on Kiev, and Polishchuk 2002 on Odessa. Staliūnas 2004 examines the state policies and politics in Lithuanian provinces.

  • Beizer, Mikhail. The Jews of St. Petersburg: Excursions through a Noble Past. Edited by Martin Gilbert. Translated by Michael Sherbourne. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first part provides a walking tour of historic Saint Petersburg, including its canals, squares, Jewish cemetery, and other sites. The second part focuses on illustrious Jews who lived in Saint Petersburg and visitors. The third section offers a comprehensive listing of prerevolutionary Jewish periodicals, collections, encyclopedias, book publishers, depositories, shops, societies, religious organizations, educational institutions, museums, theaters, clubs, libraries, Jewish restaurants, and shops.

    Find this resource:

  • Burmistrov, K. Iu., ed. Moskva evreiskaia. Moscow: Dom Evreiskoi Knigi, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of articles by contemporary scholars and a reprint of works by classical historians on the history of the Jews in Moscow. Addresses issues of Jewish status; residency; demography; cultural, political, and religious life; social classes; the rabbinate; and economic activities. Also offers selections of memoirs about Moscow by Osip Rabinovich, Lev Kliachko, Ivan Belousov, and Aleksei Saladin.

    Find this resource:

  • Estraikh, Gennady, and Mikhail Krutikov, eds. The Shtetl: Image and Reality; Papers of the Second Mendel Friedman International Conference on Yiddish. Oxford: Legenda, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of papers on the shtetlekh, the market towns at the heart of Eastern European Jewish culture and life. Addresses the definition of the shtetl (as an “imagined community” and historical place), its architectural structures, and its literary and artistic representations.

    Find this resource:

  • Katz, Steven T., ed. The Shtetl: New Evaluations. New York: New York University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of articles that seeks to “readdress the gross generalizations and romanticized nostalgia” (from the Introduction) that have shaped the image of the shtetl. Scholars address various myths and aspects of the shtetl from historical, cultural, and literary perspectives. Arnold Band points out that the “shtetl” has become a “shorthand way of referring to the life of Jews in Eastern Europe in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” (from the Introduction).

    Find this resource:

  • Meir, Natan M. Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859–1914. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores Kiev as a Jewish metropolis where Jewish merchants and professionals developed modern forms of entrepreneurship, culture, and religious life starting from the official readmission of Jews into the city in 1859 to World War I. It examines Jewish communal politics, social and demographic transitions, economics, and relationships with non-Jews in Kiev.

    Find this resource:

  • Nadav, Mordechai. The Jews of Pinsk, 1506–1880. Edited by Mark Jay Mirsky and Moshe Rosman. Translated by Moshe Rosman and Faigie Tropper. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation of the first volume of a two-volume study of Pinsk, which was originally “part of a literature created by Jews who survived the Holocaust” (promotional copy). Includes material on religious and economic life, the Haskalah movement, Jewish institutions, politics, and the impact of modernity on the Jewish community of Pinsk.

    Find this resource:

  • Polishchuk, Mikhail. Evrei Odessy i Novorossii: Sotsial’no-politicheskaia istoriia evreev odessy i drugikh gorodov v Novorossii, 1881–1904. Moscow: Mosty Kul’tury, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Regional history of the Jews in the towns of what is now southern Ukraine (Novorossia) from the end of the 18th century to the 1870s.

    Find this resource:

  • Staliūnas, Darius. “Changes in the Political Situation and the ‘Jewish Question’ in the Lithuanian Gubernias of the Russian Empire, 1855–April 1863.” In The Vanished World of Lithuanian Jews. Edited by Alvydas Nikžentaitis, Stefan Schreiner, and Darius Staliūnas, 21–44. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the attitude of local authorities in the Vilna Province (including the cities of Vilna, Kovno, Grodno, and Minsk) toward the Jewish question during the period leading up to the Polish revolts of 1863–1864. In particular, the author focuses on the personality and policies of the governor-general of Vilna and the discrepancies between his position on Jewish issues and that of the central authorities.

    Find this resource:

Religion

Scholarly studies of Judaism in Imperial Russia have focused on the three dominant religious traditions in the Russian Empire: Hasidism, mitnagdism, and Musar. These works note the geographical strongholds of each group and their social and theological views. According to Assaf 2002 (cited under Hasidism), the Hasidim were concentrated in the southwest and a few northern provinces of Russia (parts of modern-day Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus). They traced their origins to a spiritual movement that emerged in a religious climate permeated with mysticism, magic, and heightened messianic expectation in 18th-century Poland. As the Hasidim began to make inroads into Byelorussia, their opponents (Heb. mitnagdim) mobilized a ruthless campaign against them. Etkes 2002, Etkes 1991, and Nadler 1997 (all cited under Mitnagdism and Musar) argue that by the early 19th century, what had begun as an oppositionist movement turned into a cultural movement in its own right. At the core of mitnagdic life was the reinvigoration of Torah studies and the cultivation of the fear of God. The tendency to focus exclusively on Torah study while neglecting the cultivation of ethics and morality in the sphere of human relations prompted Rabbi Israel Lipkin of Salant (b. 1750–d. 1831) to found the Musar movement, the subject of Etkes 1993, Fishman 1989, and Katz 1996 (all cited under Mitnagdism and Musar). The scholarship has also focused on the challenges to traditional Jewish religious life such as the Haskalah, or Enlightenment, movement, conversion to Christianity, and growing secularization of Jews—the subjects of Avrutin 2006, Freeze 2005, Stanislawski 1987, and Zipperstein 1987 (all cited under Religious Conversion).

Hasidism

Assaf 2002 and Dynner 2006 argue that Hasidism was more than a religious theology; it was a vibrant social movement. Its courts relied on the patronage of the mercantile elites and social networks. Assaf 2002, Green 1979, and Lur’e 2006 illustrate the diverse cultural worlds of the Hasidic courts. In terms of gender, Deutsch 2003 and Rapoport-Albert 1988 raise important questions about the status of women and the possibilities for women in leadership roles. Mahler 1985 and Wodziński 2005 examine the relationship between Hasidism and the Haskalah movement.

  • Assaf, David. The Regal Way: The Life and Times of Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin. Translated by David Louvish. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translated from Hebrew (Derekh hamalkhut: R. Yisra’el me-Ruzin u-mekomo betoledot ha-hasidut, 1997). Study of Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin sheds light on the development of Hasidism in the 19th century. Reveals how Hasidism functioned as a social movement, especially the central role of the tsaddik, the lifestyle of Ruzhin court, the significance of family genealogy, and the struggle against the Haskalah movement.

    Find this resource:

  • Deutsch, Nathaniel. The Maiden of Ludmir: A Jewish Holy Woman and Her World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the life of Hannah Rochel Verbermacher through the lens of history and memory. Traces the “imaginings” of her: traditions from Eastern Europe and Palestine framed her within the models of female leadership, including the long chain of women pneumatics, prayer leaders, exorcists, and professional mourners—making her less threatening to male power. She was the only female rebbe and reportedly had widespread influence.

    Find this resource:

  • Dynner, Glenn. Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hasidic courts relied not only on theological persuasion but also on pragmatic sociopolitical strategies to recruit new followers and maintain its influence on far-flung communities. Their success depended in part on the patronage of the mercantile elites with whom they created marriage alliances.

    Find this resource:

  • Green, Arthur. Tormented Master: A Life of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1979.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic biography that explores the spiritual and psychological struggles of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (b. 1772–d. 1810). Analyzes his quest for spiritual purification, mysticism, conviction of his messianic status, responses to the failures of these fantasies, and the role of the Hasidic tales as an outlet for his longings for redemption.

    Find this resource:

  • Lur’e, Il’ia. Edah u-medinah: Hasidut habad ba-imperyah ha-Rusit, 588–643. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    History of the Chabad movement from its beginnings in 1828 to 1888. Focuses on the development of the early court in the town of Lubavitch with special attention on communal politics and economics. Also examines Chabad’s relationship to secular authorities and Jewish communal leaders and experiences of crisis in the late 19th century.

    Find this resource:

  • Mahler, Raphael. Hasidism and the Jewish Enlightenment: Their Confrontation in Galicia and Poland in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century. Translated by Eugene Orenstein, Aaron Klein, and Jenny Machlowitz Klein. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation of Mahler’s major study of the relationship between Hasidism and the Jewish Enlightenment (first published in 1942). The first half addresses the situation in Galicia, especially the state policies toward the two groups and the works of Yosef Perl. The second half is devoted to the policies of the Polish authorities and the different schools of Hasidism in Poland, especially the interaction between opposing groups.

    Find this resource:

  • Rapoport-Albert, Ada. “On Women in Hasidism: S. A. Horodecky and the Maid of Ludomir Tradition.” In Jewish History: Essays in Honour of Chimen Abramsky. Edited by Ada Rapoport-Albert and Steven J. Zipperstein, 495–528. London: Halban, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Refutes the claim that Jewish woman were granted complete equality in Hasidism. Argues instead that Hasidism did little to ameliorate women’s status. Focuses on the “Maid of Ludmir,” who embraced an ascetic lifestyle and became a female leader (Deutsch 2003). Her activities met with strong opposition, and the Hasidic community forced her to marry; after two unconsummated marriages, the Maid’s reputation declined, and she died in obscurity in Ottoman Palestine.

    Find this resource:

  • Wodziński, Marcin. Haskalah and Hasidism in the Kingdom of Poland: A History of Conflict. Translated by Sarah Cozens and Agnieszka Mirowska. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces maskilic attitudes toward Hasidism in the Kingdom of Poland. In the 1840s, the Hasidim represented competitors for power in communal institutions and then obstacles to cultural modernization. In the 1860s, the maskilim recognized some “positive” aspects of Hasidism (devotion to education) but eschewed reactionary elements. In the post-1860s period, modernizers developed nostalgia for Hasidism as an authentic and uncorrupted source of Jewishness.

    Find this resource:

Mitnagdism and Musar

Etkes 2002 and Nadler 1997 examine the early stages of mitnagdism—its theology and key personalities—while Etkes 1991 and Shapiro 1999 shed light on the social life and culture of the scholarly elites. A discussion of the development, theology, and personalities of the Musar movement can be found in Etkes 1993, Fishman 1989, and Katz 1996.

  • Etkes, Immanuel. Lita bi-Yerushalayim: Ha-’ilit ha-lamdanit be-Lita u-khehilat ha-perushim bi-Yerushalayim le-or igrot u-khetavim shel R. Shemu’el mi-Kelm. Jerusalem: Yad Yitshak ben Tsevi, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Investigates the history and culture of the scholarly elite in Lithuania through the correspondence of Rabbi Shmuel ben Jacob of Kelme (b. 1797). Includes the letters of Rabbi Shmuel to his son Arieh Leib Frumkin with advice about family life and guidance in Torah study at a time when the latter lived in his in-laws’ home, a period known as kest.

    Find this resource:

  • Etkes, Immanuel. Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement: Seeking the Torah of Truth. Translated by Jonathan Chipman. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examine the life and thought of Rabbi Israel Salanter and his religious movement of Musar. To address what he perceived to be a gap between punctilious piety and the neglect of basic human decency, R. Salanter emphasized the importance of ethical education (Musar). Argues that his psychological approach (concepts of the conscious and unconscious mind) to ethical education reflected the impact of Enlightenment ideas.

    Find this resource:

  • Etkes, Immanuel. The Gaon of Vilna: The Man and His Image. Translated by Jeffrey M. Green. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the myths of the Gaon of Vilna as an iconic figure of learning and piety which developed after his death. Argues that hagiographies reflected the needs of their authors rather than the real historical figure. Elucidates the central role of the Gaon in the conflicts between the mitnagdim and Hasidim, refuting the view that he was manipulated by communal leaders to combat the Hasidim’s influence.

    Find this resource:

  • Fishman, David. “The Musar Movement in Interwar Poland.” In The Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. Edited by Yisrael Gutman, Ezra Mendelsohn, Jehuda Reinharz, and Chone Shmeruk, 247–271. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First part offers a history of the Novaredok Yeshiva, its basic features, and its institutions from the late 1880s to World War I.

    Find this resource:

  • Katz, Dov. Tenu’at ha-musar: Toldoteha, isheha, ve-shitoteha. Rev. ed. 5 vols. Jerusalem: Feldhaim, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reprint of a classic overview of the history, personalities, and doctrines of the Musar movement first published in 1952–1957.

    Find this resource:

  • Nadler, Allan. The Faith of the Mithnagdim: Rabbinic Responses to Hasidic Rapture. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that mitnagdic doctrines differed profoundly from Hasidic theology. Focuses on writings of Rabbi Phinehas of Polotsk, a late-18th-century Lithuanian rabbi and preacher. He rejected the elevation of prayer in Hasidim and advocated conventional study, prayer, and rituals. Despite his reverence for Kabbalah, he was pessimistic about the ability of ordinary humans to achieve cleavage to God (Heb. devekut).

    Find this resource:

  • Shapiro, Marc B. Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy: The Life and Works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, 1884–1966. London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Biography of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, best known as the head of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary in the 1930s. First part of the book explores his education and life in Lithuania as a rabbinic scholar, a disciple of the Musar leader Rabbi Nossen Zvi Finkl, and crown rabbi in Pilvishki from 1906 to 1913.

    Find this resource:

Religious Conversion

Stanislawski 1987, Endelman 1997, and Freeze 2005 analyze different motives for conversion and gendered narratives of religious transformation. The impact of state policies on conversion are addressed by Avrutin 2006 and Klier 2001, while Assaf 2010 and Zipperstein 1987 offer accounts of converts who provoked great controversies in their communities.

  • Assaf, David. Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidism. Translated by Dena Ordan. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Among the little-known episodes of Hasidic history is the story of the conversion to Christianity of Moshe, the son of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady, in 1820. In chapter 2 (“Apostate or Saint: In the Footsteps of Moshe, the Son of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady”), Assaf analyzes the different narratives about the conversion alongside archival materials.

    Find this resource:

  • Avrutin, Eugene M. “Returning to Judaism after the 1905 Law on Religious Freedom in Tsarist Russia.” Slavic Review 65.1 (2006): 90–110.

    DOI: 10.2307/4148524Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the impact of the Law on the Freedom of Religious Freedom (17 April 1905), which allowed converts to return to their native religion. Liberalization of religious freedoms destabilized traditional social and religious identities. The state continued to employ categories such as social estates and religious confessions to classify subjects of the empire but increasingly used ethnicity to document identities, gradually supplanting the latter two categories.

    Find this resource:

  • Endelman, Todd M. “Jewish Converts in Nineteenth-Century Warsaw: A Quantitative Analysis.” Jewish Social Studies, n.s., 4.1 (1997): 28–59.

    DOI: 10.2979/JSS.1997.4.1.28Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Quantitative analysis of data taken from “antisemitic-inspired historical research” (p. 31) by Teodor Jeske Choiński, who compiled information about Jewish converts in Warsaw between 1800 and 1903. Based on these data, the author analyzes the profile of individuals who converted before and after the emancipation of Jews in Poland.

    Find this resource:

  • Freeze, ChaeRan. “When Chava Left Home: Gender, Conversion, and the Jewish Family in Tsarist Russia.” Polin 18 (2005):153–188.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the gendered narratives and experiences of Jewish converts to Christianity. Conversion was not merely a matter of legal advantage or destitution but involved quotidian questions of marriage and family, especially in the absence of civil marriage in Russia. Family bonds did not disappear after baptism but became more fraught as converts, their Jewish families, the Christian churches, and the Russian state sought to define identities.

    Find this resource:

  • Klier, John D. “State Policies and the Conversion of Jews in Imperial Russia.” In Of Religion and Empire: Missions, Conversion, and Tolerance in Tsarist Russia. Edited by Robert P. Geraci and Michael Khodarkovsky, 98–114. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although Jews were inclined to see the state’s conversionary zeal and religious intolerance behind every law, Klier argues that there was no consistent policy of conversion directed at the Jews. By the end of the 19th century, Russian bureaucrats and the Russian Orthodox Church were wary about the conversion of large numbers of Jews, especially those who were motivated to escape legal disabilities.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. “Jewish Apostasy in Russia: A Tentative Typology.” In Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World. Edited by Todd M. Endelman, 189–205. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on archival documents of Russian Orthodox consistory in Vilna, the author proposes a tentative typology of Jewish converts in Russia, who fell into two major categories: involuntary and voluntary.

    Find this resource:

  • Zipperstein, Steven J. “Heresy, Apostasy, and the Transformation of Joseph Rabinovich.” In Jewish Apostasy in the Modern World. Edited by Todd M. Endelman, 206–231. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the life of Joseph Rabinovich, a maskil-turned-convert in Odessa who espoused a form of early “messianic Judaism.” He rejected the binding nature of the Talmud, retained certain Jewish rituals, and maintained the oneness of God, denying the Trinity. He did not advocate the assimilation of Jews into general society but took for granted the separation of ethnic nationalities in Russia.

    Find this resource:

Haskalah

In the decades following the emergence of the Jewish Enlightenment in Berlin and Galicia, a small coterie of enlightened Jews (Heb. maskilim) emerged in the Russian Empire, eager to engage with the works of their predecessors but also to pursue their own creative impulses and political concerns. The early scholarship cast the Haskalah movement as the vanguard of modernization—a thesis that has been reformulated with greater nuances in recent scholarship. Etkes 1993, Fishman 1995, Sinkoff 2004, and Stanislawski 1988 address how the maskilim sought to introduce modern knowledge, sensibilities, and lifestyles without undermining the foundations of traditional Judaism. Similarly, Feiner 1993 argues that the anxieties which the maskilim expressed about women reflected their fundamental ambivalence about modernity. Litvak 2006 traces the maskilim’s attitudes toward modernity—from their eager anticipation of emancipation in the 1840s to their wariness about the prospect of emancipation for the individual at the expense of the collective during the Great Reforms and beyond. In contrast to studies that focus on the literary production of the Haskalah, Zalkin 2000 examines the Haskalah as a social movement that replicated elite structures and divisions in traditional Jewish society even as it critiqued these very hierarchies (see Education in State and Private Institutions). Zipperstein 1985 similarly examines the Haskalah within the framework of the interrelationship between culture and society in Odessa prior to the pogroms of 1881–1882.

  • Etkes, Immanuel, ed. Ha-dat veha-hayim: Tenu’at ha-haskalah ha-Yehudit be-mizrah Eropah. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays on the history of the Haskalah in different geographic regions, polemical works against the Hasidim in Galicia, relations with the state rabbinical seminaries, different stages of the Haskalah, and the lives of key maskilic figures.

    Find this resource:

  • Feiner, Shmuel. “Ha-’ishah ha-yehudit ha-modernit: Mikreh-mivhan be-yahasei ha-haskalah ve-ha-modernah.” Tsiyon 58 (1993): 453–499.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the complex attitudes of the maskilim toward women to highlight their fundamental ambivalence toward modernity. Though some maskilim decried the oppression of women and their ignorance, they did not welcome women into their ranks. They retained their fondness for tradition, especially notions of sexual modesty, and were uncomfortable with ideas about women’s equality.

    Find this resource:

  • Fishman, David E. Russia’s First Modern Jews: The Jews of Shklov. New York: New York University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shklov underwent the process of modernization before other Russian towns due to its importance as a trading center of goods and ideas between Russia and the West, its strong Jewish commercial class, and the patronage of Count Zorich, who supported the nascent maskilim. Examines Rabbi Barukh Schick of Shklov and Naftali Shulman, representatives of the early Haskalah in Russia, who promoted the study of secular subjects.

    Find this resource:

  • Litvak, Olga. Conscription and the Search for Modern Russian Jewry. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The maskilim employed the “iconic recruit” to critique modernity. In the pre-reform era, the recruit eagerly anticipated emancipation. Partial emancipation and the state’s retreat from institutional support of the Haskalah led writers of the Hebrew renaissance to become wary of the emancipation of the individual at the expense of the collective. The recruit stories assumed a modernist, apocalyptic tone in the late 19th century.

    Find this resource:

  • Sinkoff, Nancy. Out of the Shtetl: Making Jews Modern in the Polish Borderlands. Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the development of a moderate Haskalah, which sought to create a “modern Jewish life that harmonized European culture with traditional Judaism” (p. 48). Focuses primarily on the maskil Mendel Lefin of Podolia and his most eminent disciple, Yosef Perl, both of whom not only appropriated some ideas from the Berlin Haskalah but also shaped their own program based on their own priorities and experiences, especially their conflicts with Hasidism.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. For Whom Do I Toil? Judah Leib Gordon and the Crisis of Russian Jewry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the life of the poet Judah Leib Gordon, who sought to modernize Jewish life through moderate educational and religious reforms, without undermining the foundations of tradition. He became disillusioned in his hopes for Jewish emancipation following the pogroms of the 1880s but rejected emigration or socialism. Gordon still believed that there could be a perfect synthesis of modernism and tradition.

    Find this resource:

  • Zalkin, Mordechai. Ba’alot ha-shahar: Ha-haskalah ha-yehudit ba-Imperyah ha-Rusit ba-me’ah ha-tesha esreh. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Casts the Haskalah as a social movement, moving away from its representation as a primarily literary movement. Seeks to understand how the Haskalah, especially its new values and sensibilities, impacted the “ordinary person.” Argues that Jewish enlighteners replicated the elite structures and divisions within traditional Jewish society in terms of marriage and family, local and regional loyalties, and relations with the state.

    Find this resource:

  • Zipperstein, Steven J. The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794–1881. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the “interrelationship between culture and society” (p. 6) in Odessa prior to the pogroms of 1881–1882. Distinguishes the southern experience by discussing the historical development of the Odessa Jewish community and its institutions, urban paradigms, cultural projects, and confrontation with anti-Semitism, especially the pogrom of 1871.

    Find this resource:

Print and Censorship

Agranovskii 1993 and Kel’ner 2003 describe the history of Jewish publishing in tsarist Russia, while Orbach 1980 and Slutsky 1970 analyze the development of the Jewish periodical press. In contrast to traditional scholarship, Eliashevich 1999 argues that even under the harshest regimes, censorship was not successful in repressing Jewish knowledge and creativity. Stein 2004 and Soffer 2007 portray newspapers as a site of a vibrant print culture and venue for modernizing its readers.

  • Agranovskii, G. Stanovlenie evreiskogo knigopechataniia v Litve. Moscow: Evreiskii Universitet v Moskve, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author, a curator at the Lithuanian State Jewish Museum, narrates the history of Jewish publishing in Lithuania during two periods: from the end of the 18th century to 1836 and from 1837 to 1862.

    Find this resource:

  • Eliashevich, D. A. Pravitel’stvennaia politika i evreiskaia pechat’ v Rossii, 1797–1917: Ocherki istorii tsenzury. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Mosty Kul’tury, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the history of government censorship of Jewish books and periodicals in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian in Imperial Russia. Analyzes the government offices that engaged in censorship, the personnel, and their activities. Argues that censorship was an important venue through which the state gained information about Jewish communities; although strict during certain periods, censorship was not successful in repressing Jewish knowledge and creativity.

    Find this resource:

  • Kel’ner, Viktor Efimovich. Ocherki po istorii russko-evreiskogo knizhnogo dela: Vo vtoroi polovine XIX–nachale XX v. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Rossiiskaia Natsional’naia Biblioteka, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of articles on the history of Jewish publishing in Russia—the publishers, authors, series, periodicals, and books—in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries.

    Find this resource:

  • Orbach, Alexander. New Voices of Russian Jewry: A Study of the Russian-Jewish Press of Odessa in the Era of the Great Reforms, 1860–1871. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on the Jewish periodical press in Odessa in the mid-19th century. Examines the maskilic agenda of these periodicals (desire for internal economic and cultural reforms and quest for political emancipation) as well as their depiction of Jewish and Russian life. Sheds light on a newly emergent, secular Jewish intelligentsia and their political and cultural visions for Russian Jewry.

    Find this resource:

  • Slutsky, Yehuda. Ha-’itonut ha-yehudit-rusit ba-me’ah ha-tesha esreh. Jerusalem: Mosad Byalik, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the development of the Russian-Jewish press from its origins in the 1860s with the emergence of Rassvet (Dawn) by Osip Rabinovich in Odessa. Examines the readership, places where the journals and newspapers were published, censorship, and the editors who influenced the political agenda and cultural contents of each publication.

    Find this resource:

  • Soffer, Oren. En le-falpel! ’Iton “ha-Tsefirah” veha-modernizatsyah shel ha-siah ha-hevrati ha-politi. Jerusalem: Mosad Byalik, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the first “Polish” Hebrew newspaper, Ha-Tsefirah, which engaged with the issue of equal rights for Jews and aimed to disseminate scientific, literary, and artistic knowledge among the Jews. Portrays the Jewish press as an important vehicle for modernization, especially its strategic use of modern statistics and other scientific tools of political discourse to combat anti-Semitic claims.

    Find this resource:

  • Stein, Sarah Abrevaya. Making Jews Modern: The Yiddish and Ladino Press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comparative study of the Ladino and Yiddish press in the Russian and Ottoman Empires, which both served multiethnic, multiconfessional populations. Examines how the Jewish press in Russia “made Jews modern” through the creation of a newspaper culture that promoted new sensibilities and ideas about politics, culture, and identity. Advertisements catered to a new Yiddish consumer culture, cognizant of the public’s commercial and aesthetic needs.

    Find this resource:

Hebrew Literature

Werses 2001 demonstrates that Hebrew literature had its origins in Eastern Europe in the anti-Hasidic satires composed by Galician maskilim but found its primary home in Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Before they could describe the modern Jewish experience, however, Alter 1988 argues, writers first needed to transform an ancient language into a modern idiom. Hebrew writers employed a variety of genres including the novel, which Patterson 1999 argues “mirrored the social and cultural traditions of their world.” Mintz 1989 also examines how the maskilim employed the autobiographical genre to express their loss of faith in God and the traditional world as they encountered the modern world (see Scholarly Studies of Autobiographies). Balin 2000, Cohen 2002, and Zierler 2004 examine Hebrew women writers who experienced anxiety in their employment of the holy tongue to write secular literature due to the gender division of language in Eastern Europe (see also Education in State and Private Institutions). Schachter 2011 employs the concept of diaspora and modernism to understand the works of “migrant” Hebrew and Yiddish writers in the late imperial period, while Pinsker 2011 offers a new perspective on the encounter of Jewish literature with modernism.

  • Alter, Robert. The Invention of Hebrew Prose: Modern Fiction and Language of Realism. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how Jewish writers of the Haskalah transformed Hebrew from the language of the Scriptures into one that could be employed to describe the modern experience, especially in the absence of a Hebrew vernacular. Focuses on the writers who participated in the “Europeanization” of the Hebrew language and its transformation into a modern idiom, the challenges that they confronted, and their development of modern fiction.

    Find this resource:

  • Balin, Carole B. To Reveal Our Hearts: Jewish Women Writers in Tsarist Russia. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a composite biography of five female writers who participated in the elite republic of letters, including two Hebrew writers (Miriam Markel-Mosessohn and Hava Shapiro). Argues that the exceptional aspirations of these women put them at odds with traditional norms, leading to domestic conflicts and even divorce. Obstacles to their writing included self-doubts and male criticism of their ability to write in Hebrew.

    Find this resource:

  • Cohen, Tovah. Ha’ahat ahuvah veha’ahat senu’ah: Ben metsi’ut le-vidyon be-te’ure ha’ishah be-sifrut ha-haskalah. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Major study of the images of women in the Haskalah literature in Hebrew and, to a lesser extent, Yiddish. In this feminist reading of Haskalah fiction and poetry, Cohen links the positive and negative female tropes to the broader social attitudes of the Haskalah.

    Find this resource:

  • Patterson, David. The Hebrew Novel in Czarist Russia: A Portrait of Jewish Life in the Nineteenth Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reissue of Patterson’s volume, first published in 1964. Examines the development of the Hebrew novel by Haskalah writers such as Smolenskin, Abramovich, Braudes, Rabinowitz, and others. Argues that the novel “served as a catalyst for the half-felt longings and groping ambitions of a questing generation” (p. 238) and mirrored the social and cultural traditions of their world.

    Find this resource:

  • Pinsker, Shachar M. Literary Passports: The Making of Modernist Hebrew Fiction in Europe. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Revisionist study that seeks to free modern Hebrew literature from the Zionist-nationalist narrative and examines it in the context of broader modernist framework. Argues that modern Hebrew literature was shaped by a highly charged encounter of traditionally educated Jews with the revolution of European literature and culture known as modernism.

    Find this resource:

  • Schachter, Allison. Diasporic Modernisms: Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812639.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comparative study of Hebrew and Yiddish literature from the 1890s to the 1970s. Employs the concept of diaspora and modernism to understand the relationship between “migrant writers and diaspora readers” (p. 8) and the reflections of writers such as S. Y. Abramovich, Chaim Brenner, and others on the historical condition of Jewish language culture.

    Find this resource:

  • Werses, Samuel. “Ha-kitsah ami”: Sifrut ha-haskalah be-’idan ha-modernizatsyah. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the development of Hebrew literature of the Haskalah in the 18th and 19th centuries in Eastern Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Zierler, Wendy I. And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women’s Writing. Detroit: Wayne State University, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Employs feminist theories and methods to provide a close reading of women’s writing in Hebrew, including prose and poetry by Sarah Feige Meinkin Foner, Hava Shapiro, Nechama Pukhachevsky, Devorah Baron, Rachel Morpurgo, Yokheved Bat-Miriam, and others.

    Find this resource:

Yiddish Literature

Miron 1996 argues that Yiddish writers preferred to write in Hebrew but begrudgingly wrote in Yiddish to ameliorate the condition of the masses. Quint 2005 refutes this standard argument and contends instead that there were two discrete beginnings for the development of modern Yiddish literature: the traditions of “refined, ‘highbrow’ Yiddish literature” (p. 64) and lowbrow literature. Frieden 1995 and Wisse 1991 focus on literary aesthetics and rhetorical methods, while Roskies 1995 analyzes Yiddish storytelling. Works written during the critical years of the late imperial period are the subject of Krutikov 2001 on modernity and crisis, Nowersztern 2003 on apocalypse and messianism, and Litvak 2009 on the impact of the Revolution of 1905.

  • Frieden, Ken. Classic Yiddish Fiction: Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and Peretz. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illustrates how literary aesthetics and rhetorical methods shaped modern Yiddish literature. Points out the essential differences between Abramovich and his persona Mendele the Book Peddler and shows how Abramovich moved from social critic to satiric novelist. Argues that Sholem Aleichem employed the conventions of European romance but subverted them to create “satire rather than seduction” (p. 141). Examines I. L. Peretz as a modernist and romantic.

    Find this resource:

  • Krutikov, Mikhail. Yiddish Fiction and the Crisis of Modernity, 1905–1914. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the responses of Yiddish writers to the crisis of modernity, which they experienced as “a series of incursions and threats to traditional Jewish life” (promotional copy) as well as the rapidly changing urban environment.

    Find this resource:

  • Litvak, Olga. “Khave and Her Sisters: Sholem-aleichem and the Lost Girls of 1905.” Jewish Social Studies 15.3 (Spring/Summer 2009): 1–38.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Close readings of Sholem Aleichem’s “Khave” (the fourth story in the Tevye cycle) and The Flood (Der mabl). Argues that Sholem Aleichem’s identification with the rebellious female protagonists Khave and Tamara “signified the writer’s profound alienation from the Jewish political narrative of pogrom violence and his embrace of a deliberately provocative secular aesthetic” (p. 1). The events of 1905 are key to the development of Sholem Aleichem’s literary persona.

    Find this resource:

  • Miron, Dan. A Traveler Disguised: The Rise of Modern Yiddish Fiction in the Nineteenth Century. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that choosing Yiddish as a literary medium was not a natural choice by Jewish writers who preferred to write in Hebrew. Writers saw it as both a language through which they could introduce modern ideas to the masses and a denigrated medium for literary production. Contends that S. Y. Abramovich created the persona of Mendele the Book Peddler to address these two conflicting concerns. First published in 1973.

    Find this resource:

  • Nowersztern, Abraham. Kesem ha-dimdumim: Apokalipsah u-meshihiyut be-sifrut Yidish. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the themes of apocalypse and messianism in Yiddish literature through a close reading of works by I. L. Peretz, Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, and others. Argues that apocalyptic and messianic literature allowed Jewish writers to force their readers to see the common in strange and unfamiliar ways without necessarily placing the writer in the position of a “prophet” confronting the people.

    Find this resource:

  • Quint, Alyssa. “‘Yiddish Literature for the Masses’? A Reconsideration of Who Read What in Jewish Eastern Europe.” AJS Review 29 (2005): 61–89.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0364009405000036Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Challenges conventional wisdom that Jewish writers begrudgingly wrote in Yiddish to ameliorate the condition of the masses. Argues instead for two discrete beginnings for the development of modern Yiddish literature: a tradition of “refined, ‘highbrow’ Yiddish literature” (p. 64) in the first three-quarters of the 19th century and a tradition of lowbrow literature in the early 1880s. Analyzes the Yiddish readership, writers, and publishing houses.

    Find this resource:

  • Roskies, David G. A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the narrative art of Yiddish storytelling by Jewish writers. Shows how they employed a deceptively simple folk narrative to express rebellion, loss, new moral sensibilities, and aesthetics. This “creative betrayal” salvaged “forms of the culture assumed to be traditional” (p. 5) by nontraditional audiences, but they were imagined and re-created in the process of storytelling.

    Find this resource:

  • Wisse, Ruth R. I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture. Seattle: University of Washington, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the life and works of I. L. Peretz and his instrumental role in the creation of a national Yiddish culture in the absence of Jewish political sovereignty. Argues that Peretz’s creation was ultimately an inadequate substitute for national sovereignty, and that it could not save the Jews, for “the schoolchildren of Vilna and all of Poland were murdered with the words of Peretz on their lips.”

    Find this resource:

Yiddish Language and Culture

Seidman 1997 examines Yiddish and Hebrew within a framework of gendered bilingualism, while Harshav 1990 employs semiotics to understand Yiddish language and culture. Fishman 2005, Berkowitz 2003, Moss 2009, and Nathans and Safran 2007 contribute to the understanding of Yiddish as a medium of culture and Trachtenberg 2008 as a revolutionary discourse. Garrett 2003 explores how Yiddish writers employed the travel motif to express their relationship to modernization.

  • Berkowitz, Joel, ed. Yiddish Theatre: New Approaches. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of scholarly essays on the history of the Yiddish theater, especially within the larger Eastern European context; its dramatic and musical repertoire; public reception; role of state censorship; and culture of the theater.

    Find this resource:

  • Fishman, David E. The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yiddish was a medium of culture for the majority of Jews in Eastern Europe, embedded in every aspect of life. Yiddish culture included not only poetry and prose but also “all forms of writing including political and philosophical discourse, journalism, and scholarship” and the infrastructures that sustained them (the press, publishing houses, and libraries). The Revolution of 1905 ushered in a new era in which Yiddish culture flourished.

    Find this resource:

  • Garrett, Leah V. Journeys beyond the Pale: Yiddish Travel Writing in the Modern World. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how writers such as S. Y. Abramovich, Der Nister, and Sholem Aleichem employed the travel motif to express their complex relationship with modernization.

    Find this resource:

  • Harshav, Benjamin. The Meaning of Yiddish. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book is divided into two parts: the first focuses on the development of the Yiddish language, and the second is devoted to literature in history, especially as it relates to ideology and poetics. Contributes to an understanding of semiotics and Yiddish.

    Find this resource:

  • Moss, Kenneth B. Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores parallel developments in Hebraist and Yiddishist culture between 1917 and 1919. Argues that Jewish literati, visual artists, and composers viewed culture as “the essential site of national reconstruction” but also as a devotion to “art, aesthetic experience, and the cultivation of individuality” as “ends in themselves” (p. 5). They sought to represent themselves and other Jews “not only as a modern nation but as a nation of moderns” (promotional copy).

    Find this resource:

  • Nathans, Benjamin, and Gabriella Safran, eds. Culture Front: Representing Jews in Eastern Europe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays that explore Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. Volume is divided into four segments: violence and civility, mirrors of popular culture, politics and aesthetics, and memory projects.

    Find this resource:

  • Seidman, Naomi. A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the impact of gendered bilingualism on Eastern European literary culture. S. Y. Abramovich transformed Hebrew into a more flexible, modern literary language and infused Yiddish with allusions of Hebrew as he moved from one language to the other. Baron’s Yiddish stories were sexually more radical and intimate than her Hebrew works. Ends with the divorce of the languages with the rise of Zionism and Yiddish socialism.

    Find this resource:

  • Trachtenberg, Barry. The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903–1917. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how Yiddish was transformed from a disparaged language to a respectable medium of modern scientific, literary, and political discourse and writings. Focuses on three key figures who were responsible for this transformation: literary critic Shmuel Niger, Marxist-Zionist Ber Borochov, and linguist Nokhem Shtif.

    Find this resource:

Russian Literature and Culture

Shrayer 2007 is the most comprehensive anthology of Jewish literature written in Russian. Lapidus 2003 examines the influence of Russian literature on Hebrew literature, while other works such as Rosenshield 2008, Livak 2010, Katz 2008, Vaiskopf 2007, and Zelenina 2005 analyze how Russian writers employed “the Jew” (whether real, imagined, or a trope) and Jewish themes in their writings. Ivanova 2005 examines polemics about Jews between Russian and Jewish writers.

  • Ivanova, E. Chukovskii i Zhabotinskii: Istoriia vzaimootnoshenii v tekstakh i kommentariiakh. Moscow: Mosty Kul’tury, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Offers insights into the long-term dispute between the Russian writer Kornei Chukovskii (b. 1882–d. 1940) and the Zionist ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky (b. 1880–d. 1949), who never met in person. Their correspondence and polemics about the Jews in Russian literature also included other writers such as Vassili Rozanov and Nadezhda L. Teffi. The author provides extensive analysis and comments on these polemics.

    Find this resource:

  • Katz, Elena M. Neither with Them, Nor without Them: The Russian Writer and the Jew in the Age of Realism. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes how three Russian writers—Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Ivan Turgenev—created an ambiguous “Jewishness as Otherness.”

    Find this resource:

  • Lapidus, Rina. Between Snow and Desert Heat: Russian Influences on Hebrew Literature, 1870–1970. Translated by Jonathan Chipman. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Hebrew writers borrowed literary tropes, images, and motifs from Russian literature.

    Find this resource:

  • Livak, Leonid. The Jewish Persona in the European Imagination: A Case of Russian Literature. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Posits that the concept of the Jew in European literature did not stem from real Jews but was based on the notion of Jews as “Christianity’s paradigmatic Other” (p. 18). Close readings of Russian writers such as Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov, Babel, and others to demonstrate that they based their Jews on “Christian exegetical anti-Judaism.”

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenshield, Gary. The Ridiculous Jews: The Exploitation and Transformation of a Stereotype in Gogol, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the use of the ethnic stereotype of “the ridiculous Jews” (p. 96) by three prominent 19th-century Russian writers. Purpose is not to “expose the Jewish stereotype” but to reveal the use of the stereotype for different literary and cultural purposes. Argues that the stereotype became so “well-integrated and extensively exploited” (p. 3) that it became disruptive and “problematizing—even undermining—the assumptions and values it was supposed to prove” (p. 3).

    Find this resource:

  • Shrayer, Maxim D., ed. An Anthology of Jewish-Russian Literature: Two Centuries of Dual Identity in Prose and Poetry. 2 vols. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive anthology of works by more than 130 Jewish-Russian writers from the imperial period to the present. Includes a short literary biography of each writer and translated selections that shed light on Jewish history, identity, and culture, as well as a historical essay by John Klier.

    Find this resource:

  • Vaiskopf, Mikhail. Pokryvalo Moiseia: Evreiskaia tema v epokhu romantizma. Moscow: Mosty Kul’tury, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of Jewish themes in Russian literature in the age of romanticism.

    Find this resource:

  • Zelenina, G. S., ed. Evrei i zhidy v russkoi klassike. Moscow: Mosty Kul’tury, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This anthology of fiction includes the writings of Russian writers on Jews and Jewish culture, including Andrei Belyi, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vladimir Korolenko, and many others.

    Find this resource:

Visual and Material Culture and Music

Recent scholarship such as Loeffler 2010 and Glants 2010 has turned to music and art as the prisms through which to examine the Russian-Jewish experience and identity. Other works on visual and material culture include Dymshits and Kel’ner 2004 on questions of art and culture; Dymshits and Kel’ner 2002, Iukhneva 2003, and Likhodedov 2007 on postcards; and Goberman 2000 on tombstones. Solov’eva 2008 presents Jewish photographs from the imperial period collected by the Russian ethnographic museum (see Folklore and Ethnography).

  • Dymshits, V. A., and Viktor Efimovich Kel’ner, eds. Evreiskii mir v pochtovykh otkrytkakh: Zay gezunt un shrayb otkritkes! 2d ed. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Mart, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of postcards that depict Jewish life in Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Dymshits, V. A., and Viktor Efimovich Kel’ner, eds. Evreiskii muzei: Sbornik statei. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Simpozium, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays on Jewish material culture and art by scholars from the Center for Jewish Studies at Saint Petersburg.

    Find this resource:

  • Glants, Musya. Where Is My Home? The Art and Life of the Russian Jewish Sculptor Mark Antokolsky, 1843–1902. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mark Antokolskii was one of the first artists of Jewish origin to attend the Academy of Art in Saint Petersburg. Explores his life and works, especially the struggles with his dual identity as a Russian Jew.

    Find this resource:

  • Goberman, David. Carved Memories: Heritage in Stone from the Russian Jewish Pale. New York: Rizzoli, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents images of the carved Jewish tombstones in the old shtetlekh of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and the Baltic states. Introduction by Robert Pinsky and essay by Gershon Hundert.

    Find this resource:

  • Iukhneva, N. V. Evrei v Peterburge. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Satis, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    During the Great Reform period, the state’s policy of selective integration permitted certain categories of Jews to leave the Pale of Settlement and settle in the Russian interior. By 1910, some 35,000 Jews had settled in Saint Petersburg. This album of postcards from the collection of Nikolai Shmitt-Fogelevich provides glimpses of Jewish life and culture in the capital.

    Find this resource:

  • Likhodedov, Vladimir. Sinagogi: Evreiskaia zhizn’. Minsk, Belarus: Riftur, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of photographs and postcards of Jewish synagogues dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Find this resource:

  • Loeffler, James Benjamin. The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of Jewish musicians and music in late Imperial Russia. Focuses on the life and career of Anton Rubinstein, the creation of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory (where Jews comprised at least 50 percent of the student body in 1913); the works of Joel Engel, who accompanied An-sky and Yudovin on their ethnographic expedition; and the impact of anti-Semitism and historical changes on Jewish musicians.

    Find this resource:

  • Solov’eva, Karina, comp. Evrei v tsarskoi Rossii: Katalog vystavki fotografii iz sobraniia Rossiiskogo etnograficheskogo muzeia. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Rossiiskii Etnograficheskii Muzei, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Catalogue of an exhibition of photographs of Jews in tsarist Russia collected by the Russian ethnographic museum.

    Find this resource:

Folklore and Ethnography

There has been a recent surge in publications on the study of folkloristics and ethnography in general Russian history, which is also reflected in Jewish studies such as Rabinovitch 2005 and Veidlinger 2003. In particular, the focus has been on Shloyme-Zanvil Rapoport (An-sky). Publications have included Safran and Zipperstein 2006 on An-sky’s life and works; Avrutin, et al. 2009 on the photographs taken during his expeditions to the Pale of Settlement; An-sky 2003 on An-sky’s account of the experiences of Jews during World War I; and Deutsch 2011 on his massive ethnographic questionnaire.

  • An-sky, S. The Enemy at His Pleasure: A Journey through the Jewish Pale of Settlement during World War I: S. An-sky. Edited and translated by Joachim Neugroschel. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Diary-like account of S. An-sky, who documented the experiences of Jews on the frontlines, especially their encounters with anti-Semitism, during his travels through the Pale of Settlement during World War I.

    Find this resource:

  • Avrutin, Eugene M., Valerii Dymshits, Alexander Ivanov, Alexander Lvov, Harriet Murav, and Alla Sokolova, eds. Photographing the Jewish Nation: Pictures from S. An-sky’s Ethnographic Expeditions. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critical introduction and five chapters accompany 170 photographs taken by Solomon Iudovin, who accompanied S. An-sky during his ethnographic expeditions between 1912 and 1914. Documents work, education, family life, and religious and cultural traditions.

    Find this resource:

  • Deutsch, Nathaniel. The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674062641Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First complete translation with annotation of a massive ethnographic questionnaire, consisting of 2,087 questions about Jewish life and culture in the Pale of Settlement, compiled by S. An-sky. Between 1912 and 1914, An-sky collected not only answers to this questionnaire but also photographs, songs, jokes, and artifacts. An-sky’s project was interrupted by World War I, which dismantled the Pale of Settlement.

    Find this resource:

  • Rabinovitch, Simon. “Positivism, Populism, and Politics: The Intellectual Foundations of Jewish Ethnography in Late Imperial Russia.” Ab Imperio 3 (2005): 227–256.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes emergence and development of folkloristics and ethnography between 1881 and the commencement of World War I. Argues that secular Jews who were disappointed by the failures of integration turned to folklore and ethnography as tools for cultural revival, preservation of Jewish culture, and the fostering of Jewish national consciousness.

    Find this resource:

  • Safran, Gabriella, and Steven J. Zipperstein, eds. The Worlds of S. An-sky: A Russian-Jewish Intellectual at the Turn of the Century. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sixteen articles based on the proceedings of a conference that scrutinize the works and life of S. An-sky. Includes an intellectual biography, analysis of An-sky’s literature, the stage history of The Dybbuk, the impact of his ethnographic expedition, and a new translation of the newly discovered original Russian version of The Dybbuk. Bonus music CD attached.

    Find this resource:

  • Veidlinger, Jeffrey. “The Historical and Ethnographic Construction of Russian-Jewry.” Ab Imperio 4 (2003): 165–189.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the creation and role of the Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Society in Saint Petersburg. Analyzes the individuals involved in the society and their role in stimulating broad initiatives to disseminate higher education, advance science, and “cultivate morality and a sense of civil obligation.”

    Find this resource:

Traditional Jewish Education

Stampfer 2010 challenges the notion that all Jewish males in Eastern Europe were literate due to the widespread system of formal Jewish education beginning with the heder (the one-teacher elementary school). He argues instead that the typical heder provided only a minimal knowledge of Hebrew, which created and maintained social hierarchies that favored the educated elites. Zalkin 2008 demonstrates that although the maskilim were critical of the heder, as Zipperstein 1988 shows, they could not completely overhaul the system, which was intimately connected to Jewish rituals (such as the child’s first day at the heder) and culture. Rather, reformers had to make gradual changes. Heder reform is the subject of Goldstein 1986 and Zipperstein 1988, while Adler 2011 (see Education in State and Private Institutions), Greenbaum 1997, and Stampfer 2010 address gender and girls’ education. Stampfer 1995 describes study and life in the Lithuanian yeshivot, which were central institutions of mitnagdic culture. Salmon 1974 argues that some Orthodox leaders realized the need to reform the yeshiva by adding secular subjects.

  • Goldstein, Yosef. “‘Ha-heder ha-metukan’ be-Rusyah ke-vasis le-ma’arekhet ha-hinukh ha-tsiyonit.” Iyunim be-Hinukh 45 (1986): 147–157.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how the heder ha-metukan (reformed heder) in Russia, which employed modern pedagogical methods and held all classroom communication in Hebrew, was the basis for the system of Zionist education.

    Find this resource:

  • Greenbaum, Avraham. “The Girls’ Heder and the Girls in the Boys’ Heder in Eastern Europe before World War I.” East/West Education 18.1 (1997): 55–62.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although most Jewish girls did not receive a formal education, the author demonstrates that some girls did attend a girls’ heder or boys’ heder and provides an analysis of their education.

    Find this resource:

  • Salmon, Yosef. “The Yeshiva of Lida: A Unique Institution of Higher Learning.” YIVO Annual 16 (1974): 106–125.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Rabbi Isaac Reines (b. 1839–d. 1915) established a modern yeshiva in Lida (Grodno Province) that offered not only a traditional education but also knowledge of general subjects, including vocational study, thereby acquainting male scholars with the ways of the world. Contends that the Lida Yeshiva did less to halt acculturation than to recognize its inroads.

    Find this resource:

  • Stampfer, Shaul. Ha-yeshivah ha-Lita’it be-hithavutah: Ba-me’ah ha-tesha-esreh. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the institution of the Lithuanian yeshivot—their creation, leadership, education, and student life. The first part is devoted to life in the Volozhin Yeshiva, while the second part focuses on the yeshivot in Slobodka and Telz. Also examines the institution of the “kolel” for advanced Talmud study, especially in Kovno.

    Find this resource:

  • Stampfer, Shaul. Families, Rabbis, and Education: Traditional Jewish Society in Nineteenth-Century Eastern Europe. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrates that scholarship and learnedness were markers of membership in the Jewish elite. The heder provided only minimal knowledge of Hebrew and Jewish texts. Also examines the gendered education of women, literacy among Jews in the modern period, the development of dormitories in Eastern European yeshivot, and the role of questions and oral traditions in Jewish education.

    Find this resource:

  • Zalkin, Mordechai. El hekhal ha-haskalah: Tahalikhe modernizatsyah ba-hinukh ha-yehudi be-Mizrah Eropah ba-me’ah ha-tesha’ ’esreh. Tel Aviv: Hotsa’at ha-Kibuts ha-Me’uhad, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the transformation of Jewish education in Eastern Europe. Argues that the maskilim who attempted to implement their ideals did not resort to a complete reorganization of the traditional system of education. Instead, they introduced fundamental changes to the existing system of education, though gradually, due to the religious and cultural realities of traditional Jewish society.

    Find this resource:

  • Zipperstein, Steven J. “Transforming the Heder: Maskilic Politics in Imperial Russia.” In Jewish History: Essays in Honour of Chimen Abramsky. Edited by Ada Rapoport-Albert and Steven J. Zipperstein, 87–109. London: Halban, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the maskilic politics of the heder, which Isaac Ber Levinsohn once described as “a classroom filled with death” (quoted by Zipperstein in Imagining Russian Jewry, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999, p. 42). Explores the criticisms of the heder and proposals for reform.

    Find this resource:

Education in State and Private Institutions

Traditional historiography has portrayed “compulsory education” as another example of the state’s machinations to undermine the Jews. In contrast, Stanislawski 1983 (cited under Pre-Reform Russia: 1801–1855) and Dohrn 2008 have shown that the state’s support of secular Jewish education furthered the goals of the Haskalah movement and created a modern Jewish intelligentsia. Dolbilov 2007 and Kreis 1999 examine the impact of Russification on Jewish schools, while Levin 1997 and Borzymińska 1994 analyze the state Jewish schools in Warsaw. Girls’ and women’s education are the subject of Adler 2011, Stampfer 2010 (cited under Traditional Jewish Education), and Parush 2004 (cited under Gender, Family, and Sexuality). Ivanov 2007 provides a profile of Jewish university students outside the Pale of Settlement in 1909–1913.

  • Adler, Eliyana R. In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the development of private schools for Jewish girls in the mid-19th century. Contests the view that education was exclusively for boys by highlighting the efforts of educators and sponsors who devoted themselves to the education of girls as well as the discourse on female education in the press.

    Find this resource:

  • Borzymińska, Zofia. Szkolnictwo żydowskie w Warszawie, 1831–1870. Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, Instytut Naukowo-Badawczy, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces transformations in the educational system for Jews in Warsaw. Argues that until the 1850s, education remained traditional, with the exception of the state rabbinical school, which trained a new cadre of teachers and rabbis. School reforms, advanced by Aleksander Wielopolski, introduced the notions of compulsory education and Polonization. Following the Polish Uprising of 1863, Russification became the unpopular educational policy.

    Find this resource:

  • Dohrn, Verena. Jüdische Eliten im Russischen Reich: Aufklärung und Integration im 19. Jahrhundert. Cologne: Böhlau, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Challenges the notion that the maskilim were a marginal group in Jewish society. Argues instead that new state institutions like the rabbinical seminaries in Zhitomir and Vilna produced a secular intelligentsia who took leadership over Jewish philanthropic and educational institutions and political movements. Graduates also went on to study law, medicine, and journalism, contributing to the creation of a civil society.

    Find this resource:

  • Dolbilov, Mikhail. “Russifying Bureaucracy and the Politics of Jewish Education in the Russian Empire’s Northwest Region (1860–1870s).” Acta Slavica Iaponica 24 (2007): 112–143.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The state viewed education as the most effective avenue to creating loyal subjects, a “crucial prerequisite for extending civil rights.” Competing agendas complicated the goals of integration in the northwest provinces: the maskilim sought to preserve separate state Jewish schools to encourage gradual acculturation and permitting Jewish religious classes. Russifying bureaucrats in Vilna advocated abolishing these institutions, which some argued fostered a “spirit of separatism.”

    Find this resource:

  • Ivanov, A. E. Evreiskoe studenchestvo v Rossiiskoi imperii nachala XX veka: Kakim ono bylo? Opyt sotsiokul’turnogo portreturivaniia. Moscow: Novyi Khronograf, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the profile of the students (social status, academic interests, political orientations, reading preferences, and so forth) in Russian universities based on the Jewish student censuses of 1909–1913 in Kiev, Odessa, and Moscow. Summary in English.

    Find this resource:

  • Kreis, Simeon. “Bate-sefer yehudiyim peratiyim: Gorem rusifikatori o gorem yehudi meshamer?” In Hinukh ve-historyah: Heksherim tarbutiyim u-politiyim. Edited by Rivka Feldhay and Immanuel Etkes. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article based on a detailed dissertation on the development of Russian-language schools. Focuses here on private schools and the impact of Russification on Jewish education.

    Find this resource:

  • Levin, Sabina. Perakim be-toldot ha-hinukh ha-yehudi be-Polin: Ba-me’ah ha-tesha-’esreh u ve-reshit ha-meah ha-esrim. Tel Aviv: Graphit, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Polish authorities created a network of schools for Jewish children with a curriculum that advanced Polonization to transform them into model citizens who could serve Polish interests while their country remained under Russian rule. Following the Polish Uprising of 1863, the Russian state imposed a policy of Russification, which students protested in the 1905 strike. Examines factors that contributed to the success of these schools.

    Find this resource:

Acculturation, Assimilation, and Identity

During the 19th century, modernization led to Jewish acculturation and assimilation, the subject of Safran 2000, Murav 2003, and Horowitz 2009. Staliūnas 2006 and Cohen, et al. 2010 address the issue of position of minorities in majority cultures, especially the issue of linguistic and cultural Russification. Tanny 2011 offers an enlightening study on the development of a unique Odessa culture of Jewish gangsters and swindlers in the 19th century, which had a lasting influence on Soviet Jewish writers.

  • Cohen, Richard I., Jonathan Frankel, and Stefani Hoffman, eds. Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry. Portland, OR: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays that examines questions of culture, modes of acculturation and assimilation, identity, and the position of minorities within majority cultures. Focuses on the cities of Czernowitz and Vilna.

    Find this resource:

  • Horowitz, Brian. Empire Jews: Jewish Nationalism and Acculturation in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Russia. Bloomington: Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays that investigates Jewish intellectuals who attempted to fashion a modern, secular, and national Jewish identity in Russia. Argues that in contrast to the image of the marginalized Jew in Russian culture, Jews “occupied positions at the epicenter of Russia’s artistic and intellectual world.”

    Find this resource:

  • Murav, Harriet. Identity Theft: The Jew in Imperial Russia and the Case of Avraam Uri Kovner. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Employs postcolonial theory to understand the paradoxical identities of Avraam Uri Kovner. Argues that the “performative, hybrid, mimetic qualities of his life and writing” bring the dilemmas of Russian-Jewish acculturation into sharper focus.

    Find this resource:

  • Safran, Gabriella. Rewriting the Jew: Assimilation Narratives in the Russian Empire. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the changing notions of imperial subjecthood and Jewish identity in the works of Grigory Bogrov, Eliza Orzeszkowa, Nikolai Leskov, and Anton Chekhov, who constructed literary types to test a Jew’s ability to assimilate successfully.

    Find this resource:

  • Staliūnas, Darius. “In Which Language Should the Jews Pray? Linguistic Russification on Russia’s Northwestern Frontier, 1863–1870.” In Central and East European Jews at the Crossroads of Tradition and Modernity: Proceedings of the International Conference of the Lithuanian Institute of History and the Centre for the Studies of the Culture and History of East European Jews, April 19–21, 2005, Vilnius. Edited by Jurgita Šiaučiunaitė-Verbickienė and Larisa Lepertienė, 33–78. Vilnius: Center for Studies of the Culture and History of East European Jews, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the issue of linguistic Russification in the northwestern provinces, where the conflicts between Russians and Poles were intense.

    Find this resource:

  • Tanny, Jarrod. City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia’s Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how a hybrid Jewish-Russian culture emerged in Odessa—“a legendary city of Jewish gangster and swindlers,” (promotional copy), a frontier boomtown in the 19th century—and persisted in the Soviet era. Shows how this Odessa hybrid culture shaped the writings of Soviet Jewish figures such as Isaac Babel, Ilia Ilf, Evegenii Petrov, and Leonid Utesov.

    Find this resource:

Demography and Economics

The classic work on Jewish economic history is Kahan 1986, a work that Kahan was unable to complete before his untimely death. Alroey 2006 examines the works of two other prominent economic and demographic scholars—Leibmann Hersch and Jacob Lestchinsky. Anan’ich 2006 describes prominent Jewish banking houses and families in Russia, while Mendelsohn 1970 and Peled 1989 examine how the other side lived—namely, the Jewish workers in the shops and factories of the Pale of Settlement (see Populism and Socialism). Garncarska-Kadary 1985 (cited under Congress Poland (Kingdom of Poland), 1815–1914) addresses the Jewish role in the economic development of Warsaw. Another area of research has been the relationship between economics and Hasidism, including Bartal 1995 on the maskilic critiques of the “hasidic economy,” Dynner 2006 (cited under Hasidism) on the Warsaw mercantile elite’s patronage of Hasidic courts, and Assaf 2002 (cited under Hasidism) on the household expenses of the Hasidic royal courts. Lederhendler 2008 focuses on social classes in Russia, Stampfer 1995 on internal migration, and Stampfer 1987 and Silber 1980 on demographic patterns of Jews in the empire.

  • Alroey, Gur. “Demographers in the Service of the Nation: Liebmann Hersch and Jacob Lestschinsky and the Early Study of Jewish Migration.” Jewish History 20.3–4 (2006): 265–282.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10835-006-9006-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the life and works of two demographers, Liebmann Hersch and Jacob Lestchinsky, and analyzes how their relationship to Jewish nationalism shaped their writings. Gives an account of how they attempted to solve the “problems of the Jewish people” (p. 265) through their research.

    Find this resource:

  • Anan’ich, B. V. Bankirskie doma v Rossii, 1860–1914 gg: Ocherki istorii chastnogo predprinimatel’stva. 2d ed. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of private banking enterprises in Russia, including those of the illustrious Gintsburgs and Poliakovs in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Originally published in 1991.

    Find this resource:

  • Bartal, Israel. “Le’an halakh tseror ha-kesef: Ha-bikoret ha-maskilit ’al he-beteihah ha-kalkaliyim shel ha-hasidut.” In Dat ve-khalkalah: Yahase gomlin; Kovets ma’amarim. Edited by Menahem Ben-Sasson, 375–385. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the maskilic critiques of Hasidic economic practices, which the maskilim viewed as harmful and nonproductive. The Haskalah especially targeted Hasidic practices of abandoning their occupations and families to make pilgrimages to see the rebbe and offering up their resources to enrich the rebbe’s court.

    Find this resource:

  • Kahan, Arcadius. Essays in Jewish Social and Economic History. Edited by Roger Weiss. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the impact of industrialization and urbanization on the Jewish socioeconomic condition in 19th-century Russia as well as the impact of immigration to the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Lederhendler, Eli. “Classless: On the Social Status of Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50.2 (2008): 509–534.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explains why a Jewish middle class of any significance failed to emerge in Russia. Points to specific economic and political factors that undermined the Jewish class structure. Also reexamines the economic backgrounds of Jews who migrated to the West and calls for a more rigorous economic analysis of the migration phenomenon.

    Find this resource:

  • Silber, Jacques. “Some Demographic Characteristics of the Jewish Population in Russia at the End of the Nineteenth Century.” Jewish Social Studies 42.3–4 (Summer/Autumn 1980): 269–280.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on the Russian Imperial Census of 1897, the author examines the determinants of the high growth rate among the Jewish population as well as its patterns of mortality, natality, and nuptiality.

    Find this resource:

  • Stampfer, Shaul. “Ha-mashma’ut ha-hevratit shel nisue boser be-mizrah Eropah.” In Kovets mehkarim ’al yehude Polin: Sefer le-zikhro shel Pa’ul Glikson. Edited by Ezra Mendelsohn and Chone Shmeruk. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1987.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of early marriage among Jews of Eastern Europe. Contests the view that all Jews married early and argues instead that early marriage was common only among the scholarly elites.

    Find this resource:

  • Stampfer, Shaul. “Patterns of Internal Jewish Migration in the Russian Empire.” In Jews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union. Edited by Yaacov Ro’i, 28–47. Ilford, UK: Frank Cass, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on census materials and other sources, the author examines the patterns of internal Jewish migration and its impact on demographics in the Russian Empire.

    Find this resource:

Gender, Family, and Sexuality

The framework of gender has informed a new set of studies in Russian-Jewish history. Instead of just filling in the blanks, scholars have attempted to challenge or restructure the historical narrative based on a gendered analysis of history. For instance, Parush 2004 examines the gendered nature of Jewish literacy and reading habits and argues that female readers were at the vanguard of modernity. Hyman 1995 similarly analyzes how gender impacted patterns of acculturation and assimilation. Works like Biale 1986 and Bartal 1998 focus on the Haskalah’s critique of family practices and anxieties about masculinity, while Freeze 2002 offers an analysis of Jewish practices of marriage and divorce. Etkes 1989 provides an account of conflicts within scholarly elite families. Freeze 2010 uncovers the problem of illicit Jewish sexuality and illegitimacy in Lithuania, while Mondry 2009 explores the Jewish body in Russian anthropological and scientific studies.

  • Bartal, Israel. “‘Onut’ ve-en-onut’: Ben masoret le-haskalah.” In Eros, erusin ve-isurim: Miniut ve-mishpahah be-historiyah. Edited by Israel Bartal and Isaiah Gafni. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes maskilic writings that reflect anxieties about masculinity, critiques of the traditional family, and notions of the ideal family that were nearly unattainable in their specific context of Eastern European Jewish society.

    Find this resource:

  • Biale, David. “Eros and Enlightenment: Love against Marriage in the East European Enlightenment.” Polin 1 (1986): 49–67.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the Haskalah’s critique of the Jewish family. Argues that the maskilim aimed to decommercialize marriage by abolishing traditional early and arranged unions, which they portrayed as financial transactions, devoid of love and consent. Moreover, they castigated traditional gender roles that created “unproductive” men. In lieu of these gender roles, they propagated the cult of domesticity to refeminize women.

    Find this resource:

  • Etkes, Immanuel. “Marriage and Torah Study among the Lomdim in Lithuania in the Nineteenth Century.” In The Jewish Family: Metaphor and Memory. Edited by David Kraemer, 153–178. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Torah scholars were often torn between their devotion to study and family responsibilities. Suggests that elite society’s ability to co-opt women’s tacit acceptance of the cultural ideals of Torah study and gender roles, whereby the wife supported the scholar husband, allowed this system to perpetuate itself for generations.

    Find this resource:

  • Freeze, ChaeRan Y. Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the precipitous decline in divorces from high rates in the early 1830s to comparatively lower ones by 1910. This did not mean a decrease in marital breakdown but rather reflected the legal, economic, and social obstacles in obtaining a formal divorce. Jewish women became increasingly vulnerable in divorce due to the breakdown of rabbinical control, forcing them to turn to secular courts and state institutions.

    Find this resource:

  • Freeze, ChaeRan Y. “Lilith’s Midwives: Jewish Newborn Child Murder in Nineteenth-Century Vilna.” Jewish Social Studies 16.2 (Winter 2010): 1–27.

    DOI: 10.2979/JSS.2010.16.2.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines a court case of newborn child murder in 19th-century Vilna that revealed the hidden world of illicit sex, illegitimacy, and a lucrative baby-farming business in which agents hired out unwed mothers as wet nurses.

    Find this resource:

  • Hyman, Paula E. Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History: The Roles and Representation of Women. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Chapter 2, “Seductive Secularization,” argues that some women who chafed under the restrictive gender boundaries of traditional Jewish society, especially in the area of education, found secular culture and politics extremely seductive. Relying primarily on memoirs, the author explores the gendered education system and paths of assimilation by Jewish women.

    Find this resource:

  • Mondry, Henrietta. Exemplary Bodies: Constructing the Jew in Russian Culture since the 1880s. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most relevant to the imperial period is the author’s analysis of Russian anthropological and biological sciences and Jewish “race,” the medicalization of the Jewish body by Anton Chekhov, and Vasily Rozanov’s views of the Jewish body and incest.

    Find this resource:

  • Parush, Iris. Reading Jewish Women: Marginality and Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Eastern European Jewish Society. Translated by Saadya Sternberg. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The gendered nature of traditional Jewish society allowed women to acquire secular culture more easily than men, because their Jewish education was irrelevant to rabbinic authorities—a benefit of their marginality. In middle-class Jewish homes, even among the Orthodox, women learned foreign languages and literature. As they immersed themselves in modern secular culture, women became agents of acculturation.

    Find this resource:

Anti-Semitism

Studies of anti-Semitism in Russia have focused primarily on the cycle of pogroms that ravaged Jewish homes, properties, and lives. In contrast to traditional historians such as Simon Dubnow, who blamed the Russian government for instigating the violence, most studies today, such as Klier and Lambroza 1992, reject that view and search for other causes. Among the many factors that triggered the pogroms of 1881–1882, Aronson 1990 points to the impact of Russia’s rapid industrialization, while Judge 1992 blames the local agitators, especially the press, for the Kishinev pogroms. Dekel-Chen 2011 and Klier 2011 attempt to understand why pogroms did not happen in the northwest, as well as responses to pogroms such as self-defense and the impact of violence on the empire and local regions. Goren 1991 offers the interviews and eyewitnesses accounts collected by Hayyim Nahman Bialik following the Kishinev pogroms, while Rogger 1986 focuses on right-wing politics. Avrutin 2007 shifts the focus to discourses of race and racial politics in late Imperial Russia.

  • Aronson, I. Michael. Troubled Waters: The Origins of the 1881 Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Russia. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Refutes Simon Dubnow’s thesis that the pogroms of 1881–1882 were orchestrated by the tsarist government to deflect peasant anger toward the Jews. Argues that the pogroms were more the result of Russia’s modernization and industrialization than age-old religious and national antagonisms.

    Find this resource:

  • Avrutin, Eugene. “Racial Categories and Politics of (Jewish) Difference in Late Imperial Russia.” Kritika 8.1 (2007): 13–40.

    DOI: 10.1353/kri.2007.0000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that racist ideologies began to penetrate Russian culture in the late 19th century in the context of significant socioeconomic dislocations, the development of an exclusionary nationalist sentiment, and the rise of racial science. The preoccupation with race intensified at the same time that Jews began assimilating into Russian culture and abandoning their distinctive culture and way of life.

    Find this resource:

  • Dekel-Chen, Jonathan, David Gaunt, Natan M. Meir, and Israel Bartal, eds. Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays in memory of John Doyle Klier. Address the historiography of pogroms, violence against Jews in diverse geographical and time periods, the absence of pogroms in Byelorussia in 1881–1882, responses to pogroms (intercession, self-defense, struggle against anti-Semitism), and the changing nature of anti-Semitism in the Soviet period.

    Find this resource:

  • Goren, Ya’akov, ed. Eduyot nifge’e Kishinov, 1903: Ke-fi she-nigbu ’al yede H. N. Byalik va-haverav. Tel Aviv: Ha-Kibutz ha-Me’uhad, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Commissioned by the Jewish Historical Committee in Odessa, Hayyim Nahman Bialik collected some 150 testimonies of Kishinev pogrom victims. All the interviewees responded to a common set of questions. Testimonies were organized by neighborhoods and courtyards to corroborate the authenticity of the witness accounts.

    Find this resource:

  • Judge, Edward H. Easter in Kishinev: Anatomy of a Pogrom. New York: New York University Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that local agitators, especially the anti-Semitic press, were responsible for instigating the notorious anti-Jewish pogroms in Kishinev in 1903. Once the disorder began, violence proceeded unchecked, supported by the local population. Reaffirms the conclusion of revisionist historians that the government did not plan or orchestrate the pogroms.

    Find this resource:

  • Klier, John Doyle. Russians, Jews, and the Pogroms of 1881–1882. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pogroms were a crisis not only for the Jews but also for the Russian Empire as violence and disorder spread through strategic geographic areas. Provides a picture of the pogroms at a microlevel in various localities. Also analyzes Jewish and state responses to the pogroms, including the rise of a reformist Jewish religious movement.

    Find this resource:

  • Klier, John D., and Shlomo Lambroza, eds. Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays that addresses the three major waves of anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Repudiates the traditional view that the state instigated the violence and turns instead to examining the stereotypes of Jews, Jewish relationships to the rural masses, and the impact of violence on Jewish identity and sense of security.

    Find this resource:

  • Rogger, Hans. Jewish Policies and Right-Wing Politics in Imperial Russia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that indecision, ambivalence, and inconsistency rather than religious prejudice led to the absence of any coherent Jewish policy. Right-wing groups such as the Union of the Russian People failed to dominate Russian politics in the absence of a strong middle class and in the face of a radicalized population. Demonstrates that the government did not support events such as the Beilis trial and pogroms, as they threatened law and order.

    Find this resource:

Public Culture, Associational Life, and Philanthropy

Although there are numerous studies of Jewish philanthropy in America, there have been relatively few studies on this subject in Russia. Stampfer 2010 (cited under Traditional Jewish Education) offers an important account of the development of old-age homes for the elderly, the pushke (Yiddish for alms box), and other philanthropic institutions. Jersch-Wenzel 2000 focuses on poverty, the factors that contributed to economic decline, and how it impacted communal institutions and individuals. A valuable study of wartime relief to Jewish refugees is Zipperstein 1988. More recently, several studies, including Horowitz 2009, Meir 2006, and Veidlinger 2009, have addressed the construction, ethos, and dynamics of a bourgeoning Jewish public sphere and involvement in obshchestvennost’ (civil life) in late Imperial Russia.

  • Horowitz, Brian. Jewish Philanthropy and Enlightenment in Late-Tsarist Russia. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First major study of the Society for the Promotion of Enlightenment among the Jews, which was one of the oldest Jewish philanthropic organizations in Russia. Examines its members, its mission, and the activities and challenges it confronted, such as obstacles posed by the state and conflicts in the Jewish community.

    Find this resource:

  • Jersch-Wenzel, Stefi, ed. Juden und Armut in Mittel- und Osteuropa. Cologne: Böhlau, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on Jews and poverty in Central and Eastern Europe. Asks what factors contributed to Jewish poverty and how poverty impacted individual lives and communities.

    Find this resource:

  • Meir, Natan M. “Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians in Kiev: Intergroup Relations in Late Imperial Associational Life.” Slavic Review 65.3 (2006): 475–501.

    DOI: 10.2307/4148660Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides an account of associational and civic life in Kiev as a window into the dynamics of interethnic and interconfessional relations. Explores the surprising “small but significant islands of neighborly interaction, cooperation, and even conviviality” (pp. 475–476), which revises the monolithic image of Kiev as an anti-Semitic city.

    Find this resource:

  • Veidlinger, Jeffrey. Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analysis of a burgeoning Jewish public sphere that emerged following the Revolution of 1905. Explores various forms of Jewish cultural development and identities through a study of voluntary associations such as libraries, drama circles, literary clubs, historical societies, and fire bridges.

    Find this resource:

  • Zipperstein, Steven. “The Politics of Relief: The Transformation of Russian-Jewish Communal Life during the First World War.” Studies in Contemporary Jewry 4 (1988): 22–40.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the changing nature of Russian-Jewish communal institutions in response to the desperate need of Jews for relief assistance during World War I.

    Find this resource:

Modern Jewish Politics

As early as the 1870s, Jewish revolutionaries began to join the populist “back-to-the-people” (Rus. narodnichestvo) movement and moved up the ranks to leadership positions—the subject of Haberer 1995 (cited under Populism and Socialism). By the late 1870s, as the populists gave up hope of a peasant revolution, they turned increasingly to terrorism against the state, culminating in the assassination of Alexander II. As Frankel 1981 (cited under Populism and Socialism) indicates, Jews became disillusioned with the failure of the Great Reforms and the promises of greater civic equality and integration, and, alarmed by the rise of violent anti-Semitism and blatant discrimination, they looked to modern political movements for answers to their malaise. On the eve of the Revolution of 1905, there were numerous parties that Jews could join. The liberal constitutionalists, socialist revolutionaries, and the two rival Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Parties (the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) all had platforms that were appealing to Jews. The scholarship has tended to focus less on Jewish involvement in these parties, although some work has been done on Jewish liberal politics. Instead, studies have gravitated more toward specifically Jewish parties and organizations. For Jews who feared the consequences of radical assimilation and desired to find national solutions, movements such as Zionism, Bundism, and autonomism were especially attractive. They provided a secular framework for expressing Jewish identity and political aspirations and also for fashioning new social and cultural institutions to serve the interests of the people.

Liberal Politics

Lederhendler 1989 provides a good starting point for understanding the emergence of a modern Jewish politics. Gassenschmidt 1995, Orbach 1990, and Nathans 2003 provide an account of the oft-neglected liberal politicians who remained committed to the project of integration and full attainment of civil rights for the Jews. They focus on key activists such as Maxim Vinaver and Genrikh Sliozberg. Several studies, including Galai 2004, Levin 2004, and Rabinovitch 2009, examine the voting patterns, debates, and politics of the first and second Duma following the Revolution of 1905.

  • Galai, Shmuel. “The Jewish Question as a Russian Problem: The Debates of the First Duma.” Revolutionary Russia 17.1 (2004): 31–68.

    DOI: 10.1080/09546540410001677713Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Based on the stenographic records of the First Duma, Galai argues that the topic that dominated the debates more than even the agrarian issue was the Jewish question, which he cites as the chief reason for the dissolution of the First Duma after less than three months.

    Find this resource:

  • Gassenschmidt, Christoph. Jewish Liberal Politics in Tsarist Russia, 1900–1914: The Modernization of Russian Jewry. New York: New York University Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes the views and political activities of the Jewish liberal movement from 1900 to 1914. Especially focuses on liberal responses to the Revolution of 1905, the Union for the Attainment of Full Rights for the Jewish People in Russia, and forces for social change such as the Haskalah and education.

    Find this resource:

  • Lederhendler, Eli. The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the underlying structural changes in the political life of Russian Jewry. Premodern forms of Jewish politics depended on the gentile authorities who guaranteed order. Traces the weakening of traditional Jewish authorities and autonomy, which created a space for new leaders to emerge. Modern Jewish politics was characterized by the disappearance of the traditional intercessor and the emergence of “representatives of the people” (p. 156) who lobbied for their interests.

    Find this resource:

  • Levin, Vladimir. “Politics at the Crossroads: Jewish Parties and the Second Duma Elections, 1907.” Leipziger Beiträge zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kulture 2 (2004): 129–146.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the Jewish parties that participated in the Second Duma elections in Russia in 1907.

    Find this resource:

  • Nathans, Benjamin. “The Other Modern Jewish Politics: Integration and Modernity in Fin de Siècle Russia.” In The Emergence of Modern Jewish Politics: Bundism and Zionism in Eastern Europe. Edited by Zvi Gitelman, 20–34. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes to broaden the definition of modern Jewish politics to include models of emancipation and integration. Examines “torchbearers of Jewish integration” (p. 24) such as Genrikh Sliozberg and Maxim Vinaver, who espoused a different vision from that of Bundism and Zionism.

    Find this resource:

  • Orbach, Alexander. “The Jewish People’s Group and Jewish Politics in Tsarist Russia, 1906–1914.” Modern Judaism 10 (February 1990): 1–15.

    DOI: 10.1093/mj/10.1.1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the liberal political option for Jews who did not desire to emigrate or join revolutionary movements. Focuses on the activities of the League for the Attainment of the Full Rights for the Jewish People in Russia (founded in Vilna in 1905) and, after its demise, the Jewish People’s Group, which included many of the same leaders.

    Find this resource:

  • Rabinovitch, Simon. “Russian Jewry Goes to the Polls: An Analysis of Jewish Voting in the All-Russian Constituent Assembly Elections of 1917.” East European Jewish Affairs 39.2 (August 2009): 205–225.

    DOI: 10.1080/13501670903016316Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes Jewish voting patterns in the All-Russian Constituent Assembly elections of 1917. Shows that the majority of Jews were not as radicalized as previously thought. Most did not vote for the socialists or Zionists but for independent Jewish coalitions that stressed religious and nationalist autonomy within a liberal framework.

    Find this resource:

Autonomism (Diaspora Nationalism), Yiddishism, and Folkist Ideologies

The classic essay in Dubnow 1958 on Dubnow’s theory of history and autonomism provides a solid foundation for understanding his basic ideology. Rabinovitch 2005 and Shanes 1998 examine Dubnow’s writings closely and suggest a few refinements to traditional depictions of his work. Goldsmith 1997 and Weiser 2011 shed light on Yiddishism and the folkists in Poland, while Weinberg 1996 provides an excellent discussion about the nationalist ideologies of Chaim Zhitlowsky, Simon Dubnow, and Ahad Ha-am.

  • Dubnow, Simon. Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism. Edited by Koppel S. Pinson. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1958.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pinson’s introduction to this volume of Dubnow’s letters includes a biography of Simon Dubnow and his theories on Jewish history (such as the idea of hegemonic political centers) and autonomism.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldsmith, Emanuel S. Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement. Rev. ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the rise and fall of the Yiddish Language Movement from its origins in the 1908 Czernowitz Conference. Focuses on the four major proponents of Yiddishism: Nathan Birnbaum, I. L. Peretz, Mates Mieses, and Chaim Zhitlovsky. Describes the conflicts between Yiddishists and Hebraists.

    Find this resource:

  • Rabinovitch, Simon. “The Dawn of a New Diaspora: Simon Dubnov’s Autonomism from St. Petersburg to Berlin.” Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 50 (2005): 267–288.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines Simon Dubnow’s ideology of autonomism or national-cultural autonomy. Not only did he write about this ideology in his historical works, he formed a political party, the Folkspartey. His continuous publication of works on autonomism in Berlin demonstrated his ongoing commitment to autonomism as a historical and political ideology.

    Find this resource:

  • Shanes, Joshua. “Yiddish and Jewish Diaspora Nationalism.” Monatshefte 90.2 (1998): 178–188.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critiques scholarship that has ignored diaspora nationalism due to its “ultimate failure of Jewish nationalists to achieve lasting cultural or political autonomy” (p. 178) as well as the triumph of Zionism. Argues that Dubnow’s ideal of diaspora nationalism envisioned the use of Yiddish as a tool, “a weapon of national struggle” (p. 179), but not the “be-all and end-all of national Jewish life” (p. 179).

    Find this resource:

  • Weinberg, David H. Between Tradition and Modernity: Haim Zhitlowsky, Simon Dubnow, Ahad Ha-am, and the Shaping of Modern Jewish Identity. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of three national ideologies articulated by Chaim Zhitlowsky, Simon Dubnow, and Ahad Ha-am and their quest to construct a modern Jewish identity and politics.

    Find this resource:

  • Weiser, Kalman (Keith). Jewish People, Yiddish Nation: Noah Prylucki and the Folkists in Poland. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of Noah Prylucki (b. 1882–d. 1941), a leading proponent of Yiddishism who aimed to promote secular Yiddish culture as the basis for a collective Jewish identity. Traces his biography from a Russified Zionist in the Ukraine to a diaspora-nationalist parliamentarian in Warsaw.

    Find this resource:

Populism and Socialism

The classic work on Jewish involvement in socialism and nationalism is Frankel 1981. Most studies on Jews and socialism focus on the Bund, such as Mendelsohn 1970, Davis-Kram 1980, Tobias 1972, Peled 1989, and Zimmerman 2004. Haberer 1995 provides an account of the little-known Jewish participation in the populist movements of the 1870s, while Schapiro 1961 examines the diverging paths of the Russian social democratic workers’ parties and the reasons for the high percentage of Jews in the socialist revolutionary movement.

  • Davis-Kram, Harriet. “The Story of the Sisters of the Bund.” Contemporary Jewry 5.2 (1980): 27–43.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF02965562Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the role of women in the Bund, who broke from traditional families and society to participate in radical politics. Even as they espoused equality, men in the Bund assumed that women would continue carrying out traditional roles such as cooking and nursing, though they engaged in all political activities, such as smuggling, agitation, and strikes.

    Find this resource:

  • Frankel, Jonathan. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and Russian Jews, 1862–1917. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511572494Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes Jewish responses to crisis in Imperial Russia and the emergence of a new Jewish politics. The first part examines the preparty stage, especially the careers and thought of pioneer Jewish socialists; the second describes the crystallization of party ideologies following the pogroms of 1881–1882; and the final part traces the transplantation of socialist and nationalist ideas to Palestine and America with the mass migration of Jews.

    Find this resource:

  • Haberer, Erich. Jews and Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Russia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511628689Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Emphasizes the importance of Jews in the pre-Marxist revolutionary movements, especially populism. Refutes the conventional view that these radicals were “non-Jewish Jews” (p. xi). Argues instead that they became socialist for “Jewish reasons” and were different from their non-Jewish counterparts by exhibiting “more moderate tendencies when confronted with extremist phenomena” (p. 108). They were also more cosmopolitan, less peasant-oriented, and more Western-oriented.

    Find this resource:

  • Mendelsohn, Ezra. Class Struggle in the Pale: The Formative Years of the Jewish Workers’ Movement in Tsarist Russia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Grassroots approach to the Jewish workers’ movement that analyzes the lives and activities of the rank and file. Describes specific problems that confronted Jewish workers in the Pale of Settlement, attempts by the intelligentsia to radicalize them first through propaganda and then through agitation, the development of the worker-intellectual alliance, new strategies to secure workers’ rights, and challenges such as police unionism and competing political organizations.

    Find this resource:

  • Peled, Yoav. Class and Ethnicity in the Pale: The Political Economy of Jewish Workers’ Nationalism in Late Imperial Russia. New York: St. Martin’s, 1989.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Proposes a structural explanation for the exclusion of Jewish workers from modern industry in Russia and the Bund’s turn to nationalism. Employs sociological and political economic models (specifically notions of “internal colonialism and a split labor market”) to understand the place of nationalism in the social program of the Bund.

    Find this resource:

  • Schapiro, Leonard. “The Role of the Jews in the Russian Revolutionary Movement.” Slavonic and East European Review 40 (1961): 148–167.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Attempts to understand why Jews comprised a significant percentage of revolutionaries. Traces the splits in the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Parties and their impact on Jewish activists.

    Find this resource:

  • Tobias, Henry J. The Jewish Bund in Russia from Its Origins to 1905. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1972.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Description of the socioeconomic and political conditions that led to the creation of the Bund. Focuses on intellectuals who exerted a great influence on the early Jewish labor movement, including Shmul Goshansky, Arcady Kremer, Julius Martov, and others, as well as the struggles within the party about the national program of the Bund.

    Find this resource:

  • Zimmerman, Joshua D. Poles, Jews, and the Politics of Nationality: The Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Tsarist Russia, 1892–1914. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the complex relationship between the Jewish Bund and Polish Socialist Party and their aspirations to construct an international socialism while striving to develop their respective “nations.” Despite conflicts over practical matters, the Bund and Polish Socialist Party agreed on issues such as tolerance, cooperation, and respect for each other’s national cultures.

    Find this resource:

Zionism

Scholarship on the early Zionist movement in Russia tends to focus on the broad narrative of the movement (Goldshtain 1991, Vital 1982) and key Zionist thinkers and their world (Avineri 1981, Hertzberg 1997, Stanislawski 2001, Zipperstein 1993). On the relationship of religion and Zionism, see Orthodox Politics.

  • Avineri, Shlomo. The Making of Modern Zionism: The Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State. New York: Basic Books, 1981.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the roots of the specific ideas of Zionist thinkers to provide an intellectual history of Zionism. Longest chapter devoted to Vladimir Jabotinsky and the factors (such as his lack of rootedness in Jewish life) that shaped the development of his ideas.

    Find this resource:

  • Goldshtain, Yosi. Ben tsiyonut medinit le-tsiyonut ma’asit: Ha-tenu’ah ha-tsiyonit be-Rusyah be-reshitah. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the history of the Zionist movement in Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Hertzberg, Arthur, ed. The Zionist Idea: A Historical Analysis and Reader. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic anthology of the writings of leading Zionist thinkers (first published in 1959) with a substantial scholarly introduction to the history of Zionism and the writers included in the volume.

    Find this resource:

  • Stanislawski, Michael. Zionism and the Fin-de-Siècle: Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism from Nordau to Jabotinsky. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides revisionist perspectives on key Zionist thinkers and activists, including Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and the artist Ephraim Lilien, who were all successful cosmopolitans. Argues that their thinking was at once emblematic of and critical of the world of the fin de siècle.

    Find this resource:

  • Vital, David. Zionism: The Formative Years. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Second book in a trilogy on the history of Zionism. A sequel to The Origins of Zionism (1975), which covered the early years 1881 to 1897. This volume covers the period 1897 to 1906, when the movement gained its definitive shape. The final book, Zionism: The Crucial Phase (1987), focuses on the seeming demise and crisis of the movement on the eve of World War I and its unexpected wartime recovery.

    Find this resource:

  • Zipperstein, Steven J. Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Comprehensive biography of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginzberg), one of the chief ideologists of the Zionist movement. Argues that his primary goal was to create a national Hebrew culture as a substitute for Talmudic culture, which no longer united the people. Shows that his traditional background set him apart from the Russified, acculturated intelligentsia.

    Find this resource:

Orthodox Politics

Scholarship on Orthodox politics includes Bartal 1984 on the emergence of an Orthodox historiography, Lederhendler 1994 on Orthodox responses to modernity, and Luz 1988 and Salmon 2002 on Orthodox relationships to national movements such as Zionism. The emergence of an ideological movement of Orthodox Jews—Agudath Israel—is the subject of Bacon 1996. Almog, et al. 1998 includes articles that elucidate the relationship between Zionism and religion, between the observant and nonobservant.

  • Almog, Shmuel, Jehuda Reinharz, and Anita Shapira, eds. Zionism and Religion. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First part, “Tradition and Modernity in Eastern Europe,” includes contributions by Israel Bartal, Yosef Salmon, Ehud Luz, Steven Zipperstein, and Aviezer Ravitsky, who deal with responses to modernity, conflicts between Zionists and anti-Zionists, the challenges of cooperation between the observant and nonobservant in the Hovevei Zion phase, the emergence of Ahad Ha’am, and opposition by the ultra-Orthodox to Zionism and Agudaism.

    Find this resource:

  • Bacon, Gershon C. The Politics of Tradition: Agudat Yisrael in Poland, 1916–1939. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Covers primarily the interwar period, but the first part analyzes why it took many decades for an ideological movement of Orthodox Jews to take root. Examines the factors that led to the creation of Agudath Israel in 1912 and its central concept of da’at Torah, or rabbinic leadership. Argues that World War I accelerated the consolidation of the movement, especially with new connections to the German rabbinate.

    Find this resource:

  • Bartal, Israel. “Zikhron Ya’akov le-R. Ya’akov Lifshits: Historyografyah ortodoksit.” Milet 2 (1984): 409–414.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Ya’akov Lifshits wrote Zikhron Ya’akov, a history of the Jews in Poland and Russia, as a response to secularization, the decline of traditional society, and the emergence of political movements. He sought not only to create an alternative to the maskilic, secular narrative of Jewish history but also to use history as a tool to help contemporary Jews understand their present condition and strengthen their faith.

    Find this resource:

  • Lederhendler, Eli. Jewish Responses to Modernity: New Voices in America and Eastern Europe. New York: New York University Press, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Essays on diverse Jewish responses to modernity. Especially relevant to Russia are the essays on messianic rhetoric in early Jewish nationalism and the predicament of Orthodox communal leaders who confronted religious deviance and political dissent in their communities around the turn of the century.

    Find this resource:

  • Luz, Ehud. Parallels Meet: Religion and Nationalism in the Early Zionist Movement, 1882–1904. Translated by Lenn J. Schramm. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation of a Hebrew edition. Examines the dilemmas of the religious Zionists who stood between the labor Zionists and conservative Agudath Israel. Despite the promise of the Mizrahi movement, which attracted primarily Orthodox Jews, it almost collapsed in 1904 due to fears about the status of rabbinic Judaism in a Jewish state as well as tactical errors.

    Find this resource:

  • Salmon, Yosef. Religion and Zionism: First Encounters. Jerusalem: Magnes, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translation and adaptation of an earlier book in Hebrew. Examines the role of Jewish religious tradition on the Orthodox views of prestate Israel; the creation of the Society of the Settlement of the Holy Land in Germany in the 1860s; key thinkers and activists such as Yehiel Pines, Shmuel Mohilever, and others; Hapoel Hamizrah’s attempt to combine socialism and Zionism; and opponents of religious Zionism such as Ya’akov Lifshits.

    Find this resource:

Emigration

One response to violence, discrimination, and pogroms in late Imperial Russia was emigration. Bartal 1996 shows that there was already one wave of emigration from Russia during the famine of the 1860s, prior to the mass migration that came two decades later. Bartal examines the changing images of America in Eastern Europe. Kuznets 1975 and Lederhendler 2000 explore the reasons for emigrating or remaining in Russia as well as the socioeconomic profiles of the migrants. Alroey 2003, Alroey 2006, and Alroey 2011 explore the actual process and experience of immigration to America and Palestine. Brinkmann 2009 sheds light on the Jewish immigrant organizations that assisted Eastern European Jewish migrants who traveled through Germany. Kobrin 2010 analyzes the transformations generated by the act of migration through a case study of Bialystok immigrants using transnational theories.

  • Alroey, Gur. “Journey to Early-Twentieth-Century Palestine as a Jewish Immigrant Experience.” Jewish Social Studies, n.s., 9.2 (Winter 2003): 28–64.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In contrast to works that focus on the ideological motivations for immigration to Palestine, Alroey sets out to describe the quotidian process of migration from the moment a migrant left the Russian Pale of Settlement, traveled through the ports of Odessa and Trieste, and arrived in Palestine. Focuses on the challenges with bureaucrats and the travails of the journey.

    Find this resource:

  • Alroey, Gur. “‘And I Remained Alone in a Vast Land’: Women in the Jewish Migration from Eastern Europe.” Jewish Social Studies, n.s., 12.3 (Spring/Summer 2006): 39–72.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Abridged version of the first chapter of his book Ha-mahapekhah ha-sheketah: Ha-hagirah ha-Yehudit meha-imperyah ha-Rusit, 1875–1924 (2008). Explores women in the great migration to the West, their role in deciding the destination, and their experiences in the migration process.

    Find this resource:

  • Alroey, Gur. Bread to Eat and Clothes to Wear: Letters from Jewish Migrants in the Early Twentieth Century. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Between 1875 and 1914, some 2.7 million Jews immigrated to America from Eastern Europe. This volume includes sixty-six letters from migrants who expressed their individual anxieties and hopes. Includes a scholarly introduction about the characteristics of the migrants, the immigration information bureaus, and the letters.

    Find this resource:

  • Bartal, Israel. “Amerikah shel ma’alah: Artsot ha-Berit ke-ide’al u-khmofet li-yehude Mizrah Eropah ba-me’ah ha 19.” In Be-’ikvot Kolumbus: Amerikah, 1492–1992. Edited by Miriam Eliav-Feldon, 511–522. Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Traces the changing image of America among different groups of Jews—from positive images created by Polish-Jewish writers to negative views espoused by Orthodox leaders, who argued that Jews would lose their religion in America. Focuses on images of America as a place of potential regeneration and productivization of the Jews starting in the 1860s and 1870s, which coincided with the emergence of radical movements in Russia.

    Find this resource:

  • Brinkmann, Tobias. “Zivilgesellschaft transnational: Jüdische Hilfsorganisationen und jüdische Massenmigration aus Osteuropa in Deutschland 1868–1914.” In Religionund Philanthropie in den europäischen Zivilgesellschaften: Entwicklungen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Edited by Rainer Liedtke and Klaus Weber, 138–157. Paderborn, Germany: Schöningh, 2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the Jewish organizations in Germany that assisted Eastern European Jewish immigrants between 1868 and 1914.

    Find this resource:

  • Kobrin, Rebecca. Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Studies the dispersal of Jews from the city of Bialystok and the transformations generated by the act of migration. Argues that migrants understood themselves as exiles not only from their mythic homeland but also from their hometown in Eastern Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Kuznets, Simon. “Immigration of Russian Jews to the United States: Background and Structure.” Perspectives in American History 9 (1975): 35–124.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic article on the social and economic background and patterns of immigration of Russian Jews to the United States.

    Find this resource:

  • Lederhendler, Eli. Ha-hagirah la-ma’arav vela-’olam he-hadash. Leʼan? Zeramim Hadashim be-Kerev Yehude Mizrah-Eropah 5. Ra’anana, Israel: Ha-Universitah ha-Petuhah, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Book 5 in the series Le’an? (Whither?). Explores the factors that led Jews to immigrate to the West and the New World between 1870 and 1924. Analyzes the characteristics of the migrants who left as well as those who remained behind in their places of residence.

    Find this resource:

LAST MODIFIED: 08/29/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199840731-0027

back to top

Article

Up

Down