Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington
  • People


Course Description

Modern European Jewish History: East European Jews in the Russian Empire, 1772-1917 (3 cr)
Charles Bernsen
JSTU-J 304 Social & Historical Topics in Jewish Studies (9395)
TR 9:30-10:45 (Global & International Studies 0003)  

This course focuses on Jews living under Russian rule from the reign of Catherine the Great to the communist revolution. One of its major goals is to challenge the stereotype of a static East European Jewry that shunned modernity and new ideas while clinging to "tradition." Topics will include religious innovations (Hasidism, the Lithuanian yeshiva movement, Musar and ultra-Orthodoxy), political movements (the Bund, Hibbat Zion and Agudat Yisrael), and new cultural forms (the Jewish periodical press and modern Yiddish literature) that emerged as this large and diverse Jewish population responded to the forces of modernity and historical developents like the rise of anti-Semitism and mass emigration. 

Required textbooks:

Fishman, David E. Russia’s First Modern Jews: The Jews of Shklov. New York University Press, 1995.
(ISBN: 0814728863) 

Bartel, Israel. The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772-1881. Translated by Chaya Naor. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Stampfer, Shaul. Families, Rabbis and Education: Traditional Jewish Society in Nineteenth Century Europe. Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2014.