Colonialism and the Jews with Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel

Lisa Moses Leff, Ethan Katz, and Maud Mandel discuss “Colonialism and the Jews,” an volume of essays from a 2014 conference on the subject. We talk about the place of Jews in the history of colonialism, the role of empire in the varied Jewish experiences of modernity, how examining these topics helps us to rethink modern Jewish history, and the question of Zionism and colonialism.

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Cafes and Modern Jewish Culture with Shachar Pinsker

Shachar Pinsker discusses his book A Rich Brew: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture and the ways in which cafes provide a window into understanding modern Jewish culture and modernity: What it means for cafes to be sites of the production of Jewish culture, how cafes sold not just coffee but also a concept of modernity, and the transformation of cafes and Jewish culture.

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A New History of Hasidism with David Biale

David Biale discusses Hasidism: A New History, an important and invaluable history of Hasidism from its origins in the 18th century until the present. We discuss Hasidism and why it matters: Why it was so significant in Europe before the Holocaust and why it remains relevant, what’s at stake in declaring it a “modern” movement, and how and why Hasidism helps us understand the currents of modern Jewish history and the modern world at large.

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The Jewish Bible as a Material Object with David Stern

David Stern joins the podcast to discuss his book The Jewish Bible: A Material History and the meaning of the history of the Jewish Bible as a material object: How the Bible has served as a symbol, how its form has stood in for struggles over ownership of the Bible, what this all tells us about the relationship between Jews and the world in which they lived, and ultimately what the future of digitization holds in store for the Bible.

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Vladimir Jabotinsky and Right-Wing Zionism with Daniel Kupfert Heller

Daniel Heller joins us to discuss his book Jabotinsky’s Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism and the big issues it brings up: The rise of the Revisionist Zionist movement in interwar Europe and its relationship with right-wing politics and fascism; Jabotinsky and his ideological and political legacy, particularly in Israel; the importance of youth and youth movements in the history of Zionism and politics broadly speaking; the history of fascism and how it relates to the present; and the implications of studying the history of politics for understanding our own world.

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How Benjamin Netanyahu Enables Antisemitism with Joshua Shanes

Joshua Shanes joins us to discuss his article, published in the Washington Post in February 2018, “How Benjamin Netanyahu Enables Antisemitism.” We talk about antisemitism today, why it’s particularly important right now, the relationship between antisemitism, Zionism, and Jewish politics, and also the role historians have to play in speaking about this and other issues.

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Jewish Migration with Mia Spiro and Scott Ury

Mia Spiro and Scott Ury join us to discuss a new issue of East European Jewish Affairs dedicated to the topic of Jewish migration which they edited alongside Semion Goldin. In this episode, we talk about why studying the history of Jewish migration matters, how new approaches might help revise some commonly-held beliefs about modern Jewish life and culture, perhaps unsettling ideas about the role of antisemitism and crisis as leading factors in Jewish history. And further, we’ll talk about how the cases of Jewish migration, especially those highlighted in this journal issue, help to illuminate the broader history of migration and what it tells us about the present.

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Why 1938 Matters Today with Frank Mecklenburg

Frank Mecklenburg joins us to talk about the Leo Baeck Institute’s 1938Projekt (1938 Project), an exciting initiative to track the experience of German Jews in 1938 on a day-by-day basis. We talk about the project and its objectives, what kind of history it tells us about the transformations over the course of 1938, and about the importance of learning from the past: How we can comprehend daily life under the Nazi regime, how such “normalcy” illustrates how authoritarian regimes consolidate their power and marginalize elements of the population, and how we can identify parallels between the past and today’s international crises of refugees and discrimination against minorities and immigrants. The LBI’s 1938Projekt, by posting one item each day that relates to what happened on the exact day eighty years ago, illustrates the past and also presents a demand for us to think about what’s happening today too.

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