Why American Jewish History Matters with Hasia Diner

Hasia Diner joins us to talk about the big issues that have driven the field of American Jewish history and her work in particular, how we understand American Jewish history in two contexts—in the context of Jewish history as a whole, and within the framework of American history—and also how the field has changed, what lies ahead, and why it matters today.

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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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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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Jews on the Frontier with Shari Rabin

Shari Rabin joins us for a wide-ranging discussion about her exciting new book, Jews on the Frontier: Religion and Mobility in Nineteenth Century America. We discuss why nineteenth-century American Jewish history is important, the debates over the distinctiveness of America and Jewish history here, the transformation of Jewish religious life in America, and the question of assimilation and what the history of American Jewish life has to tell us about our own time of DIY Judaism and post-denominationalism.

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