Olga Litvak

Move Over Mendelssohn: Why Everything You Know About the Jewish Enlightenment Is Wrong

Ask anyone about the Jewish Enlightenment, or Haskalah, and the first person they’ll likely mention is Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786).  Few would disagree that Mendelssohn played a key role in the Haskalah’s earliest stages, attempting as he did to modernize Judaism in 18th century Germany and bring it in line with the broader intellectual trend of his time—that is, the Enlightenment, or what historians often call the Age of Reason.

Babi Yar and the Rose Art Museum: Things Worth Seeing

Brandeis' Rose Art Museum is not dead yet.  Despite the university's much publicized--then reneged--decision to sell off much of the museum's permanent collection last year, the museum itself has been chugging along just fine.  At least that's the indication from the upcoming symposium the Rose Art Museum is hosting on March 10, dedicated to the Babi Yar paintings of the stellar if little known painter Felix Lembersky.

Who's Lembersky?, and what's Babi Yar again? You're forgiven for asking.

The Shtetl, Reconsidered

A new generation of scholars is upending traditional notions of Jewish ‘memory’ and why Jews left Eastern Europe.

11/02/2010
Staff Writer

When the historian Rebecca Kobrin began researching her book “Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora,” which came out this spring, she was struck by the strange way Eastern European Jewish immigrants used words like “exile” and “diaspora.” Between 1880 and 1914, when most of America’s Jews came over from Europe, they did not speak about exile in terms of Israel, as we often do now. They used those words instead in relation to the places they actually left: Bialystok, Vilna, Warsaw, Lodz.

“Fiddler on the Roof,”
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