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Hasidism: Then and Now | Speaker: Prof. David Biale's

Monday, December 12, 2022 18 Kislev 5783

7:30 PM - 8:30 PMCBS

Hasidism: Then and Now

With the recent New York Times expose of the refusal of Hasidic schools to teach secular subjects, new light has been shone on this ultra-Orthodox movement as a significant part of the world Jewish community.  But how did Hasidism evolve from the eighteenth century to the movement it is today?  Did Israel Baal Shem Tov intend to found such a movement and what were his original ideas?  And how did Hasidism rebuild itself after the Nazis nearly destroyed all of its communities in Eastern Europe?  This talk will examine these questions – and more – based on the pathbreaking book, Hasidism: A New History, for which the speaker, David Biale, served as project director.


David Biale is Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor of Jewish History at the University of California, Davis.  He was educated at UC Berkeley, the Hebrew University and UCLA.  His most recent books are Hasidism: A New History (with seven co-authors), Gershom Scholem: Master of the Kabbalah and Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought.  Earlier books are Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, Eros and the Jews and Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol Between Jews and Christians.   He is also the editor of Cultures of the Jews: A New History and the Norton Anthology of World Religions: Judaism. A volume of his essays, Jewish Culture Between Canon and Heresy will be published in 2023 by Stanford University Press.  His books have been translated into eight languages and have won the National Jewish Book Award three times.  

Professor Biale has served as chair of the Department of History at UC Davis and as Director of the Davis Humanities Institute.  He also founded and directed the UC Davis Program in Jewish Studies.  In 2011, he won the university’s highest award, the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.  He also founded the Posen Society of Fellows, an international doctoral fellowship for students of modern Jewish history and culture. 




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