Publications initiated and/or supported by the Nevzlin Center

A central part of the Nevzlin Center’s mandate is promoting scholarly excellence, innovation and the career trajectories of scholars in our field. A cornerstone of this has been support for the publication of original monographs and key resource volumes. We have been active in this area since 2003 and continue to serve as a premier source of funding for the advancement of high-quality publications in Israel. The Center partnered in the production of nine books in English, Hebrew, and Russian and in the preparation of a special issue of the journal Jewish History. A new monograph written by Vladimir Levin, Jewish Politics in the Late Russian Empire, 1907-1914, will be published shortly by the Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History in Jerusalem.

 

 

 

Just Published

From Revolution to War: Jewish Politics in Russia, 1907-1914

Vladimir Levin

Publisher:The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, Jerusalem, 2016

Language: Hebrew

 

ממהפכה למלחמה: הפוליטיקה היהודית ברוסיה, 1907–1914 מתאר את הפעילות הפוליטית והציבורית היהודית ברוסיה בתחילת המאה העשרים, בין המהפכה הרוסית הראשונה של 1905–1907 לפרוץ מלחמת העולם הראשונה ב-1914. בתקופה זו אִפשר המשטר הרוסי הקמת עמותות ונתן חופש יחסי לעיתונות. תנאי חירות כאלה לא היו ברוסיה בעבר ולא חזרו עד לקריסת ברית המועצות. מן הספר עולות דמותה ותכונותיה של החברה היהודית האזרחית שנוצרה ב'רחוב היהודי' באימפריה הרוסית בעשור האחרון לקיומה. כמו כן הספר דן בניסיון ליצור רפורמה בקהילות היהודיות ובחיפוש אחר פתרונות שיתנו מענה הן לציבור הדתי הן לציבור החילוני.

ממהפכה למלחמה דן במפלגות הפוליטיות היהודיות ברוסיה בשנים 1907–1914: הבונד, הציונים-הסוציאליסטים (ס"ס), מפלגת הפועלים היהודית הסוציאליסטית (סאר"פ), פועלי ציון, הציונים, הטריטוריאליסטים, הקבוצה היהודית העממית, הקבוצה היהודית הדמוקרטית והפולקס-פרטיי. במרכז הדיון עומדת הפוליטיקה היהודית הפרלמנטרית והפעילות היהודית מחוץ לכותלי הפרלמנט, שיצרה זיקה בין המחנה הסוציאליסטי למחנה 'הבורגני' סביב העיסוק בענייני הקהילות היהודיות. הספר משווה את הפוליטיקה היהודית לקבוצות אחרות בחברה הרוסית: התנועה הפמיניסטית, התנועה הלאומית הביילורוסית והפוליטיקה המוסלמית. 


From Revolution to War: Jewish Politics in Russia, 1907–1914, presents a general picture of Jewish political and public activities in the early twentieth century, between the end of the first Russian Revolution in 1907 and the beginning of the First World War in 1914. Although the revolution was aborted and the tsarist government regained control, several important features characterized the period of 1907–1914. First, there was the very existence of the State Duma – the elected lower house of the Parliament with legislative power; second, the establishment of voluntary associations was eased; third, preliminary censorship was abolished. Thus, public life was characterized by a degree of freedom such as had never existed in Russia before 1905 and would not exist until 1991 (with a short exception in 1917). The book discusses the history and policies of all Jewish parties existing in Russia in this period: the Jewish Labor Bund, the Socialist Zionist Workers’ Party (SS), the Jewish Socialist Workers’ Party (SERP), the Poalei Zion, the Zionists, the Territorialists, the Jewish People’s Group, the Jewish Democratic Group, and the Folks-Partey. The discussion is centered on Jewish parliamentary politics as well as on the activities outside the parliament, with special emphasis on the issue of the Jewish community. Jewish politics are compared to the politics of other non-dominant groups in Russian imperial society: the feminist movement, the Belarusian national movement, and the Muslim movement. The author argues that Jewish civil society fully emerged in the Russian empire in the last decade of its existence. The structures of this modern civil society were distinct from the traditional East-European Jewish society as well as from the parallel Russian civil society. In principle, it allowed Russian Jews to solve the majority of issues of their everyday life within exclusively Jewish frameworks. The features of this civil society resembled the very idea of Jewish national exterritorial autonomy.

 

Beyond the Pale cover

 

Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia

Benjamin Nathans

Publisher:The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, Jerusalem, 2013

Language: Hebrew

 

Table of contents in pdf

 

A surprising number of Jews lived, literally and figuratively, "beyond the Pale" of Jewish Settlement in tsarist Russia during the half-century before the Revolution of 1917. Thanks to the availability of long-closed Russian archives, along with a wide range of other sources, Benjamin Nathans reinterprets the history of the Russian-Jewish encounter.
In the wake of Russia's "Great Reforms," Nathans writes, a policy of selective integration stimulated social and geographic mobility among the empire's Jews. The reaction that culminated, toward the turn of the century, in ethnic restrictions on admission to universities, the professions, and other institutions of civil society reflected broad anxieties that Russians were being placed at a disadvantage in their own empire. Nathans's conclusions about the effects of selective integration and the Russian-Jewish encounter during this formative period will be of great interest to all students of modern Jewish and modern Russian history.

 

מחוץ לתחום: המפגש היהודי עם האימפריה הרוסית המאוחרת דן ביהודי רוסיה הצארית במאה ה-19, שיצאו אל 'מחוץ לתחום' – גאוגרפית (מחוץ ל'תחום המושב') ונפשית (מחוץ לתחומיה של החברה היהודית המסורתית) – וניסו להשתלב בחברת הרוב הרוסית. תהליכים אלה, שנתקלו במגמות שלטוניות מנוגדות, של עידוד מכאן ובלימה מכאן, התעצמו אחרי רצח הצאר אלכסנדר השני במרס 1881. הספר משחזר את ההקשרים התרבותיים, החברתיים והמשפטיים שבמסגרתם פעלו יהודי רוסיה בעידן של תמורות קיצוניות ביחס ליהודים.

מחוץ לתחום דן בהיבטים שונים הקשורים למפגש היהודי-הרוסי ונחלק לארבעה חלקים. החלק הראשון, 'בעיית האמנציפציה תחת המשטר הישן', סוקר את המאמצים לקבלת זכויות שוות ליהודים והניסיונות להתאמת הדגמים האירופיים למציאות הרוסית. החלק השני, 'יהודי סנקט פטרבורג', משרטט את דיוקנה של שכבת היהודים בעלי זכויות היתר אשר חיו בבירת האימפריה. החלק השלישי, 'יהודים, רוסים והאוניברסיטה האימפריאלית', עוקב אחר עולמם של סטודנטים יהודים (נשים וגברים) שנרשמו למוסדות ההשכלה הגבוהה ברוסיה. החלק הרביעי, 'בבית הדין של הגויים', בוחן את הסיבות שמשכו יהודים רבים למקצוע עריכת הדין ולבתי המשפט.

"ספר מרתק... המחייב את הקורא הפשוט וגם את ההיסטוריון המקצועי לצייר מחדש את מפת הכוחות שפעלו בתולדות יהדות רוסיה, ולהעריך מחדש את תרומתם ליהדות וליהודים... אי אפשר להגזים בחשיבותו של ספר זה למי שמתעניין בתולדות יהודי רוסיה ובהיסטוריה היהודית המודרנית" (חמוטל בר-יוסף).
"תרומה חשובה ביותר להבנת התהליכים שעברו על יהדות רוסיה בשלהי המאה התשע עשרה. החיבור מתמקד דווקא במי שחיו 'מחוץ לתחום', ולא בתחום המושב, שכן השפעתם הייתה רבה ביותר. הוא אף בוחן את מערכת הקשרים בין אצולת הממון לבין חוגים שונים באליטות הפוליטיות, הכלכליות והאינטלקטואליות בחברה הרוסית, ובמיוחד במוקדי הכוח והשלטון" (מרדכי זלקין).

בנימין נתנס הוא פרופסור להיסטוריה באוניברסיטת פנסילבניה. חוקר של האימפריה הרוסית וברית המועצות ושל תולדות עם ישראל בעת החדשה. ספרו מחוץ לתחום במהדורתו האנגלית (2002) זכה בפרסים רבים.

 

 

Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia

ChaeRan Y. Freeze

Publisher:The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History, Jerusalem, 2013

Language: Hebrew

 

Table of contents in pdf

 

ChaeRan Freeze explores the impact of various forces on marriage and divorce among Jews in 19th-century Russia. Challenging romantic views of the Jewish family in the shtetl, she shows that divorce rates among Russian Jews in the first half of the century were astronomical compared to the non-Jewish population. Even more surprising is her conclusion that these divorce rates tended to drop later in the century, in contrast to the rising pattern among populations undergoing modernization.

Freeze also studies the growing involvement of the Tsarist state. This occurred partly at the behest of Jewish women contesting patriarchy and parental power and partly because the government felt that Jewish families were in complete anarchy and in need of order and regulation. Extensive research in newly-declassified collections from twelve archives in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania enables Freeze to reconstruct Jewish patterns of marriage and divorce and to analyze the often conflicting interests of Jewish husbands and wives, rabbinic authorities, and the Russian state. Balancing archival resources with memoirs and printed sources in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian, she offers a tantalizing glimpse of the desires and travails of Jewish spouses, showing how individual life histories reflect the impact of modernization on Jewish matchmaking, gender relations, the "emancipation" of Jewish women, and the incursion of the Tsarist state into the lives of ordinary Jews.

 

נישואים וגירושים בחברה היהודית באימפריה הרוסית בוחן את השפעתם של שינויים חברתיים ומוסדיים על נישואים וגירושים בקרב יהודים ברוסיה במאה התשע עשרה.

הספר דן בשאלות רבות: גיל הנישואים, מקומו של המעמד החברתי בבניית משפחה, המגדר, השפעת התיעוש והעיור, ההתבוללות והתחייה התרבותית היהודית, שיעור הגירושים ומניעיו, השפעת החברה והחקיקה על הרצון לפרק משפחה, ופתרונות חלופיים לגירושים, כמו התפייסות, פירוד, נטישה ואפילו ביגמיה.

החיבור גם מנתח את השפעת המודרנה על חוויותיהם השונות של גברים יהודים ושל נשים יהודיות בהקשר של נישואים ומשפחה: כיצד עוצבו הציפיות המגדריות, מה היו התפקידים ויחסי הכוחות במשפחה היהודית, ואיך השתנו התפקידים ויחסי הכוחות עקב התערבות הממשלה בענייני משפחה פרטיים.

מטרתו העיקרית של המחקר היא לניתוח השאלה – כיצד "תפקדה" או "התפרקה" המשפחה היהודית. בפעם הראשונה אנו יכולים לשמוע את ה"קולות" הפרטיים של יהודים פשוטים מערי השדה, ובמיוחד קולותיהן של נשים שהתפוגגו בעבר.



 

The Jewish Movement in the Soviet Union

Yaacov Ro'i (editor),  George P. Shultz (epilogue)

Publishers:  the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, Washington, D.C. & The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore (2012)

Language: English

 

Table of contents in pdf

 

This volume is a product of the conference “The Jewish National Movement in the USSR: Awakening and Struggle, 1967-1989” organized in 2007 by the Leonid Nevzlin Center for Russian and East European Jewry, the Avraham Harriman Institute for Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University, and the Beth Hatefutsoth Museum, Tel Aviv. The Nevzlin Center helped to support publication of this volume.


Yaacov Ro'i and his collaborators provide the first scholarly survey of one of the most successful Soviet dissident movements, one which ultimately affected and reflected the demise of a superpower's stature.

The Jewish Movement saw hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews leave their native country for Israel. This book grapples with the movement's origins, its Soviet and international contexts, and its considerable achievements—prior to the mass Jewish emigration of Gorbachev's last years, about one quarter of a million Jews left the Soviet Union. The contributors, a mix of senior and junior scholars, as well as movement participants, examine the influences of a wide range of contemporary events, including the victory of Israel in the 1967 war, the Soviet dissident and human rights movements, and the general malaise of Soviet society, its self-contradictory attitude toward nationalism, and its underlying anti-Semitism.
The book is based on a combination of secondary research, archival work, and interviews. The epilogue by former secretary of state George P. Shultz discusses support for the Jewish Movement under the Ronald Reagan administration, reactions and views by the United States as Gorbachev came to power, and U.S. satisfaction of his denouement.

"The book makes an important contribution to scholarship on modern Jewish and Soviet history, on the history of social movements, and on the history of transnationalism, pushing the study of the Soviet Jewish national movement into broader, more comparative terrain without losing the centrality and specificity of the Jewish experience."—Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania


Yaacov Ro'i is professor emeritus of history at Tel Aviv University. He is author of The Struggle for Soviet Jewish Emigration, 1948–1967 (1991); and editor of Jews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union (1995). He is coeditor, with Avi Beker, of Jewish Culture and Identity in the Soviet Union (1991); with Noah Lewin- Epstein and Paul Ritterband, of Russian Jews on Three Continents: Migration and Resettlement (1997); and, with Zvi Gitelman, of Revolution, Repression and Revival: The Soviet Jewish Experience (2007).

 

book cover Anti Jewish Violence
 

Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History

Jonathan Dekel-Chen, David Gaunt, Natan M. Meir and Israel Bartal (editors)

Contributors: Vladimir P. Buldakov, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, David Engel, Claire Le Foll, Peter Holquist, Lilia Kalmina, Vladimir Levin, Eric Lohr Natan ,M. Meir, Vladas Sirutaviius, Darius Stalinas.

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Indiana University Press (2010)

Table of contents and additional information

Language: English

Although overshadowed in historical memory by the Holocaust, the anti-Jewish pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were at the time unrivaled episodes of ethnic violence. Incorporating newly available primary sources, this collection of groundbreaking essays by researchers from Europe, the United States, and Israel investigates the phenomenon of anti-Jewish violence, the local and transnational responses to pogroms, and instances where violence was averted. Focusing on the period from the First World War until the first decades of Soviet Russia, the studies include Poland, Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Crimea, and Siberia.

 

Book cover Ben Zion Dinur

 A Vanished World: Memories of a Way of Life

Ben-Zion Dinur

Hardcover: 552 pages

Publisher: Gesharim, Jerusalem (2008)

Language: Russian

This memoir of the eminent Israeli historian and social activist Ben-Zion Dinur, first published in Hebrew in 1958, cover the period of the early 1880s to the early 1910s.
Based on personal accounts of the time, the author reconstructs a detailed picture of Jewish communal, cultural and political life in the Russian Empire and Germany. The unique historical material presented in the memoirs of Dinur gives to the Russian reader a fresh look at the life of various strata of Russian society at the turn of the twentieth century.
 

 

 

Book cover The revolution of 1905

The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews

Stefani Hoffman and Ezra Mendelsohn (editors)

Preface: Benjamin Nathans

Contributors: Abraham Ascher, Dmitrii Elyashevich, Semion Goldin, Agnieszka Friedrich, Hannan Hever, Brian Horowitz, Rebecca Kobrin, Mikhail Krutikov, Eli Lederhendler, Vladimir Levin, Kenneth Moss, Barry Trachtenberg, Scott Ury, Jeffrey Veidlinger, Robert Weinberg, Theodore R. Weeks, Richard Wortman.

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (2008)

Table of contents and additional information

Language: English

The 1905 Revolution in Russia ushered in an unprecedented (though brief) period of social and political freedom in the Russian Empire. This environment made possible the emergence of mass Jewish politics and the flourishing of a new, modern Jewish culture expressed in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. Unfortunately, 1905 also unleashed popular anti-Semitism in the shape of pogroms on a scale previously unknown.
Russian Jewry, by far the largest Jewish community in the world at that time, faced fateful decisions. Should the Jews strive to uphold Jewish national uniqueness either in the context of the Russian Empire or by emigrating to Palestine/the Land of Israel, or should they identify with and merge into the general revolutionary or liberal movements in their country of birth? What direction should Jewish culture and social organizations take within the context of democratization and modernization? In what language or languages should this culture be expressed? How should Jews abroad react to the revolutionary crisis and to the dilemmas of their coreligionists?
The thought-provoking essays in this volume shed new light on these issues while placing them in the larger context of the historical, social, and cultural developments within the Russian Empire. The authors, representing various disciplines, emphasize both the highly varied Jewish responses to the great crisis and the degree to which these responses shared certain vital characteristics.

 

Book cover, Revolution, Repression, and Revival

Revolution, Repression, and Revival: The Soviet-Jewish Experience

Zvi Gitelman and Yaacov Ro'i (editors)

Contributors: Samuel Barnai , Michael Beizer, Oleg Budnitskii , Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Sergio DellaPergola, Kiril Feferman, Theodore Friedgut, Ziva Galili, Marshall Goldman, Lev Gudkov, Vladimir Khanin, Gennadii Kostyrchenko, Elazar Leshem, Moshe Sicron, Mark Tolts, Arkadii Zeltser.

Hardcover: 418 pages

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, Maryland (2007)

Table of contents and additional information

Language: English

Over the course of a century, Jews in Russia survived two world wars, revolutions, political and economic turmoil, and persecution by both Nazis and Soviets. They managed not only to survive, but also transform themselves and emerge as a highly creative, educated entity that has transplanted itself into other countries.

Revolution, Repression and Revival: The Soviet-Jewish Experience enhances our understanding of the Russian-Jewish past by bringing together some of the latest thinking from leading scholars from the former Soviet Union, Israel and the United States. This edited volume explains the contradictions, ambiguities and anomalies of the Russian-Jewish story and helps us understand one of the most complex and unsettled chapters in modern Jewish history. The Soviet-Jewish story has had many fits and starts as it transfers from one chapter of Soviet history to another and eventually, from one country to another. Some believe that the era of Russian Jewry is coming to a close. Whatever the future of Russian Jewry may be, it has a rich, turbulent past. Revolution, Repression and Revival sheds new light on that past, illustrating the complexities of the present, and gives needed insights into the likely future.

 

Book cover, Jewish History

Special Edition of Jewish History, "Jewish Agrarianization"

Jonathan Dekel-Chen and Israel Bartal (guest editors), Jewish History, vol. 21, no. 3-4 (2007).

Contributors: Israel Bartal, Yossi Ben-Artzi, Tobias Brinkmann, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Nachman Falbel, Theodore H. Friedgut, Yehuda Levin, Robert Weinberg, Marcin Wodzinski.

Additional information

Language: English

 This special issue of Jewish History is dedicated to the history of organized agricultural settlement in the modern Jewish world. These nine essays were first presented at the international conference, "To the Land!: 200 Years of Jewish Agricultural Settlement," held in June 2005 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Diaspora Museum (Beth Hatefutsoth) in Tel Aviv. The goal of the conference, and these essays, was to reopen lively academic discussion of the global dimensions and implications of modern Jewish agricultural settlement.

 

Book cover, calogue of the Archival collection

Catalogue of the Archival Collection of the Israeli Association of Former Prisoners of Zion in the USSR: 1971-2004

Paperback: 116 pages

Publisher: The Central Zionist Archive, Jerusalem (2005)

Language: Hebrew

This published catalogue is the finding aid for the archive of the Israeli Association of Former Prisoners of Zion in the USSR, spanning its activities from 1971-2004. This collection is housed at the Central Zionist Archive (CZA). The Nevzlin Center proudly funded the receipt and organization of this large collection (constituting 25 linear meters) at the CZA in 2004, as well as the publication of this catalogue in 2005, with the opening of the collection to researchers.

The collection includes more than 700 personal files of former Prisoners of Zion in the Soviet Union, institutional and personal correspondence, organizational memoranda, minutes of meetings, posters, newsletters, various publications connected to the subject, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia from the Soviet Jewry movement in Israel. The collection reflects the full activities of the Association in its efforts to free Soviet "refuseniks" and to facilitate their absorption in Israel. A small part of the collection also deals with Prisoners of Zion from Ethiopia and Arab countries.

 

Book cover, Simon Dubnow

The Book of Life: Memories and Reflections

Simon Dubnov

Hardcover: 800 pages

Publisher: Gesharim, Jerusalem (2004)

Language: Russian

Memoirs of the prominent historian, publicist and public figure Semion Markovich Dubnov (1860-1941) constitute an encyclopedia of Jewish life in Russia.

Simon Dubnov constructed his memoirs from the diaries that he kept throughout his life; these reflect the rich panorama of events from the second half of nineteenth century into the early decades of the twentieth century. Dubnow was an active participant, and a witness, to the crucial events of the era, such as the decline of the Jewish enlightenment in Eastern Europe, the emergence and development of Zionism and other political movements, the 1905 and 1917 revolutions and the Russian Civil War. Dubnov lived and worked in centers of Jewish life like Odessa, Vilna and St. Petersburg during years of dramatic changes in the life of the Jewish people. He included in this memoir vivid portrayals of his friends and colleagues, among them writers like Sholem Aleichem, Bialik, Frug, Leskov, Volyn, as well as public figures like Vinaver, Gruzenberg, Landau, Sliozberg and many others.

The first two parts of the memoir deal with scientific, social and political life of Russia and Russian Jewry. The third part provides insight into the life of ​​Russian-Jewish immigrants in Europe, where Dubnov resided from 1922-1933. This new edition of Dubnov's memoir not only contains a new preface, but significantly supplemented and revised biographical and bibliographical commentaries.