A survey history of the Jewish communities of Ashkenaz, from the original settlements in western Europe through the great migration to east-central and eastern Europe. Topics to be covered include the social, economic and religious foundations of the communities, the impact of antisemitism, the rise of Hasidism and the Jewish enlightenment, modern Jewish political movements, the Holocaust, concluding with an assessment of Ashkenazi Jewry in the early 21st century.
This course was designed to support preparation for AH 101: A Thousand Years of Ashkenaz, Jews and Non-Jews in East Central Europe.
1. Earliest Jewish Communities in Ashkenaz
A discussion of the social foundations of the medieval Askhenazi communities.
Lessons1. Origins of the Jews of Ashkenaz (Ashkenazium Lecture 1) Self-Test Quiz Module 1 No, Ashkenazi Jews are not Khazars. (Optional Video) Migration of Jews to Ashkenaz (Optional Video)
2. Social and Economic Foundations of Early Ashkenaz
An overview of the Kehillah system of self-government and the major elements of the early Ashkenazic economy.
Lessons2. Social and Economic Foundations of Medieval Ashkenaz (Ashkenazium Lecture 2) Self-Test Quiz Module 2a Self-Test Quiz Module 2b Social Structure of Ashkenazi Communities: The Kehilla (Optional Video) Jews in the Medieval Economy (Optional Video) Jews and Trade in the Medieval Period (Optional Video) Jews and Finance in the Medieval Period (Optional Video)
3. Judaism in Medieval Ashkenaz
The religious-intellectual world of Ashkenazi Jews.
Lessons3. Religion in Medieval Ashkenaz (Ashkenazium Lecture 3) The Mishnah and the Talmud (Optional Videos) Intellectual Life: The Rishonim (Optional Video) Yocheved bat Rashi: Exceptional Jewish Women (Optional Video)
4. The Crusades and Medieval Antisemitism
The impact of the Crusades on Jewish communities and Ashkenazic collective memory, as well as the development of medieval antisemitism.
LessonsThe Crusades and Medieval Antisemitism in Ashkenaz (Ashkenazium Lecture 4) Self-Test Quiz Module 4a Self-Test Quiz Module 4b The First Crusade (Optional Video) The Impact of the First Crusade on Ashkenazi Culture (Optional Video) Medieval Jew-Hatred in Historical Context (Optional Video) Ritual Murder and Blood Libel (Optional Video) Host Desecration (Optional Video) The Insults of Exile (Optional Video) The Letter of the Convert (Optional Video)
5. The Great Upheaval in Eastern Europe
Migration of Ashkenazi Jews to Eastern Europe, the foundations of the Arenda economy, and the Khmel’nyts’kyi Rebellion.
LessonsUkrainians, Jews, and the 17th c. Khmel'nyts'kyi Uprising (The Ashkenazium Lecture 5) Self-Test Quiz Module 5 The Khmel'nyts'kyi Rebellion (Optional Video) Who was Gluckel of Hameln? (Optional Video)
6. The Sabbatean Movement
The messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi and its impact on Ashkenazic Jewry.
LessonsThe Sabbatean Episode (The Ashkenazium Lecture 6) Self-Test Quiz Module 6 Who Was Shabbetai Tsvi? (Optional Video) Who was Sarah, Wife of Shabbetai Tsvi? (Optional Video) Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto: Persecuted Genius (Optional Video)
7. Origins of The Modern Religious Upheaval
The intellectual and religious life of Ashkenazic Jewry in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
LessonsIntellectual Origins of the Hasidic Movement (The Ashkenazium Lectures 7) Self-Test Quiz Module 7 Hasidim, Mitnagdim, Maskilim: Prolegomenon (Optional Video) Optional: Who was Sarah bas Tovim? (Optional Video)
8. The Great Conflict: Hasidism, Mitnagdim and Maskilim
The birth of the Hasidic movement and the Mitnagdic backlash.
LessonsThe Great Conflict (The Ashkenazium Lectures 8) The Challenge of Hasidism (Optional Video) Who was The Alter Rebbe? (Optional Video) Who was The Maiden of Ludmir? (Optional Video) Who was David Sinzheim? (Optional Video)
10. The National Awakening
The rise of the Haskalah and the birth of modern Jewish political movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
LessonsThe National Awakening (Ashkenazium Lecture 9) The Threat of Haskalah (Optional Video) Mass Jewish Politics (Optional Video) Optional: Who Was Vladimir Jabotinsky? (Optional Video)
11. World War I and its Aftermath ()
The grand reshuffling of peoples in East-Central Europe and the tentative pragmatic expression of Jewish political ideologies.
LessonsThe Soviet Experience (Ashkenazium Lecture 10) Hitler's Rise to Power (Optional Video) Soviet Jewish History (Optional Video) Optional: Who was Sarah Schenirer? (Optional Video) Optional: Evgenia Ginzburg and Life under Stalin (Optional Video)
12. The Holocaust in Ashkenaz
The near-destruction of Ashkenazi Jewry.
LessonsThe Holocaust in Ashkenaz (Ashkenazium Lecture 11) Optional: Rabbi Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira (Video)
13. Post-war Ashkenaz
The developments in Ashkenazic lands after World War II.