Wrocławskie Konferencje Judaistyczne – I Edycja. Chasydyzm w Polsce. Nowe spojrzenie

The history of the Hasidic movement is traditionally one of the most popular research themes in Jewish historiography and the bibliography of publications devoted to this subject is truly impressive. This degree of interest is quite understandable, as Hasidism is very attractive not only on an anecdotal, narrative level, but also it constitutes one of the most important – if not the most important – religious and social movements throughout Jewish Eastern Europe.

Despite this relatively developed state of research, the last decade has brought significant changes in this traditional field of study and research has gained a new impetus. The first of these new, highly visible tendencies is a growing interest in those areas which have been neglected in earlier studies of Hasidism, in particular the history of Hasidism in the nineteenth century, the organisation of Hasidic communities and other social issues. The second tendency of the last decade is a drive to expand the resource base of studies of the movement. New, non-Hebrew and non-Yiddish sources have brought radical changes in the traditional views of Hasidism; most profoundly in relation to the beginning of the movement. It points to the possible existence of sources which can heavily influence or alter our perception of the Hasidic movement as a whole. The natural consequence of introducing new sources into the canon of Hasidic studies is a drive to the contextualisation and re-evaluation of standard sources. New studies tend to underline the importance of the Jewish and, even more so, the non-Jewish background of the Hasidic movement. The growing importance of studies of the Polish context of Hasidism have convinced the organisers that the conference should take place in Poland and should be devoted to the history of the Hasidic movement in the Polish territories.

Program: Wrocław, 23 sierpnia

Morning sessions: The Senate Hall of the Wrocław University, pl. Uniwersytecki 1

  • Welcome address of Professor Zdzisław Latajka, Rector of the Wrocław University
  • Welcome address of Professor Jeremy Cohen, Director of the Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University
  • Opening lecture: Gershon Hundert (McGill University), Explaining the Rise of Hasidism
  • Socializing Hasidism, Chair: Ada Rapoport-Albert (University College London)
  • Immanuel Etkes (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): The First Hasidic Courts
  • Shaul Stampfer (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): The Influence of Hasidism on the Jewish Family
  • Marcin Wodziński (Wrocław University): Hasidism, Shtadlanut, and the Jewish Politics: The Case of Isaac of Warka
  • Discussion

Afternoon sessions: Conference Hall, Hotel Patio, ul. Kiełbaśnicza 24, 2nd floor

  • Contextualizing Hasidism, Chair: Gershon Hundert (McGill University)
  • Glenn Dynner (Sarah Lawrence College): Text in Search of Context: The Polishness of Polish Hasidism
  • Barbara Stępniewska-Holzer (Warsaw University): The Expansion of Hasidic Movement in Byelorussia in the First Half of the 19th Century in Light of Russian Archival Sources
  • Vladimir Levin (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Hasidim Versus Mitnaggedim in the Orthodox Politics in Russia Between Two Revolutions
  • Discussion
  • Hasidism in Central Poland, Chair: Immanuel Etkes (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Nehemia Polen (Hebrew College): Entangled Relations: The Changing Roles of the Kozienice and Gur Dynasties in Polish Hasidism
  • Naftali Loewenthal (University College London): Mendele Mendele Gezerah Shavah? Investigating the Habad View of Kock
  • Yonatan Meir (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Hillel Zeitlin: Hasidism, Neo-Romanticism and New Hasidism in Warsaw
  • Discussion

Program: Wrocław, 24 sierpnia The Senate Hall of the Wrocław University, pl. Uniwersytecki 1

  • Godly and Mundane: Modes of Hasidic Prayer, Chair: Mordechai Rotenberg (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Ada Rapoport-Albert (University College London): The Expansion of Prayer Modes in Bratslav Hasidism
  • Allan Nadler (Drew University): The Holy Kugel: The Sanctification of Jewish Ethnic Foods at the Hasidic Tish
  • Zvi Mark (Bar Ilan University): Ma’aseh me-ha-Shiryon and the Tikkun ha-Kelali : On R. Nahman of Bratslav and Sabbateanism
  • Discussion
  • Hasidism in the Entanglement of Heresy and Messianism, Chair: Michał Galas (Jagiellonian University)
  • Jan Doktor (Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw): The Besht and the Significance of the Messianic year 1740
  • Paweł Maciejko (University of Oxford): Erev Rav: Early Hasidic Reactions to Frankism
  • David Assaf (Tel Aviv University): „And all Israel might be Saved from Exile in One Day”: A Messianic Illusion among Hasidim in Wołyń (Volhynia) following the Kishinev Pogrom (1903)
  • Discussion and official closing of the colloquium


  • Pracownia Kultury i Języków Żydów Polskich, Uniwersytet Wrocławski,
  • The Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University,
  • Żydowski Instytut Historyczny IN-B (Warszawa).