Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution by Kenneth B. Moss

By Kenneth B. Moss

among 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers around the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a “Jewish renaissance.” on the center in their application lay a appreciably new imaginative and prescient of Jewish tradition predicated now not on faith yet on paintings and secular individuality, nationwide in scope but cosmopolitan in content material, framed by way of a fierce devotion to Hebrew or Yiddish but enthusiastic about uploading and collaborating within the shared tradition of Europe and the realm. those cultural warriors sought to recast themselves and different Jews not just as a latest country yet as a country of moderns.

Kenneth Moss bargains the 1st accomplished examine this attention-grabbing second in Jewish and Russian historical past. He examines what those a variety of would-be cultural revolutionaries, reminiscent of El Lissitzky and Haim Nahman Bialik, intended by means of a brand new Jewish tradition, and information their fierce disagreements but additionally their shared assumptions approximately what tradition was once and why it used to be so vital. In shut readings of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian texts, he strains how they sought to gain their beliefs in perform as writers, artists, and thinkers within the burgeoning cultural facilities of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. And he finds what occurred to them and their beliefs because the Bolsheviks consolidated their carry over cultural lifestyles.

here's a awesome, revisionist argument concerning the nature of cultural nationalism, the connection among nationalism and socialism as ideological structures, and tradition itself, the axis round which the stumble upon among Jews and ecu modernity has pivoted during the last century.

(20100212)

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By Kenneth B. Moss

among 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers around the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a “Jewish renaissance.” on the center in their application lay a appreciably new imaginative and prescient of Jewish tradition predicated now not on faith yet on paintings and secular individuality, nationwide in scope but cosmopolitan in content material, framed by way of a fierce devotion to Hebrew or Yiddish but enthusiastic about uploading and collaborating within the shared tradition of Europe and the realm. those cultural warriors sought to recast themselves and different Jews not just as a latest country yet as a country of moderns.

Kenneth Moss bargains the 1st accomplished examine this attention-grabbing second in Jewish and Russian historical past. He examines what those a variety of would-be cultural revolutionaries, reminiscent of El Lissitzky and Haim Nahman Bialik, intended by means of a brand new Jewish tradition, and information their fierce disagreements but additionally their shared assumptions approximately what tradition was once and why it used to be so vital. In shut readings of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian texts, he strains how they sought to gain their beliefs in perform as writers, artists, and thinkers within the burgeoning cultural facilities of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. And he finds what occurred to them and their beliefs because the Bolsheviks consolidated their carry over cultural lifestyles.

here's a awesome, revisionist argument concerning the nature of cultural nationalism, the connection among nationalism and socialism as ideological structures, and tradition itself, the axis round which the stumble upon among Jews and ecu modernity has pivoted during the last century.

(20100212)

Show description

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At age twenty-three, she founded a Hebrew publishing house in the heart of Russian Orthodox Moscow and, drawing her staff from Hebrew writers and students among the city’s swelling population of Jewish war refugees, embarked on an ambitious publishing program. Her publishing house, Omanut (Hebrew for “art”), devoted special effort to producing a “European” Hebrew children’s literature, illustrated by the best Russian Jewish artists and built around translations of the best European writing for children.

In the most general terms, The Time for Words Has Passed 39 of course, February meant complete institutional and expressive freedom in all spheres. After decades of government harassment, the Jewish intelligentsia suddenly found its cultural institution-building limited only by practical circumstance. 47 The intelligentsia’s imperative to create a new Jewish culture was thus reinforced, in their view, by history itself—and rendered all the more pressing. In that sense, February was pregnant with meaning for many culturists, but not in the sense we often associate with the rhetoric of revolution: it was not a rupture in time demanding a fundamentally new mode of behavior, but the capstone to the death of the traditional world that Jewish culturists had always aspired to succeed and subsume.

In the previous Revolution, Jewish cultural and literary endeavor had declined precipitously, especially in Hebrew. Culturists had reacted with shock to this collapse. The HebrewYiddish writer Zalman Ahronson (Anoykhi) had written perceptively of this “great and bitter blow to our literature” and drawn a pained comparison between the abandonment of Jewish culture and the enviable responsibility of Russian cultural creators: Even if these terrible upheavals should last for decades, when victory comes, the Russian people will be able to lift their eyes to their literature and find a great literature, great creations .

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