The Circle of Censorship and Book Burning in East European Jewry
THE CIRCLE OF CENSORSHIP AND BOOK BURNING IN EAST EUROPEAN JEWRY
Part of our fall learning series Dangerous Ideas: Censorship Through a Jewish Lens
Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
With Dr. David Fishman, Professor of Jewish History
When Hasidism was a new rising movement, its pious opponents (the Mitnagdim) ordered Jewish communities to burn and destroy Hasidic books. Half a century later, the shoe was on the other foot: Hasidism, by then a strong and widespread movement, engaged in the burning and seizure of books written by representatives of a new rising movement, the Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah). The enlighteners responded in kind. They turned to the Russian authorities, urging them to censor and restrict Hasidic literature. Religious and ideological strife led to an extended war for control over Jewish printing. We’ll take a closer look at this time period to try to understand what each group was trying to achieve and discuss the resulting impact that this had on each of these movements.
Each Monday series has a new Zoom link. Once you register for Dangerous Ideas: Censorship through a Jewish Lens, your registration admits you to all sessions in this series, and you may attend as many sessions as you’d like.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Dangerous Ideas: Censorship Through a Jewish Lens
Throughout Jewish history, certain texts and ideas have been deemed too dangerous to circulate—whether by outsiders who banned Jewish writings, or Jewish leaders who suppressed ideas considered heretical or beyond the pale. In this series, JTS scholars will examine efforts to control knowledge from ancient to contemporary times, exploring the ways in which censorship both reflects and shapes broader ideological struggles. They will discuss the varying motivations for controlling or revising narratives, and consider whether and under what circumstances it might make sense to suppress certain ideas. These discussions will illuminate past struggles and help us understand the battles over censorship and free expression playing out today.