When Jews Made Fellow Jews ‘Other’: Hasidism and its Opponents

A webinar with Dr. David Fishman, Professor of Jewish History, JTS

Part of the Series “The ‘Other’ in Jewish Text and Tradition”

The Hasidim, followers of the Ba’al Shem Tov and his spiritual heirs, emerged in the 18th century with controversial ideas related to Jewish practice and belief. While Hasidim coexisted peacefully with non-Hasidim in many communities, the Mitnagdim (“opponents”) in many larger Jewish centers in Eastern Europe reacted to the Hasidim not only with condemnation, but with writs of excommunication and measures to persecute the members of the new movement. This internal Jewish religious strife led to the division of the community into rival “denominations” for the first time in nearly a thousand years. We study the conflict between the Hasidim and Mitnagdim and reflect on how the core principles of the dispute continue to shape our Jewish lives and guide our homes and institutions.

Download sources: https://www.jtsa.edu/stuff/contentmgr/files/1/b15521147feaae86f9eccf2d6183ad4c/misc/fishman_3_15_22.pdf

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