The essays collected by Zvi Gitelman view modern Jewish politics through wide and varying lenses. Gitelman examines the legacy of the Bund and Zionist movements, and contends that Bundism's contributions-though less obvious-profoundly changed the structure of the society, politics, and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe and abroad. Other aspects of Jewish politics are highlighted as well, including alternative political movements of emancipation and integration and the role of national minorities and women in politics.
The volume also stresses the interactive nature of politics and culture, exploring the relationship between the political movements and Hebrew and Yiddish languages, literature, and art forms. While the Bund experienced a tenuous and distanced relationship with Yiddish culture, Zionism was supported and buoyed by the more politicized Hebrew writings and works of art. Finally, both Bundism and Zionism are tracked as immigrants from Eastern Europe brought the movements across the Atlantic Ocean to American Jewish communities and to the chaotic community of post-World War II France.
While contributors to The Emergence of Modern Jewish Politics debate the ultimate success and failure of the various parties and the appropriateness of their tactics, inevitably most examine such issues through the prism of the Holocaust, which effectively terminated East European Jewish politics. These essays also raise the issue of whether ethnic minorities are best served by highly ideological or highly pragmatic political movements in trying to defend their interests in nondemocratic, multiethnic states.
Contributors: David Aberbach, McGill University; Gershon Bacon, Bar-Ilan University; Daniel Blatman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; David E. Fishman, Jewish Theological Seminary and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; Jonathan Frankel, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Zvi Gitelman, University of Michigan; Samuel D. Kassow, Trinity College; Maud Mandel, Brown University; Benjamin Nathans, University of Pennsylvania; Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University; Michael C. Steinlauf, Gratz College; Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Chicago; Ruth R. Wisse, Harvard University; Seth L. Wolitz, University of Texas, Austin