Course Memo

Hasidism itself was a radical Jewish mystical movement that emerged in eighteenth-century Poland and spread like wildfire throughout Eastern Europe. Within just a few generations, contending with the allures of liberal secularism and assimilation, Hasidism became a cornerstone of ultra-Orthodoxy. However, starting in the twentieth-century, Hasidism also became an object of romantic enchantment among relatively secular Jews. Neo-Hasidism, the topic of this course, refers precisely to this phenomenon of non-Hasidic Jews drawing upon (appropriating?) Hasidism for purposes of spiritual-cultural renewal. The paths of Neo-Hasidism intersect with stories of post-liberal countercultures, orientalism, cultural Zionism, Jewish navigations of collective trauma, identity politics, psychedelics, and feminism.