The Jewish Metropolis: Warsaw and Vilna before the Holocaust, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013 - Sunday, February 24, 2013


The Yiddish Book Center's online class with Samuel Kassow



Study with a renowned scholar of East European Jewish history in the comfort of your living room!

Register now for the Yiddish Book Center’s online class, The Jewish Metropolis: Warsaw and Vilna before the Holocaust, with Professor Samuel Kassow of Trinity College.

Through three remarkable lectures, readings, and online discussion, students will gain a profound understanding of two key cities in Ashkenazi Jewish history. Professor Kassow’s encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, his fluency in Yiddish language and culture, and his gift for evoking the tam of the Jewish people make this class a unique intellectual and cultural experience, bringing students back to the colorful and contentious streets of pre-War Vilna and Warsaw.

"Professor Kassow is a spellbinding lecturer. He brings interwar Poland to life."

—Online class participant


 The details:

  • Class runs for three weeks, February 3-24, 2013. Readings and interactive online discussion will be available during these three weeks only. Lectures will remain available for viewing for three additional weeks (through March 17).
  •  There are no specific meeting times. You participate at your own convenience during the timeframe mentioned above.
  • Class is not for credit.
  • Includes three lectures by Professor Kassow; introduction by Aaron Lansky; suggested readings and resources; and an online discussion forum.
  • $100 Book Center members & full-time students; $140 non-members. Join or renew your membership now to take advantage of the member discount.
  • Technical requirements: The Yiddish Book Center's online learning system supports all major modern internet browsers. We recommend that you use Internet Explorer 8.0, Firefox 4.0, or Google Chrome, with the latest version of Adobe Flash installed for rich media support.
  • We will be in touch with registered students before the class begins with information about how to log in and view class materials.

The lectures:

  • Week 1—Warsaw: The Making of a Jewish Metropolis
    Professor Kassow tells the story of how, during the early 20th century, Warsaw became one of the world’s most important centers of Yiddish culture and Jewish life. He presents the colorful tiles of Warsaw's Jewish mosaic: the Polish-speaking elite, the Hasidim, the mobsters, the Litvaks, and the literary greats who all overlapped and intermingled there before World War I.

  • Week 2—Warsaw: The Capital of Polish Jewry
    In this second lecture, Professor Kassow captures the essence of Jewish life in interwar Poland, on the heels of Polish independence. He shows the profound contradictions engendered in Poland during this time: pogroms and anti-Semitism against the backdrop of a flourishing Jewish cultural and political life, and a movement toward Jewish nationalism alongside a movement toward assimilation and Polish nationalism. This lecture allows us to comprehend the often unappreciated complexity and diversity of Jewish life in Poland between the World Wars.

  • Week 3—Litvaks: The Collective Memory of Jewish Vilna
    In this third and final lecture, Professor Kassow describes and lingers in nusekh Vilne, Vilna’s unique and beloved atmosphere. He explains how Vilna—with far fewer Jews—came closer than Warsaw or any other place to fully integrating Jewish culture with modern life. This lecture introduces students to the writers, leaders, and heroes of Litvak culture, and to the urban landscape that fostered such a strong sense of community, purpose, and pride.

Watch a sneak peek!

We're sorry, the deadline for registering for this event has passed.















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