New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture Series

The New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture Series aims to bring to the public the finest scholarship on Russian and East European Jewish culture. Drawing on Yiddish, Hebrew, and Slavic studies, the series emphasizes questions of the culture and intellectual history of the Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe. Of particular focus are the unexplored relationships between Jews and their neighbors and among Jews themselves.

The editor hopes to publish works that challenge conventional or simplistic ideas regarding the role of Jews in the relevant literatures (Russian, Polish, Czech, etc...), cosmopolitanism and national identity, and the intersection of religious and secular conceptions of self. This series has the goal of becoming a central location for the development of new approaches, including work on the history of ideas, postmodernism, and gender issues.


Series General Editor

Marat Grinberg Associate Professor of Russian and Humanities, Russian Department, Division of Literature and Languages
Reed College, USA


Horowitz, Brian and Ginsburg, Shai

vi + 204

In Bounded Mind and Soul, twelve leading scholars grapple with questions about the complex relationship between Israel and Russia. What are their mutual interests? What are the areas of conflict? And how has the immigration of more than one million Jews from the former Soviet Union affected Israeli culture, society, and politics? These essays range from studies of literature and intellectual history to in-depth examinations of the treatment of Jewish dissidents in Soviet times and new immigrants in Israel. The collection provides unexpected answers to the questions: what is the extent of Russia in Israel and Israel in Russia?

This book is Volume 4 of the series New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture.


In the mid-1930s, when the Soviet regime established Birobidzhan as the “Soviet Jewish state” with Yiddish as its official language, the local Yiddish theater assumed new prominence. In Search of Milk and Honey focuses on the theater’s role as the standard bearer and guiding spirit of this controversial exercise in nation building. The reconstruction of the ideological and cultural impulses underlying the theater’s repertoire not only reveals the circumstances of the social experiment conceived in Birobidzhan, but also presents Jewish culture in the USSR from another perspective.

In Search of Milk and Honey presents a comprehensive history and exhaustive analysis of the Birobidzhan State Yiddish Theater (BirGOSET) in its historical context. Kotlerman demonstrates that the history of BirGOSET is intricately related and intertwined with the history of the Birobidzhan state structure as a whole, and so can be viewed as a prism through which to look at the history of Birobidzhan. … The book will find an important place within the growing field of Yiddish theater scholarship.” Jeffrey Veidlinger, Department of History and Associate Director, Jewish Studies Program, Indiana University

This book is Volume 1 of the series New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture.

Book Reviews

Jahrbucher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Volume 2, no. 3, 2012: 30-31


In this unique book Brian Horowitz, Sizeler Family Chair Professor at Tulane University, articulates what is hidden in plain view: namely that many Jews in late-tsarist Russia were in love with its culture. Although they despised its government, large numbers of Jews eagerly joined Russian culture as members of the Russian cultural elite and participants in a distinct Russian-Jewish intelligentsia. Examining a broad range of figures and ideas at the heart of Jewish life during the revolutionary era at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, Brian Horowitz casts radically new portraits of such central intellectuals as Shimon Ansky, Simon Dubnov, Vladimir Jabotin–sky, Lev Shestov, Nikolai Berdyaev, and Mikhail Gershenzon, while reviv¬¬¬ing for the reader such forgotten heroes as Shimon Frug, Lev Levanda, Leib Jaffe, and Mikhail Morgulis. In the book Horowitz treats a broad panorama of subjects, encompassing legal studies, Jewish historio¬graphy, Jewish literature, Russian-Jewish relations, liberal politics, and Zionism.


This book “will revive interest in some of the most complex figures of Russian Jewish intellectual history, many of whom have been widely forgotten. Russian Jewish intellectual history has largely concentrated on those who contributed to the two major utopian projects of the 20th century: Zionism and Socialism. In many ways, Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Jabotinsky have become metonyms for all Russian Jewish intellectual history. […] The essays here demonstrate clearly the close intersection between key Jewish thinkers and Russian elite culture of the late 19th and early 20th century, thereby challenging the conventional impression of Jewish isolation within the Russian Empire.” Jeffrey Veidlinger, Indiana University

This book is volume 2 of the series New Approaches to Russian and East European Jewish Culture.

Book Reviews

Review in Jahrbucher für Geschichte Osteuropas, Volume 59, no. 3, 2011 (via, Review platform for European History)