Where Did Hasidism Come From?

Doroczna pielgrzymka Chasydów do Leżajska w rocznicę śmierci cadyka Elimelecha. fot. Flickr / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland / CC BY-NC 2.0

Hasidism is a Jewish religious movement which asserts God’s immanence in the world, incorporates popular mystical ideas and practices and emphasizes the joyful worship of God. Hasidism arose in the eighteenth century in the east of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, eliciting strong opposition from traditional Judaism. In the nineteenth century it gained a mass following across East-Central Europe, becoming one of the most popular currents in Judaism. Today its main centers are in the United States and Israel.

Prof. Moshe Rosman from Bar Ilan University in Israel, will trace the first stages in the development of Hasidism beginning with its origins. He will examine the roles of Israel Baal Shem Tov and his disciples, as well as of Hasidism's opponents, in shaping the movement. He will also investigate how Hasidic leadership and basic institutions were established.

Moshe Rosman is a prominent historian specializing in the history of Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He is the author of numerous works on Hasidism, including Founder of Hasidism. A Quest for the Historical Ba‘al Shem Tov, How Jewish is Jewish History? and The Lords' Jews: Jews and Magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

3 December, 6:00 PM, free admission. Lecture in English, simultaneous translation into Polish

The lecture is organized within the Global Education Outreach Program.

The lecture was made possible thanks to the support of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.