For Whom Do I Toil?: Judah Leib Gordon and the Crisis of Russian Jewry

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Oxford University Press, 1988 - Biography & Autobiography - 263 pages
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This is the first full-length biography of Judah Leib Gordon (1830-92), the most important Hebrew poet of the 19th century, and one of the pivotal intellectual and cultural figures in Russian Jewry. Setting Gordon's life and work amidst the political, cultural, and religious upheavals of his society, Stanislawski attempts to counter traditional stereotypical readings of Eastern European Jewish history. As a prominent and passionate exponent of the Jewish Enlightenment in Russia, Gordon advocated a humanist and liberal approach to all the major questions facing Jews in their tortuous transition to modernity--the religious reform of Judaism, the attractions and limits of political liberalism, the relations between Jews and Gentiles, the nature of modern anti-Semitism, the status of women in Jewish life, the possibility of a secular Jewish culture, the nature of Zionism, and the relations between Jews in the Diaspora and the Jewish community in the Land of Israel. His personal story is a fascinating drama that both symbolizes and summarizes the cultural and political challenges facing Russian Jewry at a crucial time in its history, challenges that remain pertinent and controversial today.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
3
2 From Vilna to Enlightenment 18301855
8
3 The Beginnings of a Career 18551861
25
4 Awake My People 18611865
45
The Battle Is Pitched 18651868
68
The Battle Is Joined 18681872
86
Culture and Politics 18721877
106
Illustrations
128
9 Pogroms and the Crisis of Jewish Liberalism 18801881
146
10 The Battle Over Zion 18811883
174
11 Attack and Despair 18831888
200
12 Conclusion 18881892
225
Notes
231
Bibliography
251
Index
259
Copyright

8 Exile 18771880
129

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About the author (1988)

Michael Stanislawski is a Professor of Jewish History at Columbia University.

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