History  283/Jewish Studies 235
Spring 2007

Tuesdays/Thursdays 1:00-1:50 (CHM 1407)

Please Note: This syllabus will be updated on a regular basis both to fix any errors and to add explanations, guides, updates, make-up dates for classes missed, and opportunities for extra credit. Please check back regularly.

The final exam date has finally been scheduled: BPS 1250 Thurs 5/17 1:30-3:30pm. An alternative exam will be offered on Wednesday May 16 at 1 pm in Taliaferro 2108. Be sure to look at the review questions. The list of documents is also given there. Good luck.



Professor Bernard Cooperman; Taliaferro (TLF) Rm 2130; 301-405-4271. cooperma@umd.edu

Office hours: Tues. 10:00-11:00, Thurs. 11:00-12:00, and by appointment

Teaching Assistants:

Brian Phelan (FSK #????; slavirish@yahoo.com); 240-418-2087; office hours Mon 11-12; Tues 2-3 and by appointment

Michael Lesley (FSK #????; mlesley@gmail.com) office hours Mon. 1:00-2:00 and by appointment

Extra Credit

HIST 299c is a one-credit course created especially (though not exclusively) for students in HIST 283/JWST235. Each Tuesday from 3 to 6 pm in FS Key 0106 we will watch a video or film related to the modern Jewish experience. The film will be introduced by Professor Cooperman or a guest lecturer.You must sign up separately for this course. In order to receive credit, students are expected to attend at least 10 of the films and answer a written set of brief questions about each of these.

There is no final examination for History 299c.

To check on the number of answers you have handed in to date, you will be able to click here.


Required Texts

David Engel, The Holocaust. The Third Reich and the Jews (Harlow, England: Longman, 2000)

Lloyd Gartner, History of the Jews in Modern Times (New York: Oxford, 2001)

Eli Lederhendler, New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity, 1950-1970 (Syracuse University Press, 2001)

Solomon Maimon, An Autobiography, with an introduction by Michael Shapiro (U. of Illinois, 2003)

Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehudah Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford, 1995)

Pauline Wengeroff, Rememberings (Univ. Press of Maryland, 2000)

Amos Oz , In the Land of Israel (Harcourt, 1983)

Ilan Stavans, The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (Oxford, 1998)


Recommended Reference Works and Writing Guides

Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People (New York, Schocken, 2003). A very useful and pleasantly written overview of Jewish history. Students find that its time-lines, graphics, and maps are a very good introduction to many topics and a handy guide to reviewing. A new edition appeared last fall (but the older edition is still available and may be quite a bit cheaper).

Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (Merriam Webster, 1994)

Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History 5th edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007)

Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000)


The three usage/style manuals listed above are well written and not too expensive. There are many other similar books on the market. You should make such books a part of your personal library and place them permanently on your desk or a bookshelf so that you can consult them often while you write. (Some students keep the usage manual or books like it, near their bed. You can read an entry each evening. It will undoubtedly help you fall asleep, but in the few seconds before you drop off, you will get to understand how the English language works.) These manuals will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. In almost any field you choose, your future career will be determined by how well you command language and how comfortably you can persuade others of your positions. In this course, your papers are marked for both content and the quality of the argument you make. The latter depends on your control of the English language. Give yourself all the help you can get.

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15

Please Note:  There are three kinds of readings for this course, and each should be used in a different manner.

a) The survey history of modern Jewish history by Gartner will give you the basic facts. Read each chapter (twice) in the week it is assigned. Use the book to give you a sense of the overall structure and flow of the topic. Your notes should be relatively detailed, trying to identify major people, places and events.

b) The documentary collection by Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz will provide the basis for section discussions. Your section leader will specify which documents will be discussed most intensely. Your goal here is not so much to memorize details as to explore and understand contemporary tensions and aspirations. Ask yourself what the purpose of the document was, and why it was phrased as it was. Your notes should be interpretive. Exam questions will ask you to evaluate, not to repeat, these documents. Students are expected to be ready to discuss the readings in the classes under which they are listed. 

c) The extended monographs. Here your reading should be less detailed, if only because the books are long. Since you will probably not be able to read any of these books in a single week, you should begin reading them as soon as possible, relying on the lectures and textbook to fill in the missing details later. Read the book's introduction and conclusion first. Try to sum up what you think the author intends to say in the book. Use the table of contents to check your assumption. Then read quickly, feeling free to skip when time is short. You are not reading for facts; you are using these books to learn how to quickly summarize the point of a book. Essays and exam questions will ask you about the author's argument, the effectiveness of his proofs, and the implications of his argument for the rest of modern Jewish history.

Movies (videos) are assigned for a number of weeks during the semester. These will be shown in the Non-Print Media section on the fourth floor of Hornbake library on a repeating schedule. Use these to extend your knowledge of specific periods or issues. Be sure to examine the way in which the film maker shaped his/her narrative and historical interpretation. The stories in the Oxford Book of Jewish Stories will give you a further opportunity to think about broad issues through fiction.

For many of the readings there are study questions.  Click on the title of the reading to go to the study questions, unless otherwise stated. Some readings will ONLY be available on reserve, so plan ahead. If students do not wish to read or print from the web, the readings are all available in McKeldin Library Reserves.  If you cannot find a reading either here or at the Reserves desk, please contact Dr. Cooperman or one of the Teaching Assistants as soon as possible (not in the class for which the reading was due).

Don't forget to refer to this site often in order to stay up-to-date on changes to the schedule or assignments and the addition of study questions or extra credit opportunities.

Finally, please remember the following University Honor Pledge which you should write and sign on all of your assignments and exams: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/exam."


Week 1:

Thurs. Jan. 25  General introduction.  Methodological considerations;  periodization; modernity and incipient modernism; definition of  issues.

Week 2:

Tues. Jan. 30  Pre-Modern Jewry and Judaism.  Corporate identity and communal autonomy.

 Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 1 (pp. 1-25)


Thurs. Feb. 1 Demographic Overview.  Population explosion; migratory patterns; Marrano and New  Christian communities; impact of the Holocaust.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 2 (pp. 26-60)

 Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, pp. 701 ff.  (skim 4)


Week 3:

Tues., Feb. 6 Demographic Overview -- Continued.

Thurs., Feb. 8 Economic Change.  Jewish artisans; court Jews; marginality and integration.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 3 (pp. 61-94)

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. I


Week 4:

Tues., Feb. 13 Economic Change -- Continued.

Thurs., Feb. 15 Rise of Toleration.  Theories and practice; Colonial experience; enlightened absolutism; English  experiments.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 4 (pp. 95-127)

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. II


Week 5:

Tues., Feb. 20 Rise of Toleration -- Continued.

Thurs., Feb. 22  Haskallah or the Jewish Enlightenment.  Social background; breakdown of communal authority; Mendelssohn  and his followers; assimilation? 

NOTE: The quiz for week 6 (beginning with sections on Friday, Feb. 23, will cover all of Solomon Maimon's autobiography.


Week 6:

Tues., Feb. 27   Haskallah -- Continued.

Thurs., Mar 1 Haskallah -- Continued. Some study questions for Maimon's autobiography and some suggestions for the quiz here

Week 7:

Tues., Mar. 6 Review and First Assignment Due:  Three- to four-page review of  Solomon Maimon, An Autobiography. (An abbreviated version of the book is available here. If you didn't manage to buy a copy of the assigned version before the book store ran out, you can use this but then make sure you go over the fuller text [including the Introduction] in McKeldin where several copies are available at the Reserve Desk.)

Thurs., Mar. 8 Mid-Term Examination.

Some very broad study questions are provided here. The outline Powerpoint slides are available here: Introduction, Pre-Modern Patterns, Demographic Change, Economic Overview, Toleration, Haskalah. The exam is divided into three parts: a long essay question (50%), a short essay question (30%), and brief id's (20%). The short essay question will ask you to explain the significance of one of the texts assigned in the Mendes-Flohr and Reinharz reader in the context of your broader reading. We will choose several texts from among the following: Chapter I, #1, 8; Chapter II, #1, 4, 12, 20.

Week 8:

Extra Credit
Monday, Mar. 12, 7 pm

Tues. Mar. 13   Emancipation and Revolution.  French revolution; Napoleonic retreat; Parisian  Sanhedrin; 1848; final emancipations

Reading: Gartner, chapt. 5 (128-161)

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. III

Thurs. Mar. 15 Emancipation (cont.)


March 19-23  Spring Break

Reading: Pauline Wengeroff. Rememberings.

Week 9:

Tues., Mar. 27 Jews in Eastern Europe.  Hasidism; Eastern Haskallah;

Reading: Gartner, chapts. 6 & 7 (pp. 162-212). [Click on chapt. numbers individually to access relevant study questions.]

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. VIII. We will focus on documents 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 23-27.

Pauline Wengeroff, Rememberings.

Extra Credit

David G. Roskies, "1943: The Jewish World at Ground Zero."

7–8:30 PM

Holocaust Memorial Museum. 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW,

Washington DC

Please RSVP 202.488.6162


Thurs., Mar. 29   Modern Jewish literature in Yiddish and Hebrew.

Reading: Ilan Stavans, ed. The Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (Oxford: 1998). Please pay particular attention to the stories beginning on pages 44, 48, 64, 68, 86, 105, 125, 166, 217, 245, 300, 312, 336, and 438. Enjoy.

Week 10:

Tues., Apr. 3 Passover. Class is cancelled. Make-up to be announced.

Thurs., Apr. 5 Redefinitions of Jewish Identity in the West.  Religious Reform (A. Geiger); Neo-Orthodoxy (S. R. Hirsch);  "Conservative"  Judaism (Z. Fraenkel). Second Assignment Due: Details to follow.

Reading: Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. IV. We will emphasize #1, 4., 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13 in section.

Week 11:

Tues. Apr. 10 Passover. Class is cancelled. Make-up to be announced.

Thurs. Apr. 12 Wissenschaft and Historicism (H. Graetz);  Second Essay Assignment Due in Class. Details below in the list of Requirements.

Reading:  Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. V. We will emphasize #2, 4, and 13 in section.


Week 12:

Tues. Apr. 17: Political Anti-Semitism.  Racism; anti-Modernism; Dreyfus and the politics of anti-Semitism;  background to Hitler.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 8 (pp. 213-266)

Thurs. Apr. 19   Jewish Nationalisms.  New forms of community and voluntary association (Alliance Israelite Universelle);  Diaspora nationalisms; universalist ideologies; socialism. Zionism, "Lovers of Zion"; Theodore Herzl; Zionists and Bundists; war and revolution.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 9 (pp. 267-318) and chapt. 10 (pp. 319-346)

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, pp. 419-436 and chapter X, especially docs. 1, 2, 9, 12, and 14.


Week 13:

Tues. April 24: American Jewry.  Migrations; religious experiments; new organizational models; East Europeans; American Jewish literature;  political  awakening.

Reading: Eli Lederhendler, New York Jews and the Decline of Urban Ethnicity, 1950-1970 .

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. IX.

Thurs. April 26: The Inter-War Years & The Holocaust.  Minority rights; political parties;  Racial laws; invasion of Poland; mass murders and the "final  solution";  world reactions; Jewish powerlessness and  rebellion.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 11 (pp. 347-395)

Mendes-Flohr & Reinharz, chapt. XI.

David Engel. The Holocaust. The Third Reich and the Jews

Week 14:

Tues. May 1: The Holocaust. (cont.)

Thurs. May 3:   State of Israel.  Migration; Arab question; War of Independence, "Ingathering of the Exiles"; Creation of a new society; modern Hebrew  Literature.

Reading:  Gartner, chapt. 12 (pp. 396-437)

Amos Oz, In the Land of Israel.


Week 15:

Mon. May 7 Make-Up Class Tydings Hall 0117 1pm–3pm. To listen to a summary click here.

Tues. May 8

Wed. May 9

Extra Credit

Free Lunch with Mr. Theodore Bikel

Francis Scott Key Hall Rm 2120 12–1:30 PM

Prepare an essay of approximately two pages (600 words) providing the historical background to one aspect of Mr. Bikel's life and career of relevance in the context of this course: for example, his youth in Vienna, his migration to Israel, or his role in the Jewish music revival. Your paper should end with a bibliography listing at least three academic books or journal articles for future research.

Lunch is Free but you must reserve. Space is limited.

Please call Ms Darlene King 301.405.4262

Thursday, May 10: Current Trends and Challenges. Review. Third assignment due in class today.

Wednesday, May 16: 1:00–3:00 pm Alternate Final Examination Taliaferro 2108

Thursday, May 17: 1:30–3:30 pm Final Examination BPS 1250

For Review Questions and a list of primary documents that should be prepared for the exam, click here PowerPoint slides: East European, Emancipation, Holocaust, Israel.


Class Requirements

1) Attendance at classes and discussion sections is mandatory.

2) Lectures assume that you have already read the assigned readings for that day or week. Quizzes in section and class will be based, for the most part, on the assigned readings in Gartner and in the documentary reader. You may be called upon in any lecture to discuss or outline the relevant reading. Enjoy.

3) Quizzes will be given in section almost every week. There will also be at least one "surprise" quiz given in lecture. No make-up quizzes will be given to any students who arrive late or who do not attend the section in which a quiz is given. Only your top ten quiz grades will count.

4) Assignment #1: a 3-5 page review of Solomon Maimon's Autobiography. The book is out of print but the publisher promises it will be available by February 2. There are copies on reserve in McKeldin at the Reserve Desk.) Your paper is due in class on March 1. Please submit two copies. Guide to the assignment.

5) Assignment #2: a 3-5 page review of Pauline Wengeroff's Rememberings. Due in class April 12, 2007. In their evaluation of the book, students are urged to compare and contrast Wengeroff's memoir with Maimon's. To what do you attribute differences: the social and economic standing of the authors? their different geographical locations? their gender? changes in the legal, cultural, and social situation of Jews between the 18th and 19th centuries?

6) Assignment #3: A five-page paper. Contextualizing an Historical Source. Choose either Amos Oz' In the Land of Israel or Eli Lederhendler's New York Jews. In less than a page, identify the overall argument of the book. (In the case of the Oz book it may help to pay attention to when the book was written and to guess at its intended audience. Find out a little about Oz himself and his role as a public intellectual in Israel.) Then, in approximately two pages, summarize and evaluate one major theme or issue that comes up in the work. (Usually you will focus on the subject of a single chapter.) Finally, find an article from a newspaper or newsmagazine (New York Times; Jerusalem Post; Jerusalem Report; Boston Jewish Advocate; etc.) that relates to that major theme. Explain the context or significance of the newspaper account in light of the argument you identified in your book. Please attach a copy of the article to your paper. The papers are due in class on May 10.

7) The final exam will consist of two parts: (a) a set of questions like those on the "mid-term" examination and covering the material given from March 8 to the end of term; and (b) a cumulative question that requires review of the entire course. A set of sample cumulative questions will be handed out in advance.

8) The course grade will be constructed as follows:

Class and section performance (attendance, preparation, and participation; 2 section absences allowed): 10%
Quizzes (top ten count; no make-ups): 10%
Assignment #1: 15%
Assignment #2: 15%
Assignment #3: 15%
Mid-Term: 12.5%
Final Exam: 22.5% (12.5% + 10%)

9) Professor Cooperman and the teaching assistants have posted office hours for meetings with any student. If these office hours do not meet your schedule, please feel free to make an appointment for some other time.

10) Chaim Gans' essay can be found at http://www.azure.org.il/magazine/magazine.asp?id=354


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15