HIST 286/JWST 275


Mon., Wed., Fri. 12:00-12:50 (Key 1117)
Fall, 2009

Lecture and Reading Schedule

Home Purpose of Course Grading &
Lectures &
Extra Credit

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
Week 16

All readings and homework assignments are due in the class under which they are listed.  Students are expected to be ready to discuss the reading or film assigned.  For many of the readings there are study questions.  Click on the title of the reading to go to the text and study questions, unless otherwise stated. (Almost all of the readings are also available in the course packet. A few longer readings are only available through ELMS. Required texts are not reproduced either online or in the course packet.) If you cannot find a reading please contact me ( as soon as possible (not on the day of the class for which the reading is 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 have written and signed 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."

Issues of Urban History

Week 1:

Film of the Week:

"Stadt ohne Juden" ("City Without Jews"; 1924). Dir. by Hans Karl Breslauer. Based on a novel of the same name by Hugo Bettauer. 80 minutes. This silent film was produced with German-language intertitles. There is a pamphlet with the English translations available at the desk in Hornbake Library's Non-Print Media division. Guide and Study Questions

Mon. Aug. 31 Introduction:  The Urban Context of Jewish Historical Experience. The Goals of the Course.


Wed. Sept. 2 What is a City?  Approaches to Urban History and Geography


Spiro Kostof, "What is a City?" in The City Shaped:  Urban Patterns and Meanings through History (Boston, 1991): 37-41. UMCP Architecture Library ref. HT111.K63

Homework assignment #1 due

Fri. Sept. 4 Film Discussion -- European Visions:

"Stadt ohne Juden" ("City Without Jews").

Homework assignment #2 (brief paper) due

Jews as an Urbanizing Element:  A Chronological Survey

Week 2:

Mon. Sept. 7 LABOR DAY

Wed. Sept. 9 Ethnic Identity in the Cities of Late Antiquity


Lee Levine, "The Jewish Community in Caesarea in Late Antiquity" in Caesarea Papers, Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplementary Series, No. 5 (1992). McKeldin ref. Folio DS110.C13 C34

Josephus, Antiquities XI , Loeb Classics (Boston, 1926). McKeldin ref. PA3612.J67 1926

Philo of Alexandria, The Legatio ad Gaium, trans. with commentaries by E. Mary Smallwood (Leiden, 1961). McKeldin ref. DS135.E4P483


Fri. Sept. 11 The Middle Ages:  Dar-al-Islam and Christendom


The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela: Travels in the Middle Ages (Malibu, 1983): 35-42. McKeldin ref. G370.B5 B4613

The Pact of Omar, Paul Halsall, editor, Internet Medieval Sourcebook (Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies)

Norman Stillman, "The Jew in the Medieval City" in Daniel Frank, ed., The Jews of Medieval Islam:  Community, Society, and Identity (New York, 1995): 3-13. McKeldin ref. DS135.L4J48

Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. by Shlomo Pines (Chicago, 1963), Book III:51 ("The Parable of the Palace"). McK BM545.D33P5. Also useful for our discussion is Book II:40.

"Local Charters" in Robert Chazan, ed., Church, State, and Jew in the Middle Ages (New York, 1980): 55-59.  This item is only available at McKeldin Reserves; ref. DS102.C48

Irving Agus, Urban Civilization in Pre-Crusade Europe, vols. 1-2 (New York, 1965): 224-227, 431-32, 499-507. McKeldin ref. CB354.A35

Eli Barnavi, ed., A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People from the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present (New York, 1992): vi-ix ("The Perception of Space") and xii-1 ("Demography").  McKeldin reserves XPB 3221.A1

Homework assignment #3 due

Top of page

Week 3:

Film of the Week:

"Image Before My Eyes" (1991). 91 minutes. Dir. by Josh Waletzky. DS135.P6 I421991

Mon. Sept. 14 The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe; Sephardim and Ashkenazim; Colonial Expansions; the Ghetto in Italy and Germany

Primary Sources:

"The Oldest Extant Constitution of a North American Jewish Community (1728)"

"Constitution and Charter of Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, 1810-1812"


Benjamin Ravid, "From Geographical Realia to Historiographical Symbol: The Odyssey of the Word Ghetto" in David B. Ruderman, ed., Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy (New York, 1992). McKeldin ref. BM322.E87

Kenneth R. Stow, "The Consciousness of Closure: Roman Jewry and Its Ghet" also in Ruderman, ed., Essential Papers

Amos Elon, Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild and His Time (New York, 1997): 19-48. McKeldin ref. HG1552.R82 E46


Wed. Sept. 16 The Modern Period: New Patterns of Urbanization in Eastern Europe; Shtetl Dynamics and Urban "Ghettos"


Friesel, Evyatar. Atlas of Modern Jewish History (New York, 1990): 14 ("Urbanization Among Jews") and 19 ("Rate of Urbanization Among Jews"). McKeldin ref. G1030.F6513

Selections from The Samurai of Vishogrod: The Notebooks of Jacob Marateck retold by Shimon and Anita Wincelberg (Philadelphia,1976). McKeldin ref. DS135.R95 M288

Joshua Rothenberg, "Demythologizing the Shtetl" in Midstream (March 1981): 25-31. McKeldin ref. DS149.A336

"Impressions of a Journey through the Tomaszow Region" in Ruth R. Wisse, editor, The I.L. Peretz Reader (New York, 1990): 20-34. McKeldin ref. PJ5129.P4 A28

Homework assignment #4 due

Fri. Sept. 18 Patterns of Jewish Immigration and Settlement in Western Europe and America

Homework assignment #5 due

Primary Source:

"New York City Free Loan Societies (1917)"


Jacob Riis, How The Other Half Lives: Among the Tenements of New York (1890; Boston, 1996): 3-43 (Part I) and 63-72 (chapts. I-II), 128-148 (chapts. X-XI), 214-227 (chapts. XX-XXI). McKeldin HV4046.N6 R55 1997 (Note: McKeldin owns a different edition; page numbers will vary.)

Week 4:

Film of the Week:

"The Other Half Revisited: The Legacy of Jacob A. Riis" (1996). Dir. by Martin D. Toub. 60 minutes. V4046.N6 R75 1996.

Mon. Sept. 21 Concentration and Expansion within Cities and Suburbs

Primary Sources:

"Jewish Community Council of Essex County, New Jersey, 1945"

"The Greater Boston Area Jewish Ensemble, 1985"


Herbert Gans, "The Origin and Growth of a Jewish Community in the Suburbs: A Study of the Jews of Park Forest" in Marshall Sklare, ed., The Jews: Social Patterns of an American Group (New York, 1974): 205-48. McKeldin ref. E184.J5 555


Themes from the Jewish Urban Experience


Wed. Sept. 23 Traditions of Jewish Self-Government:  the Kehila

Primary Source:

"Charter of the Kehillah (Jewish Community) of New York City, April 5, 1914"


Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages (New York, 1993): 65-112. McKeldin Reserves; ref. DS112.K373 1993

Fri. Sept. 25 Organizational Adaptations; Lantsmanshaftn and Cemeteries

Primary Source:

"Camden, New Jersey Combination Synagogue and Burial Society, 1894"


David G. Roskies, "A Revolution Set in Stone: The Art of Burial" in The Jewish Search for a Usable Past (Bloomington, 1999): 120-145 (chapt. 7). McKeldin S112.R755 1999 

Homework assignment #6 due

Week 5:

Mon. Sept. 28 Yom Kippur No Class

Wed. Sept. 30 Ethnic Success and Failure


Stephen Steinberg, The Ethnic Myth (3rd edition, Boston, 2001): 5-105 (chapts. 1-3) and one additional chapter (either chapt. 4, 5 or 6). This is a required text. [McKeldin has an earlier edition E184.A1 S794 1989]


Fri. Oct 2 Ethnic Success and Failure (cont.)

Week 6:

Film of the Week:

"Crossing Delancey" (1988). Dir. by Joan Micklin Silver. 97 minutes. PN1997.C777 1988.

Mon. Oct. 5 The Changing Role of Women


Charlotte Baum, et al., The Jewish Woman in America (New York, 1976): 91-120 (chapt. 4). McKeldin ref. E184.J5 B37

Paula Hyman, "Gender and the Immigrant Jewish Experience in the United States" in Judith Baskin, ed., Jewish Women in Historical Perspective (Detroit, 1991): 222-42. McKeldin ref. BM729.W6 J49 1998

Selections from Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers (New York, 1975). McKeldin Reserves; ref. PZ3.Y5Br 1975a


Wed. Oct. 7 Changing Role of Women (cont.)

Fri. Oct. 9 Review

Extra Credit Assignment


Week 7:

Film of the Week:

"Mamele" (1988). Dir. by Joseph Green and Konrad Tom. 95 minutes. PN1997.M265 1988

Mon. Oct. 12 Mid-Term Exam [sample questions]


The City as Hope and Fear:

The Crafting of Urban Images in Jewish Fiction

Wed. Oct. 14 Photographic Images: East European Jewish Life and American Immigrant Neighborhoods


Lucjan Dobroszycki, "Settlements" in Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864-1939 (New York, 1977): 41-56 (skim the rest of the volume). McKeldin Reserves. Ref. DS135.P6D62

Deborah Dash Moore and David Lobenstine, "Photographing the Lower East Side: A Century's Work," in Remembering the Lower East Side: American Jewish Reflections (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), pp. 28–69.

Photo collection: 

Roman Vishniac, A Vanished World (New York, 1983): See photo numbers 9, 12, 13, 18, 27, 34, 41, 43, 62, 110, 111, 113; McKeldin Reserves; ref. DS135.E8 V57 1983 FOLIO

Homework assignment #7 (second brief paper) due


Fri. Oct. 16 Film Discussion - Nostalgic Immigrant Neighborhoods

"Joshua, Then and Now" (1986). Dir. by Ted Kotcheff. 102 minutes. SHOWN IN CLASS.

Week 8:

Film of the Week:

"Hester Street" (1990). Dir. by Joan Micklin Silver. 89 minutes. PN1997.H456 1990z

Mon. Oct. 19 City Modernity vs. Shtetl Traditionalism:  First Experiences of the City; Universal Claims in Jewish Particularism


Selections from Israel Aksenfeld, "The Headband" (1863) in Joachim Neugroschel, trans. and ed., The Shtetl, (New York, 1979): 49-107. McKeldin ref. PJ5191.E855

Israel Joshua (I.J.) Singer, "Pearls" in The River Breaks Up: A Volume of Stories Trans. from the Yiddish by Maurice Samuel (New York, 1966): 25-67. McKeldin ref. PZ3.S6166 Ri 1966

Isaac Babel, "The Jewess" (163-184) and "Odessa" (26-30) in You Must Know Everything. Stories 1915-1937, trans. by Max Hayward and ed. by Nathalie Babel (New York, 1969). PZ3.B117

Wed. Oct. 21 Poverty and Social Conflict:  Popular Religion in an Urban Context; Fictional Neighborhoods and Urban Salvations


I.J. Singer, "Sender Praguer", The River Breaks Up, A Volume of Stories (New York, 1966). McKeldin ref. PZ3.S6166 Ri 1966

Shalom Asch, "God of Vengeance" translated by Isaac Goldberg (Boston, 1918). PJ5129.A8 G63. (Entire reading is on-line.)

Fri. Oct. 23 Poverty and Social Conflict (cont.)


Week 9:

Films of the Week:

"Call It Sleep" (2000). Dir. by Martin Hoade. 25 minutes. PN1992.8.FS C35 2000
"Angel Levine" (1970). Dir. by Harry Belafonte. 106 minutes.

Mon. Oct. 26 Emerging from the Old Neighborhood: The Suburbs

FILM SHOWN IN CLASS: "Nomi's Bat Mitzvah" (2000). Dir. by Jessica Sharzer.

Wed. Oct. 28 Emerging from the Old Neighborhood: Space as Nostalgia


Henry Roth, Call It Sleep (New York, 1991). McKeldin Reserves PZ3.R74274Cal 1970. Please read the table of contents, Book I (prologue and chapter 1--David arrives in America and encounters the street life); Book II (chapter 3 -- David and his newly arrived aunt visit the Museum, bastion of American high culture); Book III (chapter 4 -- the first half about reading from the Book of Isaiah); Book IV (chapter 21 -- David inserts a metal dipper into the "live" rail of a streetcar track). Note: this novel uses the "stream of consciousness" technique to capture the thoughts of the young boy as he encounters the complicated layers of the adult world. The last assigned chapter is especially difficult to follow; try reading it out loud to get the rhythm and noise of the city, contrasted with David's inner thoughts that are represented in the text in italics.

Hana Wirth-Nesher, "Call It Sleep: Jewish, American, Modernist, Classic" in Judaism 44.4 (1995):  388-98. Available through the e-journal list on the Library's research port;


Hana Wirth-Nesher, "Afterword: Between Mother Tongue and Native Language in Call It Sleep," pp. 443–462 in the 1991 edition of the novel.

Fri. Oct. 30 The Yizkor Bukh and the Invention of the Shtetl; When We Were Poor:  the Invention of the "Good Old Days"


Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus (1959; Boston, 1989). McKeldin Reserves. Ref. PS3568.O855G6 1989. Note: This story is also on electronic reserve. Please ask the professor for the electronic reserves password if you do not know it.

Bernard Malamud, "Angel Levine", The Complete Stories, ed. and intro. by Robert Giroux (New York, 1997). McKeldin ref. PS3563.A4 1997

Music and Text to"My Yiddishe Mama" sung by Sophie Tucker (YouTube)

Week 10:

Film of the Week:

"Fires in the Mirror" (1993). Dir. by George C. Wolfe. Written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith. PNMI VHS Ref. 81. 82 minutes.

Mon. Nov. 2 The Urban Riot:  Realities and Fictions of Ethnic Tension


Robert Weinberg, "The Pogrom of 1905 in Odessa: A Case Study" in John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza, eds., Pogroms: Anti-Jewish Violence in Modern Russian History (Cambridge, 1992): 248-89. McK. DS135.R9 P55

Lamed Shapiro, "White Challa" and "The Kiss" in The Jewish Government and Other Stories, trans. by Curt Leviant (New York, 1971): 54-64; 169-172.  McK. Reserves

Hayyim Nahman Bialik, "In the City of Slaughter"Complete Poetic Works, ed. with intro. by Israel Efros (New York, 1948). McK. Reserves; PJ5053.B5 A3

Maxine Rodburg, "The Law of Return" in The Law of Return (Pittsburgh, 1999): 9-36.   McK. Reserves; PS3568.O3448L29. Note: This story is also on electronic reserve.

Wed. Nov. 4 The Crown Heights Riots

Holy Places:  Making the Urban Sacred

Fri. Nov 6 How Jerusalem became Holy


Genesis 4, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 23.  Skim the chapters looking for images of the city.  [There are further references in the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.]  Find a copy of the Bible in the reference section of McKeldin Library. 2 Samuel 5-6 [and 1 Chronicles 13-15]. Read the story of the bringing of the ark into Jerusalem carefully. Where had the ark been? Why do you think the author emphasizes the death of Uzza and the temporary resting of the ark on a threshing floor. Compare this to 2 Samuel 24: 18-24. There is a good summary of recent scholarly findings dealing with the story on a website maintained by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs entitled "King David and Jerusalem. Myth and Reality." Moshe Weinfeld, "Jerusalem: A Political and Spiritual Capital" in Joan Goodnick Westenholz, ed., Capital Cities:  Urban Planning and Spiritual Dimensions (Jerusalem, 1998): 15-40. McKeldin ref. DS41.5.C27. [If you have time:] Nitza Rosovky, ed., City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present (Cambridge, MA., 1996): chapts. 1-2 (especially, 9-14 and 37-41), 3, and 7. This item is only available in McKeldin Library Reserves. Ref. DS109.9C58 1996.

Model of First-Century Jerusalem on the Web

Week 11:

Films of the Week:

"Postville: When Cultures Collide" (2001). Producer and Writer Nikki Tundel. 56 minutes. F630.J5 P67 2001

Mon. Nov. 9 From Private Chapel to Public Space - The Early Modern and Modern Synagogue; the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum


Carol Herselle Krinsky, Synagogues of Europe:  Architecture, History, Meaning (New York, 1996): 59-93. Note: Be sure to look at the photographs of the synagogues referred to in the margins of the assigned pages. McKeldin reserves; ref. NA5450.K75 1996 FOLIO. This book is also available at the Hornbake Library Maryland Room.

Wed. Nov. 11 The Sacred and the Secular: Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv


Samuel Heilman, A Walker in Jerusalem (New York, 1986): Part 1 (chapts. 7-9) and Part 3 (303-49).  McKeldin reserves; ref. DS109.H38

Samuel Heilman, "Passover in the Mea Shearim and Geula Neighborhoods of Jerusalem" in Jewish Settlement and Community in the Modern Western World, Ronald Dotterer et al., ed. (London, 1991): 200-207.  McKeldin reserves; ref. DS143.J49

Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, "'Jerusalem Assassinated Rabin and Tel Aviv Commemorated him': Rabin Memorials and the Discourse of National Identity in Israel," City & Society (Annual Review; 1998): 183-203

Homework assignment #8 (third brief paper) due

Fri. Nov. 13 Kiryas Joel: An American Orthodox Enclave


Jerome Mintz Hasidic People. A Place in the New World. (Cambridge, MA, 1992: 198-205 (Chapt. 18: "New Square: Shtetl and Suburb"), 206-215 (Chapt. 19: "Satmar's Kiryas Joel"), 236-247 (Chapt. 21: "Political Change in Crown Heights"), 248-268 (Chapt. 22: "The Housing Labyrinth in Williamsburg"), 309-327 (Chapt. 26: "Kiryas Joel: In Court and Out"), and 328-347 (Chapt. 27: "Rumor and Riot in Crown Heights"). McK. F128.9.J5 M46

Website prepared by Chelsea Morris (2004) is now available at this site: website local Please note that some of the links on this website have been changed, but I am having trouble fixing them because of technical issues with computer access. For example, the articles on the Supreme Court rulings in the Mercer Law Review (listed at the start of the section on the "Supreme Court") are no longer available for free on the internet. To access them you will have to go to this journal through McKeldin's Research Port. Select "Journals" and type in the name of the journal. Clicking on the Lexis-Nexis Academic link to this journal (the third one on the list of links) and searching on the term "Kiryas Joel" gave me three hits including the two articles from volume 46 (1995).

Week 12:

Films of the Week:

"A Life Apart: Hasidism in America (1997)." Dir. by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky. 95 minutes. BM198.4.U6 L54 1997
"In Satmar Custody" (2003). Directed by Nitzan Gilady. 70 minutes.
"60 Minutes: Kiryas Joel" (1994). Anchored by Ed Bradley. 20 minutes.

Mon. Nov. 16 Kiryas Joel: An American Enclave - Continuation


Jerome Mintz, Hasidic People. A Place in the New World. (Cambridge, MA, 1992): 139-153 (Chapt. 13: Politics and Race in Crown Heights) and 189-197 (Chapt. 17: Before the Supreme Court). McK. F128.9.J5 M46

Wed. Nov. 18 Film Discussion

Fri. Nov. 20 Jerusalem: Contested Space (An Introduction)


Avishai Margalit, "The Myth of Jerusalem" in Views in Review: Politics and Culture in the State of the Jews (New York, 1999): 178-204. McKeldin ref. DS126.5.M326

Edward W. Said, "Leaving Palestine" in The New York Review of Books (Sept. 23, 1999). See study questions.

Amos Elon, Jerusalem: Battlegrounds of Memory (New York, 1995; updated reissue of Jerusalem: City of Mirrors, 1989): 238-251 (chapts. 7 and 8). McKeldin Reserves; ref. DS109.15.E46 [Note: This is a delightful word portrait of Jerusalem and the religious passions which shape life in the city.  The text, slightly out of date, tries to present the various religious traditions and the modern history of the city in a balanced fashion.  The last two chapters provide an excellent introduction to the modern history of the city.]Amir Cheshin, et al., Separate and Unequal. The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem. (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1999). McKeldin ref. DS109.94.C49 1999. This account of policy making on the part of the Israeli municipal government of Jerusalem provides useful background for your final paper.

Sarah Kaminker, "For Arabs Only: Building Restrictions in East Jerusalem" in Journal of Palestine Studies 26:4 (Summer 1997): 5-16.  McKeldin Reserves; ref. DS119.7.J63. The presentation of Israeli policy in this reading (as well as in the Cheshin book) have recently been challenged by a new study that you may also find useful: Justus Reid Weiner, Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2003), McK HD 9715.I72W45 2003 (on reserve).


Week 13:

Films of the Week:

[REPEAT SHOWING FOR NON-GERMAN SPEAKERS] "Stadt ohne Juden" ("City Without Jews"; 1924). Dir. by Hans Karl Breslauer. Based on a novel of the same name by Hugo Bettauer. 80 minutes. Note: English inter-titles now available at the front desk at Hornbake.

"Chronicle of a Jerusalem Courtyard." (2003). Dir. by Tom Barkai and Tzvika Nevo (Mann). 28 minutes.

Mon. Nov. 23


Homework assignment #9 (Part I) due

Wed. Nov. 25 Current Struggles over the Future of Jerusalem; The Dynamics of Jewish Religious Separatism


Homework assignment #9 (Part II) due

Fri. Nov. 27 Thanksgiving break - NO CLASS  

Week 14:

Films of the Week:

"Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?" (1997). Dir. by Marty Rosenbluth. 60 minutes. KMM873.4.P34 J47 1997
"Balance of Fear" (2002). Dir. by Paul Loughlin and Brendan O'Brien.
49 minutes.
"Wailing Walls" (2002). Dir. by Tor Ben-Mayor and Yehuda Litani. 49 minutes.

Mon. Nov. 30 Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Wed. Dec. 2 Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict -- Continued


Fri. Dec. 4 Film Discussion - Ethnic-Religious Conflict in Comparative Perspective (Israel/Northern Ireland)


Week 15:

Films of the Week:

"You, Me, Jerusalem" (1996). Dir. by Micha Peled and George Khleifi. 55 minutes. DS109.94.Y68 1996
"Une Maison a Jerusalem" (1998). Dir. by Amos Gitai. 89 minutes. DS111.9.M35 1998

Mon. Dec. 7 Jerusalem and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict -- Continued

Wed. Dec. 9

Homework assignment #10 (final paper) due

Fri. Dec. 11 Review of Final Papers

Week 16:

Mon. Dec. 13 Course Review

Fri. Dec 18 Final Examination due in Dr. Cooperman's mailbox in the History Dept. Office (Francis Scott Key 2115) by 10:00 a.m. The History Department office opens at 8 am. Please make sure to get your answers time-stamped in the department.

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Purpose of Course

Grading & Requirements

Lectures & Readings

Homework Assignments

Extra Credit