The Clara & Yizchak Sznajderman Chair for the Study of Hassidism

The Clara and Yizchak Sznajderman Chair for the Study of Hassidism

Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Chair: Prof. Rella Kushelevsky


The Sznajderman Chair for the Study of Hassidism has undertaken a unique project of far-reaching cultural and academic consequences. The forthcoming Anthology of Hassidic Thought and Fiction is the first anthology to offer an academically representative and comprehensive profile of the writings of Hassidism, a core component of Modern Judaism.

The editorial board guiding this project consists of world-ranking figures in the study of Hassidism:  Prof. Moshe Idel (The Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Prof. Yoav Elstein (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan), Prof. Lewis Glinert (Dartmouth College, U.S.A.), Prof. Rella Kushelevsky (Bar-Ilan), Dr. Hanna Hendler (Bar Ilan) and Dr. Avishar Har-Shefi. It is a mark of the vision and scholarship of the editors that they have undertaken such a monumental challenge, treading where no previous generation of scholars has felt able to tread.

In 2002, the Sznajderman Chair and the Board of Editors began assembling a team of highly qualified graduate students in Israel to begin the daunting task of sifting through hundreds of Hassidic texts, many very rare and sometimes obscure, with a view to creating a corpus of thematic entries that would convey the spirit of Hassidism  – while addressing the interests of a contemporary Jewishly informed readership. Some of the entries are: 'Devotion,' 'Prayer', 'Immanence of the Divine', 'Materiality in the Worship of God,' 'The Simple Folk,' 'Neo-Hassidism'. Each encludes includes a short introduction, selected source-texts -- many never before brought together – and a select bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The source-texts have been judiciously chosen for their clarity and for their capacity to present the richness of each theme with due regard for the dynamic evolution of Hassidism, from its beginnings in the 18th century down to the present. The source texts have been strung together with a light evaluative hand but with due concern to explicate any problematic language or concepts.

The target readership is two-fold: (a) students and scholars of Judaic Studies, comparative religion and mysticism and (b)  the Jewishly informed general Hebrew-reading public, in Israel and the Diaspora.