The Chair was established in 1968 as Clara & Yizchak Sznajderman Chair for the Study of Hasidism. In 2019, its name was changed to The Clara & Yizchak Sznajderman Chair in the Study of Yiddish Culture and Hasidism, headed by Prof. Dov Ber Kotlerman (The Joseph and Norman Berman Department of Literature of the Jewish People).
In 2002, The Sznajderman Chair began assembling a team of highly qualified graduate students in Israel to begin the daunting task of sifting through hundreds of Hasidic texts, many very rare and sometimes obscure, with a view to creating a corpus of thematic entries that would convey the spirit of Hasidism – while addressing the interests of a contemporary Jewishly informed readership.
The forthcoming Anthology of Hasidic Thought and Fiction is the first anthology to offer an academically representative and comprehensive profile of the writings of Hasidism, 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 (Bar Ilan). 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.
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.
Heads of the Chair in the past: Prof. Avraham Rubenstein (The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History), Prof. Gedalya Nigal (The Joseph and Norman Berman Department of Literature of the Jewish People), Prof. Yoav Elstein (The Joseph and Norman Berman Department of Literature of the Jewish People), Prof. Rella Kushelevsky (The Joseph and Norman Berman Department of Literature of the Jewish People)