The painted ceiling of the Chodorow synagogue (17th c., reconstruction  of Bet ha-Tefutzot).The Temple of Lwow. Postcard, early 20th c.Maurycy Gottlieb.  Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur, 1878

Academic Courses for 2014 / 2015

 Dr. Ella Bauer, The Great Madness; Galicia and Bukovina Jewries Before and During World War I

Tel Aviv University

World War I considered a significant milestone and central events at the history of the twenty century. Jewish communities in different fight zones faced new problems that the new reality of the war created.  Among these communities were Galicia Jewry, an eastern European geographic region that until World War I was part of the Austrian - Hungarian Empire and Jewish communities in Bukovina area. Already at the beginning of the war, Galicia & Bukovina Jewries had to deal with new and unique realm and new challenges. Some of these challenges   were a result of the war and some of the challenges were continuation of pervious circumstances. Hence based on understanding the unique character of Galicia & Bukovina Jewry, and the controversial reputation of Galicia Jewry, as had been developed at the years previous the war, this class will examine the old and new challenges that Galicia & Bukovina Jewry faced and the fundamental political cultural and social changes that these communities  experienced during the war.  

See full syllabus

Illustrations and materials:

The Social Fabric of Galicia and Bukovina Jewries:



Die Welt


Jewish Nationalism


Reputation & Reality Galicia and Bukovina Jewry in 19th century  


Galicia and Bukovina During World War I


 DR. Natan Shifris, History through the camera's eye: The Galician Jewry between East and West



Historic photography is not just a nostalgic remnant or an illustrative accompaniment to the written word, but a most valueable historical source. Such a source contributes to new historical understanding that otherwise is missing from the literary sources. In the framework of this course we shall focus on the contribution of photography to the research of history through the particular case of the Galician Jewry, a branch of historical Polish Jewry that was ruled by the Habsburg Empire between 1772-1918. By analyzing Galician Jewry's photographs and comparing them with Jewish photographs from different communities in eastern and western Europe, we shall seek to characterize the unique version of this diaspora community.

See full syllabus here

Visual Materials:

The Central  Borde of the World Zionist Organization in Galicia, 1908  The Central  Board of the World Zionist Organization in Galicia, 1908

Zolkiev - the synagoug  Zolkiev - the synagogue

Tarnow - a Zionist  house club group  Tarnow - a Zionist  house club group

Village Jews in Eastern Galicia and Bukovina  Village Jews in Eastern Galicia and Bukovina

Tarnopol - Street view  Tarnopol - Street view

Nowe Sanz - Jews looking at German soldiers in WWI  Nowe Sanz - Jews looking at German soldiers in WWI

Stari - town plaza  Stari - town plaza

Przedborz - the wooden synagoug  Przedborz - the wooden synagogue

Kolonyia - the Jews greeting the Austrian Ceasar in WWI  Kolomyia - the Jews greeting the Austrian Ceasar in WWI

Krakow  Krakow

Krakow - greeting Nachum Sokolov in the train station  Krakow - greeting Nachum Sokolov in the train station

Raysha - Meshulam Davidson and his students in the first Hebrew school in Raysha  Raysha - Meshulam Davidson and his students in the first Hebrew school in Raysha

Rzeszow - town plaza  Rzeszow - town plaza


Roi Goldshmidt - Zhidachov-Komarno Hassidism: Innovation, Independence and Kabbalah Teaching

This course will discuss the teachings of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Zhidachov and his followers, as a part of the ideological and social movements in the 19th century Galicia. Through the course, we will learn how creative commentary of Lurianic Kabbalah, and their unique leadership. We will also discuss the bitter dispute between them and the Galician Maskilim. 

 See full Syllabus here

Sources for the course:

Lessons 1-2

Lesson 4

Lessons 5-8

  Dr. Hanan Gafni - Judaism on the Operating Table: Between Scholarship and Satire in   Galicia



The rapid political, social, and cultural changes that swept through Europe in the Modern Era posed a crisis for the Jewish communities living in its midst. Under these circumstances there emerged a widespread debate among leading Jewish thinkers regarding the essence of Judaism, its ability to adapt to modern times, and the desirability of its doing so. Especially fascinating was the course of this debate in Galicia, which served as a cultural intersection between East and West European Jewry and a battle zone between traditional and liberal elements in Jewish society. This course attempts to trace the literary struggle of Galician maskilim, scholars, and thinkers over the future of Judaism, a struggle waged via both satiric and scholarly means.

See full syllabus