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By Kenneth B. Moss

Between 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers around the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a “Jewish renaissance.” on the middle in their software lay a significantly new imaginative and prescient of Jewish tradition predicated now not on faith yet on paintings and secular individuality, nationwide in scope but cosmopolitan in content material, framed by means of a fierce devotion to Hebrew or Yiddish but captivated with uploading and collaborating within the shared tradition of Europe and the area. those cultural warriors sought to recast themselves and different Jews not just as a contemporary kingdom yet as a country of moderns.

Kenneth Moss bargains the 1st finished examine this interesting second in Jewish and Russian historical past. He examines what those quite a few would-be cultural revolutionaries, resembling El Lissitzky and Haim Nahman Bialik, intended by means of a brand new Jewish tradition, and information their fierce disagreements but additionally their shared assumptions approximately what tradition used to be and why it used to be so vital. In shut readings of Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian texts, he strains how they sought to achieve their beliefs in perform as writers, artists, and thinkers within the burgeoning cultural facilities of Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. And he finds what occurred to them and their beliefs because the Bolsheviks consolidated their carry over cultural life.

Here is an excellent, revisionist argument in regards to the nature of cultural nationalism, the connection among nationalism and socialism as ideological platforms, and tradition itself, the axis round which the come across among Jews and ecu modernity has pivoted over the last century.

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