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Becoming "Modern" : Emancipation, Antisemitism, and Nationalism in Modern Jewish History

Possible Primary Sources for Student Papers

Professor Kieval's Primary Source Suggestions




Memoirs, Autobiographies


Maimon, An Autobiography. Trans. by J. Clark Murray (University of Illinois Press, 2001).

Ber of Bolechow, The Memoirs of Ber of Bolechow. Trans., with an introduction, by M. Vishnitzer (Ayer Company, 2000).

Mary Antin, The Promised Land: The Autobiography of a Russian Immigrant (Princeton University Press, 1985).

Puah Rakovsky, My Life as a Radical Jewish Woman: Memoirs of a Zionist Femininst in Poland (Indiana University Press, 2002).

Gershom Scholem, From Berlin to Jerusalem: Memories of My Youth (Schocken Books, 1988).

Peter Gay, My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin (Yale University Press, 1998).

Saul Friedländer, When Memory Comes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979).

Alexander Donat, The Holocaust Kingdom (Holocaust Library, 1978).

Jeffrey Shandler, ed., Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust (Yale University Press, 2002).

Lucy S. Dawidowicz, From that Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938-1947 (W. W. Norton, 1989).

Jacob Katz, With My Own Eyes: The Autobiography of an Historian (Brandeis University Press, 1995).

Franz Kafka, Diaries 1910-1923 (Schocken Books, 1988).

Chaim Aronson, A Jewish Life Under the Tsars : the Autobiography of Chaim Aronson, 1825-1888 / Chaim Aronson ; translated from the original Hebrew and edited by Norman Marsden (Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies by Allanheld, Osmun, 1983 )


Political Writings


 Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings. Ed. by Jerome Kohn and Ron H. Feldman (Schocken Books, 2007).

Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem: Or On Religious Power and Judaism. Trans. Allan Arkush (Brandeis University Press, 1983.)

 Simon Rabinovitch, ed., Jews and Diaspora Nationalism: Writings on Jewish Peoplehood in Europe and the United States (Brandeis University Press, 2012).

 Leon Pinsker, Auto-Emancipation (1882), various editions, including online.

 Simon Dubnow, Nationalism and History: Essays on Old and New Judaism (Atheneum, 1958).


 Fiction, Poetry


 I. L. Peretz, The I. L. Peretz Reader, ed., with an introduction by, Ruth R. Wisse (Yale University Press, 2002).

 Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness (Harcourt, 2003).

 David Grossman, See Under: Love (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989).

 Franz Kafka, The Complete Stories (Schocken Books, 1995).

 Abraham Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky (Harper & Row, 1960).

S. Y. Agnon, Only Yesterday (Princeton University Press, 2000). 


 Religious Thought


 Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem: Or On Religious Power and Judaism. Trans. Allan Arkush (Brandeis University Press, 1983.)

 Moses Mendelssohn, Writings on Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible. Ed. by Michah Gottlieb (Brandeis University Press, 2011.

Martin Buber, Hasidism and Modern Man (Humanities Press, 1988).

Martin Buber, The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism (Humanities Press, 1988).

Martin Buber, On Judaism. Ed. by Nahum N. Glatzer (Schocken Books, 1996).

Joseph Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith (Maggid, 2011).

Joseph Soloveitchik, The Halakhic Mind (Free Press, 1998).

Louis Jacobs, Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2004).

Mordecai Kaplan, Judaism as A Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1994).

The American Jewess

The American Jewess (April 1895 - August 1899)was the first English-language publication directed to American Jewish women.  The American Jewess offered an evocative range of features that included demands for synagogue membership for women; health, household and fashion tips; early expressions of American Zionism; short fiction; and reflections on the propriety of women riding bicycles.  -- from intro.

he Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Covers of the various editions of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay published in over 20 languages