social movements

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The American Soviet Jewry Movement’s ‘Uneventful’ 1968: Cold War Liberalism, Human Interest and the Politics of the Long Haul

2018. In American Jewish History 102(1), 5-35. How did the American campaign for Soviet Jews, a movement born in and of the 1960s, manage to pass the tumultuous 1968 in relative quiet? And what does this reveal about the movement itself, its relationship to the politics of the New Left, and the relationship between internal…

Posted by on October 18, 2018 in Articles, Research, ,


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Forgotten Lessons of Jewish Activism: How American Jews Mobilized to Fight for Human Rights in the USSR (and Saved American Jewry in the Process)

A lecture delivered  to the Center for Jewish and Holocuast Studies at Youngstown State University in October 2017.

Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Lectures and Podcasts, ,


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The Soviet Jewry Movement

A podcast produced by the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan in March 2016.

Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Lectures and Podcasts, ,


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Soviet Jewry Activists & Civic Engagement

Delivered March 6, 2014, for the Murray Friedman Memorial Lecture, a symposium sponsored by Temple University’s Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, and co-sponsored with the American Jewish Committee Philadelphia and the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Lectures and Podcasts, ,


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The Timeless and the Timely: Sacralizing Political Activism in the Campaign for Soviet Jewry

A lecture delivered on February 25, 2016 at the University of Michigan, the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies.  

Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Lectures and Podcasts, ,


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Religious Ambivalence in Jewish American Philanthropy

2013. In this chapter, I consider Jewish philanthropic federations, and their ambivalent relationship to Jewish religion from the 19th century to the present. I attempt to show that much of this ambivalence stems from the fact that these philanthropic institutions understand themselves not only to be agents of voluntary action for the public good but…

Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Articles, Chapters, Research, , , , , ,


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The Bureaucratization of Ritual Innovation: The Festive Cycle of the American Soviet Jewry Movement

2011. Jewish Cultural Studies 3:360-391. Since the 1960s, social movements have been key forces in the development of new religious rituals that are reshaping American Judaism. This article examines how the American movement to free Soviet Jews systematized and even bureaucratized the process of ritual innovation as it developed an annual calendar of activities pegged…

Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Articles, Research, , , ,


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Ritualized Protest and Redemptive Politics: Cultural Consequences of the American Mobilization to Free Soviet Jewry

2008. Jewish Social Studies 14(3): 1-37. The significance of the worldwide movement to free Soviet Jewry cannot be measured solely by its success in achieving its goals vis-à-vis Soviet Jews. It was also influential in shaping American Jewish political culture during the years it was active. During the 1960s and 1970s, and to a lesser…

Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Articles, Research, , , ,