Tulane University’s Jewish Studies Department Sizeler Family chair Brian Horowitz has a new academic book featuring 12 different essays about the Jewish community connection to Russia. Horowitz, who was the first chair of the academic department that began first as a Jewish studies program, will step down as department chair in June, but remain on the Tulane faculty.
The book titled “‘The Russian-Jewish Tradition” is a scholarly work that contains essays from the beginning of his career as well as from archives in New York, Jerusalem and St. Petersburg, according to Horowitz.
“All of them are by me except for the introduction by William Brumfield, who is a scholar of Russian art and architecture at Tulane,” Horowitz explained. “There might be something for everybody (in the book),” he promised.
Two of the essays are about Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the revisionist milatant Zionist, he continued, while two more are about the old cheder (Hebrew school) system that existed in Russia until the government crackdown.
There’s also an essay on Jewish historian Saul Borovoi from the Ukraine, who is noted as having survived both the Holocaust and Stalin’s Doctors Plot of 1952, in which he planned to expel all the Russian Jews in boxcars, Horowitz stated.
“Luckily after, Stalin’s death in the spring of ’53, the threats were rescinded,” he remarked. Addionally, when the secret service – the MKDB- predecessors to the KGB came to arrest him and take over his apartment, they found he had lived in a a communal one-room shared apartment. “He was a very modest person,” added Horowitz. “They left disappointed.”
Another essay is on Simon Dubnov and his attitudes towards Jews living in the Diaspora. He changed his attitude towards Palestine in the 1930s, Horowitz said. “Earlier he had been in favor of Zionism, but not as a political entity, as a soverign nation,” Horowitz said. “He was surprised at its survival and growth in the 1930s. and was surprised to see the use of Hebrew as a spoken language,” he continued. “He was glad to see this cultural autonomy, this Jewish autonomy. He expected to see it happen in Poland or the United States, but not in Palestine.”
Although the cost of the academic work is about $80, Horowitz said that a number of the articles are free at his website.