The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America
November 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmSuggested Donation: $18
The lecture and slide show will explore the remarkable resurrection of Hasidism in America and its capacity for maintaining the charismatic authority of its dynastic leadership, often via struggle and gripping family dynamics. We will look at two Hasidic dynasties that found themselves with too many successors – Satmar and Bobov – two with too few successors – Munkács and Boyan – and one that claims they do not really need a successor – Chabad/Lubavitch – because they refuse to believe their leader ever died. These are chronicles of the making and unmaking of men, a search for charisma, leader- ship, and struggles for power. They tell of families united and divided, of death and resurrection, and of hopes raised and dashed. They give substance to the eternal question of Hasidism: Who will lead us?
ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Samuel Heilman holds the Harold Proshansky Chair in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Center and is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York. In 2007-2008, he was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Jerusalem. He was selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist and sent to the People’s Republic of China where he lectured at Nanjing, Henan, and Shanghai Universities. More recently he completed another Fulbright at the Universities of Wroclaw, Warsaw and Jagellonian University in Krakow Poland. He has also been Scheinbrun Visiting Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, visiting professor of social anthropology at Tel Aviv University, and a Fulbright visiting professor at the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia.
He is the author of numerous articles and reviews as well as thirteen books: Synagogue Life, The People of the Book, The Gate Behind the Wall, A Walker in Jerusalem, Cosmopolitans and Parochials: Modern Orthodox Jews in America(co-authored with Steven M. Cohen) Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry, Portrait of American Jewry: The Last Half of the 20th Century, When a Jew Dies: The Ethnography of a Bereaved Son and Sliding to the Right: The Contest for the Future of American Jewish Orthodoxy and (with Menachem Friedman) The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson . Most recently he has written Who Will Lead us: The Story of Five Hasidic Dynasties in America and is co-author of Hasidism: A New History. He is also editor of Death, Bereavement, and Mourning.