The Rebirth of Hasidism
Contributions by: Sophie Leighton
In 1945, there were 20,000 Hasidim in the world. Today there are between 350,000 and 400,000, about half of whom are living in Israel. This represents a population explosion that cannot be explained in ordinary demographic terms. Jacques Gutwirth gives a vivid portrait of the major Hasidic centers-from Antwerp to New York and from Jerusalem and Bene Brraq to Paris. He describes the main characteristics of Hasidism today, as well as its contributions to spiritual and intellectual life, and recent developments in its history and its influence worldwide. Hasidism is a phenomenon that goes beyond any particular religious conception or lifestyle. Its rapid development is linked with contemporary politics and global economics, to which it contributes in turn. In this rigorous and balanced analysis of one of the most dynamic communities in Judaism, the author brings his knowledge to bear on a wealth of previously unpublished information that will inspire further discussion concerning the return of the religious life in relation to its social and political context.
Publication Date: 6/1/2005