Discover History, Art, Writings - Primary Sources from Biblical Times to the 21st Century Discover History, Art, Writings - Primary Sources from Biblical Times to the 21st Century

“The Posen Library’s digital platform (PDL) makes accessible little-known documents of the Jewish past that add enormously to the effectiveness of the classroom. Via a user-friendly website, professors and students can analyze the intimate letters between an early modern Jewish husband and wife, probe the meanings of a blessing warning of Jewish heresy, and investigate the life of a medieval midwife through her diary, among many other gems. The Posen Library opens a world of Jewish creativity.”
—NANCY SINKOFF, Professor of Jewish Studies and History at Rutgers University


John the Baptist (1919) by Henryk (Hanokh) Barcinski (1896–ca. 1941)

John the Baptist (1919) by Henryk (Hanokh) Barcinski (1896–ca. 1941) Credit: Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries.

Secular Jews and Religious Traditions, 1800–2005

The Posen Digital Library (PDL) features hundreds of images and excerpts from primary sources related to Secular Jews and Religious Traditions, 1800–2005. In these 3–5 minute Teaching Clip videos available to use FREE in your lectures and classes, Professors Zvi Gitelman and Todd Endelman, University of Michigan, discuss historical changes that influenced an embrace of secularism (TC #7), how secular Jews attached new meaning to Jewish rituals (TC #9), and more.

Early Moments in Secular Jewish Thought: Posen Library Teaching Clip #7

Secular Jews Confront Religious Culture: Posen Library Teaching Clip #9

Early Moments in Secular Jewish Thought: Posen Library Teaching Clip #7

In Early Moments in Secular Jewish Thought: Posen Library Teaching Clip #7, Zvi Gitelman introduces us to historical changes that he and his coeditor Todd Endelman consider as having influenced the wide turn to secularism in the interwar years, 1918 to 1939. Professor Gitelman explores changes that began with Spinoza in the seventeenth century and intensified during the French Revolution when Jews began to ask: can one be a Jew and nonreligious?

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Suggested search terms on PDL for more related selections: assimilation, Jewish culture, holidays, secular Judaism, religious traditions

Secular Jews Confront Religious Culture: Posen Library Teaching Clip #9

Secular Jews Confront Religious Culture: Posen Library Teaching Clip #9 gives us insights into how modern Jews reacted to the backdrop of religious institutions in the interwar years (1918 to 1939), including under communism and as a rebellion against traditional Judaism. In this video clip, Todd Endelman and Zvi Gitelman show how secular Jews in America and Israel attached new meaning to Jewish rituals especially as related to Jewish holidays. They also exhibit the image of John the Baptist, reclaimed as a nonreligious Jew, as depicted by the Polish Jewish artist Henryk (Hanokh) Barcinski in 1919.

Related PDL Readings – Register on the PDL to access. Registration is fast and free!

Suggested search terms on PDL for more related selections: burial, death, funeral, kaddish, mourning

Tip for Teachers: : To avoid YouTube pre-roll ads, use the “insert” feature on Google Slides or PowerPoint when you link to the video on YouTube. Or play the Teaching Clip on our pages. FYI, here are brief videos on how to use YouTube videos in your Zoom sessionhow to insert a playable YouTube video into a Google Doc, and how to insert a playable YouTube video into PowerPoint 2020.

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