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An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland

Hosted By: YIVO

The story of Polish Jewry, pre-Holocaust Europe’s largest Jewish community, is often told as one of creativity and contestation. In his new book, An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland, University of Chicago professor Kenneth B. Moss traces instead a complex and painful story of Polish Jewish reckoning with diasporic vulnerability, nationalism’s terrible potencies, Zionism’s promises, and the necessity of choice. Moss examines the works of Polish Jewry’s most searching thinkers as they confronted political irrationality, state crisis, and the limits of resistance. He reconstructs the desperate creativity of activists seeking to counter despair where they could not redress its causes. And he recovers a lost grassroots history of critical thought and political searching among ordinary Jews, young and powerless, as they struggled to find a viable future for themselves – in Palestine if not in Poland, individually if not communally.

Join Kenneth Moss in conversation with Stanford professor Steven Zipperstein for a discussion on this new publication and the history it unveils.

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