Dr. Wojciech Tworek
15 teaching hours, equivalent to 2 ECTS
Wojciech (Wojtek) Tworek is assistant professor in the Taube Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław. His book Eternity Now (SUNY 2019) explores the teachings of Shneur Zalman of Liady, the founding rebbe of the Chabad Hasidic movement. His second book, Dni Natana (PWN 2021) is the annotated Polish edition of the autobiography of Nathan Sternhartz, the scribe of Nachman of Breslov. His current research project concerns Chabad Hasidism in interwar Poland. His work has been featured or is forthcoming, among others, in AJS Review, Jewish Quarterly Review, History&Memory, In Geveb and Afn shvel. He was Paideia Emmanuel Levinas Fellow (2006-2007).
The course is a survey of Hasidism from its inception in the 18th century until current times, its main figures and concepts. In the course, we will examine the beginning of the Hasidism and the literary construction of Israel Baal Shem Tov as its founder; then we will explore concepts of mystical and magical worship in Hasidism, the bond between the tsadik and his followers, and its impact on the social organisation of a Hasidic court. Special attention will be given to Hasidic struggles with the challenges of the interwar period, and to modes of Hasidic revival post-Holocaust. The course will conclude with a brief look into contemporary Hasidic culture.