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Title: Resistance and response to change : the leadership of Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn (1860-1920)
Author: Brawer, Nafthali Yosef
ISNI:       0000 0001 3477 9196
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis is a study of one hasidic leader's response to change at the turn of the nineteenth century. Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn (RaShaB) (1860-1920) served as the fifth HaBaD-Lubavich Rebbe, and during his tenure sought to protect Orthodox Judaism from what he perceived to be threatening new movements and ideas. At the same time, he sought to revitalise and expand HaBaD hasidism. This study examines RaShaB's response to change by focusing on three areas in which he invested considerable energy: his battle with the Russian Haskalah movement, his response to Zionism, and the establishment of his yeshivah system, Tomkhei Tmimim. While at first glance RaShaB appears to be radically anti-modem, resisting the new in the hope of conserving the old, closer examination reveals a more complex picture. This thesis demonstrates how, while resisting change, RaShaB also appreciated its value, and in certain contexts, embraced it flly. His ability to understand the causes as well as the implications of change enabled him to exploit it selectively to best serve his goals. This skill, together with his ability to articulate his vision clearly and to organise and motivate people, enabled him to lay the groundwork for turning a parochial hasidic court into the international HaBaD-Lubavich movement of today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available