Book Cover_ZimmermanDr. Joshua Zimmerman, Associate Professor of History and Eli and Diana Zborowski Professorial Chair in Interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies, has published a new book entitled, The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939–1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

This book examines one of the central problems in the history of Polish-Jewish relations: the attitude and the behavior of the Polish Underground – the resistance organization loyal to the Polish government-in-exile – toward the Jews during World War II. Using a variety of archival documents, testimonies, and memoirs, Zimmerman offers a careful, dispassionate narrative, arguing that the reaction of the Polish Underground to the catastrophe that befell European Jewry was immensely varied, ranging from aggressive aid to acts of murder.

By analyzing the military, civilian, and political wings of the Polish Underground and offering portraits of the organization’s main leaders, this book is the first full-length scholarly monograph in any language to provide a thorough examination of the Polish Underground’s attitude and behavior towards the Jews during the entire period of World War II.


Leonard-GrunsteinMr. Leonard Grunstein, a member of Revel’s Board of Overseers, published a new article in the Fall/Winter 2014 edition of the Real Estate Finance Journal entitled “The Origin of Non- Recourse Mortgage Financing: How Ancient Is This Seemingly Modern Financing Technique and Is It Perhaps Sha‘ariah and Halachically Compliant?” The article explains the modern non-recourse mortgage financing structure, traces its origins, and suggests that, conceptually, the non-recourse financing format bears more than a passing resemblance to three financing forms in use in medieval times, known as the Iska (in Judaism), Qirad (in Islam) and Commenda (in Christianity). These forms enabled the financing of trade and business. They also provided for an interest-like return to the financier, in many cases, without violating the Biblical prohibition against making interest-bearing loans. This essay is one of a number of studies that Mr. Grunstein to has published that bring together the fields of finance and halakhah. He has also recently given a shiur on Ribit and Iska at Yeshivat Sha‘alvim.


Karlip_Moss_OlsonOn Thursday, April 30, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies hosted “Shifting Jewish Identities and Ideologies From the Dawn of the 20th Century Until the Shoah,” a discussion focusing on two recently-published books by Revel faculty: Dr. Jess Olson’s Nathan Birnbaum and Jewish Modernity (SUP, 2013) and Dr. Joshua M. Karlip’s Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe (HUP, 2013).

Both works explore how and why certain twentieth-century Jewish leaders moved between different ideologies throughout the course of their lifetimes. Olson outlined the life of Nathan Birnbaum, a charismatic figure who transitioned from secular Zionist nationalism and Yiddishism to Orthodoxy, while Karlip discussed Elias Tcherikower, Yisroel Efroikin, and Zelig Kalmanovitch, who were immersed in the Diaspora Nationalist and Yiddishist movements in Eastern Europe and many of whose writings can be found in the Yiddish journal Oyfn Shedveg.

Dr. Kenneth Moss, Associate Professor and Felix Posen Chair of Modern Jewish History at Johns Hopkins University introduced and moderated the discussion, and a sizable crowd was in attendance, including Birnbaum’s great-granddaughter Miriam Birnbaum-Kaganoff, as well as descendants of other figures involved in the ideological and political movements under discussion, such as Miriam Oles, a granddaughter of Eliezer Schindler who was a religious writer active in the Bais Yaakov movement and an associate of Nathan Birnbaum.

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Join us on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 4pm in the Sky Cafe (Belfer Hall-12th floor, 2495 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10033) for camaraderie and socializing with students, faculty, and administration as we celebrate the graduating class of 2014/2015, and welcome incoming students:

Welcome and Collation

Professor Aaron Koller

Greetings from
Dean David Berger
Recognizing our Graduates

President Richard M. Joel
Presentation to the Graduates

Associate Dean Mordechai Cohen
Year in Review

Shira Shiowitz
Class Representative Presentation

Director of Admissions and Student Affairs Rona Steinerman
Building the Revel Student and Alumni Community

Sponsored parking is available in the YU lot (E) on Amsterdam Avenue and West 183rd Street.

Rsvp at



In Fall 2014, the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies partnered with Yeshiva College and the YU Museum in hosting  “Modeling the Flood Story: Midrash and Movie,” an interdisciplinary symposium examining the biblical flood account and how the story has been read, interpreted, reconstructed – and modeled – through Midrash, medieval and modern texts, art, and film, with a particular focus on the 2014 Hollywood film Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Presentations were made by Dr. Irving Finkel (British Museum), Dr. Devora Steinmetz (Drisha Institute), Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein (New York University), Dr. Eric Goldman (Yeshiva University). They were then joined by Rabbi Hayyim Angel (Yeshiva University) for a panel discussion of “Noah as Midrash and Art.”

We posted a review of this two-part event back in December, and now we present a video featuring highlights from the various presentations (runs 25 minutes; video, courtesy of the YU Museum):