Dr. Joshua Karlip is associate professor of Jewish history and Herbert S. and Naomi Denenberg Chair of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University. He has taught in the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women.
On May 17, 2021, he received a letter from the SEFER Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization in Moscow, Russia, announcing that he had been awarded a grant to support his newest book project, tentatively titled Rabbis in the Land of Atheism: The Struggle to Save Judaism in the Soviet Union. (YU News has posted a story about Dr. Karlip also receiving support from Yeshiva University for this project.)
“I learned about the SEFER Center and the grant through an announcement on a listserv I’m a member of,” he noted. “The grant will cover all expenses related to research, such as airfare, hotels, costs for use of archives, and so on.”
He plans to use the grant money to travel to Israel this summer to conduct research at the National Library of Israel and the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, both of which are located in Jerusalem. “They possess rich archival material on the lives and writings of rabbis in the Soviet Union during the interwar period. I also plan to use the money to travel to Moscow in the summer of 2022 for the SEFER conference and also to travel to archives throughout the former Soviet Union that house material about Jewish religious life in the Soviet Union.”
Dr. Karlip explained that the heart of the book is the untold story of how Soviet rabbis attempted to keep Judaism alive and relevant to their followers when living in a militantly atheistic state. “By analyzing responsa, sermons, Hasidic addresses, and correspondence, I will demonstrate how rabbis constructed a political theology to make sense of the success of the Soviet government even as they sought to make room for religious belief and observance in the lives of Soviet Jews.”