April 10, 2014
Were Jewish immigrants from the Pale of Settlement to the United States really driven by pogroms? This is a question with which I deal empirically, using data on migration and on events of anti-Jewish violence. But before zooming out to the large statistical picture, it is important to verify anecdotally that one can find particular cases in which pogrom-driven migration did clearly occur. For this, I chose to dwell into a case study of a single Jewish town–Kalarash–that experienced a rather gruesome pogrom in October [o.s.] 1905. In this rather extreme case, I show here that indeed there was such a thing as pogrom-driven migration. That is, the pogrom was so devastating that the data shows without doubt that many Jews of Kalarash that would not have immigrated otherwise, were driven out by it in search of a safe haven in a new land. This is how it looked.
January 20, 2014
When I present my work on the Jewish migration, I like using this cartoon in order to illustrate the traditional thesis that the Jewish migration from the Pale of Settlement was caused by the pogroms. It shows a Jewish town, on that right, that was hit by a pogrom, and a stream of Jewish refugees fleeing it on their way to become immigrants in the United States. The cartoon is interesting in its own right, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how I understand it.
May 8, 2013
"Is it Good for the Jews?" is a generations-old criterion for making sense of world events. Wars, revolutions, natural disasters, something colossal has happened, at the bottom line we want to know the only thing that matters - is it, or is it not? For the occasion of the abdication of Dutch Queen Beatrix and the inauguration of her son Willem-Alexander, I translated with the help of my friend David Nortman a 1890 article from Ha-Melitz reporting the death of King Willem III of the Netherlands. I found this article randomly while looking for materials on the Jewish migration overseas, and thought that it was worth presenting as a pure demonstration of this analytic tool in action, a hilarious combination of cosmopolitanism and provincialism. It reads as "The King is Dead, Long live the… Wait, is it Good for the Jews?".