Presented by Geneviève Zubrzycki

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Since the early 2000s, Poland has experienced a remarkable Jewish revival, driven by a surprisingly significant number of non-Jewish Poles with a developing interest in all things Jewish. Klezmer music, Jewish-style restaurants, kosher vodka, and festivals of Jewish culture have become popular, while new museums, memorials, Jewish studies programs, and Holocaust research centers reflect soul-searching about Polish-Jewish relations before, during, and after the Holocaust. In Resurrecting the Jew, Geneviève Zubrzycki examines this revival and asks what it means to try to bring Jewish culture back to life in a country where 3 million Jews were murdered and where only about 10,000 Jews now live.

Drawing on a decade of participant-observation in Jewish and Jewish-related organizations in Poland, a Birthright trip to Israel with young Polish Jews, and more than a hundred interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish Poles engaged in the Jewish revival, Resurrecting the Jew presents an in-depth look at Jewish life in Poland today. The book shows how the revival has been spurred by progressive Poles who want to break the association between Polishness and Catholicism, promote the idea of a multicultural Poland, and resist the present rightist government.

Geneviève Zubrzycki is professor of sociology and faculty associate at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia and the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies. A 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, Zubrzycki is the author and editor of several books, including the award-winning The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. Her newest book, Resurrecting the Jew: Nationalism, Philosemitism, and Poland’s Jewish Revival, analyzes the renewal of Jewish life in that country since the fall of communism, and the fascination with Jewish culture among non-Jewish Poles.

Program made possible, in part, by Richard Krieg, in honor of David Medlin.