Jewish Odessa: Trade, Community, and Culture in the Port City

Seminar on Russian and Eurasian Jewry
Event Format
In person

Drawing on Odessa Recollected, a new collection of her Odessa articles, the historian Patricia Herlihy will discuss how in many respects Jews adopted Odessa as their city more than did any other inhabitants. Present there only in small numbers at the beginning, Jews came to form one third of Odessa’s population by the 1917 Revolution. While some Greeks and Italians made fortunes in the grain trade, only Jews boasted that one could “live like God in Odessa.” At the same time, pious Jews declared that the fires of hell burned around the city. What were the patterns and products of the Jewish experience? Why did Jews gravitate so much to the port city? Odessa is known for pogroms, Babel’s Moldavanka, Zionism, music, and humor, all part of an intricate myth of the city. Yet there is more to discover about the vibrant urban presence of Jews in Odessa over the past two centuries.

Remote video URL


Cosponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. The Project on Russian and Eurasian Jewry has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.


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