When Matzoh Bakers and Tallis Weavers Went on Strike: The Jewish Workers’ Movement in Eastern Europe

By :  David Fishman Professor of Jewish History Posted On Dec 6, 2021 / 5782 | Monday Webinar Six Days Shall You Labor

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Part of our fall learning series, “Six Days Shall You Labor”: Perspectives on Work in Jewish Text and Tradition

The grandparents or great grandparents of most American Jews were poor wage-earning workers from Eastern Europe. This session will explore the world of Jewish workers in Tsarist Russia, in particular the Jewish labor movement that arose at the end of the 19th century. The movement organized strikes, underground trade unions, classes, and cultural activity for workers in Yiddish, and a Jewish socialist party known as the “Bund.” Its ideas and practices migrated to the United States and left a powerful imprint on American Jewish life.

With Dr. David Fishman, Professor of Jewish History, JTS.


Many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else over the course of our lives—but are we defined by what we do? In this text-based series, JTS scholars will explore ideas about the meaning of work and rest in Jewish tradition, Jewish social movements around work, as well as the roles that gender, geography, and shifting economic and social circumstances have played in Jews’ professional paths and our understandings of the meaning and value of work. 

View all sessions in the series