An Introduction to the Historical Atlas of Hasidism 

 

Introduction by author Marcin Wodziński to this beautifully illustrated, very first cartographic reference book on one of the modern era’s most vibrant and important mystical movements.

Animated examples of select cartographic maps

Expansion of Hasidic Leadership

This is the first ever animated map to grasp territorial development of the Hasidic movement. Based on biographies of 1,786 Hasidic leaders, the set of five maps charts the size, directions, and dynamics of Hasidic expansion. It shows the development of Hasidism from the south-eastern corner of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, through its growth north- and westward in the late eighteenth century The movement reached its peak of demographic influence in mid- and late nineteenth century in Galicia and Central Poland, which was followed by its dramatic removal from the Soviet Union, urbanization in Poland, and migration southward to Hungary, and Romania in the interwar period.

Tsadikim During WWI

Between 1914 and 1945 Hasidism was shattered almost beyond recognition, as was much of Eastern Europe. This demographic, social, ideological, and religious transformation was accompanied by great movements of people, flights and expulsions, and other geographical changes. This animated map shows the mass dislocation of Hasidic leadership during the First World War, which eventually caused profound changes to the movement’s geography, and exerted a lasting impact on the geographical and social structure of Hasidism, as well as its influence worldwide.

Tsadikim in the World

The maps of the atlas show the places of residence of 226 contemporary tsadikim, drawn on the basis of the phonebooks of ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel and the United States and supplemented with information on individual tsadikim living outside these two countries. Like the other maps, they confirm that Israel and the United States are the prime territories of contemporary Hasidism. Within those countries, the largest concentration of tsadikim is in Borough Park (41), Williamsburg (26), Jerusalem (56), and Bnei Brak (52).

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Pilgrimage Sites Across the World

The custom of pilgrimages to the graves of tsadikim has been observed in Hasidism from the movement’s birth at the end of the eighteenth century, and it continues to this day. Five maps of the locations of 160 graves of tsadikim in Europe, North America, and Israel show nearly all the places that are important and present in the collective memory of Hasidim today.