The timing of our new Have Your Say essay is special.
The awards were announced January 9.
Moshe Idel, author of Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic, has described Wodziński’s book as “the richest and most updated illustrated history of the entire process of emergence, growth, suffering, decimation in the Holocaust, and then the surprising renewal of Hasidism in modern times. A must for understanding this most vital aspect of Judaism.”
In this personal Have Your Say essay, Wodziński describes how he was drawn to study Hasidism and explains how his book “atlasses” the rich material heritage of the Hasidic movement — physically, geographically, and spiritually — through maps and other in-depth exploration.
The book, he writes, is the culmination of 30 years of fascination with Hasidism.
His first visits to Jewish cemeteries in Poland, where he found graves covered with kvitlekh and Hasidic pilgrims paying homage at the sites, he writes, “opened to me an entirely new perspective on Poland, its history, and its geography. I understood, or rather experienced, that what for me was a small and insignificant village might be an important spiritual center for somebody else.”