Program Details

Off the Beaten Track: Jewish Communities of the World

Edith Rogovin Frankel
Video Catch-up

Course Description

This series examines the fascinating proliferation of Jewish communities from the very beginnings of the Diaspora. These settlements began and thrived in various corners of the world before and outside the principal historic Jewish centers of the Russian and Habsburg empires. How did the Diaspora begin? Where did Jews make their homes in distant and often exotic regions? How did they survive over the centuries?


  1. The Beginnings of the Diaspora: Early Settlements After the Destruction of the First and Second Temples - The Golden Age of Spanish Jews.
  2. Sephardic Communities After the Inquisition: The Mediterranean Basin, The Ottoman Empire, Early Settlements in the New World, the Later Influx of Ashkenazi Jews to South America.
  3. The Jews of India: Their Story, their Various Origins, their Social, Religious and Economic Life.
  4. The Jews of China: Who Were They in the Beginning? The influx of Jews into China After the Russian Revolutions of 1917, Further European Immigration After the Rise of Hitler.

About the Instructor

  • Edith Rogovin Frankel, Ph.D., is a native-born American who lived in Israel and taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for many years. Her bachelor’s degree is from Cornell University, and her master’s and doctoral degrees are from Columbia University. For years Frankel specialized in the Soviet Union and then gradually moved into Jewish history, particularly that of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, as well as the Habsburg Empire. She taught these subjects at various institutions, including Dartmouth, Stanford, Hunter College, the University of London and Columbia University. Her most recent book, “Old Lives and New: Soviet Immigrants in Israel and America”, deals with the subject of migration and immigration.