Rebecca A. Kobrin

Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History
412 Fayerweather Hall
+1 212 854 9017


Ph.D. – University of Pennsylvania, 2002
M.Phil. – University of Pennsylvania, 1995
B.A. - Yale University, 1994

Interests and Research

Rebecca Kobrin is a social historian who taught at Yale University and New York University before coming to Columbia in 2006. She researches, teaches and publishes on a wide variety of topics related to Jewish migration, spanning from the nineteenth century to present day. Her first book, Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Indiana, 2010), a National Jewish Book Award finalist, examined nineteenth century Russian Jewish migration through a transnational lens. She recently completed a study, using autobiographical materials she collected, on the most recent wave of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Her current research interests looks at the intersection between economic history, Jewish history immigration history, and American history. She is now completing a manuscript, tentatively titled, Destructive Creators: Jewish Immigrant Businessmen, Financial Failure and the Reshaping of American Capitalism, 1873-1914


Immigrant New York

The Jewish Encounter with America

Religion and the Writing of American History

Jews and the City: An Introduction to Jewish Urban Studies
Jews and Money: An Introduction to Jewish Economic History

Racolin Memorial Fellowship
, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2011

National Jewish Book Award, Finalist, 2011

Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, 2009

Center for Advanced Jewish Studies, Fellowship, 2008-9

Milstein Family Research Fellowship, Center for Jewish History, 2008-9

Cahnman Family Book Award, Association for Jewish Studies, 2008

Koret Foundation, Jewish Studies Publication Award, 2005.

National Foundation for Jewish Culture, 2002

Fulbright Fellowship, Israel, 2000

Selected Publications

Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Indiana, 2010)

Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism, ed. (Rutgers, 2012)

Selected Scholarly Articles

“The Other Polonia: The Responses of Yiddish Immigrant Writers in New York and Buenos Aires to the New Polish State” in Choosing Yiddish, Lara Rabinovich, Hannah Pressman and Shiri Goren, eds (Wayne State University Press, forthcoming)

“American Jewish Philanthropy, Polish Jewry and the Crisis of 1929” in 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, Gennady Estraikh, ed. (New York University Press, 2010), 137-162.

“’The Murdered Hebrew Maid Servant of East New York:’" Gender, Class, and the Jewish Household in Eastern Europe and Its Migrant Diaspora,” in Gender and Jewish History, 72-87.

“Espoirs déçus en Terre promise: Faillites financières et pauvreté parmi les Juifs immigrés à New York, 1914,” Les Cahiers du Judaïsme 29 (Summer 2010), 56-74

“Jewish Immigrant Bankers, Financial Failure and the Shifting Contours of American Commercial Banking, 1914-1918,” AJS Perspectives: Bi-annual of the Association for Jewish Studies (Fall 2009)

“Crisis and Collapse: Historical Perspectives on Jewish Bank Failures and American Capitalism,” Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Thought (November 2008).

“The 1905 Revolution Abroad: Mass Migration, Russian Jewish Liberalism and American Jewry, 1903-1914,” in The 1905 Revolution: A Turning Point in Jewish History? Ezra Mendelsohn and Stefani Hoffman, eds. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 227-246

“The Shtetl by the Highway: The Literary Image of the East European City in New York’s Yiddish Landsmanshaft Press, 1921-1939,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 9:4 (2006), 107-137.