Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 107–126 | Cite as

Jesus and the Baal Shem Tov: Similar Roles but Different Outcomes

  • Robert Cherry


Jesus of Nazareth was the founder of Christianity while the Baal Shem Tov of Miedzyboz was the founder of Hasidism. There are striking similarities in the environment in which each proselytized, in the anti-ascetic message each presented, and how their message evolved after their deaths. This article will identify the reasons why ascetic behavior came to dominate Christian but not Hasidic thought and how this contrast might explain why immigrant Jews and not Irish Catholics came to dominate vaudeville at the beginning of the twentieth century.


Asceticism Popular culture Religion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBrooklyn College and CUNY Graduate CenterBrooklynUSA

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