Yehudah Leib Gordon’s “Awake, My People!”

Resource Kit by
Rachel Meytin, Josh Lambert

Module Content



In 1866, Yehuda Leib Gordon published “Awake, My People!” in the Hebrew-language magazine HaKarmel. Gordon was a key early proponent of the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, and this poem was seen—and used—as a rallying cry for how people of the day could reach their potential as both Jews and Russians. The poem presents an opportunity to explore several different ideas with students, including assimilation, the history of the Haskalah as it appeared in Russia, and the use of Biblical references in modern poetry.

Cover image: Maskilim, followers of the Jewish Enlightment, including Y. L. Gordon at top right. Image used with permission from YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.