Culture Front: Representing Jews in Eastern Europe by Benjamin Nathans

By Benjamin Nathans

For many of the final 4 centuries, the huge expanse of territory among the Baltic and the Black Seas, identified because the Enlightenment as "Eastern Europe," has been domestic to the world's biggest Jewish inhabitants. The Jews of Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Galicia, Romania, and Ukraine have been prodigious turbines of contemporary Jewish tradition. Their unstable mixture of non secular traditionalism and precocious quests for collective self-emancipation lies on the center of Culture Front.

This quantity brings jointly contributions via either historians and literary students to take readers on a trip around the cultural historical past of East eu Jewry from the mid-seventeenth century to the current. The articles amassed the following discover how Jews and their Slavic acquaintances produced and fed on ingenious representations of Jewish lifestyles in chronicles, performs, novels, poetry, memoirs, museums, and more.

The ebook places tradition on the vanguard of research, treating verbal artistry itself as one of those frontier wherein Jews and Slavs imagined, skilled, and negotiated with themselves and every different. The 4 sections examine the unique topics of that frontier: violence and civility; pop culture; politics and aesthetics; and reminiscence. the result's a clean exploration of rules and activities that helped swap the panorama of recent Jewish history.

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Additional info for Culture Front: Representing Jews in Eastern Europe

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Isaac of Troki, Hizzuk Ha’emunah (Hebrew) (Ashdod, 1970), part 1, chap. 46. 14. On the Jews’ place in Polish society, see J. Goldberg, ‘‘On the Attitude of Polish Society Toward the Jews’’ (Hebrew), in J. Goldberg, Jewish Society in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Jerusalem, 1999), 9–79. Cf. M. Rosman, ‘‘Jewish Perceptions of Insecurity and Powerlessness in 16th–18th Century Poland,’’ Polin 1 (1986): 19–27; M. Rosman, ‘‘A Minority Views the Majority: Jewish Attitudes towards the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Interaction with Poles,’’ Polin 4 (1989): 31–41.

There is, however, one element that is constant in both narratives: when they were genuinely faced with the choice of converting or being killed, the Jews steadfastly chose martyrdom. This was the case both in Tulczyn, where the whole community chose to die, and in Niemirow, where it was the Jewish women who became martyrs. In fact, the portrayal of women in Yavein Metsulah is quite noteworthy. 81 Beyond the element of reportage in these stories, the emphasis laid upon women’s experiences would seem to indicate that they had a deeper significance.

I. Bartal, E. Mendelsohn, and Ch. Turniansky (Jerusalem, 1993), 9–80; Ch. Shmeruk, ‘‘Young Men from Germany at the Polish Yeshivas’’ (Hebrew), in The Call for a Prophet, ed. I. Bartal, E. Mendelsohn, and Ch. Turniansky (Jerusalem, 1999), 3–17. 23. ’’ Reiner, ‘‘Rise of an Urban Community,’’ 367. 24. , 408. Any verse in the Bible that expresses an expectation that the Messiah would come in this or that year could therefore be interpreted as referring to 408 (1648). , Rabbi Shabtai Hakohen’s use of Leviticus 16:3 for this purpose.

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