Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 22

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 22

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 22

Social and Cultural Boundaries in Pre-Modern Poland

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 22


December 3rd, 2009





Boundaries—physical, political, social, religious, and cultural—were a key feature of life in medieval and early modern Poland, and this volume focuses on the ways in which these boundaries were respected, crossed, or otherwise negotiated. It throws new light on the contacts between Jews and Poles, including the vexed question of conversion and the tensions it aroused. The collected articles also discuss relations between the various elements of Jewish society—the wealthy and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, and the religious and the lay elites, considering too contacts between Jews in Poland and those in Germany and elsewhere. Classic studies by such eminent scholars as Meir Bałaban, Jacob Goldberg, and Moshe Rosman provide a foil for new research by Hanna Zaremska and David Frick, as well as Adam Teller, Magda Teter, Elisheva Carlebach, Jürgen Heyde, and Adam Kaźmierczyk. Taken together, the contributions on this central theme help redefine the Jewish history of pre-modern Poland. As ever, the New Views section examines a wide variety of other topics. These include accusations of ritual murder in nineteenth-century Poland; the Russian Jewish integrationist politician Mikhail Morgulis; the attitude of Bolesław Prus towards Jewish assimilation and his relationship with the Jewish journalist Nahum Sokolow; women in the Mizrahi movement in Poland; Polish patriotism among Jews; the impact of the first Soviet occupation of 1939–41 on Polish–Jewish relations; how the war affected the views of Julian Tuwim and Antoni Słonimski; the shtetl in the work of American Jewish writers Allen Hoffman and Jonathan Safran Foer; and the initial Polish response to Jan Gross's Fear.

'This is a notable contribution to the leading English-language series on Polish Jewry. It can serve as an ideal starting point for students interested in the development of Judaism in Eastern Europe in pre-modern Poland. The introduction by Teller and Teter offers an incisive picture of much of the historiography of of the period, while many of the articles offer both background and detailed pictures of specific institutions and events that are important for religious studies . . . Libraries with a serious collection dealing with Eastern European Jewish life and culture might want to consider the series in its entirety.'
Shaul Stampfer, Religious Studies Review


Author Information

Adam Teller is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Jewish History at the University of Haifa. He is the author of two books, both in Hebrew: Living Together: The Jewish Quarter of Poznan and its Inhabitants in the Seventeenth Century (2003) and Money, Power, and Influence: The Jews on the Radziwill Estates in Eighteenth-Century Lithuania (2005). He has published a number of articles on the social, economic, and cultural history of Polish Lithuanian Jewry in the early modern period, and is currently working on a history of the Polish Lithuanian rabbinate in that period. Magda Teter is an Associate Professor of History at Wesleyan University. She is the author of Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reformation Era (2006). Her articles on Polish Jewish history have appeared in Jewish History, AJS Review, Kwartalnik Żydowski, Sixteenth Century Journal, and Gal-ed. Her research has been supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Koret Foundation, YIVO Institute, and the Yad Hanadiv Foundation (Israel), among others. She directs the Early Modern Workshop project. Antony Polonsky is Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw.