Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15

Focusing of Jewish Religious Life 1500 – 1900

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 15


November 1st, 2002





This volume highlights new research on Jewish spiritual and religious life in Poland before modern political ideas, above all nationalism and socialism, began to transform the Jewish world. The collection as a whole represents a welcome new trend towards a more rigorous approach to the study of Jewish religious life and writings and covers a range of topics. Three articles deal with rabbinic writing and publishing in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and a fourth presents accounts of Purim festivities at that time. The eighteenth-century studies focus on popular Jewish spirituality and Polish attitudes to Jewish spirituality. Four articles deal with the Frankist movement, the main topics being Frankist propaganda; non-Christian Frankists; Jonathan Eibeschuetz and the Frankists; and the influence of Frankism on Polish culture. There are four articles on hasidism-on the tsadik and the ba'al shem; the childhood of tsadikim in hasidic legends; the fall of the Seer of Lublin; and the hasidism of Gur-and one about influences on Nahman Krochmal. Four of the contributors to the core section on Jewish spiritual and religious life are Polish, representatives of a new generation of Judaic scholars there. Three are working in Germany, where Jewish studies is likewise re-establishing itself. Other contributors are leading scholars from universities in Canada, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some are themselves religious, others are secular; taken together, their contributions further the study of Jewish religious traditions on the Polish lands, a topic central to an understanding of Jewish society and history in Poland but one which has long been considered marginal by the academic world. As in earlier volumes of Polin, substantial space is given to new research in other areas of Polish-Jewish studies. There is an extensive survey of the papal Holocaust papers, as well as contributions relating to education for girls, to Auschwitz as a site of memories, and to aspects of Jewish literature, politics, society, and economics. A young Polish scholar from Jedwabne has contributed a moving article on local reactions to news of the massacre of the Jews of that town. The review section include two separate essays with contrasting opinions on Yaffa Eliach's monumental study of Eishyshok. CONTRIBUTORS Eliyana R. Adler, David Assaf, Veronica Belling, Daniel Blatman, Joanna Rostropowicz Clark, Jan Doktor, Michal Galas, Susanne Galley, Roland Goetschel, Karl E. Grozinger, Gershon David Hundert, Yoram Jacobson, Judith Kalik, Slawomir Kapralski, Adam Kazmierczyk, Marta Kurkowska-Budzan, Sid Z. Leiman, Harris Lenowitz, Sarunas Liekis, Krzysztof Pilarczyk, Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, John Radzilowski, Szymon Rudnicki, Margarete Schluter, Stefan Schreiner, Jerzy Tomaszewski, Scott Ury, Hanna Wegrzynek, Robert S. Wistrich

'This scholarly, well-researched, and interesting collection of essays from a host of international scholars offers ... insightful analysis on a wide variety of topics from multiple viewpoints.' David B. Levy, AJL Newsletter 'An important collection of articles both for student interested in the history of the Jews in Poland and for scholars who are interested in following the central developments in this area.' Rachel Manekin, Zeitschrift fur Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung


Author Information

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.