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