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Everyday Jewish Life in Imperial Russia

Select Documents, 1772-1914

ChaeRan Y. Freeze

Publication Year: 2013

This book makes accessible--for the first time in English--declassified archival documents from the former Soviet Union, rabbinic sources, and previously untranslated memoirs, illuminating everyday Jewish life as the site of interaction and negotiation among and between neighbors, society, and the Russian state, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to World War I. Focusing on religion, family, health, sexuality, work, and politics, these documents provide an intimate portrait of the rich diversity of Jewish life. By personalizing collective experience through individual life stories--reflecting not only the typical but also the extraordinary--the sources reveal the tensions and ruptures in a vanished society. An introductory survey of Russian Jewish history from the Polish partitions (1772-1795) to World War I combines with prefatory remarks, textual annotations, and a bibliography of suggested readings to provide a new perspective on the history of the Jews of Russia.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-x

Contents

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pp. xi-xvi

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xxiv

On the eve of 1885, Zinaida Poliakova— daughter of a wealthy banker and railway mogul, Lazar Solomonovich Poliakov—confided to her diary: “Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. Will it bring me something good? I won’t complain but do wish myself a better year.”1 In some respects, 1885 proved to be a year like...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxv-xxviii

It is our pleasure to acknowledge the many institutions and people to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for the completion of this project. This book was published with the generous Collaborative Research Grant provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-58

A traveler to Russia rarely encountered Jews prior to the westward expansion of the Russian Empire in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The conflict over the so-called Judaizing heresy in the late fifteenth century (a controversial episode, mainly involving religious heterodoxy rather than attraction to...

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[I]Religious Life

After the first partion of Poland in 1772, which for the first time brought a large number of Jews into the Russian Empire, Catherine II promised her subjects “all the freedoms which they now enjoy with regard to their religion.”1 Over the next century and a half, Russia gave...

The Diversity of Religious Experience

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pp. 61-134

Religious Dilemmas and Jewish Law

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pp. 135-142

Conversion to Christianity

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pp. 143-155

Jews and the State on Religious Matters

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pp. 156-164

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[II]Family Life

The Jewish family differed from its Russian Orthodox counterpart not only in customs and patterns but also in legal status. In the absence of civil marriage in Russia, Jewish marriage and divorce was regulated by Jewish law...

Parents and Children

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pp. 167-184

Marriage and Divorce

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pp. 185-229

Family Life after Conversion to Christianity

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pp. 230-241

Death : Orphanhood, Guardianship, and Property

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pp. 242-260

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[III]Health and Sexuality

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pp. 261-264

Starting in the eighteenth century, Jewish health and sexuality attracted intense interest as European states sought to construct and control a new social order. From the time of the Enlightenment, a host of observers— doctors, state officials, and members of...

Traditional Healing and Folk Medicines

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pp. 265-291

Mental Illness

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pp. 292-301

Modesty

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pp. 302-304

Marital Sex

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pp. 305-324

Extramarital Sex

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pp. 325-336

Prostitution

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pp. 337-350

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[IV]Education and Culture

Beginning in the late 1820s, under Emperor Nicholas I, the Russian state intervened to support the Haskalah’s program of Jewish educational reform that would profoundly challenge traditional learning and culture, then already in flux but afterward much more so....

Institutions of Jewish Learning

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pp. 353-390

Jewish Private Schools

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pp. 391-400

Secondary School Education

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pp. 401-411

State Rabbinical Schools in Vil’na and Zhitomir

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pp. 412-418

University Life

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pp. 419-438

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[V]Work

Prior to the Polish partitions of 1772–95, the Jewish economy in Poland developed a particular character. Faced with bans on landowning and intense competition with Christian townspeople, but endowed with an ability to take risks and make investments, Jews concentrated...

Commerce and Trade

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pp. 441-466

Domestic Service

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pp. 467-472

Jewish Agricultural Colonies and Farms

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pp. 473-482

Artisans and Factory Work

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pp. 483-494

Professionals

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pp. 495-506

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[VI]Jews, Neighbors, and the Russian State

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pp. 507-510

In a petition to the Jewish Committee in 1856, Evzel Gintsburg and eighteen merchants argued that “useful Jews”—including graduates of Russian institutions of higher education, first- and second-guild merchants, skilled artisans, and retired soldiers—should be granted...

Conscription

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pp. 511-524

The Polish Uprising of 1863

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pp. 525-530

Antisemitism and Pogroms

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pp. 531-557

Jews in the Revolutionary Movement

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pp. 558-592

Zionism

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pp. 593-600

Emigration

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pp. 601-612

Select Bibliography

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pp. 613-620

Index

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pp. 621-635

Acknowledgments

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p. 636-636


E-ISBN-13: 9781611684568
E-ISBN-10: 1611684560
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584653028

Page Count: 648
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry