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Modern Jewish History Slides 1

Medieval-18th Century Lecture

Jess Olson

on 8 February 2018

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Transcript of Modern Jewish History Slides 1

Origins of Modern Jewish History
Late 1400s:
Iberia: +/-200,000
Italy: 50,000
Kingdom of Poland: 25,000
Central Europe (German Lands): +/- 150,000
Late 1500s:
Iberia: 0
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth:
c. 1500: 30,000
c. 1575: 150,000 (+500%)
Eastern Med.
60,000 after 1492
Limited urbanization
Limited economic role
Rigid corporate structure
Medieval social model
Vertical alliance
Greater cultural exchange (Language)
Centers of Jewish Culture: Central Europe and Iberian Peninsula
In German Lands:
Deepest history of Ashkenazi Jewry, but by end of medieval period, in dramatic decline
Exemplified these characteristics
Main Jewish communities in Medieval period: Rheineland, Frankfurt, Prague
In Iberian Peninsula:
Long, essentially sustained, stable
In close contact with surrounding culture, but still medieval "corporate" society
Late Medieval Period
12th-15th Centuries
1391-1492: Decline of Spanish Jewry
1391: Attacks on Jews across Spain, c. 100,000 leave Judaism
1481: Introduction of Inquisition
1492: Completion of Reconquista and expulsion of Jews
23,320 in Portugal converted, 1497
Abandonment of Portugal and Iberia
The "origins" of the modern Jew in Amsterdam
Western Ashkenaz, (Holy Roman Empire)
15th-17th centuries
Before 1569:
Volhynia: 3,000
Poldolia: 750
Kiev: 0
Bratslav: ?
Total: +/- 4,000
c. 1648:
Volhynia: 15,000
Podolia: 9,000
Kiev: 5,000
Bratslav: 9,000
Total: +/- 39,000
Jewish Residents
Magnate-Arenda System
Chmielnicki Uprisings
Use as historical source and limitations?
Classical sources: 10-500,000 Dead
Pre-1648 Numbers: 84,000
Ruthenia: 45,000
Volhynia: 16,000
Podolia: 9,000
Bratislav: 9,000
Kiev: 5,000
Ruthenia: 45,000
Volhynia: 8,000
Podolia: 2,000
Other areas: Unclear
Refugees: c. 8,000
Converts/Captives: c. 3,000
Total survivors: c. 21,000
Total victims: c. 19,000
Shabbetai Tzvi Affair
First Partition of Poland
1793: Second Partition of Poland
1795: Final Partition of Poland
Praise be to God that I can announce to you glad tidings which arrived here yesterday…there is no end to the confirmations of that which is reported to have happened, and they all write that time is too scarce to describe all the miracles and signs that occur all the time. I pray you to announce to the whole holy congregation that they should settle all their affairs as soon as possible. Let this hint suffice that they should cease from all trade, since there is hope that our redemption may come sooner than we expected. Four hundred families are waiting in Frankfurt, all ready for the journey, and many others of the same neighborhood have already left. I never wished to write untruths; but as I behold that from all sides they confirm the miracle, I must tell you about it. All this news arrived last night and caused such a great rejoicing that many wept for excess of joy. Immediately all copies of the roles of the comedy (Purim shpil) which they had intended to perform were torn up, since this is not a time for vanities but for the study of law and good works...Everyone must seek the welfare of his fellow man if he want to share in this blessedness. Nobody here enters any claims against anyone, but the most important thing is to restore all dishonest gain” (in Casale, Italy, 1666)
Between 1390-1500:
+/- 100,000 Jews to North Africa, Levant, Balkans
14th-17th Century:
Gradual shift in population
of Ashkenazim from Central Europe (Holy Roman Empire) to Poland-Lithuania

Pressures: Legal restrictions, expulsions, religious persecutions
Orthodox or Uniate
Franchises including:
Grain production and processing (alchohol)
Primative manufacturing
The Classic Kehilla Structure
Intra-communal Va'ad: Arba artsot or Medinat Lita
Kehilla: Lay and Clerical Bodies
Tovim, etc.
Rabbi (Av beyt din, rosh ha-yeshiva, morah d'atra)
Shared lay and clerical power
Halakha was determinant legal structure
Including MOST areas of civil, criminal and ritual law
Not elected
Frankfurt am Main, Judengasse;
Prague: Expulsion, 1541
Polish-Jewish Culture: Clothes, Synagogue and Rabbinic Culture
The Chmielnicki Uprisings/Potop Szweski
Shabbetai Tsvi
Nathan of Gaza
R. Yonatan Eybeschutz
R. Ya'akov Emden
Jacob Frank
Baruch Spinoza
Spanish Expulsion Degree
When does modern Jewish history start?
Problems of temporalization
What is the metric by which we determine the change in a period -- what makes modern "modern"?
Polish elite nobility
Hegemons of region
The Hofjuden Phenomenon
Elite phenomenon
Broad impact on lower social strata
Cultural liminality and transgression
Major figures: Josef Oppenheimer ("Jud Suess"), Samuel Oppenheimer, Daniel Itzig
Samuel Oppenheimer
Daniel Itzig
Josef Suess Oppenheimer ("Jud Suess")
Laws governing Jewish life in Berlin (examples):
Number of Jews allowed in Berlin (c. 1688): 50 (increased to 120 in 1730)
Yearly communal tax: 8,000 Thalers plus poll tax (eventually made to "Schutzgelt" tax of 1,000 Thalers/person)
No public stalls or shops
Requires elision of "Ve-hem mishtahavim..." in Aleynu
Frederick the Great: restricts tolerated children to one per family =
Porcelain tax
Samson Wertheimer
Frederick the Great vs. Josef II
"When the Judeans settled in Poland and Little Russia, they occupied the place of the middle class, becoming willing servants and agents of the mighty nobility; they clung to the stronger side, and they fared well until the people, rising against their lords, brought under their judgement the helpers of the latter. The Judeans, caring only for their own comfort and that of their tribe, began to extract [advantages] from the relationship that then existed between the nobles and the serfs. In this way, the Judeans became the factotums of the lords; the lords entrusted to them their income, their taverns, their mills, their industry, their property, and their serfs, and sometimes even the faith of the latter."
Mykola Kosomarov, early 1860s
Origins of German Jewry
Characteristics of Jewish community:

1. Cradle of medieval Ashkenaz
a. Early medieval origins
2. Contractual (transactional) corporate identity
3. Increase in persecutions (incl. expulsions) from 14th c. to 18th c.
4. Diminution of population and economic status among majority; extreme elevation of minority (Hofjuden)
5. Intensively focused in limited economic niches

Characteristics of German world

1. Highly decentralized (Holy Roman Empire)
2. Some variations in laws towards Jews, but major commonalities
3. Significant instability
4. Religiously divided
5. Territorial and economic competition among states
6. Combination of feudal and early capitalist structure
Glikl of Hameln: A Unique Voice
Importance of Glikl:
Social history
Gender and gender roles in early modern Ashkenaz
Economic history
Philosophical observations
What are limitations of work as historical text?
What are unique advantages?
Why does this image exist?
Roots of Modern German Jewry
Agenda 5/7/17

1. General intro -- what is "modern" Jewish history mean? Look at Meyer article

2. Movement, migration, and the beginnings of modern JH

3. The Sephardi case
Full transcript