Russia’s First Modern Jews: The Jews of Shklov by David E. Fishman, Yoichi Funabashi

By David E. Fishman, Yoichi Funabashi

Long prior to there have been Jewish groups within the land of the tsars, Jews inhabited a sector which they known as medinat rusiya, the land of Russia. ahead of its annexation by means of Russia, the land of Russia was once no longer a middle of rabbinic tradition. yet in 1772, with its annexation via Tsarist Russia, this distant sector was once severed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; its 65,000 Jews have been therefore bring to a halt from the heartland of Jewish existence in jap Europe. compelled into independence, those Jews set approximately forging a group with its personal spiritual management and institutions.

The 3 nice highbrow currents in East eu Jewry--Hasidism, Rabbinic Mitnagdism, and Haskalah--all converged on jap Belorussia, the place they clashed and competed. during a new release, the group of Shklov—the so much popular of the cities within the area—witnessed an explosion of highbrow and cultural activity.

Focusing at the social and highbrow odysseys of retailers, maskilim, and rabbis, and their diverse makes an attempt to mix Judaism and ecu tradition, David Fishman right here chronicles the outstanding tale of those first sleek Jews of Russia.

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By David E. Fishman, Yoichi Funabashi

Long prior to there have been Jewish groups within the land of the tsars, Jews inhabited a sector which they known as medinat rusiya, the land of Russia. ahead of its annexation by means of Russia, the land of Russia was once no longer a middle of rabbinic tradition. yet in 1772, with its annexation via Tsarist Russia, this distant sector was once severed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; its 65,000 Jews have been therefore bring to a halt from the heartland of Jewish existence in jap Europe. compelled into independence, those Jews set approximately forging a group with its personal spiritual management and institutions.

The 3 nice highbrow currents in East eu Jewry--Hasidism, Rabbinic Mitnagdism, and Haskalah--all converged on jap Belorussia, the place they clashed and competed. during a new release, the group of Shklov—the so much popular of the cities within the area—witnessed an explosion of highbrow and cultural activity.

Focusing at the social and highbrow odysseys of retailers, maskilim, and rabbis, and their diverse makes an attempt to mix Judaism and ecu tradition, David Fishman right here chronicles the outstanding tale of those first sleek Jews of Russia.

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Additional info for Russia’s First Modern Jews: The Jews of Shklov

Sample text

Wer e it not for fear of the authorities, me n would swallo w eac h othe r aliv e an d consider it a n ac t of goodness. And in secret, thing s tha t mus t no t b e don e hav e bee n done , an d permissio n ha s been grante d t o g o afte r people' s live s an d livelihood s t o th e exten t possi ble. . Add to this the humiliation an d bloodshed. Fo r our blood has been THE GREA T D I V I D E : HASIDI M AN D MITNAGDI M l£ shed like water, an d w e have been put t o shame before th e Gentiles and humiliated among our brethren the children of Israel.

A numbe r o f hi s predecessor s i n th e sixteent h an d seventeenth centurie s ha d displaye d a kee n awarenes s (i f no t a n enthusiastic embrace ) o f th e theorie s o f Harve y an d Copernicus. 14 One canno t ascrib e Schick' s scientifi c backwardnes s t o hi s igno rance o f Latin . Schic k kne w Lati n (althoug h jus t ho w h e learne d i t remains unclear ) an d use d Lati n literatur e i n hi s works . I n hi s anatomy, h e cite d th e wor k o f Girolam o Cardan o (1501-76) , a professor o f medicin e a t Pavi a University , an d i n hi s astronom y h e referred t o Francoi s Viete' s (1540-1603 ) Canon Mathematicus an d to Euclid' s Elements, a wor k which , a s alread y mentioned , h e late r translated fro m Lati n int o Hebrew.

30 TH E ODYSSE Y O F RABB I BARUK H SCHIC K This i s noteworthy , sinc e Luzzatto' s treatis e wa s unpublishe d a t the time , an d manuscript s o f th e latter' s work s wer e copie d an d disseminated i n Easter n Europ e b y non e othe r tha n Yekutie l Gor don, the former Padu a medica l student who resided in Shklov in th e 1740s. Our discover y o f Ramhalia n influenc e o n Schic k lead s u s t o Gordon a s intermediary . Thi s lend s strengt h t o ou r earlie r sugges tion tha t Gordo n wa s th e courie r wh o brough t Lati n scientifi c manuscripts to Shklov.

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