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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14Focusing on Jews in the Polish Borderlands$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774693.001.0001

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The Zhitomir Rabbinical School: New Materials and Perspectives

The Zhitomir Rabbinical School: New Materials and Perspectives

(p.105) The Zhitomir Rabbinical School: New Materials and Perspectives
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14

Efim Melamed

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the Zhitomir rabbinical school, one of the most controversial institutions in nineteenth-century Jewish life in the tsarist empire. It draws upon the documents of the rabbinical school in the State Archive of the Zhitomir Region. The objective here is to analyse state motivations in creating ‘rabbinical colleges’, the composition and profile of the student body, and the educational backgrounds and goals of its staff and teachers. Here, the internal life of such schools are examined from a new perspective. Indeed, the chapter shows in the case of Zhitomir, that one central reason for the failure of the rabbinical schools lay in the fact that within their walls the self-professed ‘leaders of the Jewish people’ were alienated from the very people they claimed to lead.

Keywords:   Zhitomir rabbinical school, rabbinical schools, tsarist Russia, rabbinical colleges, student body, educational backgrounds, Jewish intelligentsia

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