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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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Christian Servants Employed by Jews in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Christian Servants Employed by Jews in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Chapter:
(p.259) Christian Servants Employed by Jews in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14
Author(s):

Judith Kalik

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774693.003.0017

This chapter studies Christian servants employed by Jews in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It shows how this can improve understanding of Jewish isolationism in this state and clarify issues regarding intercultural contacts between the Jews and their neighbours. Here, most Jewish–Christian contacts were economic. With a few exceptions, employment of Christians by Jews as servants was the only way in which it was possible for Christians to obtain close and intimate contact with Jews, their way of life, language, religion, and culture. It allowed for interpersonal exchange, and even personal sympathy, well beyond business relations. It is clear that such contacts with Christian servants also made it possible for Jews to make better acquaintanceships with Christians and the nuances of their culture, though on a limited scale since these Christians were disconnected from their natural background and lifestyle.

Keywords:   Christian servants, Christians, Jewish isolationism, intercultural contacts, interpersonal exchange, Jewish–Christian contacts, intimate contact

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