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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15Focusing on Jewish Religious Life, 1500-1900$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774716

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.001.0001

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The Shtadlan of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth: Noble Advocate or Unbridled Opportunist?

The Shtadlan of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth: Noble Advocate or Unbridled Opportunist?

Chapter:
(p.267) The Shtadlan of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth: Noble Advocate or Unbridled Opportunist?
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15
Author(s):

Scott Ury

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.003.0019

This chapter examines the Jewish intercessor (shtadlan) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, long the target of opponents’ bile and consistently defended by die-hard advocates. It addresses several fundamental questions regarding the shtadlan, his activities, and his role as a communal functionary. In doing so, the chapter attempts to draw a more well-rounded picture of the shtadlan, but also shed more light upon the relationship between Jewish communities in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the various powers that ruled the Commonwealth. Conclusions drawn from this analysis of the Jewish community are compared with the experiences of other communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, within the Commonwealth and elsewhere. This analysis is used to determine whether the shtadlan was a phenomenon particular to a specific space, time, and culture, or rather was representative of a more general pattern of political organization and behaviour practised in different Jewish communities throughout the ages.

Keywords:   shtadlan, Jewish intercessor, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, communal functionary, Jewish communities, political organization, political behaviour

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