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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture and Its Afterlife$
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Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

A. Litvin: Chronicler of Jewish Souls

A. Litvin: Chronicler of Jewish Souls

(p.371) A. Litvin: Chronicler of Jewish Souls
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16

Michael C. Steinlauf

Liverpool University Press

This chapter highlights A. Litvin's anthology, Jewish Souls (1914). Shmuel Hurvits, whose pseudonym was A. Litvin, was born to a poor family in Minsk in 1862. He educated himself in both Jewish and general subjects, and began to work as a teacher. In 1911-12, Litvin began to publish articles based on his travels throughout eastern Europe beginning in 1905. After returning to the United States in 1914, he published these articles in a six-volume anthology entitled Yidishe neshomes (Jewish Souls). In scores of sketches of badkhonim, purim-shpilers, wandering preachers, and musicians; healers and holy men; beggars, pickpockets, and thieves in towns and cities throughout Poland, Lithuania, and Galicia, Litvin constructs an extraordinary panorama of the life of the Jewish masses at the moment when centuries-old traditions engaged modernity and either changed or vanished. He documents this world in the interests of a new generation of Jews who, he believed, needed such knowledge to build a secular yet authentically Jewish modern culture.

Keywords:   A. Litvin, Jewish Souls, Shmuel Hurvits, Yidishe neshomes, Jewish life, Jewish masses, Jewish tradition, modernity, Jewish modern culture

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