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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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A. Litvin: Chronicler of Jewish Souls

A. Litvin: Chronicler of Jewish Souls

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

Michael C. Steinlauf

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.003.0020

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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