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Haskalah and Hasidism in the Kingdom of PolandA History of Conflict$
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Marcin Wodzinski

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113089

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113089.001.0001

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Characteristics of the Haskalah in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1860

Characteristics of the Haskalah in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1860

(p.34) Two Characteristics of the Haskalah in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1860
Haskalah and Hasidism in the Kingdom of Poland

Marcin Wodziński

, Sarah Cozens, Agnieszka Mirowska
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the characteristics of the Haskalah in the Kingdom of Poland. In many ways, the Haskalah in the Kingdom of Poland was a movement similar to others in eastern Europe, but it also retained many unique features. In terms of its similarities, the programme of the Polish maskilim was fundamentally in sympathy with the ideological foundations of the entire east European Haskalah. Educational plans and the struggle with Jewish separatism occupied a particularly important place, but so too did the maintenance of Jewish identity through the cultivation of the Hebrew language, Jewish literature, and historical awareness. Meanwhile, differences in the programme were attributable to the Kingdom's specific legal, social, cultural, and even economic context. The opportunity to participate in the government project for Jewish reform and the genuine influence which many maskilim brought to bear on these projects meant that Jewish supporters of modernization in the Kingdom were particularly interested in the socio-political aspect of Haskalah ideology and in putting it into action. As a result, they paid considerable attention to the productivity programme and to changes in the socio-occupational structure of the Jewish population in Poland, while neglecting areas of theory or religion. Another distinguishing characteristic of the Polish Haskalah was the predominance of literature in the Polish language.

Keywords:   Haskalah, Kingdom of Poland, Polish maskilim, educational plans, Jewish separatism, Jewish identity, Jewish reform, productivity programme, Polish language, Polish Haskalah

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