Families, Rabbis and EducationEssays on Traditional Jewish Society in Eastern Europe

Families, Rabbis and EducationEssays on Traditional Jewish Society in Eastern Europe

Shaul Stampfer

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781874774853

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Abstract

The realities of Jewish life in eastern Europe that concerned the average Jew meant the way their children grew up, the way they studied, how they married, and all the subsequent stages of the life cycle. The family and the community were the core institutions of east European Jewish society. These realities were always dynamic and evolving but in the nineteenth century, the pace of change in almost every area of life was exceptionally rapid. This book deals with these social realities. The result is a picture that is far from the stereotyped view of the past that is common today, but a more honest and more comprehensive one. Topics covered consider the learning experiences of both males and females of different ages. They also deal with and distinguish between study among the well off and learned and study among the poorer masses. A number of chapters are devoted to aspects of educating the elite. Several chapters deal with aspects of marriage, a key element in the life of most Jews. The attempt to understand the rabbinate in its social and historical context is no less revealing than the studies in other areas. The realities of rabbinical life are presented in a way that explains rabbinic behaviour and the complex relations between communities, ideologies, and modernization. The chapters look at the past through the prism of the lives of ordinary people, with some surprising.