Academic journal article Shofar

Judisches Leben Auf Dem Lande: Studien Zur Deutsch-Judischen Geschichte, Edited by Minika Richarz and Reinhard Rurup

Academic journal article Shofar

Judisches Leben Auf Dem Lande: Studien Zur Deutsch-Judischen Geschichte, Edited by Minika Richarz and Reinhard Rurup

Article excerpt

Jüdisches Leben auf dem Lande: Studien zur deutsch-jüdischen Geschichte, edited by Monika Richarz and Reinhard Rürup

This volume is an extensive and very useful exploration of the history of rural Jewry in Germany since the sixteenth century. The essays have been written by many of the leading scholars in German Jewish history and have been compiled from material first presented at a conference in 1992 at the Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung of the Universität Bielefeld. The volume reveals the diversity and complexity of rural German Jewry through a number of periods and within a number of regions.

As the editors make clear, research on rural Jewry is really only at its beginning. Until the sixties much of the research into German Jewish history focused upon urban Jewry, in part because of the large urban Jewish population particularly in the Weimar period and in part because of the historical emphasis on elite culture, which was typically urban. This study, however, emphasizes the importance of rural Jewry even into the twentieth century and demonstrates the significance of rural Jewry particularly in the south and west of Germany.

The essays in this volume cover a wide range of topics, but can be divided roughly into the following themes: the early modern period; settlement and migration; emancipation and antisemitism; Jewish religious life and material culture; family; education and representation; Nazi persecution. Throughout, the essays follow in basically chronological order.

Although it would be impossible to evaluate each essay individually, it is worth commenting upon a number of general observations gleaned from the volume taken as a whole. First, these essays demonstrate that there exists a remarkably broad array of sources and historical methods available for approaching this theme: from rabbinic responsa to material and ritual art, genizah documents, and statistical compilations of population and income, for example. The essays also betray the complexity and confusion in defining "rural" Jewry, and many essays assume a landed Jewry that includes village Jews as well as Jews in small cities. As already noted, several regions are singled out as particularly important and rich in materials. Many of the essays demonstrate the extent to which Jews were integrated within their non-Jewish rural communities at the same time that they explore the tensions within the Jewish communities themselves. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.