Everyday Jewish Life in Imperial Russia: Select Documents, 1772-1914 [NOOK Book]


This book makes accessible—for the first time in English—declassified archival documents from the former Soviet Union, rabbinic sources, and previously untranslated memoirs, illuminating everyday Jewish life as the site of interaction and negotiation among and between neighbors, society, and the Russian state, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to World War I. Focusing on religion, family, health, sexuality, work, and politics, these documents provide an intimate portrait of the rich diversity of Jewish...
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Everyday Jewish Life in Imperial Russia: Select Documents, 1772-1914

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This book makes accessible—for the first time in English—declassified archival documents from the former Soviet Union, rabbinic sources, and previously untranslated memoirs, illuminating everyday Jewish life as the site of interaction and negotiation among and between neighbors, society, and the Russian state, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to World War I. Focusing on religion, family, health, sexuality, work, and politics, these documents provide an intimate portrait of the rich diversity of Jewish life. By personalizing collective experience through individual life stories—reflecting not only the typical but also the extraordinary—the sources reveal the tensions and ruptures in a vanished society. An introductory survey of Russian Jewish history from the Polish partitions (1772–1795) to World War I combines with prefatory remarks, textual annotations, and a bibliography of suggested readings to provide a new perspective on the history of the Jews of Russia.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This collection is an indispensable resource for scholars and university students of all levels in modern Jewish history and Russian history. The editors bring every facet of Jewish daily life in Imperial Russia alive through the sources, concise editorial notes, and insightful introductions. Women appear just as prominently as do men, and no gender issue is left untouched in this superb revelation of a society becoming modern.”
—Christine D. Worobec, Distinguished Research Professor emerita, Northern Illinois University

“Framed by a lucid and learned historical introduction, this collection of sources brings ordinary Jewish experience in Imperial Russia to life, in high definition and fine-grained detail. A lasting contribution to the field.” —Naomi Seidman, Graduate Theological Union

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Product Details

Meet the Author

CHAERAN Y. FREEZE is associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. She is the author of Jewish Marriage and Divorce in Imperial Russia. JAY M. HARRIS is Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies and dean of undergraduate education at Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Imperial Context
1. The Cantor of Duvid Twersky’s Hasidic Court in Tal’noe: The Memoirs of Pinhas Minkovsky
2. Secret State Reports on the Twersky Tsaddikim in Kiev and Volhynia Provinces (1861–68)
3. The Vurke Hasidic Court in Otwock:The Memoirs of Ita Kalish
4. Yehoshu’a Heschel Levine’s TheAscents of Eliyahu (Gaon of Vil’na)
5. Memoirs of R. Elijah ben Benjamin Rabinowitz-Teomim, the Aderet (1845–1905)
6. Tkhines [Supplicatory Prayers] for Women
7. The Cantor of Poltava Choral Synagogue: The Memoirs of Genrikh Sliozberg
8. The Cantor of Vil’na and Cantorial Competitions: The Memoirs of Avraam Uri Kovner RELIGIOUS DILEMMAS AND JEWISH LAW
9. Yehudah Leib Gordon, “The Mouth That Forbade Was the Mouth That Allowed”
10. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: Oaths
11. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Etrogim
12. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Hametz
13. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Share of Books in the Study Hall
14. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: Counting a Minor in a Minyan
15. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: A Separate Study Hall and Synagogue
16. Petitions for Conversion
17. Missionary Activities to Convert Jews in Lokhvits (1903) 18. Jewish-Peasant Conflicts in Stepashek Following the Conversion of Anastasiia Lerman (Shimanskaia) and Her Marriage to a Peasant (1901)
19. Disorders Following the Secret Conversion of Gitlia Korn in Lublin (1904)
20. Apostasy: Reconversion from Christianity to Judaism
21. Responsum of R. Hayim Ozer Grodzinski: On Converts in America, a Comparative Perspective
22. State Rabbis
23. Synagogues and Cemeteries
24. Petitions to the Governor of Kiev Province about High Holiday Services
25. Trial of Girsh Sagalevich for Insulting the Russian Orthodox Faith in Vil’na (1869)
26. Kvitlakh Addressed to an Unknown
Rabbi in Vil’na (1839)
27. Metrical Book Registration of Births by the State Rabbi (1906)
28. A Jewish Boyhood in Odessa: Memoirs of Lazar B. Gol’denberg (b. circa 1845)
29. A Jewish Girlhood in Moscow in the 1870s and 1880s: The Memoirs of Roza Vinaver
30. Petition of Khaia Saetovaia of Vil’na for Material Support from Children (1846)
31. Trial of Mordukh Eliashberg of Vil’na for Rebellion against Parental Authority (1859)
32. Tenaim (Engagement Contract) of Esther Machlevich and Aharon Rosenstein
33. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: An Ambiguous Betrothal
34. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: A Betrothal in Jest
35. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Breaking Off an Engagement
36. Loss of Residence Rights: Marriage to a Jew without the Right to Live outside the Pale of Settlement (1909)
37. A Rebellious Wife? (c. 1904)
38. Petition for a Separate Passport on Grounds of Spousal Abuse (1900)
39. Questions to R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor on Marriage and Divorce
40. Divorce by Mutual Agreement, Child Custody, and Support
41. Prison Divorces
42. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: An Agunah Whose Husband Has Been Exiled
43. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: The Disappearance of a Husband
44. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: A Male Agun?
45. Question to R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: A Husband Killed in War
46. The Unwilling Levir and Halitsah (1893)
47. Emigration to America and Desertion of a Pregnant Wife
49. Petition of Rosa Vil’ken of St. Petersburg for a Separate Passport from Her Lutheran Husband (1887)
50. Petition of Sofi ia Zil’berman of Dvinsk to Change Jewish Surnames of Converted Children (1896)
51. Family Letters of the Rozenshteins and Machlevichs (Kiev Province, 1890s)
52. Legalizing a “Homemade” Last Will and Testament (1842)
53. Guardianship of a Grandchild in the Kiev Orphans’ Court (1899)
54. Petition of Dveira Zelikman of St. Petersburg to Adopt an Orphaned Grandson (1912)
55. Petition of Israel Nemen of Kiev for the Appointment of a Guardian (1900)
56. Suit of Tauba Aizenshtadt of Kievagainst a Spendthrift Son (January 1910)
57. R. Pinchas Katzenelbogen: Remedy for a Fever in Yesh Manhilin
58. Moshe Shtudentski: A Pediatricianon Puberty in Adolescent Girls (1847)
59. Moshe Shtudentski: A Pediatrician on Masturbation (1847)
60. Birth Control Advertisement (1908)
61. Dr. Nisse’s Medical Advice about Birth Control (1908)
62. Trial of Feiga Noskin: Report of an Illegal Abortion in Vil’na (1886)
63. Moshe Shtudentski: A Pediatrician on Breast-Feeding (1847)
64. Circumcision of a Sixteen-Year-Old Jewish Boy with Hemophilia (1894–1908)
65. Dr. Gottlieb’s Advice for Good Health (1911)
66. Dr. Gottlieb’s Advice for a Healthy Diet (1908)
67. Responsum of R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin: Polluted Water and Wells (1880)
68. Moshe Shtudentski: A Pediatrician on Nervous Illnesses (1847)
69. Petition to Hospitalize Dvoira Zlotoiabko of Vil’na for Mental Illness (1895)
70. Petition to Hospitalize Rivka Khaimovna Arliuk of Oshmiany for Mental Illness (1902)
71. Petition to Hospitalize Meer Mendelev Ginzburg of Bobruisk for Mental Illness (1902)
72. Petition to Hospitalize Sholom Peisakhovich of Vil’na for Mental Illness (1902)
73. Petition to Hospitalize Rivka Gefter of Vil’na for Mental Illness (1902) •
74. Petition to Hospitalize Leib Girshev Ioff e of Vil’na for Mental Illness (1902)
75. Petition of Rabbi and Merchants of Zhitomir to Count Kiselev [Chairman of the Committee for the Organization of Jewish Life], against the Zhitomir Police (1853)
76. On Crinoline: Memoirs of Avraham Paperna
77. Secret State Report on Tsaddik Twersky’s Disciples and Crinoline (1863)
78. Early Marriage and Sexuality: The Memoirs of Mordechai Aaron Guenzburg
79. Petition to Divorce an Impotent Husband (1910)
80. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: A Mikvah Near a Turpentine Factory
81. Responsum of R. Hayim Ozer Grodzinski: Manicures and the Mikvah
82. Responsum of R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor: Marriage of a Man Without a Right Testicle
83. Responsum of R. Yosef Zekharyah Stern: Paternity Determination for the Child of a Raped Wife
84. Responsum of R. Yosef Zekharyah Stern: On the Issue of Intercourse That Endangers the Wife’s Life
85. A Husband with Syphilis (1872) EXTRAMARITAL SEX
86. Responsum of R. Yosef Zekharyah Stern: On Concubines
87. Questions to R. Yitzhak Elhanan Spektor about Adultery and Rape
88. Trial of Sosha Lubshitz of Trokai Accused of Suffocating an Infant Conceived before Marriage (1879)
89. Trial of of Rivka Khaet for Infanticide in Vil’na (1897)
90. A Russian Orthodox Couple’s Aid Request for an Illegitimate Baptized Jewish Child (1903)
91. Petition of Rafail Veisman about His Illegitimate Russian Orthodox Children (1902)
92. Petition to Legitimize a Child Born out of Wedlock (1916)
93. Alleged Rape of the Domestic Servant Rakhil Krupen by Her Employer in Moscow (1885)
94. Inspection Report of Sixteen Brothels in Vil’na (1871)
95. Petition of Homeowners to Close the Jewish Madam Mil’shtenova’s Brothel in Kiev (1871)
96. Khanne Gershator’s Application for a Prostitute’s “Yellow Ticket” (20 December 1877)
97. Residents’ Denunciation of Guta Mekler for Prostitution in Vil’na (1882)
98. Prostitutes in Antokol’ Accused of Infecting Soldiers with Syphilis (1882)
99. Report of the Vil’na City Doctor on Two Prostitutes (1893)
100. Denunciation of Sheina Zlata Accused of Infecting Men with a Venereal Disease (1894)
101. Physical Examination of Jewish Prostitutes
102. Denunciation of Jewish “Prostitutes” in Stoklishki (1899) •103. The Russian Society for the Protection of Women: The Jewish Section (1900–1901)
104. Moshe Leib Lilienblum, The Sins of My Youth (1873)
105. State Inspection of Jewish Schools in Vil’na (1870)
106. Certification of Melamedim (1869)
107. Trial of Girsh Korobochko for Teaching without a Melamed’s Certificate (1888–89)
108. Apprenticeship of Buki Ben Yagli to a Scribe in Slonim
109. Ben Zion Dinur’s Yeshiva Memoirs
110. The Berman School for Jewish Children in St. Petersburg (1865–84)
111. Complaint of the Jews of Tel’she against Yehudah Leib Gordon’s Treatment of Students (1867)
112. Petition of Eidlia Liubich of Grodno for Permission to Teach Hebrew Calligraphy to Jewish Girls in Grodno (1892)
113. A Private School for Jewish Boys in Siberia (1896)
114. Elite Home Education and Culture: The Diaries of Zinaida Poliakova SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
115. A Girl’s Gymnasium Education: The Memoirs of Mariia Rashkovich
116. A Boy’s Gymnasium Life: The Memoirs of Genrikh Sliozberg
117. Avraam Uri Kovner: The Vil’na Rabbinical School
118. The Curriculum of the State Rabbinical Schools in Zhitomir and Vil’na
119. Graduates of State Rabbinical Schools Who Had Received State Stipends
120. On University Life: The Memoirs of Vladimir Osipovich Garkavy
121. The Impact of Women’s Higher Education on Marriage
122. Letters of a Female Medical Student in St. Petersburg to Her Admirer (1903)
123. Complaints about Overrepresentation of Jews in Education
124. Numerus Clausus during World War I
125. Jewish Commerce and Trade in Moscow (1790)
126. Jewish Contraband in Moscow
127. Petition of a Jewish Merchant to Reside in Siberia (1855)
128. Aharon Rozenshtein’s Correspondence on the Brick Business (1901)
129. Theft and Violence at Jewish Storesin Warsaw Province (1883)
130. Anti-Jewish Disorder at a Jewish Store in Chenstokhov (1902)
131. Theft and Violence at a Jewish Store in Smela (1904)
132. Inaccurate Scales in a Small Jewish Shop (1909)
133. Petition of Belorussian Jews about the Liquor Trade (1784)
134. A Violent Night in the Tavern (1878)
135. A Secret Distillery in Briansk (1885)
136. Trial of Nokhim and Khaia Gurvich of Vil’komir for the Illicit Production of Alcohol (1901)
137. Avraham Izrailevich Paperno’s Nanny Roiza
138. A Russian Cook Accused of Observing Judaism in Moscow (1896)
139. Lawsuits in Zhitomir for Unpaid Labor
140. “Fictitious” Jewish Servants outside the Pale of Settlement (1890–91)
141. Exclusion of Jewish Colonists from Colonies in Kherson Province (1874)
142. State Loans to Jewish Farmers during a Drought in Ekaterinoslav Province (1885–86)
143. Request for Land in a Jewish Colony in Kherson Province (1887–88)
144. Life on a Jewish Farm in Borovoi-Mlyn: Memoir of Mariia Shkol’nik (1890s)
145. Residence Rights of Children of Skilled Artisans
146. Expulsion of a Skilled Artisan from St. Petersburg (1890)
147. The Hemp Scutching Trade and Expulsion from Kursk Province (1890–91)
148. Prohibition on Jews in Mining Factories in Siberia
149. Female Workers’ Strike at the Gal’pern Matchbox Factory in Pinsk (1901–2)
150. Permission to Open a Medical Clinic for Women in Vil’na (1907)
151. Permission to Open a Dental Clinic in Kursk Province (1908-9)
152. The Law Profession in Russia: Memoirs of Genrikh Sliozberg
153. Jewish Law Graduates from the Imperial University of St. Vladimir, Kiev (1912)
154. Complaint about the Illegal Conscription of an Only Son (1836)
155. Complaint about the Illegal Conscription of a Jewish Surgeon (1837)
156. Observance of Judaism in the Russian Army (1844) •157. Observance of Judaism in the Russian Army (1851)
158. Self-Mutilation to Evade Military Service
159. Appeal against a Vil’na Court Decision on Draft Evasion (1893)
160. Letter from Jewish Students to P. N. Miliukov [Kadet Leader in the State Duma] on Admitting Jews into the Officer Corps of the Russian Army (27 October 1916)
161. Appeal by the Jewish Students of Petrograd University to Serve as Officers (c. 1916)
162. Tsirla Adelsonovaia’s Petition on Behalf of Her Husband in the Trial of an Insurgent (1863–64)
163. Investigation of Litka Abramovicheva for Supplying Gun Powder to Rebels (1864)
164. Investigation of Movshe Shur for Supplying Provisions to Polish Rebels (1864)
Antisemitism and Pogroms
165. Pogroms in Nezhin District, Chernigov Province (1881)
166. Pogroms in Pereiaslavl, Poltava Province (1881)
167. Anti-Jewish Violence after Accusations of Ritual Murder in Dubossary, Kherson Province
168. Eyewitness Accounts of the Kishinev Pogrom Recorded by Haim Nachman
Bialik (1903)
169. Violence in Bessarabia Province in the Aftermath of Kishinev (1903)
170. Reports of Armed Jewish Self-Defense Groups in Rostov-na-Donu (1903)
171. Narodnaia Volia: Gesia Gel’fman’s Trial in the Assassination of Alexander II (1881)
172. The Social Democratic Workers’ Party (Bund): Police Files on Mariia (Manya) Vul’fovna Vil’bushevich
173. The Jewish Independent Workers’ Party and Police Unionism (1901–2)
174. A Female Socialist Revolutionary Terrorist: The Memoirs of Mariia (Mania) Shkol’nik
175. Hibbat Tsiyyon: Letters between Leon Pinsker and Naftali Berlin
176. Secret Police Reports on Zionist Activities in Synagogues
177. The Case of Mordukh Itskovich Berezovskii (1907)
178. Problems with Exit Certificates and Foreign Passports
179. Tema Lysianskaia of Kiev and Her Children
180. The Rights of Wives and Children Left behind after the Secret Emigration of Husbands
181. A Fine of Three Hundred Rubles for Emigrants Whose Relatives Evaded Military Service
182. R. Israel Meir Kagan, The Outcasts of Israel (1893)
Select Bibliography

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