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(4,592 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
From the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the Second World War, the central Polish city of Łódź was the center of the Polish textile industry. Jews played a decisive role in the rise of Łódź from a small town to an industrial city with several hundred thousand inhabitants. A numerically rather small upper bourgeoisie shaped the cityscape by building factories, residences, and magnificent buildings, while the growing number of Jewish workers formed the basis of the influential …
Date: 2021-07-13

Tłomackie Synagogue

(2,170 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
The Great Synagogue in Tłomackie Street, built in the last quarter of the 19th century, was the representative center of the Warsaw’s Reform-oriented Jewish community. Corresponding to its progressive orientation toward the Polish middle class, sermons were held in Polish, and national Polish festivals were celebrated. In addition, the Tłomackie Synagogue was known for its important liturgical music performed by the best cantors of the time. In the interwar years, the complex of building…
Date: 2023-10-31


(5,455 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
As a result of the legal restrictions placed on them, Jews in 18th century Europe mostly earned their living through trading activities and were consequently considered to be “unproductive,” especially by the administrative apparatus of absolutist states. As a result, state efforts towards the “productivization” of the Jews were targeted at shifting Jewish occupational structures toward agriculture and craft. From the mid-18th century onward, the arguments of the “productivization” deba…
Date: 2022-09-30


(2,401 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
The term Yiddishland that emerged in Eastern Europe towards the end of the 19th century at first referred to a culturally construed space encompassing all Yiddish-speaking Jews. It defined itself above all through the Yiddish language, which was already declining at this time under the influences of modernization, secularization, and acculturation. Yiddishland experienced its heyday on the eve of the Second World War in the press, literature, theatre, and film in Eastern Europe and the United States. In the context of the desire to revive and…
Date: 2023-10-31


(2,179 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
In the interwar years, Tarbut (Hebr.; culture) was the most important network of Jewish-secular education in Eastern Europe. Especially in Poland, the association maintained a widely-ramified system of educational institutions for children and adults. It had its international legal basis in the educational autonomy for minorities, codified in the Paris Peace Treaties. The network was run by Zionist parties of the center as well as the moderate left to guarantee Hebrew-language training in keeping with the times. Tarbut had a lasting influence on the cultural self-und…
Date: 2023-10-31


(1,919 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
The term Ashkenazim refers to Jews who trace their origin back to Ashkenaz, the Jewish settlement area in Europe the north of the Alps. Over the course of several centuries, Halakhah, liturgy, and the Yiddish language were the connecting elements of the different regional groups of Ashkenazim who differed in everyday rituals and habitus. Their assimilation to different European national cultures, as well as emigration overseas beginning in the 19th century, let the features of social and cultura…
Date: 2023-10-24

National Councils

(5,388 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
Temporary political bodies of the Jews in Eastern Europe founded at the end of the First World War in most of the successor states of the collapsing multinational empires. In a time of upheaval, they intended to be recognized as representatives of the Jewish population by the newly founded states; internally they tried to democratize the Jewish communities. After the re-organization of Europe at the Paris Peace Conference, where their concerns were presented by the internationally active Comité …
Date: 2021-07-13


(2,977 words)

Author(s): Silber, Marcos
In the Middle Ages and modern times, crafts were a significant Jewish field of employment. The handicrafts practiced by Jews were in part related to the requirements of Jewish religious requirements, the observance of which required Jewish produced or provided goods or services. Under Muslim rule, Jews were free to engage in crafts and led in some trades. In Christian Europe, Jewish craftsmen managed to assert themselves successfully, despite numerous restrictions by Christian guilds. I…
Date: 2018-11-16