Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Introduction, Life is with People: The Culture of the Shtetl, by Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog (New York: Schocken, 1995), pp. ix-xlviii. firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is Professor of Performance Studies and Affiliated Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU.
In this exerpt the author offers a discussion of the nature of the shtetl, problems with its definition and its use as a descriptive term in discussions on Jewish life in Eastern Europe. This is followed by a chronicle of Jewish settlement in Eastern Europe and the Jews' unique relationship with the gentile population in the developing market economy.
Thanks are due the author for her permission.
Original article: https://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/web/liwp.pdf
Though a great popular success, Life is with People poses several vexing problems, among them the identification of East European Jewish culture with the shtetl. During the fall of 1948, as the researchers struggled over what to call the culture they had been studying, they identified shtetl with the prototypical "enclave community" that carried the "core culture" of East European Jews. Shtetl became, in their thinking, a microcosm of the East European Jewish culture area, visualized as a sea of Christian culture dotted with little Jewish islands. Encapsulated in selfcontained shtetlekh, the perfection of this hermetic world was sustained, the team argued, by isolation, hostility, and resistance to change. So palpable was this sense of the shtetl's hermetic seal that Elizabeth Herzog, one of the book's authors, suggested that the researchers ask their informants "Were you ever curious about the world outside the shtetl? Did you ever want to go outside the shtetl and walk around?"(13)
At the same time, the shtetl lacked material reality. At one point in their discussions, Mark Zborowski, the senior author of Life is with People, stated that the shtetl can be of any size, since it was not a place but a state of mind, a comment that echoed Louis Wirth's classic statement that "The ghetto as we have viewed it is not so much a physical fact as it is a state of mind."(14) Zborowski's view that the informants themselves did not think of the shtetl as a physical town but strictly as a social entity made its way into Life Is with People--"`My shtetl' is the people who live in it, not the place or the buildings or the street...." (p. 62).(15)
The attractiveness of the term shtetl was based on several problematic assumptions. First, the team identified shtetl with Jewish community. Second, they imagined its spatial organization in terms of isolation, self-containment, and homogeneity. Third, they envisioned it as timeless. As a result, the authors did not distinguish clearly between shtetl (town), kehile (corporate Jewish community), and an anthropological notion of communities as "basic units...of organization and transmission within a society and its culture."(16) The book argued further that for its inhabitants, "`My shtetl' means my community, and community means the Jewish community," an identification they attribute to the exclusion of Jews from "membership in the larger community" (pp. 22-23). However, a single kehile often had jurisdiction not only over the Jews in a particular town but also over smaller Jewish settlements in the environs. The statement "No shtetl is complete without a cemetery, a House of Prayer--or at least a minyan [prayer quorum], and a mikva [ritual bath]" (p. 63) is true of a kehile, not of a shtetl.(17)
Their assumption to the contrary, Jewish settlements were not isolated. Market towns formed a vital economic link between the city and countryside. Jewish traders, peddlers, craftsmen, preachers, and musicians moved around from location to location, establishing communicative channels over areas large and small. Their ability to do business was enhanced by town exogamy, the preferred form of Jewish marriage, and kinship networks that extended over a wide area.
Nor did Jewish social organization take the form of self-contained islands. The reach of Jewish kinship organization, political-jural jurisdiction, religious life, educational institutions, and economic activity lined up neither with each other, nor with a single town or the Jewish portion of a town. Hasidic life was not confined within the boundaries of a town or a kehile. Quite the contrary--a rebe's disciples were spread across many localities and travelled long distances to visit him on holy days. Extensive Hasidic networks cut across the kehile structure, and in towns where an influential rebe lived, Hasidim might well dominate the communal leadership.(18) Specialized institutions such as the yeshive (school for the advanced study of the Talmud) were located in particular towns--for example, Volozhin and Mir. They drew their student body from a wide region. Immanuel Etkes has argued that such extralocal structures helped to offset the decline of the kehile during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They provided alternative forms of leadership and new elites.
Nor did Jewish residential patterns within towns and urban neighborhoods exhibit the homogeneity, isolation, and timelessness that Life is with People would have us believe. Jewish settlements are historical formations and in their history lie clues to the logic of their forms. The book's claim that the shtetl was what it was and lasted as long as it did because of Jewish poverty and persecution, exclusion and isolation--and because it resisted change, which the authors view as corrosive--does not hold up to historical scrutiny.
The shtetl that emerges from Life is with People is doubly timeless. It has no history of its own and it resists the historical forces of the world around it. The researchers spoke repeatedly about the shtetl being abandoned, rather than changing. In their view, it was not the shtetl that deteriorated, but Jews who walked away from it--the shtetl disappeared only after the Bolshevik revolution and the extermination of its inhabitants by Hitler (p. 21, 34). According to Life is with People, the shtetl was the most authentic form of Jewish culture and it was not possible to transform it without it becoming less Jewish. Most important, the preoccupation with what is essentially Jewish, the identification of it with the shtetl, and the insistence on its timelessness precluded the possibility of any new East European Jewish cultural formation, whether a Jewish way of being modern or a new way of being Jewish. To be less like the shtetl was de facto to be less authentically Jewish.
The interviews suggest otherwise. Significant numbers of informants--and for that matter, the European-born members of the Jewish research group itself--reported active involvement in Jewish political parties and social movements.(19) They attended Yiddish and Zionist schools, participated in Jewish theatre groups, and were familiar with Yiddish and modern Hebrew literature, as well as with European literature more generally. Orthodox Jews formed their own movements, political parties, and institutions, including new types of schools--those who were Zionists joined the Mizrachi movement and those who were anti-Zionists joined the Agudath Israel, the political party devoted to protecting Orthodox values. Strongly supported by the Gerer Hasidim, the Agudah became the largest Jewish political party in interwar Poland.(20) Still others actively resisted both.
The team viewed these activities in terms of modernization, Enlightenment, westernization, urbanization, secularization, industrialization, assimilation, nationalism, and political mobilization. Characterized as an attack on the core culture identified with the shtetl, these processes were therefore outside the scope of their research: as Life is with People states, "Because the core culture is the subject of study, no effort has been made to cover all the shades and levels of acculturation as expressed during the twentieth century in such developments as secularized schools, modifications of dress, political and labor activities, and generally increased participation in the life of the larger society" (p. 23).
Consider for a moment the unstated assumptions of this characterization. A hallmark of the shtetl that emerges from Life is with People is its resistence to change, whether through inertia, obliviousness to the world around it, or concerted defense measures. However, in the face of alternatives, particularly those of the Jewish Enlightenment, adherence to tradition can never be the same. Defensiveness does not simply protect the status quo. It actually produces something new--theologically, socially, culturally, politically--even as it imagines itself in conservative terms. It is in this sense that Orthodox Judaism is "new," arising, according to Jacob Katz, during the late eighteenth century, when its assumptions were seriously challenged.(21)
Consider also the term acculturation. For anthropologists such as Melville Herskovits, best known for his affirmation of the African heritage of African Americans, cultural interchange left Jews with a culture so derivative it could not be called Jewish. Those who worked on Life is with People viewed the result as a coalescence so unique and stable that they could think in terms of the unacculturated shtetl. Zborowski clarified the logic of this paradox: an earlier process of acculturation produced the base or core Jewish culture, while a later process of acculturation chipped away at its edges.(22) In this way, the team positioned their subject in a conceptual space between two acculturations--after the creative process of cultural interchange that produced the coalescence they saw in the shtetl and before the deleterious impact of the many forces loosely designated as modernization.(23)
This conceptual space is not to be confused with historical location, for there is no historical moment to which we can refer the shtetl of Life Is with People--not in the period described by their informants and not prior to it. Rather, in the clearing they created, the team was free to infer the "unacculturated" shtetl from their "acculturated" informants and to locate it within a timeless, spaceless "core." Approaching change as recent, initiated from without, the team denied the possibility of distinctive forms of Jewish modernity, for even the Haskalah was seen as an "attack from within" (p. 161). In this way, the shtetl became the bearer of the "unacculturated" core culture of the East European culture area during the period 1880 to 1914 and in some areas, until World War II, and the cultural baseline for studying the acculturation of East European Jews in America.
The problem of whether or not Life is with People offers an accurate portrait of the shtetl notwithstanding, there remains a larger issue. Is shtetl, a highly charged literary and historiographic construction with a life of its own, the most productive point of departure for an anthropology or a history of East European Jewish life?
The term shtetl carries a range of meanings in Yiddish. At its most denotative, shtetl refers to "town" (any kind of town, whether or not Jews live there). The word is a diminutive of shtot (city). At its most connotative, shtetl refers to the hermetic Jewish world conjured up in Yiddish literature. Yiddish is also rich in terminology for a wide variety of settlement types, an indication of the diversity and complexity of Jewish residential patterns. The monumental Yiddish Thesaurus (1950) and the thousands of memorial books honoring particular towns and cities distinguish town (shtetl) from city (shtot), village (dorf), and Jews living in the countryside (yeshuvnikes, gut bazitsers).(24) They diffentiate the Jewish community and neighborhood (yishev oyfn shtetl, di yidishe gas, di yidishe apt [Opatow]) from the Christian ones (der goyisher gegnt, goyishe gasn, kristlekhe aynvoyner). The informants who were interviewed for Life Is With People also made such distinctions. Like Zborowski, many of them grew up in large cities such as Lwow, Lodz, Warsaw, and Cracow.
In English, the meaning of shtetl, the only Yiddish term for settlement in common use, narrows to the world of Sholom Aleichem, the world of our fathers, the world of Life Is With People, an exclusively Jewish world, a vanished world. In the last chapter of Life Is With People, entitled "As the Shtetl Sees the World," the shtetl becomes a protagonist in its own right. Now it is the shtetl that views, believes, and acts, so fully has it been reified (treated as a thing) and anthropomorphized (treated as a person). If the term shtetl were reserved in English for the literary construction, greater precision might be exercised in historical and anthropological accounts of Jewish settlement, including but not restricted to the "Jewish town."
For this reason, what follows below is not a history of the shtetl, but of Jewish settlement--in cities, towns, and countryside. In this account, the "Jewish town," defined as a market town in which Jews formed a substantial percentage of the population, is seen as a particular historical formation and critical link between city and countryside. Notwithstanding its importance, the "Jewish town" is not the only place that Jews lived in significant numbers and created a recognizably Jewish way of life. Nor is the "Jewish town" to be confused with the shtetl which has come to signify all that is most Jewish about East European Jewish culture.
During the thirteenth century, German colonists established towns in Poland according to Magdeburg Law, which determined their basic plan, social organization, and autonomy. Jewish communities developed their corporate character and settlement patterns in the context of these towns. Three aspects of towns in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania (1569-1772), especially those owned by magnates, made them particularly conducive to Jewish group life: their cultural and religious diversity (Italians, Scots, Armenians, Tatars, Greeks, and Hungarians also lived there), their corporate structure, and the right to do business.(25) The various autochthonous groups (Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Latvians, Estonians) were largely peasants on the land.
Cities and towns were laid out around the rynek, or central marketplace, and each national, religious, and occupational group generally occupied its own street or neighborhood and governed itself according to its own cultural traditions. In a feudal society that granted privileges to groups of subjects (estates and orders) rather than rights to individual citizens, a local Jewish community would constitute itself as a corporate body (kehile) that controlled its own religious, civil, and even criminal matters, and represented its members to the municipality and the king.
Living together in compact neighborhoods fostered Jewish communal life. Jews had established their own quarters even in antiquity. They occupied their own street, di yidngas (Western Yiddish), by the eleventh century in Regensburg and Koln and by the thirteenth century in Cracow. Jews tended to form their residential enclaves near the market place, the town center, and the main thoroughfares. The competing interests of the crown, nobility, burghers, peasants, and clergy, who were often intolerant of the Jewish faith, also affected where Jews lived and how they earned their living.
During the sixteenth century, as towns became more important and the Jewish population grew, competition with Christian merchants sharpened and more localities were granted the privilege of excluding Jews from living in their midst. Not only were these ad hoc restrictions selectively enforced in the years that followed, but Jews could live in suburbs or nearby towns and enter the city for markets and fairs. On occasion they formed an incorporated town--for example, Kazimierz, a Jewish suburb of Cracow, to which Jews were expelled in 1495. They might find a haven in juridical enclaves that were like private estates within or on the outskirts of the city--in the jurydyki and libertacje that were under the control of the szlachta (Polish gentry) and clergy. Or they might be restricted to a limited number of dwellings or to particular streets.
As the royal cities declined, Jews gravitated to the new private cities established by the nobility, particularly in the southeastern parts of the Commonwealth. A town's commercial center often developed wherever it was that Jews had been allowed to settle. As a town grew, it might expand to the point of surrounding the Jewish suburb. As several scholars have shown, even where Jews were concentrated, specially around the market, their houses were more or less interspersed with those of their Christian neighbors. Nor did all Jews in a particular town necessarily live in the Jewish neighborhood.(26)
The economy of the Commonwealth was based on the arenda, the term in Polish (as well as in Yiddish and Hebrew) for leases on fixed assets or prerogatives (land, mills, inns, breweries, distilleries) or special rights to collect custom duties and taxes. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Jews had engaged in the great arenda, collecting toll and excise taxes and managing the mint, salt mines, distilleries, and potash manufacture under royal license. The state hired agents to do this for them because it did not yet have its own apparatus for collecting these revenues. By the mid-sixteenth century, the nobility was competing for these profitable leases, though in Lithuania Jews continued to hold them until late in the seventeenth century.
Indeed, M.J. Rosman argues at the conclusion of his detailed study of the relationship of Jews and nobility in Poland during the eighteenth century that despite later efforts to change the role of Jews in the economy of estates, "up till World War I, and in some regions until World War II, many East European Jews continued in much the same role their great-great-great-grandfathers had filled under the magnates. They were still leasing estates, forests, and taverns; still marketing nobility and peasant produce in the towns; and still selling finished goods in the the countryside. The magnate-Jewish connection, crystallized in the sixteenth century, continued to resonate in the twentieth."(27) A clearer picture of the arenda and its history is specially relevant to a reading of Life is with People, for it is in this context that the "Jewish town" emerges.
As the nobles established and enlarged their own estates, they established new cities, towns, and villages in the new territories of the Commonwealth, mainly to the east and south. They encouraged Jews to enter the agricultural arenda, that is, to lease landed estates or particular branches of them, such as forestry. The economy shifted to the manorial system as landed estates started producing grain and other agricultural commodities for export to Western Europe and developing processing industries, especially the brewing and distillation of alcoholic beverages. While a nobleman might manage the estate on which he lived, he generally disdained commerce and would lease his other estates, some of them vast and in remote areas, to Jews. Faced with increasing competition from burghers in the towns, Jews welcomed the chance to bring their capital and commercial skills to the management of the latifundia. A latifundium was made up of complexes of manors, towns, and villages, as well as a residence for the owner or manager.(28)
The arenda system broadened the area of Jewish settlement, further diversified Jewish occupations, and integrated Jews into the rural economy, a process that was faciliated by the decentralization and fragmentation of state power that occurred as the nobles gained the upper hand in the Diet and pursued their own commercial interests. By the eighteenth century, half to two-thirds of the Jewish population in the Commonwealth lived on private holdings and by the eve of the partitions, the Jewish presence in the countryside had reached its peak--in some areas, a third of the Jewish population lived in villages. Their jobs as innkeepers, brewers and distillers, peddlers and itinerant craftsmen brought them into close contact with their Christian neighbors. Their function as middlemen who marketed the peasants' products on behalf of the nobility was also a source of friction. Their role as innkeepers implicated them in peasant alcoholism and indebtedness.
It is during a 150 year period starting in the late seventeenth century that the "Jewish town" emerged. By the end of this period, during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Jews had become a substantial segment of the population of towns and cities in the former Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania and as much as sixty per cent of the residents in some towns. Jewish houses were increasingly interspersed with those of their Christian neighbors, even though the municipality and the kehile, each for their own reasons, wanted to maintain a more homogeneous Jewish neighborhood--the kehile was concerned with physical safety and with strengthening its waning authority.(29)
Weakened by the wars, pestilence, and famine of the mid-seventeenth century, the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania was partitioned in three stages (1772, 1793, 1795) by Prussia, Austro-Hungary, and Russia. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Russia also acquired the Kingdom of Poland. Very few Jews had lived in Russia proper before the partitions. As a result of the successive annexation of territories of dense Jewish settlement, Russia suddenly ruled the largest Jewish population in the world--the numbers would multiply exponentially in the next seventy-five years.(30)
After the partitions, Catherine the Great and her successors expelled Jews from villages and banned them from innkeeping. Although the estate system almost disappeared with the impoverishment of the nobility and the emancipation of the serfs, the Jewish presence in their old rural occupations persisted to some degree. Their numbers dwindling with increasing industrialization and urbanization, Jews even took up some new occupations in the countryside. Agrarian reforms instituted in the independent republics after World I left little place for Jews in the impoverished rural economy. After their emancipation, peasants farmed the land and, though the peasants were largely self-sufficient, Jews still provided many needed services and products In Lite (the northeastern area of Jewish settlement in Eastern Europe, including parts of Poland, Lithuania, and White Russia) and Galicia (Austro-Hungary), rural Jews continued to lease estates from the nobility, manage their inns and forests, and hire tenant farmers or sublet the land to sharecroppers.
Many Jewish artisans and traders were in desperate straits by the end of the nineteenth century--though several Jewish entrepreneurs played an important role in the industrialization of the former Commonwealth, for example, in the textile industry of Lodz. Increasingly concentrated in towns and cities, Jews formed the dominant urban group, their numbers as high as 74% of the population in the case of Pinsk in 1897. A disproportionately large Jewish artisanal class worked independently or in small, family-run workshops that were for the most part unmechanized. Competing with each other as well as with factories, Jewish artisans toiled long hours for low wages and with simple tools. It is from their ranks that the Jewish labor movement recruited its followers. Many migrated to larger cities in the hope of better economic opportunities. Others emigrated.(31)
What were the repercussions of these migrations for Jewish life in small towns and large cities during the period covered by Life is with People? An observer during the late nineteenth century noted that the Jewish quarter of a large city like Warsaw might harbor ways of life that had declined or even disappeared from small towns.(32) Some eighty years later, Abraham Duker would note that "a city like Krakow appeared to the present writer in 1934 to be as observant as any small town in the northern part of Congress Poland. The number of 'enlightened' people might have been larger in the large cities, but strangely enough, election to the kehillot and general representative bodies showed that Orthodoxy was weaker in many small shtetlach than in some large cities."(33) As these observations suggest, not all that Life is with People attributed to the shtetl was confined to it or even specific to it.
Lucy Dawidowicz's The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life and Thought in Eastern Europe (1967) can be read as a corrective to Life is with People.(34) A compilation of memoirs, letters, and other primary sources, this book examines how East European Jews tried "to harmonize tradition and modernity." Dawidowicz is explicit: "East European Jewry was not, as the sentimentalists see it, forever frozen in utter piety and utter poverty."(35) This statement is an indictment of "lachrymose history," a term of disapprobation coined by the eminent Jewish historian Salo Baron. Bleak pictures of Jewish life, with a strong emphasis on Jewish insularity and persecution, served the reformist objectives of the Jewish Enlightenment and Emancipation movements in the nineteenth century and Zionism in the twentieth century.
Diaspora nationalists such as Max Weinreich, a distinguished Yiddish linguist, attacked the "ghetto theory" of Jewish life, which attributed Jewishness to exclusion and separateness. Instead, "Ashkenazic reality is to be sought between the two poles of absolute identity with and absolute remoteness from the corterritorial non-Jewish communities. To compress this into a formula, what the Jews aimed at was not isolation from the Christians but insulation from Christianity."(36) During the 1960s, Uriel Weinreich established the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. This monumental project documents in infinite detail the geographic distribution of variation in the Yiddish language and the culture of its speakers across a vast Ashkenazic culture area, extending from Alsace to Smolensk and from the Baltic to the Black Seas. Historical process has deposited itself in space. The task of the Atlas is to map its movements.(37)
Such work acknowledges the heterogeneity of the societies in which East European Jews lived and the interaction of Jews with their neighbors.(38) Most important, this kind of work recognizes an ongoing process of cultural creation that is no less Jewish for being new, as well as newness where loyalty to tradition is strongly asserted.
13. Jewish Group Minutes, April 28, 1949, Box G50, Folder 3, Margaret Mead Papers, Collections of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. There are two sets of minutes from this meeting and the wording varies. I would like to thank Mary Catherine Bateson for permission to quote from this material. Unless otherwise indicated, all references to archival material are to this collection.
14. Jewish Group Meeting, June 29, 1949, Box G50, Folder 4; Louis Wirth, The Ghetto (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1928), p. 287.
15. There is rich evidence of a strong attachment to place in poetry, song, and humor, in accounts of return visits to home towns by those who had left for America, in the many memoirs and memorial books commemorating destroyed Jewish communities, and in memory paintings and literary tributes to hometowns produced by immigrants. See Jack Kugelmass and Jonathan Boyarin, eds. and trans., From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry (New York: Schocken Books, 1983) and Jack Kugelmass, ed., Going Home, a special issue of YIVO Annual 21 (1993).
16. Conrad M. Arensberg, "The Community as Object and as Samnple," in Culture and Community, by Conrad M. Arensberg and Solon T. Kimbal (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965), p. 15. This landmark essay first appeared in 1961. Arensberg, who directed the work of the Jewish research group, published The Irish Countryman: An Anthropological Study (New York: Macmillan) in 1937. Devoted to "an anthropology of modern Ireland," a radical move in the anthropology of the period, the book was dedicated to W. Lloyd Warner, a social anthropologist who turned to the study of American communities after doing fieldwork among Australian aborigines. The Jewish research team was also relying on the notion of folk society formulated by Robert Redfield in the context of his work on peasant communities. See Robert Redfield, "The Folk Society," The American Journal of Sociology 42, no. 4 (1947): 293-308. Though later revised, this early formulation is the one which informs Life Is With People.
17. Compare with Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages (New York: Schocken, 1971 ), which deals with Jewish communal organization in Central and Eastern Europe in the period before the partitioning of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithania. To some degree the "golden age" of Ashkenazic Jewry, kehile, and "traditional Jewish community" are to historians what shtetl is to anthropologists.
18. The account of Hasidism in Life is with People is based to a large extent on interviews with people who were not Hasidim (and often hostile to Hasidism), neo-romantic anthologies of Hasidic tales, and some historical accounts. For the range of scholarship on the history and historiography of Hasidism, including new approaches, see Gershon D. Hundert, ed., Essential Papers on Hasidism: Origins to the Present (New York: New York University Press, 1991). For an anthropological study of Hasidic communities today, see Jerome R. Mintz, Hasidic People: A Place in the New World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992).
19. See Eli Lederhendler, The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Jonathan Frankel, Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862-1917 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Zvi Gitelman, Jewish Nationality and Soviet Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972); and Ezra Mendelsohn, Zionism in Poland: The Formative Years, 1915- 1926 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981).
20. See Gershon C. Bacon, "Agudath Israel in Poland, 1916-39: An Orthodox Jewish Response to the Challenge of Modernity," PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 1979. 21. Jacob Katz, "Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective," In Studies in Contemporary Jewry, no. 2, ed. Peter Y. Medding (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press for the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University, 1986), pp. 3-17. See also, Norman Lamm, Torah Lishmah: Torah for Torah's Sake in the Works of Rabbi Hayyim of Volozhin and His Contemporaries (New York: New York University Press, 1988); Immanuel Etkes, Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement: Seeking the Torah of Truth, trans. Jonathan Chipman (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993); and Ehud Luz, Parallels Meet: Religion and Nationalism in the Early Zionist Movement (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1988).
22. Mark Zborowski, "The Children of the Covenant," Social Forces 29, no. 4 (1951): 352.
23. The volume opens with the themes of "isolation from the non-Jewish world and complete penetration of religious precept and practice into every detail of daily life" (p. 34). It ends with "dynamic equilibrium" (p. 412). Dynamic equilibrium and "field of forces," notions taken from Gregory Bateson and Kurt Lewin, are more consequential here as a textual strategy than as a basis for analysis. General claims that the shtetl was "not a static universe" (p. 409), that it was a "whole" made up of "conflicting and interacting parts" (p. 429), and that "through the centuries, the tradition has been both tested and invigorated by the impact of influences from without" (p. 429) have limited analytic consequences. They do however provide a rationale for integrating inconsistent data, and, as disclaimers, they tacitly acknowledge the book's overwhelming emphasis upon continuity (pp. 158-165).
24. Nahum Stutchkoff, Der oytser fun der yidisher shprakh (Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language) (New York: Yiddish Scientific Institute--YIVO, 1950). See entry 109. gegnt.
25. See Chimen Abramski, Maciej Jachimczyl, and Antony Polansky, eds., The Jews in Poland (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986).
26. See Gershon David Hundert, "Jewish Urban Residence in the Polish Commonwealth in the Early Modern Period," Jewish Journal of Sociology 26, no. 1 (1984): 25-34; and Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100-1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973).
27. M. J. Rosman, The Lords' Jews: Magnate-Jewish Relations in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Eighteenth Century, Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard Judaic Texts and Studies, VII, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Monograph Series, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), p. 212.
28. Rosman, The Lord's Jews, pp. 10-17.
29. See Isaac Levitas, The Jewish Community in Russia, 1772-1844 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943).
30. Jews in Russia lived primarily in two areas: first, the Pale of Jewish Settlement, which was formally delineated in 1835. They were concentrated in the westernmost parts of the Pale, the former provinces of Byelorussia, Lithuania, and the Ukraine. The Pale also included areas further east and south. Second, Jews continued to live in Congress Poland, which, though annexed in 1815, was not part of the Pale. See Steven Zipperstein, The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985) and Michael Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I and the Jews: The Transformation of Jewish Society in Russia, 1825-1855 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1983).
31. See Arcadius Kahan, Essays in Jewish Social and Economic History, ed. Roger Weiss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).
32. An observation made in 1867 and reported by Jacob Shatzky, Di geshikhte fun yidn in varshe (The History of the Jews in Warsaw), vol. 3 (New York: Yiddish Scientific Institute--YIVO, 1953), p. 333.
33. Abraham G. Duker, "A Shady Portrayal of the Shtetl" (Review of Life is with People) Congress Weekly 19, no. 23 (22 September 1952), p. 24.
34. Several books were written as correctives to the image of East European Jewish life represented by Life Is With People, including Lucjan Dobroszycki and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust (New York: Schocken Books, in cooperation with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Studies, 1995 ). Celia S. Heller, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977) characterizes Polish Jews as a caste, a notion she takes from Aleksander Hertz, The Jews in Polish Culture, trans. Richard Lourie (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988 ). At the time she contributed descriptions of her home town (Stoczek) to the research for Life Is With People, her name was Celia Stopnicka Rosenthal and she was a sociology student at Columbia University. Diane K. Roskies and David G. Roskies, The Shtetl Book (New York: Ktav, 1975) takes Tishevits as a model shtetl, defined as a market town. More recently, see Ghitta Sternberg, Stefanesti: Portrait of a Romanian Shtetl (New York: Pergamon Press, 1984); Steven J. Zipperstein, "The Shtetl Revisted," in Shtetl Life: The Nathan and Faye Hurvitz Collection (Berkeley: Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1993), pp. 17-24; and Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, "Shtetl Communities: Another Image," Polin 8 (1994): 89-113.
35. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life and Thought in Eastern Europe (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967), p. 5, 6.
36. Max Weinreich, "The Reality of Jewishness Versus the Ghetto Myth: The Sociolinguistic Roots of Yiddish," in To Honor Roman Jakobson: Essays on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (The Hague: Mouton, 1967), p. 2204. See also, Max Weinreich, History of the Yiddish Language, trans. Shlomo Noble (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
37. The Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry (Tuebingen: Max Miemeyer Verlag) is being published in 11 volumes, under the direction of Marvin I. Herzog. The first volume, which deals with historical and methodological considerations, appeared in 1992. The second volume, which deals with research tools, is scheduled to appear in 1995. Subsequent volumes focus on aspects of Eastern and Western Yiddish, Yiddish-Slavic bilingual dialectolgy, and folk culture (volume 10).
38. See Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (New York: Schocken, 1969 ). There is a vast literature on this subject. See George J. Lerski and Halina T. Lerski, comp., Jewish-Polish Coexistence, 1772-1939: A Topical Bibliography (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986).