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Jewish historiography and the modern city: Recent writing on European Jewry

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  1. 1.

    Kathleen Neils Conzen, “Community studies, urban history and American local history,” in Michael Kammen, ed.,The Past Before Us (Ithaca, N.Y., 1980) p. 271.

  2. 2.

    This literature is vast: Joseph Bradley,Muzhik and Muscovite: Urbanization in Late Imperial Russia (Berkeley, Cal., 1985) is a superb study. Useful are H. Schmal, ed.,Patterns of European Urbanisation Since 1500 (London, 1981) and Philip Abrams and E.A. Wrigley, eds.,Towns in Societies (Cambridge, Eng., 1978).

  3. 3.

    Salo W. Baron's writes inThe Contemporary Relevance of History (New York, 1986), p. 32, on the tendency in nineteenth-century Jewish historiography to disparage coverage of contemporary affairs: “The very failure of the historians to analyze the impact of the great revolutionary movements of 1848–9⋯ on European Jewry during the second half of the nineteenth century well illustrated the growing indifference of those generations toward the history of the most recent past.” An excellent analysis of Dubnow can be found in Robert M. Seltzer,Simon Dubnow: A Critical Biography of His Early Years (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1970). On Jewish historiography in general see Michael A. Meyer,Ideas of Jewish History (New York, 1974).

  4. 4.

    Yakov Shatski,Gerhikhte fun yidn in varshe, 3 vols (New York, 1947–53) is a very detailed and reliable institutional and communal history. Ludwig Geiger,Geschichte der Juden in Berlin, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1871) is, despite its origins as a commemorative work to mark the anniversary of Jewish readmission to Berlin in 1671, of considerable scholarly value. The Jewish Publication Society of America'sJewish Community Series was an important pioneering effort. For Polish language Jewish historical work on cities see Majer Balaban,Bibliografia historii zydów w Polsce (Warsaw, 1939), republished with an introduction by Ezra Mendelsohn (Jerusalem, 1978). Maskilic material on cities is noted in Steven J. Zipperstein,The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794–1881 (Stanford, Cal., 1985), and in this author's, “Russian Maskilim and the city,” in David Berger, ed.,The Legacy of Jewish Migration: 1881 and Its Impact (New York, 1983), pp. 31–45. See the “Bibliography of Eastern European Memorial Books” (compiled by Zachary M. Baker) in Jack Kugelmass and Jonathan Boyarin, eds. and trans.,From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry (New York, 1983), pp. 223–64.

  5. 5.

    Ruppin repeats this argument inSoziologie der Juden, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1930–31),The Jewish Fate and Future (London, 1940) and elsewhere. On this theme also see Erik Cohen, “The city in Zionist ideology,”The Jerusalem Quarterly 4 (Summer 1977): 126–44.

  6. 6.

    Ismar Elbogen,A Century of Jewish Life (Philadelphia, 1945), pp. 425–26.

  7. 7.

    Shmuel Ettinger, “The modern period,” in H.H. Ben-Sasson, ed.,A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge, Mass., 1976), pp. 864–65.

  8. 8.

    See the review by David Weinberg of Marsha L. Rozenblit,The Jews of Vienna, 1867–1914: Assimilation and Identity (Albany, N.Y., 1983) inMenorah Review 7 (Spring, 1986): 7–8. Weinberg's book is entitledA Community on Trial: The Jews of Paris in the 1930s (Chicago, 1977).

  9. 9.

    Rozenblit,The Jews of Vienna, p. 2.

  10. 10.

    Norman Stone,Europe Transformed, 1878–1919 (Glasgow, 1983), pp. 407–11.

  11. 11.

    Carl E. Schorske,Fin de siècle Vienna (New York, 1981); Peter Gay,Freud, Jews and Other Germans (New York, 1978).

  12. 12.

    Diane Koenker,Moscow Workers and the 1917 Revolution (Princeton, N.J., 1981), p. 4.

  13. 13.

    Rozenblit,The Jews of Vienna, p. 16.

  14. 14.

    Ibid., p. 49.

  15. 15.

    Ibid., p. 109.

  16. 16.

    Quoted in J. Morgan Kousser, “Quantitative social-scientific history,” in Kammen, ed.,The Past Before Us, p. 434.

  17. 17.

    Rozenblit,The Jews of Vienna, p. 142.

  18. 18.

    Deborah Dash Moore,At Home in America: Second Generation New York Jews (New York, 1981), p. 4.

  19. 19.

    Bill Williams,The Making of Manchester Jewry, 1740–1875 (Manchester 1976): a paperback reprint was published in 1985.

  20. 20.

    See Stuart S. Cohen and Eliezer Don Yehiya, eds.,Conflict and Consenus in Jewish Political Life (Jerusalem, 1986), pp. 7–10 andpassim.

  21. 21.

    Jonathan Frankel,Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862–1917 (Cambridge, Eng., 1981); Steven E. Aschheim,Brothers and Strangers; The European Jew in German and German-Jewish Consciousness (Madison, Wisc., 1982).

  22. 22.

    See, for instance, Salo W. Baron, “World dimensions of Jewish history,” in Aaron Steinberg, ed.,Simon Dubnow: The Man and His Work (Paris, 1963), pp. 26–40.

  23. 23.

    Williams,The Making of Manchester Jewry, p. 7.

  24. 24.

    Ibid., p. 57.

  25. 25.

    Quoted in Steven Marcus,Engels, Manchester and the Working Class (New York, 1975), p. 39.

  26. 26.

    Ibid., p. 49.

  27. 27.

    Ibid., p. 60.

  28. 28.

    Williams,The Making of Manchester Jewry, p. 69.

  29. 29.

    Ibid., p. 83.

  30. 30.

    Ibid., p. 107.

  31. 31.

    Ibid., p. 86.

  32. 32.

    Ibid., p. 88.

  33. 33.

    Ibid., p. 168.

  34. 34.

    Ibid., pp. 167–68.

  35. 35.

    Todd M. Endelman,The Jews of Georgian England: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society (Philadelphia, 1979), pp. 246–47.

  36. 36.

    Williams,The Making of Manchester Jewry, p. 149.

  37. 37.

    See Alfred Abraham Greenbaum,Jewish Scholarship in Soviet Russia, 1918–1941 (Boston, 1959), pp. 46–53.

  38. 38.

    Cohen summarizes her argument in “The ethnic catalyst: The impact of the East European immigration on the American Jewish establishment” in David Berger, ed.,The Legacy of Jewish Migration (New York, 1983), p. 134.

  39. 39.

    Robert Liberles,Religious Conflict in Social Context: The Resurgence of Orthodox Judaism in Frankfurt am Main, 1838–1877 (Westport, Conn., 1985).

  40. 40.

    Jacob Katz,From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700–1933 (Cambridge, Mass., 1980).

  41. 41.

    Liberles,Religious Conflict in Social Context, p. 27.

  42. 42.

    Ibid., p. 104.

  43. 43.

    Paula Hyman, “The history of European Jewry: Recent trends in the literature,”Journal of Modern History 54 (June 1982): 303–19.

  44. 44.

    David Sorkin, “The invisible community: Emancipation, secular culture, and Jewish identity in the writings of Berthold Auerbach,” in Jehuda Reinharz and Walter Schatzberg, eds.,The Jewish Response to German Culture: From Enlightenment to the Second World War (Hanover, N.H., 1985), pp. 100–119; Gary B. Cohen, “Liberal associations and Central European urban society, 1840–1890,”Maryland Historian 12 (1981): 1–11.

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I wish to thank Evyatar Friesel and David Sorkin for their helpful comments on this essay. This is not an attempt to survey all recent literature on modern European Jewish urban life. Among the works omitted are: Yisrael Klausner,Vilna: yerushalayim de-lita, 2 vols. (n.p., 1983); Isadore Twersky, ed.,Danzig, Between East and West: Aspects of Modern Jewish History (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), a stimulating collection of essays that use Danzig as a springboard for discussion of other themes. An important article in the volume that treats Danzig directly is Moshe J. Rosman, “Polish Jews in the Gdansk trade in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.” An outstanding analysis of Parisian Jewry can be found in Michael Graetz's complex and most valuable monograph on nineteenth-century French Jewish communal and intellectual trends,Ha-periferiah haytah le-merkaz: perakim le-toledot yahadut tsarfat ba-me'ah ha-XIX (Jerusalem, 1982). Also see Nancy L. Green,The Pletzl of Paris: Jewish Immigrant Workers in the Belle Epoque (New York, 1986). Jewish urbanization is discussed in Calvin Goldscheider and Alan S. Zuckerman,The Transformation of the Jews (Chicago, 1984). pp. 82–85 andpassim.

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Zipperstein, S.J. Jewish historiography and the modern city: Recent writing on European Jewry. Jewish History 2, 73–88 (1987).

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  • Modern City
  • Recent Writing
  • Jewish Historiography