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HIST 219 (35)
Dan Heller (35)
Lecture 9

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HIST 219
Dan Heller

Lecture 9: 2 October 2013 Making Jews Russian? • Jewish leadership system questioned • Focus on political transformations • Hasidic court & yeshivas during a time of change in Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth • Late 1600s onward – Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth; rebellions, battles between noblemen and kings o Series of invasions by Sweden, Ottoman empire, Russia o Battleground between Sweden and Russia • 1772 – 1795: Partitioning in Poland o Mostly goes to Russia – tsar is glad to have access to new resources, but has to control the people in its region  100 different ethnic groups  Many of these groups (Poles, Ukrainians, Bella-Russians) each have different set of needs and conflicts  Jews are the largest non-Slavic and non-Christian group  Rulers of the largest Jewish population in the world (700,000)  Late 18 – late 19 century: population grows to 5,000,000  Rulers are faced with questions: • Are Jews capable of being loyal subjects? • To what extent should the government try to integrate the Jews?  How might we characterize the Russians policy toward Jews in the late 19 century?  To what extent did these policies have an impact of Jewish lives? Russian Policy • Jewish policy is typically a part of a larger issue that officials are concerned with • 1917, barely any laws that are made with only Jews in mind • Policies towards Jews are designed to strengthen the Russian empire without endangering the status-quo • Catherine the Great – 1795 – deeply worried that if they extend more rights or too many rights that there may be a revolution • Walk thin line between educating population and introducing some industrialization, while preserving some of the same, ex – legal structure o Nobles, clergy, merchants, peasants, urban dwellers o Russian empire is motivated by political and economic goals, rather than religious ones  Political & economic considerations  1790s – members of the Christian Merchant class, complain to Catherine the Great that Jewish merchants have been infiltrating Moscow and creating economic competition • Bans Jews from entering into the Russian interior (St. Petersburg and Moscow) • Delineates the provinces in which Jews are allowed to live o The Pale of Settlement: borders finalized in 1835  Considered the greatest restriction Jews face, but unlike ghettos: • Region that they are confined to are not exclusively lived in by Jews; Poles, Ukrainians, etc. – Jews are only 12% • Residents are considered privileged • Jews are allowed to engage in any commerce except alcoholic (prevent tension between barkeepers and Jewish patrons)  Inconsistent and difficult to implement • Russian policy throughout the empire is characterized by a lack of consistency • Why? Jews don’t fit into the classes; classified as merchants, urban-dwellers o In some ways good, Jews place are not totally set in stone o Christian merchant class would be angry and could lead to tensions • 1808, Tsar Alexander I – wants Jews out of the rural regions of the Pale Settlement • Community structures in place – in 1795, Catherine the Great forbids the Kehilla from dealing with any matter other than a few • 1844, Russian government abolishes the Kehillot o Jews go around the system o Instead of having rabbi listed as an official, say that he is the slaughterer o Form voluntary societies o Jews can determine matters of their own community • Crown Rabbis – formerly instituted by Tsar Nicholas I (1825 – 1855) o Implement what happened in France o Rabbis that are instructed to enforce loyalty to the Russian state o Tax on candles to create seminaries that he is going to run; recruit Jews to go to rabbinic seminaries to learn about Judaism but also Russian culture  150 people go = not a success o Impose the crown rabbis on all of the communities  Have no say in religious rights of these community • All in all, the legislation does not translate to the communities • Only exception – the conscription of Jews Tsar Nicholas I
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