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JWST 303- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 34 pages long!)


Department
Jewish Studies
Course Code
JWST 303
Professor
Daniel Heller
Study Guide
Final

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McGill
JWST 303
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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01/05
1920s--2.5 mil jews in USSR--proportionally small amt (of 147 mil)
Jews, communism, and power
Jews had disproportionate cult/poli influence
Were both victims and victimizers as part of secret police
Would often direct violence against other jews
To what extent were communist elite jews representative of jews/the ussr?
What role did jewishness play in becoming communist?
Between protection and persecution
Early on, it was state policy to condemn antisemitism
But then moved to endorsing it
Soviet policy towards jews and other “national minorities”
In 1900, ethnic russians made up only 43% of pop
Experience of jews was oft parallel to other natl minorities
Ideology vs reality in an authoritarian system
Ruthless poli syst betrayed noble goals of first communist state
But realities/interpretations/resistance varied across state/depending on
perspective
Legacies of the soviet jewish experience
After dissolution of USSR, many jews immigrated to israel
Some argue that they brought w them authoritarianism/conservatism
Using jewish life in the USSr as a window to the “soviet system”
Russia vs USSR
USSR vs other authoritarian states/empires
Effectiveness of communist rule
Change over time?
Why did USSR endure? Why collapse?
○ resistance?
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01/10--Jews in 19th Century Imperial Russia
Russian empire’s attitudes/policies towards jews, to what extent did they actually affect
jews?
In 1900s, avg age of person living in russ emp was 32
V high child mortality rate
Poverty, disease also rampant
By 1500s, russian emp is steadily expanding
Expansion leads to absorption of 100+ ethnic groups
Jews are by far largest non-slavic/christian group
700,000--largest jewish pop in world, and only growing
Mostly live in polish-lithuanian commonwealth
1900--5 mil jews/4% of pop
Diffs btwn jews/goyim
Jews speak yiddish amongst themselves
Earn livelihoods mostly thru commerce (vs agri)
Economic middlemen btwn polish nobility/ukrainian peasants
Also given license to sell liquor
Also look diff--eating, grooming, dressing
Had own schools, relig insts, calendar
Halacha laws
Jewish community also increasingly fractured
Hasidism--prayer over relig studies
Mitnagdism--study over prayer
Opposing groups try to appeal to govt against rival group
Also other regional/community differences
To what extent can jews b integrated?
Jewish policy almost always stems from wider issues/russian imperial policies
Non-russian “minorities” (60% of pop) all lumped together in law
Aim is to strengthen russian emp w/out endangering status quo
Implementing enlightened absolutism w/out inciting rev (as seen in france)
Rights still correspond to caste/class/estate, not citizenship
In RE, no debates of emancipation, whether or not to include jews, bc no one is a
citizen
Christians complain abt jews immigrating to moscow
So cath the great passes laws that delineate provs where jews can live aka “pale
of settlement”
Western RE, where jews had prev lived in PLC
Yet these restrictions were still lesser than those of medieval eur
But these policies are v hard to implement and inconsistent
Jews don’t fit neatly into a social caste
● Kahal/kehilot
Jewish autonomous cult inst
RE tried to abolish these bodies, but in practice jews still exerted self-rule
One exception: conscription
Tsar nicholas I--much more aggressive abt integrating jews
4/1000 conscripted for 25 yr terms
Non-jewish conscripts were supposed to be 18-25, but jews were as young as 12
Thought be more susceptible
Jewish conscripts were known as cantonists
Jewish communities had conscription quota
Conscription used by community elite as tool of social control
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