Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

The Many Faces of European Jewry
3 Lectures

Item #: S361

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Item Description:

In this age of globalization, the Jewish world has become something of a melting pot. We’re used to different types of Jews living together and influencing each other. But before the 20th century, diversity in the Jewish world followed geographical lines. We might even say that each region had its own “personality.” Rabbi Wein probes these personalities – the intellectual Lithuanian, the passionate Polish chassid, and the spunky Central European Jew – giving honor to each one for its enduring mark on the Jewish people.

Individual lectures:

Lithuanian Jewry - The birthplace of the yeshiva and mussar movements, Lithuania was known as European Jewry’s intellectual center. But like its cold climate, its people had a reputation of being emotionless - more head than heart. Rabbi Wein uncovers us the warm and charitable inside of Lithuania’s Jews, melding personal and biographical anecdotes with historical analysis.

Polish Jewry - The Jews in Poland have a far different history than their Lithuanian counterparts, and as Rabbi Wein makes clear, a different character, too. While Chassidus faced a fight in Lithuania, it swept Poland like wildfire. From the Rema to the Gerrer dynasties, Rabbi Wein depicts the lives of the Polish gedolim and their ardent followers, giving us a picture of the once-vibrant Jewish world that was snuffed out by the Holocaust.

Central European Jewry - The Jewish communities of the Austro-Hungarian empire were communities of extremes, both on the right and on the left. Chassidus held strong there, but so did secularism, and the wars between them explain much about the extremism in our world today. Rabbi Wein takes us back to some of those original battles – between the Noda B’Yehuda and Chassidus, between the Chasam Sofer and the Reform, and between Herzl and religious anti-Zionism – giving us a lifelike picture of high-spirited Jews unafraid of taking a stand.

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