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By Eli Lederhendler

It was once now not until eventually the emergence of the ideologies of Zionism and Socialism on the finish of the final century that the Jewish groups of the Diaspora have been perceived through historians as having a real political existence. when it comes to the Jews of Russia, the pogroms of 1881 were considered as the watershed occasion which prompted the political awakening of Jewish intellectuals. right here Lederhendler explores formerly missed antecedents to this turning element within the background of the Jewish humans within the first scholarly paintings to envision concretely the transition of a Jewish neighborhood from conventional to post-traditional politics.

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Additional resources for The Road to Modern Jewish Politics: Political Tradition and Political Reconstruction in the Jewish Community of Tsarist Russia (Studies in Jewish Hi)

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7 Although such declarations did not abolish rabbinical courts, they removed from them the full recognition of autonomy that they had long enjoyed. By providing an explicit formula that encouraged Jews to pursue civil litigation in gentile courts, these powerful regional landowners threatened the political integrity of the Jewish community that was based, in significant measure, on the communal authorities' asserted monopoly over recourse to gentile power. After the abolition of the va'adim, the viability of the local kehillot was challenged not only by magnates intent on maximizing their own direct control over judicial and municipal matters but also by newer political forces, intent on reforming the state and Polish society in a modern spirit, that emerged during the last thirty years of Poland's independence.

Indeed, the entire medieval background of shtadlanut, as of Jewish communal activity in general (including the rabbinate), is one of nonprofessionalism. Shtadlanut was a necessary concomitant of the Jewish political condition in the Middle Ages. Dependence on a ruling figure or figures, often not located in the immediate vicinity, required the intermediary activity of someone with ready access to the court. Second, as the Jews' political status rested to an overwhelming extent on their fiscal bond with the feudal treasuries, political activity was virtually synonymous with handling the communities' or private assets judiciously and to the public benefit.

Aw stipulates that "the law of the kingdom is law" and the king has ruled that your district be attached to [the jurisdiction of] Poland, in all civil matters. Who, then, shall presume to contradict that which the king has determined? The word of the king is law and who may tell him what to do? , gentile authorities). Reliance on powerful nobles or officials to guarantee or to undermine the position of rabbis and communal leaders was often decried as a blemish on Jewish public life, but it was, nevertheless, part of the system.

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