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Jews at the Crossroads
Examines the social and political history of the Jews of Miskolc-the third largest Jewish community in Hungary-and presents the wider transformation of Jewish identity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It explores the emergence of a moderate, accommodating form of traditional Judaism that combined elements of tradition and innovation, thereby creating an alternative to Orthodox and Neolog Judaism. This form of traditional Judaism reconciled the demands of religious tradition with the expectations of Magyarization and citizenship, thus allowing traditional Jews to be patriotic Magyars.
By focusing on Hungary, this book seeks to correct a trend in modern Jewish historiography that views Habsburg Jewish History as an extension of German Jewish History, most notably with regard to emancipation and enlightenment. Rather than trying to fit Hungarian Jewry into a conventional Germano-centric taxonomy, this work places Hungarian Jews in the distinct contexts of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Danube Basin, positing a more seamless nexus between the eighteenth and nineteenth century. This nexus was rooted in a series of political experiments by Habsburg sovereigns and Hungarian noblemen that culminated in civic equality, and in the gradual expansion of traditional Judaism to meet the challenges of the age.
A Note on Sources
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables
Rethinking the Rhythms of Emancipation and Enlightenment
Eighteenth Century Pastorale:
The Allures and Uncertainties of the Hungarian Frontier
Crown, Town, Magnate, and Jew:
Corporate Politics in Borsod County
The Hevra Kadisha and the Rise of the Family Syndicate
Jews in the Time of Cholera:
The Epidemic of 1831 and Its Aftermath
The Kehilla and the Business of Religion
Educational Reform and Religious Identity
Széchenyi’s Soup at Szemere’s Table
Miskolc Jewry and the Era of Reform, 1836–1848
Revolution by Proxy:
Jews in the Hinterland
Coming of Age, 1851–1878
1878 and Beyond: Two Chambers of One Heart
“Words of Peace and Truth”: A Call for Unity by Moses Ezekiel Fischmann