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Roma-Gypsy Presence in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 15th-18th Centuries by Lech Mróz received honorable mention for the Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies.

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With Their Backs to the Mountains
How They Lived
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Lithuanian Jewish Culture


Dovid Katz, Vilnius University, Lithuania

A major study of the various cultures of the Litvaks, the Jews of Lithuania. In the Jewish sense, the notion “Lithuania” comprises all of modern day Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus, and chunks of Poland, Ukraine and Russia. The traditional Jewish cultural borders go back to the medieval territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which welcomed Jews fleeing persecutions in the Germanic lands of Central Europe. This book, beautifully published in folio format, with thirty specially commissioned maps and charts and many photographs and facsimiles, traces the culture of the Litvaks from the prehistory of ancient Israel through to Babylonia and Europe, through to the first manifestations of Lithuanian Jewish Culture. The plot line then diversifies to dedicate “equal time” to traditional Talmudic and Kabalistic culture, and to the wide range of more modern forms of Litvak culture, including Hebraism, Yiddishism, Zionism, and Diasporism. There is much discussion of the dynamic interaction between the three languages of this civilization: Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish. The final chapter comprises the author’s photographs and descriptions of the “Last of the Mohegan” Litvaks in Eastern Europe today, compiled during his decade of expeditions in the region. A remarkable survey of a remarkable people and culture.

 

Contents

Acknowledgments; Note on Transcription; Chapter 1 Jewish Lithuania; Chapter 2 The Ancient Heritage; Chapter 3 Ashkenaz; Chapter 4 Lita; Chapter 5 The Council of Lithuania; Chapter 6 The Gaon of Vilna; Chapter 7 Hasidim and Misnagdim; Chapter 8 A Land for Jewish Tradition; Chapter 9 Individualists and Modernists; Chapter 10 Hebrew Comes to Life; Chapter 11 Yiddish Comes to Modern European Culture; Chapter 12 Times of Revolution; Chapter 13 In Four New Republics; Chapter 14 Lithuanian Jewish Art; Chapter 15 Today; Appendix: The Karaites; For Further Reading; Index


Published by Baltos Lankos, Vilnius, distributed by CEU Press.

2010
400 pages, 245mm x 290mm (9.6" x 11.4") cloth
ISBN: 978-963-9776-51-7
$80.00/ €65.00 / £55.00

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