THE JEWISH QUARTER
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
A symbolic Cartography : the Eruv in the Diaspora
Ch. E. Fonrobert discusses the Jewish ritual system known as the eruv, which was first formulated in the late ancient rabbinic Mishnah (end of second century C.E.), and it practiced and instituted to this day in many cities the world over. Taking her clue from contemporary documents that detail the secular governmental involvement with the establishment of eruvin in American cities, she argues that the late ancient ritual discourse of the rabbinic sages can be read for its political implications, particularly with regard to the question how the spatial existence of the Jewish community is negotiated extra-territorially in the Diaspora. The article focuses on two specific aspects of the ritual system that demand the involvement of the secular authorities, namely the requirement of a symbolic rent and the efforts of marking the boundaries of the eruv community.
Jewish Quarters and Ghettos
«Rue des juifs», «Juiverie », «Carrière», «Judengasse», «Judenviertel», «Judenhof», «Judendorf», «Judenstadt», «Giudecca», «Juderia», «Judaismo», «Judaiche»… From the Middle Ages, specific Jewish quarters appeared all around Europe. For a long time, the ‘ghetto’ seemed to symbolize this Jewish urban life but actually, if all the ghettos were indeed Jewish quarters, all Jewish quarters cannot be defined as ghettos. Therefore it is mostly important to analyse in which conditions these Jewish quarters have been created: by the Jews themselves, who wished to live together for religious and social reasons, or by the local or state authorities? In this case, the date and the precise conditions of this foundation should be known: were Jews forced into the ghetto, was this quarter totally separated from the rest of the city (or could some Christian families live there)? Was it surrounded by walls, were the doors closed at night? Did the authorities wish to protect or to watch over the Jews living there?
Eliane Roos Schuhl
Judengasse in Westhouse
A small part of the Jewish population could remain in Alsace after the expulsions and bloodbaths in the 14th century. Escaping from other massacres, Jewish immigrants arrived three centuries later during and mostly after the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This article deals with the question of their settlement: where and how? Were the Jewish families forced to live together in special Judenhoffen or Judengasse? Who decided? The study presents the example of a typical village in Lower Rhine, Westhouse.
Czernowitz, Jewish Spaces of a Palimpsest City
The Jewish geography can be often deciphered like a history of two categories of displacements. The first makes pass the Jews from the Jewish village to the open city from the shtetl to the Stadt , then from the open city to the ghetto during the Shoah, in fine from the city “of before” to the lands of exile for the survivors. The second category, more specific of the urban geography, is the passage, in a direction or in the other, from public to private spaces. The history of spaces of the Jewish population of Czernowitz is a perfect illustration of this chiasm. Czernowitz is a palimpsest city, which particularly gives to see and decipher the work of time on spaces, and the confrontations, or sedimentation, of the times.
A line divided symbolically the city in two. The Jewish families distributed themselves in the two halves, drawing a topography of social cleavages. At a time when the urban universe appeared to represent, for the Jews of Czernowitz, the result of their integration in the modern society, the history would create new insuperable frontiers. Thus the Second World War would show a double return from the Jewish “private” space to the “public” space and from the Stadt to the shtetl, in its dramatic incarnation in a ghetto. Is a Jewish writing of the urban palimpsest still possible today? The actual Jewish community of Czernowitz would like to believe it. But could the Jewish spaces of Czernowitz still resonate in today’s Tchernivtsi?
Avenue de Paris, Near the Synagogue
Albert Bensoussan born in Algiers and Colette Fellous from Tunis remember their native cities, the Jewish quarters, the synagogues, the whole Jewish space that was essentially a religious one and disappeared in the sixties, becoming both sweet and bitter memories.
Michal Peled Ginsburg & Moshé Ron
Jerusalem: Rehov HaNeviim in David Shahar’s Imagination
Rehov HaNeviim used to be a very elegant street in Jerusalem, as well as a most important place for Jewish life in the city. It has been gradually deserted by its inhabitants and institutions, so that David Shahar deliberately confuses several periods to be able to rebuild a vanished world in his novels, Palace of Shattered Vessels.
Dionysos in Dizengoff Center
Modernity strongly puts its mark on Tel-Aviv, whose history sometimes sinks into oblivion. Dizengoff Center now appears as an anonymous place which doesn’t reflect any more the Jewish space of the past. Who remembers that the plot of ground where Dizengoff Center has been build used to be Nordiya, which new immigrants from Poland rent from a Arab landowner from Jaffa who was murdered in 1939 for he was suspected of being too friendly to Jews?
The Historical Significance of
Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogue Against the Jews
Petrus Alfonsi’s Dialogue Against the Jews, a seminal twelfth-century Christian religious polemic, is the most influential medieval Latin text to challenge both Judaism and Islam. The Dialogue, for the first time, excoriates the Talmud as a source of Jewish error. It is argued here that for Alfonsi the Sages of the Talmud knew both that Jesus is the messiah and that the
Crucifixion is the cause of the Jews’ captivity; that this knowledge can be uncovered in the Talmud, well known among Jews; and that therefore contemporary Jews are knowing accomplices, after the fact, in the Crucifixion. In addition to this anti-Jewish attack, Alfonsi’s Dialogue presents a lengthy and well informed anti-Muslim polemic that draws on first-hand knowledge of both the Qur’an and Hadith.
Some Testimonies of ‘Ordinary’ Jews on Behalf of Alfred Dreyfus
During the Dreyfus Affair, thousands of Frenchs and foreigners wrote to Alfred Dreyfus, his family and his famous defenders. Among them, French Jews tell their distress over the surge of antisemitism, and the necessity for them to come out in favour of Dreyfus as Jews but although as French citizens faithful to the principles of the Revolution and to their republican education. Besides writing letters of encouragement, they gave their signatures to petitions in Dreyfusard newspapers. The study of these documents disproves the often accepted idea that Jews did not take part in the debates of the Affair.
Isaiah Berlin, Isacc Deutscher, Alfred Koestler:
Disputes and Resemblances
Isaiah Berlin, the liberal Zionist, Isaac Deutscher, the internationalist Marxist, and Arthur Koestler, the militant assimilationist, are often depicted as far apart on the central Jewish issues of the modern world. But a close examination of their positions on Judaism, the Shoah, Israel, and the Diaspora, based on access to the archives of their private papers, shows them to have ended up surprisingly close together on all these aspects of Jewish identity in the twentieth century.
The Account of a Partisan
Boris Kazinitz was born in 1919 in Dokhitsy, a small village located near Vilnius. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, he left the Red Army where he had been enrolled and came back home. He lived the cruel experience of the daily life in the ghetto, of the murder of his family members and friends, then joined the partisans. His precise, sparing and moving account, borne in Yad Vashem in 1961, is a very precious testimony.