Les Cahiers du judaïsme

N° 26: LIFE IN COFFEEHOUSES : English Abstracts


Robert Liberles : Jews, Coffee and Coffee Trade in the 18th Century
Coffee first arrived in Europe from the Middle East in the later 17th century and spread in the early 18th. This article seeks to explore how Jews responded to questions of religious law, social challenges, and economic opportunities that emerged with the arrival of coffee. Because coffee and other exotic imports like tea, cocoa, and sugar were new entities that had not been explicitly proh-ibited for Jews to trade in, they occasioned a new round of opposition from competing Christian merchants. The debate on Jewish trade in these specialties in Frankfurt was particularly vehement. Study of this controversy should be able to detect changing nuances of the debate on the Jews. In some other settings, the advent of coffee precipitated controversy, resulting in opposition either to the beverage itself or more frequently to coffeehouses. On the whole, Jewish authorities reacted quite liberally with
little of the resistance to coffee to be found in some other

Sarah Wobick: Banned from Coffeehouses. The Influence of the July Revolution on the Life of Jews in Hamburg
Over the summer of 1830, a revolution in France would oust King Charles X and see him replaced by his cousin, the duc d’Orléans, Louis Philippe. Word of the incident spread across Europe quickly and in Hamburg, in particular, the news was followed with great interest. Despite a liberal, revolutionary spirit, events in Hamburg would take a far different turn. Late in the summer, Jewish residents of the city would be attacked while they sat in the local cafés on a famous, downtown boulevard. Why did events turn violent in Hamburg and why were the Jews the initial target of the violence? Why were Jews who partook of coffeehouse sociability the first targets? What was the meaning of coffeehouse culture for Hamburg’s residents and for the Jews who wanted, too, to participate in it?

Anne Grynberg : The Café Leonar, in Memory of the Absent, for the Living
In January 2008, the first Jewish café openend in Hamburg since 1933 has been opened. In the frame of the memory of the Holocaust in this city – where there are numerous monu-ments and ‘counter-monuments –, the event has a strong symbolic meaning.

Scott Ury : Just Coffee? The Influence of Jewish Cafés in Warsaw
at the Beginning of the 20th Century
This article examines the different ways that coffee houses and other public dining establishments influenced the nature of collective assembly and, in turn, political organization and action for many of Warsaw’s 275 000 Jewish residents at the turn of the century. The author looks at how different political activists and organizations in Warsaw – liberal, national and revolutionary – used coffee houses as key centers for assembly, organization and action. He shows that coffee houses and other public dining establishments were not only an integral part of Jewish urban culture but that they also served critical social and political roles by providing neutral, open environments in which Jewish activists and organizations could both preach and organize their new social and political agendas.

Shachar Pinsker: Lemberg, Vienna, Berlin: Jewish Cafés and Cultural Creativity
Since the establishment of the first cafés in Europe, Jews were enthusiastic participants, and sometimes initiators of café culture. This essay focuses on ‘literary cafés’ in Lvov/Lemberg, Vienna and Berlin during the early decades of the 20th century, and their important, but hitherto unexplored role in the development of modernist Hebrew and Yiddish literature and culture. Using these examples, the article attempts to deal with some general questions: How and why did the connection between Jews and cafés come into being? Where and when Jews became closely associated, even identified with the café? Can one speak of the urban café as a ‘Jewish space’ and as a ‘modernist space’? What are the relations between modernism, Jewish culture and cafés?

Joseph Roth : The 11th Muse’s Café
In Vienna, Berlin or Paris, the Austrian Jewish writer Joseph Roth very frequently visited cafés, that he considered as emblematic places of the human condition, of the life’s mockery, of the ambivalous social relations. In this text, published in 1923, he describes a coffehouse located in the Prater quarter in Vienna.

Shmuel Bunim : On the Tracks of some Jewish Cafés in Paris during the 1930s
Through the two main yiddish newspapers published in France in the 1930s, Parizer Haynt and Naye Presse, the author explores the cafés where Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe met to find a job, to prepare strikes, to rebuild the world… and sometimes to organize self-defence against antisemitic violences.

Jean Laloum : Jews from North Africa’s Sociability in Cafés of the Marais Quarter in Paris
The numerous cafés hold by Jews from North Africa rue François Miron in Paris in the inter-war period were refer-ence marks and places of sociability for their customers who were native of the same places. Though they had very few relations with Jews from the yiddishkeit who lived in the same area, they were able to maintain and cultivate a very strong identity through culinary traditions and oriental music. This article analyses also their strategies during the war and German occupation, as well as the efforts they made to rebuild their lives afterwards.

Suzanne Wasserman : Re-creating Recreations of the Lower east Side: Restaurants, Cabarets, Cafés and Coffehouses in the 1930s
Re-creations of a particular version of the Jewish immigrant past initially made their débuts on the Lower East Side as early as the 1920s. The confluence of a number of factors including the increasingly sentimental memories of ex-Lower East Siders, a still decidedly immigrant Lower East Side, and local merchants desperate for business converged to help usher in a nostalgic tourist trade that centered on the Jewish immigrant experience. As soon as East Siders left the old neighborhood, some began to ‘clean-up’ memories of their recent pasts. The form of memory that best ordered the chaos of their experiences was nostalgia.

Anna Shternhits : On the Benches of Brighton Beach Promenade
The streets of Brighton Beach, the ‘Russian’ neighborhood of New York, are filled with benches occupied by the retirees from the former Soviet Union. The article discusses why these people prefer street-benches, despite the wide availability of cafes, coffee shops, and community centers in the neighborhood. It argues that the phenomenon represents more than just a curious habit, but rather reflects an attempt to retain ethnic and national identity in the urban atmosphere of New York. The author also compares the pattern of street life of Russian immigrants in New York with their counterparts in Berlin.

Rosie Pinhas-Delpuech : Inside and Outside, a Coffee Shop for David Vogel in Tel-Aviv
The story of the coffee shops in the new born Tel-Aviv begins around the1920s. It was directly influenced by the successive aliyoth and the economic situation of the young Yishouv. Instead of giving an account of this history, the author chose to imagine a coffee shop for David Vogel who came from Vienna and Paris to Tel-Aviv in 1929. What did he find there? To which café could he possibly go? The answer is halfway between reality and imagination.

Emma Mrejen : Crème fraîche
As a photographer living in Tel-aviv, Emma Mrejen was recently surprised to discover a new café called «Créme frâiche». From day to day, she was more and more interested and moved by this spelling mistake…


David Halivni-Weiss : Sighet
In these few pages, David Halivni-Weiss evokes the town of his youth, Sighet, a partial Sighet centered around the synagogue and its members, whose life, discussions and polemics almost exclusively revolved about religious practice and rabbinical authorities. He then recalls what seems to him the most significant and cultural element of that time, the daily class his grandfather taught before a public of ordinary yet endearing men, most of whom perished in the Shoah.

Florian Deloup-Wolfowicz : The Teachings of David Weiss Halivni: Deciphering the Stammaim’s Voices in the Talmud Babli
More than three decades ago, David Halivni made the fundamental hypothesis that the Talmud as we know it is the works of generations of anonymous sages, the Stammaim, who lived after the Amoraïm, the last sages whose name appears in the discussions in the Talmud.
According to David Halivni, only the legal conclusion was officially transmitted by the earlier generations of sages (Tannaim and Amoraim), the dialectical material being only individually recorded in the memory of the sages attending the legal deliberations.
The author reviews this thesis from its inception (the problem of the /dohaq/ in the Talmud) through some of its textual manifestations in the Talmud and the rabbinic litterature, up to its consequences, both historical and philosophical. He argues that at the root of the conflict between pshat and derash, the historical noncoincidence between the legal conclusion and the explicit reconstruction of the arguments of the deliberations is a key structure of Oral Law.

David Halivni-Weiss : Are we Coming Back?
In 2006, during his Seminar at Columbia University, New York, David Halivni-Weiss delivered a last lecture before retiring from the chair of Talmudic studies and leaving America for Israel. Modest and deeply moved, he stood in front of a large audience. We present the most relevant excerpts of this lecture related to the present situation of the Jews and the rebirth of antisemitism.

Samuel Kottek : The Memoir of a Young Jewish Doctor in the Roma Ghetto
Juda Leone Gonzaga’s memoir is kept till now in the Library of the Rabbinical College in Roma. In this manuscript,
written in Hebrew, this Young Jew describes all the difficulties he met to get the permission of pursing his studies and becoming a doctor, during the early 18th century.

Pierre-André Meyer  : The Names of Jews in Metz (17th-19th Centuries): From Tradition to Normalization
From the end of the 16th century till the French Revolution, the Jews of Metz form the only important Ashkenaz community settled in a French-speaking city. They constitute a separate group, a religious and linguistic minority, whose strong particularism combine with progressive acculturation, due to multiple relations with the Christian neighbourhood. To what degree did the names of the Jews of Metz reflect this double trend? What specificities, due to this French-speaking environment, can be highlighted in comparison with other traditional Ashkenaz communities? After recalling the characteristics of the names of the Jews of Metz which are common with other Ashkenaz communities, this article shows how the Jews of Metz early adopted French first names as equivalent of their Hebraic individual names. Then basing its argument on the analysis of the Metz birth records from the founding of the ‘état civil’ in 1792 till the annexation of Metz to the German Reich in 1871, this article points out how the names of the Jews of Metz reflect the fast acculturation of this community (in particular through the growing frequency of French first names given to new-born children) as well as its attachment to traditional customs.

Rosie Pinhas-Delpuech : From the Executioners’ Language to the Victims’ Language. ‘Les Bienveillantes” by Jonathan Littell translated to Hebrew
The Israeli newspapers have a long tradition of debate, especially on national issues. And the édition of Les Bienveillantes became a national issue: was it necessary to translate this book into Hebrew? What image of the Shoah comes out of the book? Acting as warriors, can human beings avoid sadism and injustice? A young literary critic, a scholar from Yad Vashem and one from Tel-Aviv University, debated week after week in the columns of Haaretz.