Lithuanian Yeshivas of the Nineteenth Century

Creating a Tradition of Learning

By Shaul Stampfer

Contributions by: Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

One of the key ways in which the traditional Jewish world of eastern Europe responded to the challenges of modernity in the 19th century was to change the system for educating young men so as to reinforce what were seen as time honored, conservative values. The yeshivas at that time in Lithuania became models for an educational system that has persisted to this day, transmitting the talmudic underpinnings of a self-consciously defined traditional Jewish way of life. To understand how that system works, one needs to go back to the institutions they are patterned on - why they were established, how they were organized, and how they operated. This book is the first properly-documented, systematic study of the three key Lithuanian yeshivas as they existed from1802 to 1914. It is based on the judicious use of contemporary sources - documents, articles in the press, and memoirs - with a view to presenting the yeshiva in its social and cultural context. Pride of place in the first part of the book is given to the yeshiva of Volozhin, which was founded in 1802 and was marked by a novel structure - total independence from the local community. In many respects, it was the model for everything that followed. Chapters in the second part of the book focus on: the yeshiva of Slobodka, famed for introducing the study of musar (ethics); the yeshiva of Telz, with its structural and organizational innovations; and the kollel system, introduced so that married men could continue their yeshiva education. The book also covers the leadership and changes in leadership, management and administration, the yeshiva as a place of study, and daily life. This English edition is based on the second Hebrew edition, which was revised to include information that became available with the opening of archives in eastern Europe after the fall of communism. *** "Stampfer sifts through mountains of documentation, searching for versions that ring true and painting an extraordinarily detailed account of every aspect of life in the famous yeshivot. His book is vital to the students of Orthodox Jewish history and of Jewish culture in eastern Europe." Pinchas Roth, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews, September/October 2012. [Subject: Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, History, 19th-Century Studies, European Studies]

432 pages

Publication Date: 2/29/2012
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781874774792

Available in other formats