16 March 2010

New York: Jewish Polish tavernkeepers, March 23

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research will host a seminar on "Jewish Tavernkeepers and Liquor Traders in 19th century Poland," at the Center of Jewish History on Tuesday, March 23.

Meet the faculty at 6pm; the program begins at 6.30pm. Advance registration is required.

Speakers are:

-- Sarah Lawrence College Professor of Judaic Studies Glenn Dynner, author of "Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society (Oxford University Press, 2006). Dynner spoke on that book at the New York 2006 IAJGS conference

-- Bar Ilan University Professor Jewish History Moshe Rosman, who is the Horace Goldsmith Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at Yale University.

According to YIVO's description of the event:

By the end of the 18th century, Jews comprised the vast majority of tavernkeepers in Poland-Lithuania, leasing taverns and distilleries from the nobility. According to most historians, Polish Jews were driven out of the liquor trade over the course of the next century.

Yet 19th-century archival sources, including an invaluable collection of personal petitions (kvitlakh) sent to R. Eliyahu Guttmacher, housed in the YIVO Archives, provide evidence of the continued existence of Polish Jewish liquor traders, both open and surreptitious.

The involvement of Jews in this sector of the Polish economy during this later period points to the fact that traces of the feudal economic system survived amidst a period of rapid industrialization and modernization.

While Jewish tavernkeeping was vigorously opposed by powerful groups in Polish society, one crucial group continued to provide them with cover: the very local Christians they were accused of victimizing. This talk analyzes the robust but technically illegal Polish Jewish liquor trade during the 19th century.

Dynner teaches Judaic Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and is author of Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society (Oxford University Press, 2006). He is the latest recipient of the YIVO Workmen's Circle/Dr. Emanuel Patt Visiting Professorship, as well as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University. Currently, he is writing a monograph on the subject of Jews in the Polish liquor trade. He is also editor of a forthcoming book on Jewish and Christian mysticism in Eastern Europe. Dynner holds a BA and PhD (Brandeis University), and an MA (McGill University).

Rosman is professor in the Department of Jewish History, Bar Ilan University in Israel and currently serves as the Horace Goldsmith Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies, Yale University. He has conducted extensive research in Eastern European archives on the social and economic history of the Jews in early modern Poland and specializes in integrating Jewish, Polish, and other sources. His books include "The Lords' Jews: Jews and Magnates in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (Harvard 1990, Polish National Library 2005); "Founder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba’al Shem Tov" (University of California 1996, Shazar Center, Jerusalem 2000); and "How Jewish Is Jewish History?" (Littman Library, Oxford 2007). His latest research project is a history of Jewish women in Poland.

The Center for Jewish History is located at 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY.

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