By Ellie R. Schainker

Over the process the 19th century, a few 84,500 Jews in imperial Russia switched over to Christianity. Confessions of the Shtetl explores the day by day global of those humans, together with the social, geographic, non secular, and fiscal hyperlinks between converts, Christians, and Jews. The ebook narrates converts' stories of affection, desperation, and worry, tracing the uneasy contest among spiritual selection and collective Jewish identification in tsarist Russia. instead of viewing the shtetl because the beginning fantasy for contemporary Jewish nationhood, this paintings unearths the shtetl's background of conversions and communal engagement with converts, which eventually yielded a cultural hybridity that either challenged and fueled visions of Jewish separatism.

Drawing on vast examine with conversion documents in imperial Russian data, as well as the mass press, novels, and memoirs, Ellie R. Schainker bargains a sociocultural historical past of non secular toleration and Jewish existence that sees baptism now not because the basic departure from Jewishness or the Jewish neighborhood, yet as a conversion that marked the beginning of a sophisticated scan with new varieties of id and belonging. finally, she argues that the Jewish come upon with imperial Russia didn't revolve round coercion and ghettoization yet was once a really non secular drama with a various, beautiful, and competitive Christianity.

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Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906 (Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture) by Ellie R. Schainker


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