Men of Silk

Men of Silk

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The Jewish mystical movement known as Hasidism has attracted a great deal of popular interest in recent years. Hasidism is a Kabbalah-inspired Jewish spiritual revival the centers on charismatic leaders and miracle workers known as qZaddikim.q By the beginning of the 19th century, Zaddikim and their devotees had forged Hasidism into a movement of such power and scope that it had dramatically altered the spiritual, cultural, and social timbre of Jewish communities across Eastern and East Central Europe. Glenn Dynner provides a first critical look at Hasidism's stunning transformation into a mass movement by highlighting the variegated region of Central Poland. Dynner draws upon a staggering array of sources, including newly discovered Polish archival material and first-hand Hebrew and Yiddish testimonies. The breadth of these sources enables him to elucidate Hasidism's unique blend of elite and folk culture, while chronicling the social and political triumphs of its leadersand adherents. At the same time he seeks to appreciate the movement within its original historical context, considering both internal and external (i.e. non-Jewish Polish) factors including the partitions of Poland, Central Poland's experiments in constitutionalism, and its incipient industrial revolution. Dynner's exhaustive and innovative research into Zaddikim's communal conquests, patronage networks, marriage strategies, miracle-working enterprises, and propaganda initiatives illustrateshow Zaddikim amassed power and reshaped Polish Jewish life. His research shatters prevailing romantic notions about Hasidism during its meteoric rise, revealing Polish Zaddikim as shrewd populists who cultivated folksy images and achieved immense grassroots appeal, and yet proved equally adept at securing elite support, neutralizing powerful opponents, and seizing control of Jewish communal institutions across Central Poland.Glenn Dynner provides a first critical look at Hasidisma#39;s stunning transformation into a mass movement by highlighting the variegated region of Central Poland.

Title:Men of Silk
Author:Glenn Dynner
Publisher:Oxford University Press on Demand - 2008-12-30


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