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The Jews of Lithuania: A History of a Remarkable Community 1316-1945 Hardcover – January 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Books; Later prt. edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652291323
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652291325
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a poorly written general History. The title of the book is misleading. The book concentrates on the modern era. There is alot of imformation on the old Kehilla era of Jewish History. This is a period from 1400 - 1700 at least. This book gives only the minimal description of this era. The authors idea of Jewish History in that pre-modern era, which in Lithuania extended until the mid 1800's was to tell about the relationship that the ruler of that area had with the Jews. The reason that I gave this book such a low rating is that it is full of Historical errors. For example she writes that the Decembrist revolution happened in 1827, it really happened in 1825. While many of her Historical errors are minor, like saying that the infamous, 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', was written in 1928. When it comes to the History of the Orthodox and the Yeshivot, the book is full of gross errors and misunderstandings. As an exampe, her attempts to explain the reason why there was a rebellion in Slobodka against the 'Alter' and his form of Mussar is so wrong that it is comical. The 'Alter' had no official position in his own Yeshiva. A part of his form of Musar was allowing each student to develop on his own. Tight control was not part of this system. Saul Liberman, who later became the head of JTS - the Conservitive Seminary in the USA, learnt in Slobodka. Even though it was already known at that time that he had some liberal ideas. One of the Alter's most promenant students, R. Avrohom Elya Kaplen, later became head of the Rabbinical School in Berlin and was one the Rabbinical leaders of the Mizrachi movement. Another one of the Alter's students was R. Aharon Kotler who founded the most promenant 'Torah' only Yeshiva in the USA in Lakewood NJ.Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is an amazing resource for anyone wanting to learn about the history of Lithuanian Jewry. It was fascinating reading, although not light reading. Greenbaum covers the rise of the various political, religous and zionist movements within the Jewish community, and most importantly, puts them within their historical context. The depth of her research is outstanding. I strongly recommend this book.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on March 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
THE JEWS OF LITHUANIA serves well as a general introduction to one of the most diverse, vibrant Jewish communities to have flourished anywhere at any time.
Unfortunately, the book is superficial, giving only a summary view of the 700 year history of Lithuanian Jewry. It fails to provide much in the way of depth or "color" in regard to the Jews who were such a vital part of Lithuanian history from it's beginnings.
Of particular note are the facts that Lithuanian Jewry had its roots in the slow dispersion of the Sephardim during the Reconquista of Iberia. It is instructive that in only two countries---Spain and Lithuania---were Jews permitted to be titled landholders. The author, Masha Greenbaum, fails to analyze these fascinating facts, or draw historical conclusions, of these, and many other elements, (though they are reported in passing), and thus fails to make an account of the earliest underpinnings of the community, or speak on its shared values as they developed.
There are better books on Lithuanian Jewish history, though this one is generally available, and is certainly readable. There are some historical errors which detract from the book's value as source material, but as a "starting point" for the investigation of Lithuanian Jewry, the book most definitely suffices.
For Jews tracing their families in Lithuania, the large number of localities named will be helpful, as will the discussion of the liquidation of those communities.
Given the vast scope of the subject, it is to be hoped that a better, more in-depth, and sensitive and sympathetic volume is in preparation somewhere.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sylvan G. Feldstein on January 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is must reading for any Jew,like myself, who had relatives that lived in one of the many small towns in Lithuania and are no more. The only thing we have to give our children that reminds them of their relatives is this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Detailed and extensively researched history. Some of it was just too boring to read. I give her five stars for research, but it was difficult to read so I downgraded it. Writing style was stilted and purely academic. Not for the average reader.
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