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Upon The Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today Hardcover – August 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471595683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471595687
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,927,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The area of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic was once home to almost five million Jews. Today fewer than 120,000 live there. Gruber (Jewish Heritage Travel, Wiley, 1992) traveled throughout the region to probe contemporary Jewish life there and explore its connection with a richer and more glorious past. She describes Jewish life and heritage in Prague; wine merchants and Hasidic dynasties in Hungary and Poland; synagogues in and around Budapest and the architect of many of them, Lipot Birnbaum; and Kazimierz, the ancient Jewish quarter of the Polish city of Cracow. Gruber concludes with a moving chapter on her visit to Auschwitz. Neither a history nor a travel guide, this study gives us snapshots of contemporary Jewish life coupled with historical sketches of a more vibrant past. Important more for the mood evoked than for the information provided, it is recommended for larger Judaic studies and popular collections.
Mark W. Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Before the Holocaust, east-central Europe was home to nearly 5 million Jews; about 120,000 live there today. In Gruber's travels, she found answers to such questions as, Who now lives in the places where Jews once lived? What memories are retained about what it was like when there was a Jewish population? What do people born after the Holocaust know about the Jewish past? What use is made of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries? In seeking the answers, Gruber probed the matrix--and the memories and perceptions of the matrix--in which the Holocaust happened and then places this in the context of present-day circumstances. The author talked with an ever-dwindling number of survivors and with non-Jews, and searched through abandoned synagogues, graveyards, study houses, and ghetto streets in countless towns, cities, and villages in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. It is a sad and moving book, diligently researched, offering an objective look at the destruction of a centuries-old Jewish civilization. George Cohen

More About the Author

Award-winning American writer, editor and photographer Ruth Ellen Gruber has chronicled European Jewish issues for more than two decades and works on cultural topics including an ongoing project called "Sauerkraut Cowboys" documenting how Europeans embrace the mythology of the American Wild West. She is the coordinator of the web site www.jewish-heritage-europe.eu and in 2011 was awarded Poland's Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit, one of Poland's highest honors for foreign citizens.

Ruth coined the term "Virtually Jewish" to describe the way the so-called "Jewish space" in Europe is often filled by non-Jews: klezmer music, culture festivals, museums, tourism, and kitsch as well as serious and sensitive study and involvement.

Her books include National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, (2007), Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere) (2008), Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe (2002), and Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today (1994).

A former correspondent in Eastern Europe for United Press International, she is Senior European correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency JTA. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Tablet Magazine, The Forward, Hadassah Magazine, the New Leader, the London Independent and many other publications. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Autry National Center/Institute for the Study of the American West, and others.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LW Raboys on December 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ruth Gruber has written an extraordinary and unusual book. She has a unique way of writing, revealing a country and the people present and vanished in clear, powerful, beautiful ways. For example,she describes how you notice the empty spaces on doorposts where the mezuzahs used to be. This small, perceptive insight will be one that stays with me and I know when I visit eastern Europe in the Spring I shall be looking at doorposts.
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