Rus Articles Journal

What is shtetl ? A little Jewish history

we Will begin with exact definition at once. Science - with! We read:

Town (shtetl). Since 18th century in the East European lands as the characteristic Jewish settlement the town dominates (shtetl) which emergence belongs to much earlier period. The town, or shtetl (from Polish - town Yiddish schtetl - the town), the settlement of semi-city type in Eastern Europe, and then in pale of settlement in Russia, with the prevailing or considerable Jewish population. This term is meant as also peculiar nature of household and spiritual way of the East European Jewry. Places could be enough considerable sizes - 20 - 25 thousand people and small - on several thousands ( to a shtetela ).

Places arose in Poland, especially in its east areas, in the XV-XVI centuries. in the territories which became empty as a result of long wars of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the Golden Horde and also on lands of the Polish crown. Both the Polish kings, and the Polish magnates sought to attract to the become empty places, to rural areas of immigrants - to development of edge, rise in craft and trade. At the beginning of the 20th century there was an understanding that places - the centers of culture of the East European Jewry, folk art. It found reflection in interest in folklore which began to be collected at the beginning of the 20th century, especially during the well-known Ethnographic expedition headed by S. An - sky.

It is so defined shtetl it is aware of the lectures Introduction to ethnology of the Jewish people The Jewish University in Moscow. Here we will also look for the websites about shtetla. we will at once find

I the website of ShTETL :

Shtetl, that is town this concept without which it is impossible to imagine life of Jews of Eastern Europe. The word it for many causes thousands of images, each of which is expression of the essence of the Jewish existence. In shtetla, making most of the population is frequent, Jews lived, diligently keeping the Torah commandments... (Copyright Anatoly Shperkh, 2000)

As extraordinary informative and at the same time exclusively strictly and beautifully made website, there is a wish to mention The pale of settlement - before and after (life and destiny of Jews in Russia - there is a lot of documents, and everything is interesting.

... There is a wish not only science and documents - there is a wish also for art, the Exacting Reader will exclaim. Also it will be right! And please! There are still culture centers in this world, is...

Very touching and sad pictures: Ileks Beller. Life in shtetl in 80 - ti pictures . Why sad? Because it is pictures of the disappeared world - the world which, as speak in Poland, left with a smoke furnaces in which those who are written on them burned down. Ileks Beller transfers us in the pictures essence of the disappeared world, the world of thousand-year Jewish life on the Polish earth, the world destroyed by massacre of Jews by nazis. He treats the last generation of the Polish Jews and knows still life in the town; its certificate has invaluable value for future generations: all people represented in his pictures are those whom he well knew - and all of them were killed.

And if we want more real (not to tell - classical!) painting, to our services Shtetl of Alexander Weismann with a huge number of fine pictures! The artist`s manner brightly individual, but nevertheless are remembered here and Walked, and Modigliani. Plots - both family holidays, and the childhood, and life - life of the town, and the lyric poet of meetings, and musicians, and study, and the births of children, and the anxious mothers with grandmothers, and boys with violinists... Town life, and his left persons.

... Babruysk!. - Shura Balaganov moaned. Babruysk was considered as the beautiful highly cultured place! You Remember? And as. And so, Babruysk that also remained! As the proof of what serves the fact that on the official website of the city of Babruysk too the page " is; Shtetl . And there - fine pictures of the artist Abram Rabkin City of my childhood and novel " fragments; Down Highway prose writer Abram Rabkin.

And how, speaking about art and shtetla not to mention Chagall? And it would be wrong to ignore Vitebsk too... Therefore there are we on website of Vitebsk where we find, naturally, the description of old and new Vitebsk, and in the section Art - fine material about Chagall: the biography, articles and pictures in files of high quality. And even detailed and very interesting description of the house Shagalov where the artist grew up where there lived the family and where he learned to draw:

the father sat In the evenings at a table. On a table an oilcloth. Fire in a lamp stiffened. Except it there was a trailing lamp from which light a cone fell on a table. On a wall hours measure time. Grandly chairs are silent. The father drank evening tea alone. Put a samovar and twisted to itself tsigarka. For all tomorrow. Smoked much. Tsigarok was the whole hill. On Fridays the father was washed. Mother heated a water jug on an oven, watered to it while it rubbed hand soda, a neck. Then lit Saturday candles. The father put on a white shirt. All family sat down to a table. Saturday dinner: the stuffed fish, stewed meat, tsimmes, noodles, a jelly from veal legs, broth, compote, white loaf. Roast prepared especially for the father. Prepared in a pot. The father shifted the last piece of meat in a mother`s plate, and mother returned back to the father.

But there is more to come a gratefulness on the website of Vitebsk: there is still a section on Chagall`s teacher Iyeguda Pan and still - Malevich! Though it is not so detailed as Chagall.

I cannot but mention also a small site Main shtetele Belts which concerns our subject and the name and the nostalgic section Memoirs - letters and memoirs of residents Balti (Moldova) which now hardly belongs to type of the settlements described in an epigraph... But the touching and live memoirs written by an artless syllable revive old years and the left picturesque characters. Especially I recommend actually the story Main shtetele Belts as very bright sketch of the leaving town life in 40 - 60 years of the XX century.

And presently there are reserves: the biggest community of satmarsky Hasidim compactly lives in Vilyamsburge - one of quarters of Brooklyn. Satmarskiye hasidy possess, except other remarkable lines, a tendency to occupy the whole quarters in such a way that at desire it is possible to be born, to grow up and live up to an old age, speaking it is almost exclusive into Yiddish. Many satmarsky Hasidim do not know English at all. In organized satmarsky quarter everything is arranged on the Jewish harmony: jewelry, clothes (satmarsky Hasidim go to Shabes and holidays in long clothes, the majority (80%) and on weekdays too), post cards, audio cassettes, food in cafe - all this is made on Jewish manners and into Yiddish. At weddings traditional dances (though are not always familiar with their names) dance, on the city sometimes there go the cars with a loud-hailer reporting about the emergency news into Yiddish. But presently it is, of course, an anachronism...