The Rise of Pest Jewry, 1820-1873: Community, Identity, Diversity


Fellowships for Postdoctoral Research in East European Studies




This project will explore the rise of the Jewish community of Pest during the half-century that preceeded the amalgamation of Budapest in 1873. At the heart of this project is an attempt to use Pest Jewry as a venue through which to redress a historiographical imbalance that views the pre-1867 period in terms of the post-1867 period. To this end, this project reconsiders the conventional image of Pest Jewry as a paradigm of cultural assimilation and religious reform by using heretofore overlooked communal protocols to analyze the ways that Jewish communal institutions -- the rabbinate, synagogues, voluntary societies, communal schools, and the women's association -- negotiated moments of crisis: the Cholera Epidemic of 1831, the Flood of 1838, the Revolution of 1848-49, and the schism between Orthodoxy and Neology during the 1860s.