Joanna Lisek: Orthodox Yiddishism in Beys Yakov Magazine in the Context of Religious Jewish Feminism in Poland
Orthodox Yiddishism in Beys Yakov Magazine in the Context of Religious Jewish Feminism in Poland1 Joanna Lisek University of Wrocław Abstract – The periodical Beys Yakov: Literarisher familyen-zhurnal was published between 1924 and 1939, originally as a monthly, and from 1931 on – a biweekly. Its editor-in-chief was Leyzer Gershon Fridnzon (1899–1943) – an Orthodox journalist. The magazine was de- scribed by its editors as an “organ devoted to the matters of Beys Yakov schools and organi- zations of Bnoys Agudat Yisroel in Poland.” It was the longest running Yiddish magazine for woman, a platform of the Beys Yakov movement started by Sarah Schernirer, broadly under- stood as a trend of Orthodox feminism. The article analyses the religious Yiddishism propa- gated by the movement against the backdrop of a model of feminity promoted by Beys Yakov – a woman-warrior who fights against all symptoms of Polonisation of Jewish women and actively opposes alien cultural models, fashions and linguistic assimilation. Keywords: Beys Yakov, Jewish Feminism, Yiddish Magazine for Women, Jewish Education The Beys Yakov Movement The initiator and founder of the Beys Yakov movement2 was Sarah Schenirer (1883–1935),3 a member of a Krakow Hasidic family who decided to counteract the acculturation of Jewish girls and women by promoting the process of educa- tion in Jewish traditions, religion, history and languages. In previous studies it has been common to state that Schenirer was inspired by the lectures of Rabbi Moses David Flesh (1879–1944) in Vienna as well as the educational activity...
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