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Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Caucasus, Jewish Education in from Czarist Times Until the Present

(3,679 words)

Author(s): Fishbane, Simcha
Traditional orthodox Jewish education endured in Russia and the Soviet Union until the communist regime took control in 1917. This schooling primarily included the cheder and yeshiva and was directed exclusively to the Jewish male population. Most girls studied at home, learning basic reading skills and how to run a Jewish household. Secular education, which was scorned and considered heretical in the orthodox community, had begun to spread only after the 1860s, when Czar Alexander II liberalized the laws that controll…

Codification of Jewish Law—Modern

(5,738 words)

Author(s): Fishbane, Simcha | Basser, Herbert
In the nineteenth century, even as Jews were granted citizenship in European countries, political antisemitism increased, and, through programs of religious repression and secularization, many governments embarked on programs to sever Jews from their traditions and to assimilate them into general society. The Rabbinic leadership in Eastern Europe sensed that the mind-set that had sworn loyalty to the Mishneh Torah, the Tur, and the Shulhan Arukh was on the verge of disappearing. Poverty and hardship cut deeply into Jewish societies that,…

Mamzer

(4,223 words)

Author(s): Basser, Herbert W. | Fishbane, Simcha
Illegitimate children have been a source of concern to many societies. Each of these societies stigmatizes in some way its “illegitimate offspring.” In general, illegitimacy refers to a child whose conception and birth do not conform to the institutional rules governing reproduction in the community to which its parents belong. 1 Even today, the concept is related to the structures of the institution of marriage—an institution that among other purposes, embodies the social and religious “lawfulness” of the group. These controls, in many societi…