This contribution investigates how the emergence of the first modern Jewish metropolis in Warsaw in the second half of the 19th century challenged traditional visions of community cohesion. It argues that the acceleration of political and societal change within the Jewish community allowed observant elites to achieve political and cultural hegemony in Warsaw, and thus offers a sui generis pathway of Jewish metropolitan modernization. This claim is substantiated by following the communal and political involvement of a leading Hasidic civil leader, Joel Wegmeister (1837-1919), co-founder of the first outlets of the Agudat Israel in the Kingdom of Poland before World War One

issue 02 / October 2011 by Francois Guesnet