“Poor Jews! You Get Blamed for Everything!”

Hope and Despair in a Galician Yiddish Newspaper during the Revolutions of 1848–49*

The revolutions that swept through Europe in 1848–49 aroused great excitement amidst many Jews in the Habsburg Empire and led to changes (albeit ephemeral) in the Jews’ status and rights. Motivated by the revolutions and the opportunity they offered, one Galician maskil, Avraham Menachem Mendel Mohr, founded a weekly Yiddish newspaper in Lemberg, the Tsaytung , in which he encouraged his readers to welcome this new age and adapt to it. In particular, he discussed extensively relations between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors, expressing his hope that a new era had dawned in Christian-Jewish relations and advising his readers on how to improve themselves within this context. Yet Mohr remained aware that the deep-rooted animosity towards the Jews would be difficult to dispel. Indeed, the editions of the Tsaytung reveal that as the revolutionary fervor faded he became increasingly pessimistic regarding the likelihood of changing Christian attitudes towards the Jews.

issue 17 / September 2020 by Rebecca Wolpe

This paper explores the relations between Ottoman maskilim (Jewish enlighteners) and their Austro-Hungarian counterparts during the second half of the nineteenth century. I shall illustrate this issue by means of a case study of the relationship between an Ottoman maskil, Judah Nehama of Salonica, and his Austro-Hungarian counterpart, Chaim David Lippe, who was born in Galicia but lived in Vienna.
Based on the conceptualizations proposed by scholars such as Matthias Lehmann and Yaron Tsur, the paper analyzes the emergence, during the second half of the nineteenth century, of a “pan-Jewish” maskilic space. This space facilitated the strengthening of the “integrative pole” over the “reluctant pole” in the relations between Jews from “East” and “West,” thereby also weakening the “internal Orientalism” that was prevalent in the Jewish world of the time. Thus the paper highlights the contribution of the Haskalah movement to consolidating the affinities between Jews from across the Diaspora during this period.

issue 17 / September 2020 by Tamir Karkason