[Mendele] Mendele Personal Notices & Announcements--Call for articles on Polish Jewry on Jewish Writing in Poland

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Nov 30 10:42:19 EST 2011

Mendele Personal Notices & Announcements

Nov. 30, 2011

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Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 14:38:44 +0100 (CET)
From: Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska <mag at poczta.umcs.lublin.pl>
Subject: Call for articles for volume 28 of Polin: Studies in Polish-Jewry 
on Jewish Writing in Poland

In a path-breaking article  "Hebrew-Yiddish-Polish: A Trilingual Jewish 
Culture"published in 1989 in The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars 
Chone Shmeruk argued that [i]n addition to the traditional religious 
culture that was still predominant in Poland between the two world wars, 
three modern post-Enlightenment cultural systems existed among Polish 
Jewry. They were generally distinguished by linguistic and ideological 
characteristics. The cultural systems in the Jewish languages--Hebrew and 
Yiddish--were usually identified with defined Jewish nationalist 
ideologies. Hebrew culture relied on Zionist ideology, whereas modern 
Yiddish secular culture was built primarily by Bundists and their 
adherents, and to a lesser extent by Zionist socialists, Folkists, and 
those Jewish communists who did not advocate the assimilation of Jews.
Alongside these two cultural systems, there also existed a Polish cultural 
system in which the striving for Jewish self-preservation [was] less 
apparent  Shmeruk distinguished between the thin stratum of Polish 
intelligentsia of Jewish descent, including renowned Polish writers, who 
were totally assimilated into Polish culture and identified themselves as 
Poles--even despite certain sporadic expressions of Jewish 
self-identification to which they were pushed by hostile forces over which 
they had no control  and those Jews whose exclusive or partial cultural 
language was Polish but who were  either Zionist in ideology or 
nonaffiliated and politically apathetic and who certainly never denied 
their Jewish identity.

He concluded:

The true and great power of this culture lay not in isolation of these 
linguistic areas but in their interaction, an interaction that included 
the traditional religious cultural system as well. The full picture of the 
culture of Polish Jews can only be perceived by approaching it as a 
polysystem in which the power of its components comes from the force of 
their mutual, dynamic interaction, and not in their isolation.

Research on trilingual Jewish culture in Poland has advanced since Shmeruk 
wrote his article, but some issues still wait to be examined.  In this 
volume of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, we should like to investigate 
writers from each of these groups in order to examine how they saw their 
Jewish (and sometimes Polish) identity and what they thought of the 
writers in the other linguistic or cultural camps. We will use  the 
interwar years as the reference point, but would also like to include 
material on the period before the first world war and after 1945 until 
today. We invite contributions  in English, Polish, Yiddish or Hebrew and 
we will translate those not in English.

Preliminary proposals, approximately one page long should be sent to

Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska mag at poczta.umcs.lublin.pl by 31 December 2011.
The editors of the volume:
Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Maria Curie-Skodowska-University, Lublin
Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.
Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Sawomir urek, John Paul II Catholic University, Lublin
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