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A Jewish Life on Three ContinentsThe Memoir of Menachem Mendel Frieden$
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Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783637

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783637.001.0001

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My Father’s Family

My Father’s Family

(p.13) My Father’s Family
A Jewish Life on Three Continents

Lee Shai Weissbach

Stanford University Press

Frieden begins his memoir with an account of his parents’ family background. This sets the stage for the story of his own life, but in doing also begins to provide insights into some of the factors that influenced the lives of a great many East European Jews in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The experiences of Frieden’s family illustrate the way in which nineteenth-century Jews in the Russian empire lived in a society largely isolated from the mainstream population around them. Jews had business dealings with gentiles and interacted with Russian government institutions, but most of them, especially those living in rural areas, sought to separate themselves from what seemed to them to be the rather unattractive social and cultural milieu of East European peasants. Jews followed their own religious and cultural traditions, they recognized their own social hierarchies, and they developed their own institutions.

Keywords:   Jewish education, heder, Hasidism, Lithuanian Jewish Diaspora, Russia, Menachem Mendel Frieden

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