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Confessions of the ShtetlConverts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906$
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Ellie R. Schainker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804798280

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804798280.001.0001

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Converts and Confessions

(p.1) Introduction
Confessions of the Shtetl

Ellie R. Schainker

Stanford University Press

Thematically, the introduction first probes the role of the Russian government in managing religious diversity and toleration, and thus the relationship between mission and empire with regard to the Jews. Second, it explores the day-to-day world of converts from Judaism in imperial Russia, including the social, geographic, religious, and economic links among converts, Christians, and Jews. This exploration of daily life is attuned to convert motivations and post-baptism trajectories, and perhaps more significantly, it focuses on everyday relations of trust and attraction between Jews and their neighbors in the imperial Russian borderlands. Finally, the introduction examines the challenges of constructing, transgressing, and maintaining ethno-confessional boundaries by casting the convert as a boundary-crosser who exposes and thus renders violable the borders of faith, community, and nationhood.

Keywords:   confessional state, religious toleration, tolerated confessions, conversion, daily life, Jewish-Christian relations, boundary-crossing, shtetl

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