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In: Zutot
The Records of Dutch Ashkenazi Communities in the Eighteenth Century as Historical Sources
Scholars of the rich history of the Jews in the Dutch Republic have tended to concentrate on the remarkable story of Amsterdam. In fact, numerous communities existed in other parts of the country, of which records survive from some, occasionally extending back to the late eighteenth century.
This study examines the records of four provincial Ashkenazi communities in eighteenth-century Netherlands: The Hague, Middelburg, Leeuwarden, and Oisterwijk. These internal sources, compiled by the officials of the Jewish communities concerned, known as pinkassei kahal, have often been neglected by historians. The present study reveals how pinkassim can shed light on the administrative structures and history of Jewish communities, in addition to examining the phenomenon in general, and showing them to be the central and most authoritative documents of Jewish communities in early modern Europe.

Book trade started not long after books were written. Scrolls were copied and traded among scholars. Later, production and distribution of canonical texts were crucial for keeping and practicing Jewish tradition in diasporic communities. The invention of printing and the Haskalah brought significant changes. In Europe the flourishing book trade came to a near end because of the Shoah. Today, online book shops provide Jewish titles from all periods to their international readership.

in Encyclopedia of Jewish Book Cultures Online

Pinkasim (Hebr. pinkasim, short for pinkase kahal) are record books that were widely used in Ashkenazi communities, especially in the early modern era. In the pinkasim, the councils (kahal) of autonomous Jewish community administrations recorded statutes, rules, and decrees regarding Jewish everyday life. The documentation of the regulations regarding primarily secular community matters were of great legal importance for the internal administration of the community. As memory institutions for the respective community, they often represent the centerpiece of the archival record of local Jewish history.

in Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Cultures Online