The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry


Editors: Yosef Kaplan and Dan Michman
In The Religious Cultures of Dutch Jewry an international group of scholars examines aspects of religious belief and practice of pre-emancipation Sephardim and Ashkenazim in Amsterdam, Curaçao and Surinam, ceremonial dimensions, artistic representations of religious life, and religious life after the Shoa. The origins of Dutch Jewry trace back to diverse locations and ancestries: Marranos from Spain and Portugal and Ashkenazi refugees from Germany, Poland and Lithuania. In the new setting and with the passing of time and developments in Dutch society at large, the religious life of Dutch Jews took on new forms. Dutch Jewish society was thus a microcosm of essential changes in Jewish history.
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Biographical Note

Yosef Kaplan, PhD (1978), The Hebrew University, is Bernard Cherrick Emeritus Professor of Jewish History at that university. He has published many studies on the history of early modern Jews, the Marranos and the Sephardi Diaspora. He is the editor of The Dutch Intersection. The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History (Brill 2008).

Dan Michman, PhD (1978), The Hebrew University, is Emeritus Professor of Modern Jewish History at Bar -Ilan University and Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research , Yad Vashem. He is the author of The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos During the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press 2011).

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations List of Contributors

Part 1: Messianic Hopes and Redemption

1 The Phoenix, the Exodus and the Temple: Constructing Self-identity in the Sephardi Congregation of Amsterdam in the Early Modern PeriodLimor Mintz-Manor 2 In the Land of Expectation: The Sense of Redemption among Amsterdam’s Portuguese JewsMatt Goldish

Part 2: Aspects of Daily Religious Life

3 Religious Life among Portuguese Women in Amsterdam’s Golden AgeTirtsah Levie Bernfeld 4 The Amsterdam Way of Death: R. Shimon Frankfurt’s Sefer ha-hayyim (The Book of Life), 1703Avriel Bar-Levav 5 Reading Yiddish and Lernen: Being a Pious Ashkenazi in Amsterdam, 1650–1800Shlomo Berger Z”l 6 From Yiddish to Dutch: Holiday Entertainment between Literary and Linguistic CodesMarion Aptroot

Part 3: Jewish Religion in Troubled Waters: The Dutch-Sephardi Diaspora Overseas

7 A Tale of Caribbean Deviance: David Aboab and Community Conflicts in CuraçaoEvelyne Oliel-Grausz 8 The Dutch Jewish Enlightenment in Surinam, 1770–1800Jonathan Israel

Part 4: Ceremonial Dimensions

9 Jewish Liturgy in the Netherlands: Liturgical Intentions and Historical DimensionsWout van Bekkum 10 Paving the Way: “Deaf and Dumb” Children and the Introduction of Confirmation Ceremonies in Dutch JudaismChaya Brasz

Part 5: Jewish Identity and Religiosity

11 Religion, Culture (and Nation) in Nineteenth-century Dutch Jewish ThoughtIrene E. Zwiep 12 “Religiosity” in Dutch Jewish Art in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth CenturiesRivka Weiss-Blok

Part 6: The Master: Images of Chief Rabbi Jozeph Zvi (Hirsch) Dünner

13 “The Great Eagle, the Pride of Jacob”: Joseph Hirsch Dünner in Dutch-Jewish Memory CultureBart Wallet 14 Image(s) of “The Rav” through the Lens of an Involved Historian: Jaap Meijer’s Depiction of Rabbi Joseph Hirsch DünnerEvelien Gans

Part 7: Religious Life after the Catastrophe: Post-1945 Developments

15 The Return to Judaism in the NetherlandsMinny E. Mock-Degen 16 Vanishing Diaspora? Jews in the Netherlands and Their Ties with Judaism: Facts and Expectations about Their FutureMarlene de Vries


All interested in Modern Jewish History, the History of Dutch Jewry, and anyone concerned with Jewish Culture and Religion.

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