The Haskalah Movement in Russia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 216 pages of information about The Haskalah Movement in Russia.

“The sick among our Russian brethren, those who partook in dangerous quantities of the unwholesome delicacies, believed that they would solve all difficulties by ‘Russification,’ that is, by abandoning the old Jewish culture and adopting Russian mannerisms and customs—­by ceasing to lead Jewish lives and by leading the lives of Russians.  A great number of Jewish literary men of those times believed that if the Russian Jews would become ‘Russified,’ and would adopt modern civilization, they would receive full and equal rights, on the same terms as the other nationalities.  These literary men were dazzled by the little liberty Alexander II granted the Russian Jews, and they did not understand that he pursued the same object as his father, Nicholas I. In the days of Alexander II, many more Jews were converted to Christianity than in the bitter days of Nicholas I; and many who were not converted remained but caricatures of real Jews.

“The so-called ‘Jewish Aristocracy’ in Russia, and especially the wealthy Jews of North Russia, of St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kharkov, Russified at top speed.  They removed from their homes and their home-life anything that was in the least degree Jewish.  They shattered all that for thousands of years had been holy and dear to the Jew.  Like apes they imitated the manners and customs of the Christians.  The younger children did not even know that they were descended from Jews, as was the case in the first ‘pogroms,’ when the children asked their parents:  ’Why do they beat us?  Are we, too, Jews (Razve vy tozhe Yevrey)?’”]

[Footnote 28:  For a full biography see Brainin, Perez ben Mosheh Smolenskin, Warsaw, 1896; Keneset Yisrael, i. 249-286; Ha-Shiloah, i. 82-92, and his works, especially Ha-Toeh be-Darke ha-Hayyim, Vienna, 1876.]

CHAPTER VI

THE AWAKENING

1881-1905

(pp. 268-303)

[Footnote 1:  Most of this is based on Persecution of the Jews in Russia, Philadelphia, 1891, pp. 8-18, 22, 35, 51-82, 184-185; Frederick, The New Exodus, London, 1892, pp. 192-208; Errera, Les juifs russes, Brussels, 1893, pp. 29, 43 f., 89-90, 188-189.  Between 1883 and 1885, the Mining Institute and Engineering Institute for Public Roads adopted the five per cent limit, the Kharkov Technical Institute a ten per cent limit, and the Veterinary Institute, of the same city, the only one of the sort in Russia, excluded Jews altogether.

“My zemlyakes” (countrymen), says a reminiscent writer, “soon after they had finished their course in engineering, had taken each a different road.  One became a crown-rabbi, one a flour merchant, a third a bookkeeper, but none of them could, on account of his religion, legally pursue his chosen vocation” (Yiddishes Tageblatt, New York, May 13, 1908).]

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The Haskalah Movement in Russia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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