Noah Prylucki (1882-1941), a leading Jewish cultural and political figure in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe, was a proponent of Yiddishism, a movement that promoted secular Yiddish culture as the basis for Jewish collective identity in the twentieth century. Prylucki's dramatic path - from russified Zionist raised in a Ukrainian shtetl, to Diaspora nationalist parliamentarian in metropolitan Warsaw, to professor of Yiddish in Soviet Lithuania - uniquely reflects the dilemmas and competing options facing the Jews of this era as life in Eastern Europe underwent radical transformation.
Using hitherto unexplored archival sources, memoirs, interviews, and materials from the vibrant interwar Jewish and Polish presses, Kalman Weiser investigates the rise and fall of Yiddishism and of Prylucki's political party, the Folkists, in the post-World War One era. Jewish People, Yiddish Nation reveals the life of a remarkable individual and the fortunes of a major cultural movement that has long been obscured.
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Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University, Toronto.
‘Jewish People, Yiddish is an especially important reminder of just how much “Russian Jewish” history cannot be told without sustained attention to the large Jewish population that lived in Russian Poland, one of the empire’s least digestible and most important regions, and to the numerous other Russian Jews outside Congress Poland.’ (Kenneth B. Moss The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 84:2:2012)
‘This important and impressively researched political biography, contributes greatly to our understanding of the lives of east European nationalist leaders and the issues they championed.’(Sean Martin H-Poland, January 2015)
‘Weiser’s book is to be commended for its meticulous historical research.’(Gali Drucker Bar-Am Jews and Their Foodways: Studies in Contemporary Jewry, an annual vol 28: 2015)
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