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Languages of CommunityThe Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands$
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Hillel Kieval

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520214101

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520214101.001.0001

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The Social Vision of Bohemian Jews

The Social Vision of Bohemian Jews

Intellectuals and Community in the 1840s

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter 3 The Social Vision of Bohemian Jews
Source:
Languages of Community
Author(s):

Hillel J. Kieval

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520214101.003.0004

This chapter describes the predicament of secular Jewish intellectuals—graduates for the most part of German-Jewish Normalschulen—who in the 1830s and 1840s imagined themselves to be participating in what they presumed to be a shared project in the construction of a “Bohemian” identity, which united German speakers and Czech speakers, Jews and Gentiles. It explains that their confrontation with anti-Jewish popular unrest in the 1840s, as well as with the unwillingness of a segment of the new Czech intelligentsia to entertain an alliance with Jews, led the bulk of upwardly mobile Bohemian Jews to “narrow” their vision of community by tying their fortunes to German liberalism—in effect crystalizing what had been a by-product of absolutist reform into both a political commitment and a cultural identity that would last well into the 1860s and beyond.

Keywords:   secular, Jewish intellectuals, German-Jewish Normalschulen, Bohemian identity, Gentiles, absolutist reform

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