The Pulse, Character, and History of the Jewish Community in Romania

Author: Liviu Rotman

 Scholarly books on the history of Romanian Jewry in various periods and within the changing borders of the "Romanian space" available for Western readers in English are relatively few, and in this context the publications of the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University, and specifically the publications of Liviu Rotman – one of the most renowned experts in the field, and the author of the present volume – should be especially noted.

A social historical analysis of the Kehillah, the community structures and its history in Romania, has been almost entirely missing from modern historiography, while similar studies on other countries, particularly those of the Central and South East European region, have flourished in the past few decades. This study finally fills that gap, focusing on the development of the Kehillah structures and institutions in the two Romanian principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia, during the period of the emergence of the modern Romanian state, up to World War I.

Prof. Rotman skillfully examines the complex relationship between various factors that influenced and shaped the Kehillah's emergence, its role in Jewish society, and its decline during the second half of the 19th century.  He presents a cogent study of this dynamic process as it related to internal developments within the Jewish community – such as its diversity and the process of modernization in the Jewish world – while simultaneously situating it in the larger context of political, cultural, economic and demographic developments in Romania of that period.

Further, this study identifies the emergence of modern Jewish civil society – again, an important feature missing from modern historiography – which replaced the traditional institutions and structures of the Kehillah, as the new forms reflected the patterns of unity and diversity within Romanian Jewry.  

Raphael Vago

Tel Aviv University


Liviu Rotman is a well-known researcher on the history of Romanian Jewry and has published many works examining the topics of education, social and cultural structures, and Jewish life in the Communist era.  He is a professor at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest, and since 2012 he has served as director of the Center for Israeli Studies at the same university.  He has been involved in founding and managing several academic structures that have contributed to the creation and development of a Jewish historiography in Romania.

Publisher Tel Aviv University Language English
Year of publication 2015 Pages  259



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