Even though a Jewish community represented the most important and overarching institution of local Jewish society, it has not yet been given due space in Central European scholarly literature. While there are a vast number of scholarly articles and monographs on the history of individual Jewish communities, only a few works approach the topic of Jewish communities from a broader territorial and time perspective. Furthermore, the research is fragmented by the current national borders.

The territorial and chronological fragmentation of the research makes it very difficult to find continuities and discontinuities in the development of Jewish communities and their institutions, or to identify common phenomena or, on the contrary, specifics of individual communities. Almost no attention has been paid to some of the major supra-communal institutions. Similarly, there is no comprehensive work that examines Jewish communal religious, educational and charitable institutions in the broader context in the toleration and emancipation periods. The situation is not different in the case of Jewish associations, where a broader perspective has so far been applied only in the case of Zionist associations.

The conference therefore aims primarily to offer a forum to bridge the territorial and chronological fragmentation of the research. The meeting should provide an opportunity to compare the development of Jewish communities, as well as communal and supra-communal (regional) institutions across periods in individual countries within the Habsburg Monarchy and the entire Central European area. The possibility of comparison will then make it possible to trace continuities and discontinuities, general phenomena and local specifics.

In the long term, the conference is intended to foster cooperation between scholars across Central Europe and to stimulate further research on Jewish communities and communal institutions from a broader perspective.

You are invited to submit a paper on the following topics:

  1. Chronological transformations of Jewish communities
    • demographic changes
    • changes in the legal environment
    • evolution of the functions of a Jewish community
    • forms of Jewish communities – community, association, union
  2. Territorial diversity of Jewish communities
    • “rural” vs. urban Jewish communities
    • comparison of Jewish communities between different regions of the Habsburg monarchy
    • comparison of Jewish communities between the states of Central Europe
  3. Federations of Jewish communities
  4. Institutions of Jewish communities
    • religious, educational and charitable institutions
    • “clerical” and “lay” administration of a Jewish community (rabbinate, elected body)
  5. Organisations supplementing the functions of a Jewish community
    • ideological background: universalism vs. particularism, integration vs. separation, liberalism vs. Zionism
    • Jewish associations as a manifestation of the plurality of the Jewish society
    • struggle for the influence and for the form of a Jewish community
  6. Cultural and ethnic diversity of Jewish communities
    • material and cultural heritage
    • Jewish communities in literature and art
  7. Jewish history research
    • review of the previous research
    • possibilities of modern research methods (digital humanities)
    • popularisation of research results

Conference language: English

Structure of a paper: 20 min speech + 10 min questions

Deadline for submission: 16 December 2022

Papers will be later published in an expanded form as a collective monograph by the De Gruyter publishing house.