Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Jews and the MilitaryA History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Derek J. Penslar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691138879

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691138879.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Jewish Soldier between Memory and Reality

The Jewish Soldier between Memory and Reality

(p.17) Chapter One The Jewish Soldier between Memory and Reality
Jews and the Military

Derek J. Penslar

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the Jews' historic self-image as a people that shuns what the Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon called “the craft of Esau, the waging of war.” The notion of Jews as wards of divine and state authority derives from both rabbinic tradition and the specific conditions of Jewish life in medieval Christian and Muslim civilizations. Committed to maintaining their faith and community, Jews had little reason to cross social boundaries or endanger their lives through military service. The historical memory of Russian and Polish Jewry is replete with images of harsh military service and tales of fleeing the country in order to avoid it. Like all historical memory, this narrative blends fact with fiction. Eastern European Jews engaged in a variety of paramilitary activities long before conscription into the tsar's army, and once the draft was implemented in the nineteenth century, their experiences were not uniformly miserable.

Keywords:   Jewish life, military service, Russian Jewry, Polish Jewry, paramilitary activities

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.