Cover image for Between the yeshiva world and modern orthodoxy : the life and works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, 1884-1966
Between the yeshiva world and modern orthodoxy : the life and works of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, 1884-1966
Shapiro, Marc B.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; Portland, Or. : Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 283 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM755.W357 S53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The span of Rabbi Jehiel Jacob Weinberg's life (1884-1966) illuminates the religious and intellectual dilemmas that traditional Jewry has faced over the past century. Rabbi Weinberg became a central ideologue of modern Orthodoxy because of his positive attitude to secular studies and Zionism and his willingness to respond to social change in interpreting the halakhah, despite his traditional training in a Lithuanian yeshiva. But Weinberg was an unusual man: even at a time when he was defending the traditional yeshiva against all attempts at reform, he always maintained an interest in the wider world. He left Lithuania for Germany at the beginning of the First World War, attended the University of Giessen, and increasingly identified with the Berlin school of German Orthodoxy. Although initially an apologist for the Nazi regime, he was soon recognized as German Orthodoxy's most eminent halakhic authority in its efforts to maintain religious tradition in the face of Nazi persecution.His approach, then and in his later halakhic writings, including the famous Seridei esh, derived from the conviction that the attempt to shore up Orthodoxy by increased religious stringency would only reduce its popular appeal. - Using a great deal of unpublished material, including private correspondence, Marc Shapiro discusses many aspects of Weinberg's life. In doing so he elucidates many institutional and intellectual phenomena of the Jewish world, a number of which have so far received little scholarly attention: the yeshivas of Lithuania; the state of the Lithuanian rabbinate; the musar movement; the Jews of eastern Europe in Weimar Germany; the Torah im Derekh Eretz movement and its variants; Orthodox Jewish attitudes towards Wissenschaft des Judentums; and the special problems of Orthodox Jews in Nazi Germany. Throughout, he shows the complex nature of Weinberg's character and the inner struggles of a man being pulled in different directions. Compellingly and authoritatively written, his fascinating conclusions are quite different from those presented in earlier historical treatments of the period.

Author Notes

Marc B. Shapiro holds the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Brandeis and Harvard universities, he is also the author of The Limits of Orthodox Theology (2004), published by the Littman Library.

Table of Contents

Note on Transliterationp. x
Note on Sourcesp. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xi
1 Early Life (1884-1905)p. 1
2 Pilwishki (1906-1913)p. 18
3 The First World War and its Aftermath (1914-1920)p. 51
4 Giessen and Beyond (1920-1932)p. 76
5 Response to the New Nazi Government (1933-1934)p. 110
6 The Nazi Era (1933-1945)p. 135
7 Post-War Years (1946-1966)p. 172
Afterwordp. 222
I Lebenslauf--Autobiographical Notep. 224
II Letter to Hitlerp. 225
III Letter from Jacob Rosenheimp. 234
Glossaryp. 236
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 275