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Stepchildren of the Shtetl

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

In memoirs and literary works, the Jewish landscape of 19th- and early 20th-century Eastern Europe is often populated by an array of social outcasts, including the mentally ill, physically disabled people, beggars, vagrants, and poor orphans. In his talk, "Stepchildren of the Shtetl: The Destitute, Disabled, and Demented of Jewish Eastern Europe," Natan Meir will introduce theses “marginal folk” and portray the lives they led in both the shtetl and the big city. He also will explain how studying social outcasts can provide us with important insights into the changing mentalities of Jewish society over an extended historical period. 

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Natan M. Meir is the Lorry I. Lokey Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at Portland State University. His research interest is modern Jewish history, focusing on the social and cultural history of East European Jewry. Meir is the author of Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914 and co-editor of Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History. He is completing a study of the outcasts of East European Jewish society.

Program made possible, in part, by Judy Baston.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and Lehrhaus Judaica.