IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 628: Zikaron/Memoria: Jewish Memory and Jewish Community, II

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Gabriel Wasserman, Department of Hebrew Literature, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Paper 628-aThe Use of Collective Memory in Grounding New Institutions, 11th-13th Centuries
(Language: English)
Simha Goldin, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Law
Paper 628-bThe Memory Book of the Jewish Community in Nuremberg in the Context of Christian Medieval Necrologies, 13th and 14th Centuries
(Language: English)
Rainer Josef Barzen, Institut für Jüdische Studien, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Index terms: Geography and Settlement Studies, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Liturgy
Paper 628-cThe Theology of Memory in Ashkenaz
(Language: English)
Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University / Shalem College, Jerusalem
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Theology

Paper -a:
In establishing new institutions, rulings, and customs, the Northern European medieval Jewish community (11th-13th centuries) turned to collective memory, grounding the ostensibly new practices and bodies on traditional thought patterns, collective memory, and sacred communal texts. My examples are from the communities rulings (such as the herem), and the family environment.

Paper -b:
In 1296 Isaak of Meiningen, the initiator and scribe, created the oldest known preserved Ashkenazi memory book for his Jewish community in Nuremberg. In the Jewish context, the creation of a book as a form of commemorating dead members of the community, be they benefactors or martyrs of the local or regional Jewish community, was unknown until then, unlike in the institutions of the Christian majority society. This presentation will therefore investigate to what extent the Christian tradition of prayer brotherhoods and necrologies facilitated the creation of Jewish memory books at the end of the 13th century. Which theological Jewish ideas about death and the function of remembering the dead are expressed in the Nuremberger Memory Book? Can they be distinguished from Christian contemporary concepts of remembering the dead?

Paper -c:
Memorization of the souls of members of the Jewish community became an important ritual in the high Middle Ages. Memor Buchs were written and lists of souls of members of the Jewish community who lost their lives during massacres were recited during Sabbath and holiday services. It is common to describe it in terms of sociology. In this paper I will present an additional aspect – a theological one. I contend that creating a celestial memory demanded a theorgical act and wasn’t taken for granted. They believed that only what is remembered by man is remembered by God, and man is not the individual but the community.

Memorization is thus not only an act of affirmation of the social as such but rather an affirmation of the community as a theological entity. As I have claimed in my book, Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg and the Foundation of Jewish Political Thought, the Jewish community was perceived by its members as enjoying a theological importance, a celestial entity playing in the celestial field. Memorization, creating memory, is thus an act of giving a celestial meaning and actualization within the celestial, to the Jewish community.