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Word Count: 1,201
In Pauline Wengeroffs memoir Rememberings we see the effects of the Jewish Enlightenment on Russian culture In each region that was a home to Jews in the early nineteenth century Enlightenment took hold amongst portions of the Jewish population One of the goals of the Enlightenment was to make Jews more cultured and to be more like their neighbors Although many Christian habits were adopted the root of these activities came from each specific local culture The results of the more enlightened Jew differed in each area The German enlightenment was different from the Russian enlightenment but the core ideas were the same The Jews wished to be entirely accepted by the country they lived in and cease to be foreigners so they began speaking Russian attending the theatre and pursuing a secular education Wengeroff respects the broader education aspects of the enlightenment but mourns the loss of key Jewish traditions such as the Sabbath and Talmud-study Wengeroff describes a clear picture of her upbringing in her devoutly religious home Every detail of religious law was meticulously obeyed and the commandments of the Torah were practiced with great joy Sabbath was a time of holiness where thoughts of Torah were discussed and weekday matters did not permeate the sacred atmosphere What might seem to the reader as a burden Wengeroff sees as a joyous expression of Jewish identity All Jews were bound together in a community observing Gods laws and taking the pleasures granted to them they didnt need to go out and participate in the secular culture Jewish life was enjoyable just observing the Sabbath and all the holidays There were Jewish holidays that were specifically set aside for merriment and inebriation All the culture that a Jew could need was found within each individual community The original freethinkers the precursor to the Enlightenment in their violation of Jewish law as it was practiced offended the core ideas of the Jewish community He was
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