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Hidden from History
The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789
October 6, 2013

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2013 | 9:30am-6pm
This program has passed. The video will be posted shortly.

Admission: General - $15 | YIVO and CJH members, seniors and students - $10
Box Office: | 212.868.4444

This fall, the YIVO Institute and the Center for Jewish History present an exhibition, a conference and four public programs that explore the Jewish community in Metz, France in the 18th and 19th centuries. These programs were inspired by the Pinkas (Register) of the Metz Rabbinic Court, a rare and little-known document from the collections of the YIVO Archives. Other programs in this series occur on October 7, October 21, November 18 and December 9. For more information and a complete listing of events, click here.

The exhibition and program series are made possible by the generous support of The David Berg Foundation, The Selz Foundation, and Emil Kleinhaus.

The authority to adjudicate civil disputes ranked among the most highly valued of all privileges extended to Jews in the course of their history. But astonishingly, the rabbinic court records have received scant attention. Largely unknown to historians, these records provide an unusually rich source for the study of early modern European Jewish life. Presented in conjunction with the publication of Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789, by Jay Berkovitz, this symposium brings together a distinguished array of international scholars and legal experts to explore the French and German rabbinic courts in the late 1700s,
challenging our understanding of the beginnings of Jewish modernity.

Jonathan Brent, Executive Director, YIVO Institute and Judith Siegel,
Director of Academic and Public Programs, Center for Jewish History

Metz - Then and Now
Greetings from Rabbi Bruno Fiszon, Chief Rabbi, Metz Jewish Community


Session 1: Rabbinic Court Records as Untapped Sources of History

Chair: Ephraim Kanarfogel, Yeshiva University

Protocols of Justice: The Metz Pinkas Beit Din, 1771-1790
Jay R. Berkovitz, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

A Trail from Two Cities: The Court Records of Metz and Frankfurt
Edward Fram, Ben-Gurion University

Discussant: Suzanne Last Stone, Cardozo Law School


Session 2: Domestic Issues in Historical Perspective: The Family in Court
and Community Records

Chair: Marsha Rozenblit, University of Maryland

Family, Gender, and Social Structure in a Pinkas of Altona
Elisheva Carlebach, Columbia University

Dividing Marital Assets: Rabbinic Courts in Europe and New York
Ronald Warburg, Rabbinic Court Judge, New York

Discussant: Sarah Maza, Northwestern University


Coffee and Cookies Will Be Available for the Public


The Legacy of the Metz Beit Din in the Twenty First Century
Rabbi M.A. Halevi Bamberger, Rosh Bet Din/Head of the Jewish Court, Metz Jewish


Session 3: The State and the Jews: Law and Power in Pre-modern Europe

Chair: AdamTeller, Brown University

The Power of Knowledge: Jewish Use of State Laws in the Aftermath of
Anti-Jewish Accusations

Magda Teter, Wesleyan University

The Power and Ambitions of the Parlement of Metz in the Eighteenth Century
Ronald Schechter, The College of William and Mary

Discussant: Isser Woloch, Columbia University


Session 4: Roundtable Discussion: (Re)shaping the Past and the Future:
Memory and Multiple Historical Narratives

Chair: Jay Berkovitz

Panel participants:
Debra Kaplan, Yeshiva University
Kenneth Stow, Haifa University
Adam Teller, Brown University
Magda Teter, Wesleyan University
Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History  |  15 West 16th Street - NYC   view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.