Magic in Time of Cholera: Between Jews and Christians in Eastern Europe

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This article delves into human responses to pandemics, with a specific focus on the religious practices and folk rituals employed by various social groups in Poland and the western regions of the Russian Empire throughout the nineteenth century. Employing a unique microhistorical case study, it unveils the intricate relationship between these popular religious traditions and the ongoing processes of modernization. Through this example, alongside examinations of rituals practiced within both Jewish and Christian communities, this research sheds light on the dynamic interactions and mutual influences between these groups. Additionally, it highlights the pivotal role of women in revitalizing folk rituals, offering broader insights into cultural transformations during tumultuous and challenging times. This exploration encompasses cross-cultural encounters with magical practices and folk beliefs, providing a nuanced examination of how these practices contributed to the delineation of social boundaries and the ever-evolving landscape of cultural diversification amid the rapid currents of modernization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-93
Number of pages32
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Trustees of Indiana University.


  • magic
  • pandemics
  • Polish-Jewish relations
  • rituals


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