Emancipation, Reform, and Multicultural Nationalism in Malbim’s Bucharest
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Honors thesis / Open Access
Abstract: Malbim’s status as one of the most prolific and original Biblical commentators is well known, and the role his writings played in combating the then-new Reform movement has been documented by scholars. However, an area of Malbim’s struggle with Reform that is lesser known is his tenure as Chief Rabbi of Romania from 1858–1864. Due to the political climate in Bucharest during the time Malbim resided there, he was forced to deal not only with Reform but also with the interrelated issues of Jewish emancipation and the potential conflict between traditional Judaism and a Romanian national identity. Drawing on the scarce material we have indicating Malbim’s positions on these questions, I show how Malbim’s ideas developed and were applied to the Romanian context. I also draw parallels to the views of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, and suggest that Malbim’s insistence that Orthodox Jews could be patriotic Romanians anticipated the modern notion of multicultural nationalism.
Tanner, D.P. (2022, August). Emancipation, Reform, and Multicultural Nationalism in Malbim’s Bucharest. [Undergraduate honors thesis, Yeshiva University].
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