March 13, 2007
Jew vs. Jew in Lemburg
a review by Allan Nadler of A Murder in Lemberg: Politics, Religion, and Violence in Modern Jewish History, by Michael Stanislawski:
On September 6, 1848, a young Orthodox Jew with the very inauspicious name of A.B. Pilpel (Hebrew for pepper), bearded with sidelocks and dressed in a black hat and a long caftan, entered the kitchen of the district rabbi of Lemberg, Abraham Cohen, and, pretending to light his cigar from the stove, poured arsenic into the Cohen family’s soup. Within hours of their supper later that evening, the entire Cohen family was severely ill. And by 3 o’clock the next morning, Rabbi Cohen and his infant daughter, Teresa, were dead.
The book chronicles the case of what might have been the first Jewish assassination by another Jew since the times of the Second Temple. It's a tale of Jew vs. Jew that seems to have application for today.
Nadler concludes his review with:
Stanislawski has written not only an important historical morality tale about the dangers of religious extremism, but also a cautionary tale about the unforeseeable perils unleashed when governments try to force modernity, or, for that matter democracy, on a deeply traditional religious society.
Posted by Greg at March 13, 2007 1:32 PM