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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this book, which examines the pinkassim of four provincial Ashkenazi communities in the Dutch Republic of the eighteenth century. The book attempts to remedy the situation by combining the two areas, examining the common characteristics of pinkassim and their value as historical sources. For the book the following communities were therefore selected: Middelburg in Zeeland, The Hague in Holland, Leeuwarden in Friesland and Oisterwijk in what is now North Brabant, then part of the Generality lands (States Brabant). Pinkassei kahal provide an intimate glimpse into the administrative work of Jewish community governors. Comparing them reveals some important previously unnoticed aspects of Ashkenazi institutions in the eighteenth century. A closer examination of the actual pinkassim also provides new information about the genre itself.

Keywords: Ashkenazi communities; Dutch Republic; Jewish community; Leeuwarden; Middelburg; Oisterwijk; pinkassim; The Hague



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