Classi Lectures together with the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto bring you…
This four-week series will focus on the story of the Jewish people, confined to the “Pale of Settlement” as they attempted to survive and adapt to their hostile environment. Beginning in 1772 and culminating in 1815 the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth ceased to exist. The Jewish communities had new masters, with the majority under Russian rule.
19th Century Russia was the largest land Empire in the world – the Tsar was an autocrat – the Russian Orthodox Church all powerful – the nobility controlling vast estates and the majority of the population serfs.
From Catherine the Great to Alexander I
The Czars, by acquiring vast tracts of land also acquired what they considered to be an alien people. They applied various methods to break the community, some seductive, others cruel, including the Cantonist System. This meant young Jewish boys were conscripted into the Russian Army for 31 years. The Jews themselves had to decide whose sons should go.
In the series:
Nov. 29: From Catherine the Great to Alexander I
Dec. 6: Alexander II – The Czar Liberator
Dec. 13: From Poverty to Flight
Dec. 20: Jewish life in Russia 1881-1914