Kiev, Jewish Metropolis

Kiev, Jewish Metropolis

A History, 1859–1914
Natan M. Meir
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/30/2010
Format: Paperback 33 b&w illus., 4 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22207-7
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


Populated by urbane Jewish merchants and professionals as well as new arrivals from the shtetl, imperial Kiev was acclaimed for its opportunities for education, culture, employment, and entrepreneurship but cursed for the often pitiless persecution of its Jews. Kiev, Jewish Metropolis limns the history of Kiev Jewry from the official readmission of Jews to the city in 1859 to the outbreak of World War I. It explores the Jewish community’s politics, its leadership struggles, socioeconomic and demographic shifts, religious and cultural sensibilities, and relations with the city's Christian population. Drawing on archival documents, the local press, memoirs, and belles lettres, Natan M. Meir shows Kiev's Jews at work, at leisure, in the synagogue, and engaged in the activities of myriad Jewish organizations and philanthropies.

Author Bio

Natan M. Meir is the Lorry I. Lokey Professor of Judaic Studies at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.


“A home for Jewish merchants and professionals, Imperial Kiev was acclaimed for its cultural, educational, and business opportunities but cursed for its pitiless persecution of Jews. From the readmission of Jews to the city, this book explores the Jewish community’s struggles, shifts, and sensibilities, drawing on archival documents, the local press, memoirs, and belles-lettres.”

“A multidimensional and panoramic picture of Jewish communal life in late Tsarist Kiev. The book is meticulously researched, eminently readable, and rich in detail.”
 — Jeffrey Veidlinger, author of Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire

“Kiev, Jewish Metropolis is a welcome addition to our knowledge of an important city that, [Meir] correctly points out, has remained surprisingly underresearched. Vol. 70.3, Fall 2011”
 — Slavic Review

“Natan Meir’s meticulous new history of Kiev Jewry in the modern period, is an assiduous work of conventional scholarship. Meir provides a thorough, lucid and ultimately heartrending account of the noble successes of Kiev’s Jews in building a solid Jewish community.May 25, 2011”
 — Forward

“Without any doubt this is a very important first monograph on the history of Jews in Kiev, which reveals many new aspects of Jewish life in the city and in the Tsarist Empire and brings one of the largest Jewish communities in Russia into the scholarly orbit. ”
 — Shofar

“Meir has given us a penetrating study. His style of writing is clear and interesting. He knows how to tell a story, arouse curiosity, and sustain interest, a quality that so many academic studies lack. The book merits translation into Hebrew. It is a significant contribution to the historiography of East European Jewry.”
 — Jewish History

“Kiev, Jewish Metropolis . . . is a rich social, cultural, and institutional history of Jewish life in one of its most important and hitherto least understood urban centers. ”
 — The Journal of Modern History

“The author attempted to and succeeded in doing two things: producing 'a history of late-imperial Kiev Jewry and an evaluation of the developent of Jewish life in a Russian city under the last three tsars'. . . . Recommended. April 2011”
 — Choice

“The best books in Russian-Jewish history of recent years continue to question the myths and to look at the facts anew with the help of archival materials and other rare sources. Natan Meir's book does exactly this. . . . As he demonstrates in this book, Natan Meir is a careful and innovative scholar. ”

“Meir's book provides a broad history of Jewish Kiev in the half-century between the loosening of residence restrictions and the outbreak of the First World War, and gives an exceptionally rich portrait of the complex and changing nature of Kiev's Jewish community. ”
 — Revolutionary Russia

“Meir’s book has opened up a number of new perspectives for those interested in Jewish experiences in late imperial Russia, specifically in the city that was then almost equally Jewish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish. The book is also indispensable for students of modern Ukrainian history and of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, which has only recently begun attracting serious scholarly attention.”
 — Journal of Ukrainian Studies

“This study . . . represents an important addition to the historiography of Russian Jewry in that it addresses a notable gap in the literature: the Jewish population of late imperial Kiev. . . . Meir’s portrait of Kievan Jewry and its institutional formation is a thoroughly researched study that considers multiple perspectives, namely those of a diverse Jewish community, its competing political leaders, the tsarist government, and provincial and municipal administrators. ”
 — East European Jewish Affairs

“Drawing on archival documents, the local press, memoirs, and belles letters, Meir shows Kiev’s Jews at work, at leisure, in the synagogue, and engaged in the activities of myriad Jewish organizations and philanthropies.74 Winter/Spring 2011”
 — Menorah Review

“There is a great deal to learn and appreciate in this splendid book.Autumn 2013”
 — Journal of Jewish Studies

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Part 1. The Early Years
1. Settlement and Growth, 1859<N>1881
2. The Foundations of Communal Life
Part 2. Jewish Metropolis
3. The Consolidation of Jewish Kiev, 1881<N>1914
4. Modern Jewish Cultures and Practices
5. Jew as Neighbor, Jew as Other: Interethnic Relations and Antisemitism
6. Varieties of Jewish Philanthropy
7. Revolutions in Communal Life

Related Titles