The Jews of Lithuania and Poland

Polish synagogues
are typically...

Synagogue interiors...

Moses Ben Israel Isserles...

JEWISH GROUPS WHO MIGRATE to Poland and Lithuania from the 13th century onward form the nucleus of Russian Jewry. After the expulsion of Spanish Jewry and the continued persecution of Jews in Western Europe, Poland and Lithuania become the new cultural center of Jewish life in Europe by the 16th century.

Jews in Poland and Lithuania develop a particular mode of Talmudic study and enrich Jewish culture with many new religious streams and customs. Their religious academies attract students from all over the Jewish world. They speak Yiddish, a mixture of medieval German and Hebrew. Communities elect provincial councils and create for the first time a large representative body, the Council of the Lands, that regulates both economic and religious affairs for Jews in most Eastern European states. (CONT)

Map: Immigration to Poland-Lithuania until 1600; Jewish communities in the 17th century.
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