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Orthodox kosher mass culture?

Food industry, hospitality industry, children’s holidays and open-air baths in the weekly paper of orthodox Jewry in Hungary, 1925–1944

Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Author:
Norbert Gleszer

Orthodox Jewry in Hungary received the trends to modernity with reservations. It subjected the phenomena trickling into the urbanising, modernising communities to strong community control. Nevertheless, it adopted many customs of the bourgeois and later the mass society. A special example of this alternative integration is the question of the Orthodox kosher adaptation of mass catering and the cult of the body. This involved keeping pace with new industrial technologies, creating a market for kosher food industry products, community supervision and the provision of food to suit the changed way of life of urban Orthodox Jewry. The cult of the body provides an example of mass culture that was to be incorporated or excluded: while children’s holidays and holidays were a religiously re-interpreted phenomenon, fashion in clothing and mixed-sex open-air bathing were to be sanctioned. Behind this lay the subordination of natural science to religion and the suppression by the community of modernity affecting religious life. Through the example of Orthodox Jewry in Hungary we can observe an alternative strategy for dealing with the emergence of mass society.

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The veneration of icons in the Orthodox church is an integral part of the Russian liturgical tradition. It is possible to study icons only as a sacred work of art intended for prayer. Therefore this article's goal is to show the forms of veneration of icons in the temple as its major environment. In the tradition of Russian Orthodox piety icon worship is expressed in various forms. The major form of veneration of icons is expressed in believers standing in front of them in prayer. In the services of the Russian Orthodox Church it is customary to worship icons with prayer and Akathist services. One of the Holy Fathers said: “Do, do the external, for the external belongs to us, and the internal to God. And for the external the Lord shall give us also the internal” (Pestov 2000: 542). Such external forms of the veneration of icons are expressed in bowing before them, kissing, censing, lighting candles and decorating holy images. All these signs of veneration precede the prayer and create a special mood.

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In the paper we give some remarks on the article of Janet Mills. In particular, the proof of Lemma 1.2 (in her work) is incorrect, and so the proof of Theorem 3.5 is not valid, too. Using different methods we show the mentioned theorem. Moreover, we find a new equivalent condition to the statements in Theorem 3.5. In particular, an explicit definition of a new class of orthodox semigroups is introduced.

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This study is aimed at determining the cultural factors (beliefs, traditional religious practices, and customs) blocking the utilization of orthodox medicine among peoples of Nigeria represented in this research by natives of Warri area of Delta State in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria. With the use of multi-stage cluster sampling technique 190 natives sampled, participated in this study. A structured interview schedule containing a 13-item question translated in pidgin English (the lingua franca in the region) was used by ten research assistants who hail from the selected communities to elicit information from both literate and illiterate natives. The chi-square statistic result (χ 2 (8) = 26.83, P <.05) shows that some ethnic beliefs, customs and traditions are very significant cultural factors blocking the use of orthodox medicine. It was recommended that governments at all levels should put in place information, education and communication (IEC) activities in order to encourage appropriate choice of medical care amongst Nigerians.

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A loser of the First World War, interwar Bulgaria is characterized by developments in its spiritual and religious life that reflect the idea, and the feeling, of a “national catastrophe”. One of the expressions of this general mood is the multiplication of religious organizations run by lay people in which religious activism is infused with ideas of national grandeur. Born in the early 1920s, The Good Samaritan was an ultra-Orthodox organization founded by former military officers with the help of an Orthodox priest. Within a few years it entered in conflict with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which treated it as a sect. It was, however, successful in rallying citizens and peasants alike under millenarian slogans. The association relied on visionaries and popular prophets to promote its ideas of Bulgaria as a New Israel. The paper focuses on two of the most outspoken prophets acting on behalf of The Good Samaritan , both women. By examining their visionary techniques and pronouncements, the aim is to show how national ideology and political climate influence the “work” of visionaries and give them credence.

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Abstract

In the study I tried to reconstruct the history of the Jewish community of Tállya and their synagogue, for up to now neither the community, nor the art historically important Torah ark has received due attention. After the Holocaust very few survivors came back to Tállya – a settlement in Tokaj-Hegyalja, a region of north-eastern Hungary – and not a single member of the former Orthodox congregation lives there today. The community built their third place of worship in the mid-nineteenth century, pulled down in 1964. The reasons why I found it important to map the socio-cultural and religious environment in more detail are commemorative and research methodological. The Israelite community enjoyed autonomy in choosing their rabbi and arranging all other domestic matters, and consequently, their taste, religious orientation, acculturation influenced the shaping of their synagogue building, the style of its furnishing and ritual objects. For lack of congregational documents, many kinds of sources (e.g. newspaper articles, recollections, biographies of rabbis, municipal documents) had to be interpreted within the context offered by the historical elaborations of the age. It was indispensable to shed light on the system of relations between Hasidism of growing influence from the early nineteenth century and traditional Orthodoxy, particularly because the tendencies of secession also appeared in the Tállya community, and the iconography of the Torah ark of their synagogue is most closely related to the carved Torah arks of East European Hasidic communities (in Poland, Galicia, Moldavia, etc.). According to archival sources the community leaders of Tállya could assert their wish to have the woodcarver create symbolic motifs on the ark despite the rabbi’s disapproval. As the direct antecedent to the composition I identified the masonry Torah ark of Mád, but the inventive, singular style of the carvings bears no kinship with the mentioned prototypes or the altars in churches in the vicinity. At the end of the paper I sum up the events that led to the demolition of the synagogue and the perishing of its interior furniture, relying on documents in the Hungarian Jewish Museum and the Monument Documentation Centre.

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In order to evaluate the feasibility of cryopreservation of Wych elm ( Ulmus glabra Huds.) seeds, we evaluated the seeds sensitivity to extreme desiccation and/or the ultra-low temperature of liquid nitrogen (LN; −196 °C). We also determined the critical water content (WC) of desiccated seeds and the high-moisture freezing limit of seeds desiccated or moistened to various WCs and frozen for 24 h or up to two years in LN. Germination tests revealed no critical WC for seeds to 0.03 g H 2 O g −1 dry mass, g g −1 . Seeds tolerated freezing in LN within safe ranges of WC 0.03–0.21 g g −1 (nuts). Seeds desiccated to the safe WC and stored in LN for two years had similar germination as seeds stored at −3 °C for two years. Therefore, long-term cryopreservation of U. glabra seeds in gene banks is feasible.

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In this paper I return to the question of church adherence and conversion adding ethnographic depth to my discussion with the intention of making some generalisations. In a previous paper (Komáromi 2011a) I reflected on the relationship between possession and conversion and I presented the cases of two women. Beginning with this paper I would like to broaden the perspective on conversion and relate the processes involved more generally to life crisis situations, conflicted relationships, severe illnesses or death and mourning.

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