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Bibliography of the Pinkasim Project
In this article, the Academic Committee of the Collection presents a short introduction to the nature of community record books.
The Zülz Pinkas paints a picture of rich community life in Poland and a leadership dedicated to its congregation – so long as you were willing to follow its rules.
From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, most European Jewish communities and regional councils wrote their records in specially designated registers, referred to using the Hebrew term pinkas (plural, pinkasim). These handwritten volumes include detailed descriptions of the administrative functioning of the Jewish bodies that created them, documenting the ways in which Jewish society organized its social, economic, religious, cultural, and family life, as well as aspects of its relations with non-Jewish governments and bodies. Pinkasim, therefore, form an extraordinary repository of information about the Jewish past.