Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jerusalem, 1903

Here is a vintage article called "The Religious Life of the Orthodox Jews in Palestine" from The Biblical World, Vol. 21, No. 4, Apr., 1903. The article was written by one E. W. G. Masterman (all I could find online about him was that he was secretary of the British Palestine Society which was an organization whose purpose was to create a “community of ideals and interests between Zionism and British policy.”)

His perceptions are quite interesting, some of which are in error (but not surprising, given that any of us would also make what are slight errors when observing an alien community). The piece is also clearly sympathetic and more than a little bit romantic.

Here is an especially interesting quote:
Many a man who appears in Jerusalem in all the garb and habits of ultra-orthodoxy has lived very differently in Europe in his younger days. Now, in the Holy Land, with the eyes of so many equally punctilious around him, he inevitably goes to extremes.
Also interesting: the article is filed from "Jerusalem, Syria." Such was 1903.

Link to pdf of the article

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