Advertising occultism in the Jewish press in Poland

Samuel Glauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Press advertisements are a key source for the history of Jewish occultism in Eastern Europe. From the late nineteenth century, modern occult currents engaged many Jews in Eastern Europe, who consulted with mediums, attended occult performances and lectures, and consumed occult literature, whether in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, or Russian. For these Jews, the hidden realities represented by occultism conveyed practical knowledge, entertainment, assurance, and the possibility of belief in a higher reality. Their occult activities left a paper trail in the form of advertisements placed in Jewish newspapers across Eastern Europe. This article considers occult-related advertisements published in the Jewish press in early-twentieth-century Poland, arguably the centre of Jewish occultism in Eastern Europe. By tracing occult advertisements across four decades of the Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish press in Poland, a picture emerges of the dynamic occult marketplace that reached Jews across Eastern Europe, the economics of this marketplace, and the social changes that spurred its development. Jewish press advertisements thus not only shed light on the physiognomy of Jewish occultism in Poland in the early-twentieth century, but also tell us a great deal about Jewish experiences of modernity in these years as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-543
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • East European Jewry
  • Occultism
  • Yiddish press
  • early-twentieth century
  • press advertisements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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