Matchmaking and Marriage Narratives of Israelis of Carpatho-Rusyn Origin

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Abstract

The Jews of Carpatho-Rus’, presently the western part of Ukraine, were largely decimated in the Holocaust as part of Hungarian Jewry. Until then and more specifically in the interwar period, in which the region was ceded to Czechoslovakia, Carpatho-Rusyn Jews were a community of about 113,000 souls, living in an area of around 100,000 square kilometres. Most of them were Orthodox, often Hasidic, a few thousand were Zionist, and even fewer turned to communism; many of them were farmers or handymen or small industry workers. After the Holocaust, the survivors rebuilt their lives in Israel and the West, though some returned to Carpatho-Rus’. Throughout the 1990s, Israeli and American organisations of former Carpatho-Rusyn Jews joined forces to facilitate the study of their interwar culture and Holocaust history and experiences by Israeli universities. These efforts yielded two research projects in which I took part and recorded around five hundred narratives belonging to various genres, mainly legend and personal narrative, as well as a few dozen full life histories. The six matchmaking and marriage narratives (plus two adjacent glosses) presented and analysed in this article deal with the following phenomena and issues: tradition vs. modernity, romantic fulfilment vs. tragic separation in the shadow of the war and the Holocaust, and families established on the route to British Mandate ruled Israel/Palestine (I/P), or the State of Israel as of 1948.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-66
Number of pages22
JournalFolklore (Estonia)
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Carpatho-Rus’
  • Central Europe
  • Family narrative
  • Holocaust
  • Hungary
  • Immigration
  • Interwar
  • Jewish studies
  • Marriage
  • Matchmaking
  • Personal narrative

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