Oberlander Jews (also Oberlandish or simply Oberland Jews) are Ashkenazi, Yiddish- and German-speaking Jews originating in the Oberland (Upper Hungary) or higher land western region of Hungary and the district surrounding Bratislava in Slovakia. This is as opposed to Unterlander Jews, who resided in the eastern lower lands on the opposite side of the Danube River and were influenced more by the Hasidic movement.
Background and customs
Many were Haredi while not Hasidic, others were Orthodox while rather contemporary. Most wore contemporary clothing, spoke Hungarian however educated their children within a traditional Jewish religious framework, together with academic subjects as taught in Hungarian. Oberlander Judaism was most similar to classic German pre-emancipation Orthodoxy. One very distinct custom, or minhag, that some Oberlanders adhered to was the wearing of a talis prior to marriage, as German Jews do today. Another is putting on tefilin on the intermediate days of a festival. Oberlander Jews have contributed strongly to present-day Orthodox Jewish communities. Generally, Oberlander Jews were more likely to remain Orthodox than other Ashkenazim after post-World War II immigration to North America. Many of this group have joined Hasidic groups such as Vizhnitz since World War II. Others educated their children in the Lithuanian style yeshiva or in Israel, where they no longer maintain all of the customs and do not speak Hungarian or German. Therefore, being an Oberlander is no longer a significant distinction among Jews, as in pre-World War II Europe.
- ↑ Poll, Solomon (1962). Hasidic Community of Williamsburg. New York, New York: Free Press/Crowell-Collier. pp. 15–16.
- ↑ ibid.
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