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73 As for the autonomous structure of Jewish society, Derzhavin argued that the kahal (a “state within a state”) oppressed the poor through the threat of exclusion and therefore must be abolished (as had already been done in the Prussian and Habsburg states). ” 75 Wild rumors circulated that these five officials76 wielded unlimited power to “deal with [the Jews] at their discretion” and provoked so much anxiety in Jewish communities that Viktor Kochubei agreed to meet with deputies from each kahal.

55 The dispute had its material dimension: the separate hasidic prayer houses and shehitah (ritual slaughter) cut into budgetary revenues, especially from the fees on synagogue pews and the kosher meat tax.  Asher Perlov of Stolin) and caused a deep bitterness that lingered even after the cessation of overt hostilities (following the death of the Gaon of Vil’na in 1797 and the official recognition of hasidic prayer houses by the state in 1804). Although divisions narrowed in the nineteenth century, underlying tensions occasionally flared up in towns like Dvinsk over issues such as kashrut and veneration of the tsaddik or the local rebbe.

The ships, for the most part, return empty. Some carry a little liquor and when they reach Niz, that is, the region of Mozyr, they load tar and coal. 95 As the dust of war settled, Alexander I turned his attention to newly acquired territories, including Bessarabia and the Kingdom of Poland (created at the Congress of Vienna out of the former Duchy of Warsaw and other French protectorates). Although Alexander resisted Polish demands to extend the borders of the kingdom to include the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, he did acquiesce to the Poles’ aspirations for self-government and a progressive constitution that promised “no distinction in the enjoyment of civil and political rights,” 96 although these promises were not always honored.

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