Transgressions and Atonements: The Mosaic of Frontier Jewish Domestic Religious Practice in the 19th Century
Author(s): David M Markus
The Block Family Farmstead in Washington, Arkansas represents the first Jewish immigrant family to the state and is the most extensively excavated Jewish Diaspora site in North America, dating to the first half of the 19th Century. The site gives unique insight into the domestic practices of a Jewish family in absence of an ecclesiastical support network or coreligionist community. In particular, a pit feature adjacent to the home may indicate the manner in which the Block family transgressed against the tenents of their faith, as well as providing evidence to suggest that they attempted to atone for, or mitigate these unintentional lapses in faithful observance, while masking the more orthodox elements of their religion from their non-Jewish neighbors. The seemingly innocuous pit feature at the Block home provides the material evidence to explain the complicated mosaic of practice required of frontier Jews for their religious, social and economic survival.
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Transgressions and Atonements: The Mosaic of Frontier Jewish Domestic Religious Practice in the 19th Century. David M Markus. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434798)
Early-Mid 19th Century
min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;