Research on the ethos. Example of political trends among non-religious Polish Jews in the 2nd Republic of Poland
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The authoress presents a concept of research on the Jewish ethos internalized in the groups representing main political trends popular among the Polish Jewry in the interwar Poland (1918-1939). These trends are: Zionism, Socialism, Folkizm and a policy of Assimilation. The impression that traditional values based on Jewish orthodox style of life were in a state of crisis was a result of the modernization process. Some of the groups of Polish Jewry decided to look for new sources of their self-identity and new possibilities leading to the new conception of life. The laic modernizers had to undertake a difficult task of finding new sources of self identification by defining who they were, what were the goals they wanted to achieve, which ideals they should follow. The research on their ethos makes it possible to gain a deep insight into these non-traditional communities. It gives an opportunity to see how they made moral and ethic choices and to explore the differences among them. There is an important issue to show how they influenced the whole traditional society of the Polish Jews at that time and to ask if they were a dynamic factor. The method of analysis proposed in this paper allows to construct a model of their discourse. The analysis of Jewish ethos as a cultural phenomenon finally leads to research on: the value system, the attitudes expressed in the ethos, the sources of the ethos and its functions, the instruments of communication used in its transmission inside the Jewish society in Poland at that time.
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