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“To Immerse their Wives”: Communal Identity and the “Kahalishe” Mikveh of Altona

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2012

Debra Kaplan*
Yeshiva University, New York, New York
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On Sunday, the twelfth of Adar, March 2, 1681, the parnasim, the lay leaders of Altona, recorded an enactment in their communal logbook, the pinkas kehillah, regulating women's use of the local mikva'ot. Designating two privately-owned ritual baths as the only approved immersion locations for most of the women in the community, they decreed that defiance of this decree was to be punished with some of the most severe weapons in the arsenal of the communal leaders. Four years later, the parnasim reversed their policy and, with the permission of the community's rabbinic leadership, required the women to use only the newly built kahalishe, or community, mikveh, banning the use of the two previously approved mikva'ot. This article examines the construction and reconstruction of these policies regulating women's use of mikva'ot, offering insight into how designated communal institutions were developed in the early modern period as well as how these institutions were used both to finance the community and to forge communal identity. Moreover, consideration of the mikveh as a locus for building communal institutions and, in particular, communal identity, offers insight into how the growing bureaucratization of Jewish communal life in the early modern period affected women's lives.

Research Article
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 2012

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1. CAHJP, AHW/14 (50). On the mikveh, see Wasserfall, Rahel R., ed., Women and Water: Menstruation in Jewish Life and Law (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the physical construction of mikva'ot in Germany, see Heuberger, Georg, ed., Mikwe: Geschichte und Architecktur jüdischer Ritualbäder in Deutschland (Frankfurt am Main: Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main, 1992)Google Scholar.

2. The specific details and language are provided below.

3. CAHJP AHW/14 (90–91).

4. The seminal works on Jewish communal life include Baron, Salo Wittmayer, The Jewish Community: Its History and Structure to the American Revolution, 3 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1942)Google Scholar; Katz, Jacob, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages, trans. Cooperman, Bernard Dov (New York: New York University Press, 1993), 65112Google Scholar. Some of the flaws in Katz's portrait of the Jewish community that are relevant to this case have been described in Carlebach, Elisheva, “Early Modern Ashkenaz in the Writings of Jacob Katz,” in The Pride of Jacob: Essays on Jacob Katz and His Work, ed. Harris, Jay M. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 6584Google Scholar; Hyman, Paula, “Jacob Katz as Social Historian,” in Harris, Pride of Jacob, 8596Google Scholar. Of particular note is Katz's tendency to draw similarities between communal institutions across time and place. Our understanding of Jewish communal life is currently being enriched with the forthcoming annotated publications of several important communal documents. See Fram, Edward, ed., A Window on their World: The Court Diary of Rabbi Hayyim Gundersheim, (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Berkovitz, Jay, ed., Protocols of Justice: The Rabbinic Court of Metz, 1771–1789, (Boston and Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2013)Google Scholar. In addition, the 2010 Early Modern Workshop was dedicated to rethinking the topic of Jewish community and identity. See (accessed July 12, 2011).

5. There is little scholarship on early modern Jewish women, aside from the research about more famous individuals, such as Glückel of Hameln, Sara Copia Sullam, and Doña Gracia Nasi. For early modern women in Ashkenaz, see Weissler, Chava, Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women (Boston: Beacon Press, 1998)Google Scholar; Rosman, Moshe, “Le-hiyyot 'isha Yehudit be-Polin-Lita be-reshit ha-‘et ha-ḥadasha,” in Kiyyum va-shever: Yehudei Polin le-doroteihem, ed. Bartal, Israel and Gutman, Israel (Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar, 1997), 2:415–34Google Scholar; Ulbrich, Claudia, Shulamit and Margarete: Power, Gender, and Religion in a Rural Society in Eighteenth-Century Europe, trans. Dunlap, Thomas A. (Leiden: Brill, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fram, Edward, My Dear Daughter: Rabbi Benjamin Slonik and the Education of Jewish Women in Sixteenth-Century Poland (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hovav, Yemimah, ‘Alamot ’ahevukha: ḥayyei ha-dat ve-ha-ruaḥ shel nashim ba-ḥevrah ha-Ashkenazit be-reshit ha-‘et ha-ḥadashah (Jerusalem: Merkaz Dinur, 2009)Google Scholar.

6. On the limits of pinkasim as the sole sources of Jewish history in the triple community, see David H. Horowitz, “Fractures and Fissures in the Hamburg Jewish Community, 1710–1782” (PhD diss., Columbia University, 2010). His chapter on the Emden-Eybeschütz controversy highlights the distinct narratives that are preserved in different types of sources. On the use of pinkasim as historical sources, see Litt, Stefan, Pinkas, Kahal and the Mediene: The Records of Dutch Ashkenazi Communities in the Eighteenth Century as Historical Sources (Leiden: Brill, 2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7. On Jewish life in Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbeck, see Marwedel, Günter, Die Privilegien der Juden in Altona (Hamburg: H. Christians, 1976)Google Scholar; Marwedel, Geschichte der Juden in Hamburg, Altona und Wandsbeck (Hamburg: H. Christians, 1982)Google Scholar; Zürn, Gabriele, Die Altonaer jüdische Gemeinde (1611–1873). Ritus und soziale Institutionen des Todes im Wandel (Münster: Lit, 2001), 2731Google Scholar; Braden, Jutta, Hamburger Judenpolitik im Zeitalter lutherischer Orthodoxie, 1590–1710 (Hamburg: Christians, 2002)Google Scholar.

8. Glikl: Zikhroynes, 1691–1719, ed. and trans. Turniansky, Chava (Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar, 2006), 4855Google Scholar.

9. The concluding folios of one of the communal pinkasim document the inner workings of the triple community. See CAHJP AHW/15, fol. 148v–150r. The organizational structure of the triple community is explained in detail in Rohrbacher, Stephan, “Die Drei Gemeinden Altona, Hamburg, Wandsbek zur Zeit der Glikl,” Aschkenas 8, no. 1 (1998): 105–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10. CAHJP AHW/14 (50).

11. CAHJP AHW/14 (50). The exact punishments meted out in the excommunication ban could vary from case to case. See Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed., ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, s.v. “Ḥerem.” Some of the particular punishments associated with a violation of this ban are mentioned below.

12. In other locations, poor women were exempted from mikveh fees. In The Hague, e.g., twenty-five poor women were granted free access to the mikveh in 1734. See Litt, Pinkas, Kahal, and the Mediene, 167.

13. See Sefer Ḥasidim MS Parma H 3280 (Jerusalem: Dinur Center, 1985), no. 380Google Scholar. I thank Elisheva Baumgarten for this reference. On this text, see Baumgarten, Elisheva, Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 47Google Scholar.

14. CAHJP AHW/14 (50).

15. CAHJP AHW/14 (50).

16. CAHJP AHW/14 (64). See Kaplan, Debra, “Women and Worth: Female Access to Property in Early Modern Urban Jewish Communities,” Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 55 (2010): 93113CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17. For comparative data on gender and wages in the early modern period, see Wiesner, Merry, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 125–34Google Scholar.

18. These expenses can be found in many of the communal records held in the CAHJP. For an example of taxes, see CAHJP AHW/14 (64); charity to local poor, CAHJP AHW/15 (86); dowries, CAHJP AHW/15 (145). On the high costs of burial and the reluctance that communities often had toward paying them for illegitimate children of domestic servants, see Carlebach, Elisheva, “Fallen Women and Fatherless Children: Jewish Domestic Servants in Eighteenth-Century Altona,” Jewish History 24 (2010): 295308, esp. 304CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19. For a sense of the growing number of institutions that the triple community provided to its members over the course of the early modern period, one need only compare the references to the hekdesh, the communal hospice, in Glückel's memoirs to the later communal institution. Glückel explains that since the community lacked a formal hekdesh in the seventeenth century, a makeshift one was built in her home when Polish refugees arrived in Hamburg. See Turniansky, Zikhronynes, 77. By the early nineteenth century, rich documentation of the food and services that the hekdesh provided can be found. See CAHJP AHW/25.

20. CAHJP AHW/15 (52).

21. The 170 mark equals 56.6 Reichstahler. See (accessed June 29, 2011).

22. The amounts and timing of payments for the mikva'ot created a rhythm within the immersion process that was established by the parnasim rather than by the women who were immersing themselves, lending it a ritual character. For the definition of ritual as controlled elements designed by those other than the performers, see Rappaport, Roy, Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 25CrossRefGoogle Scholar. I thank Shalom Holtz and Ari Mermelstein for their discussions with me about ritual and space.

23. See Seligman, Adam B., Weller, Robert P., Puett, Michael J., and Simon, Bennett, Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 11CrossRefGoogle Scholar, where they argue that “ritual creates and recreates a world of social convention and authority beyond the will of any individual.” The application of these principles in the case of the mikveh is useful for understanding why the ritualized aspects of the decree created a structure to which those women who were immersing were bound. Early modern historians have also pointed to the role that ritual played in establishing religious discipline. For one example, see Reinhard, Wolfgang, “Zwang zur Konfessionalisierung: Prologomena zu einer Theorie des konfessionellen Zeitalters,” Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 10 (1983): 257–77Google Scholar.

24. On punishment as a form of social control, see Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 2nd ed. (New York: Vintage Edition, 1995), esp. 170228Google Scholar. The connection between space and Foucault's work, interesting given the important role that space played in the community's concept of the mikveh, has been explored by Rabinow, Paul, “Ordonnance, Discipline, Regulation: Some Reflections on Urbanism,” in The Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture, ed. Low, Setha M. and Lawrence-Zúñiga, Denise (Malden: Blackwell, 2003), 353–62Google Scholar. Discipline was also key to achieving adherence to religious confessions in the early modern period. See, e.g., Hsia, R. Po-Chia, Social Discipline in the Reformation: Central Europe, 1550–1750 (New York: Routledge, 1989)Google Scholar.

25. On excommunication among Sephardim in Hamburg, see Kaplan, Yosef, “The Place of Herem in the Sefardic Community of Hamburg during the Seventeenth Century,” in Die Sefarden in Hamburg, ed. Studemund-Halévy, Michael (Hamburg: Buske, 1994), 1:6388Google Scholar. For Amsterdam, see Kaplan, “Bans in the Sephardi Community of Amsterdam in the Late Seventeenth Century,” in Galut aḥar Golah: Meḥkarim be-toldot ‘am Yisrael mugashim le-Profesor Ḥayim Beinart li-melot lo shiv‘im shanah, eds. Mirsky, Aharon, Grossman, Avraham, and Kaplan, Yosef, (Jerusalem: Makhon Ben Ẓvi, 1991), 517–40Google Scholar.

26. CAHJP AHW/14 (50). This is the only reference in any of the communal decrees to male use of the mikveh. Whereas the rules for payment were only put in place to regulate women's use of the mikva'ot, this clause demonstrates that should the ba‘al mikveh violate any of the rules, his or her mikveh would be banned for the use of men as well. Since women's use of the mikveh was mandated by Jewish law for all married women who were ritually impure, and men only used the mikveh by choice, it is not illogical that the rules were set up to govern female immersion only, as female immersion was guaranteed to produce revenue. It is noteworthy that men may not have had to pay for their immersions. Moreover, if payment was customary, it was neither regulated nor enforced by threat of excommunication.

27. CAHJP AHW/14 (50).

28. Given that the 1685 decree, which bars the use of these two mikva'ot, relates that there were only two mikva'ot in Altona and refers to these two specific mikva'ot, it is likely that these were the only mikva'ot in use there. The decree was thus probably not designed to limit women's options so much as to formalize what had already been the case and to institute methods for payment and control. See CAHJP AHW/14 (90). However, it is apparent from this text, which did not mandate that Hamburg residents use these mikva'ot, as well as from other texts discussed at length below, that other options for immersion existed in Hamburg proper. Since the 1681 decree mandated the use of these two mikva'ot in Altona for the Jews of Wandsbeck, it suggests that there may not have been an alternative mikveh in Wandsbeck in 1681.

29. CAHJP AHW/14 (50).

30. On the ‘eruv, see Fonrobert, Charlotte, “Neighborhood as Ritual Space: The Case of the Rabbinic Eruv,” Archiv für Religiongeschichte 10 (2008): 239–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fonrobert, “The Political Symbolism of the Eruv,” Jewish Social Studies 11, no. 3 (2005): 935CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On recent literature linking space and Jewish studies, see Kümper, Michael, Rösch, Barbara, Schneider, Ulrike, and Thein, Helen, eds., Makom. Orte und Räume im Judentum. Real. Abstract. Imaginär. Essays (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 2007)Google Scholar; Brauch, Julia, Lipphardt, Anna, and Nocke, Alexandra, eds., Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008)Google Scholar; Baker, Cynthia M., Rebuilding the House of Israel: Architectures of Gender in Jewish Antiquity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002)Google Scholar, see 15–32 for a theoretical discussion. The issue of Jewish Social Studies 11, no. 3 (2005)Google Scholar is also dedicated to the subject of space and Jewish studies. See also the review essay by Fonrobert, “The New Spatial Turn in Jewish Studies,” AJS Review 33, no. 1 (2009): 155–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

31. See Rubin, Miri, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 240–72Google Scholar; Steve Hindle, “Beating the Bounds of the Parish: Order, Memory, and Identity in the English Local Community, c. 1500–1700,” in Halvorson and Spierling, Defining Community, 206–27.

32. See the pinkas of Frankfurt am Main, MS Heb. 48 662 [488], Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem.

33. The use of ritual to reinforce community is also highly relevant here. See Turner, Victor, The Ritual Process: Structure and Antistructure (Chicago: Aldine, 1969)Google Scholar; Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 1973)Google Scholar. The use of ritual to create and demarcate early modern religious communities has been explored widely. For an overview, see Spierling, Karen and Halvorson, Michael J., “Introduction: Defining Community in Early Modern Europe,” in Defining Community, 123Google Scholar. Various essays in that volume speak to the use of ritual to mark confessional differences between Catholics and Protestants.

34. I have corrected what I perceive to be a scribal error in this quote. The pinkas entry reads, “If the Jews of Hamburg do not wish to immerse their wives in the aforementioned mikva'ot, then it is incumbent on the aforementioned mikveh owners not to permit them to immerse until each woman has given as is described above, under the terms of punishment described above.” [emphasis mine] The ba‘alei mikva'ot were clearly not expected to impose conditions for payment on people who did not use their mikva'ot; the word “not,” was accidentally included, perhaps because it is used two sentences later in the text.

35. On language and gender, see Scott, Joan W., “On Language, Gender, and Working Class History,” International Labor and Working-Class History 31 (1987): 113CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

36. The Hebrew phrase used is litbol neshoteihem. I have not found this phrase in other contemporary literature. I have thus interpreted it as gendered language that reflects the focus and aims of the parnasim in enacting these laws: namely to use space, ritual, and social control to construct communal identity and institutions.

37. Although both men and women appear in pinkasei kehillah, references to households generally use the name of the male head of household unless the household was run by a widow.

38. By contrast, in Padua in 1582–83, upon the establishment of a new mikveh, a clause dealing with those women who were scheduled to immerse on the Sabbath or on a festival was included, mandating that those women would send in the required payments after the day of their immersion. See Carpi, Daniel, Pinkas va'ad kehillah kedoshah Padua (Jerusalem: Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1973), vol. 1, no. 118Google Scholar.

39. It is not clear why Pessim was not included in this entry. The 1685 decree did mention a second mikveh in use in Altona, but her name is absent from future records. The cemetery records do not contain information about her death. It is possible that during these years she either remarried and relocated, or died. If the latter were the case, it is possible that her heirs ran the mikveh until 1685. For cemetery records in Altona, see (accessed July 27, 2011).

40. CAHJP AHW/15 (52).

41. In many ways, this system mirrors some of the financial practices in Europe in the early modern period. I thank David Schorr for this suggestion. Such parallels are not surprising, given the Jewish community's exposure to the commercial center in Hamburg. To illustrate the parallels, one may consider the guild system in seventeenth-century France. Membership in the guild and all the rights that such membership conferred were obtained in exchange for a fee paid to the crown. Guilds provided the monarchy with both revenue and a system through which commerce could be regulated and controlled; in exchange, guild members were granted monopolies and guaranteed financial gain. See Kessler, Amalia, A Revolution in Commerce: The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 20Google Scholar.

42. The specific rabbis included R. Meshullam Zalman Hirsch, the maternal grandfather of Jacob Emden, who was the head of the rabbinical court, as well as the communal judges, R. Tevele, R. Isaac, R. Samuel Oberles, and R. Shlomo Helersom.

43. Marwedel, Die Privilegium, 69–70.

44. Of the twenty-nine entries in the pinkas that appear between these two decrees, fourteen are dedicated to the new synagogue. See CAHJP AHW/14 (51–89).

45. Some of the mikva'ot constructed in the seventeenth century elsewhere in Europe used the new model of a mikveh proximate to the synagogue rather than a mikveh in a cellar in a private home. See Hannelore Künzl, “Mikwen in Deutschland,” in Heuberger, Mikwe, 23–88. For examples, see n. 61 below.

46. See, e.g., Berkovitz, Jay, Rites and Passages: The Beginning of Modern Culture in France, 1650–1860 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 5657CrossRefGoogle Scholar, which indicates that the rabbis in Alsace were empowered to make all ritual decisions. In this case, collaboration would have been in the interests of both the rabbis and the parnasim, as stronger communal institutions could buttress communal finances, identity, and the observance of Halakhah. I thank Jay for his insights on this topic.

47. CAHJP AHW/14 (90).

48. Jewish law delineates different types of mikva'ot. Those with fresh and flowing water are considered to be at the highest level. See M. Mikva'ot 1:8.

49. CAHJP AHW/14 (90).

50. CAHJP AHW/14 (90–91).

51. CAHJP AHW/14 (91).

52. CAHJP AHW/14 (90–91). Those women who had ḥezkat kahal in Hamburg and hence were not affected by the 1681 decree, were also not subject to this takkanah. Not all the decrees instituted by the Altona parnasim were applied to the residents of Hamburg. See CAHJP AHW/15, fols. 148v–150r. The immersion practices of women in Hamburg are discussed at length below.

53. The community's cemetery was procured in 1584. See Marwedel, Die Privilegium, 71. Cemeteries were usually the first spaces that communities sought, since Jews could not be buried in non-Jewish cemeteries. Synagogues could, and usually did, begin in the space of the home; and, in many locations, women could make use of a local river if a mikveh was not available. Rabbis disagreed as to whether rivers were always suitable for immersion. See the discussion in B. Shabbat 65b; Jacob ben Asher, Sefer 'arba‘ah turim, Yoreh de‘ah 210:2. In places in German lands that did not have a mikveh in the fifteenth century, those women who immersed used the river, despite some of the Tosafists’ rulings to the contrary. See Jacob, She'elot u-teshuvot Mahari Weil (Jerusalem: Le-hazig-ezel Y. D. Shṭitsberg, 1959)Google Scholar, no. 70. That some women may not have immersed is discussed in Marienberg, Evyatar, “Le bain des Melunaises: Les juifs médiévaux et l'eau froide des bains rituels,” Médiévales 43 (2002): 109–10Google Scholar; Horowitz, Elliott, “Between Cleanliness and Godliness: Aspects of Jewish Bathing in Medieval and Early Modern Times,” in Tov Elem: Memory, Community and Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Societies; Essays in Honor of Robert Bonfil, eds. Baumgarten, Elisheva, Raz-Krakotzkin, Amnon, and Weinstein, Roni (Jerusalem: The Bialik Instiute, 2011), 44Google Scholar.

54. Two currency systems were used in Hamburg. If the fees for immersion were given in the alternate currency of Lübisch Schilling, the fine would have been six times higher—4 Reichstahler was the equivalent of 192 Lübische Schilling. For the conversion to Reichstahler, see (accessed June 29, 2011).

55. CAHJP AHW/14 (91).

56. CAHJP AHW/14 (90).

57. Carpi, ed., Pinkas va'ad kehillah kedoshah Padua, vol. 1, nos. 118, 604; vol. 2: te‘udah 17, no. 51.

58. Litt, Pinkas, Kahal, and the Mediene, 79–80. Litt discusses the case of Ẓadok bar Ẓvi, whom the parnasim effectively cut off from the community after he refused to give up his private mikveh. His food and household items were considered to be nonkosher; and members of the community were forbidden to buy food or cook food for him or to enter his home.

59. These cases have all been discussed in Litt, Pinkas, Kahal, and the Mediene; for Leeuwanden, see 79–80; for Mittelburg, see 149; for The Hague, see 134 and 167. In Mittelburg, different rates were established for women who were official members of the community, women who had the status of residents, and guests. In The Hague, as mentioned above (n. 12), twenty-five poor women were permitted to immerse without payment.

60. Hildesheimer, Meir, ed., Pinkas kehillat Schneittach (Jerusalem: Mekiẓei Nirdamim and Leo Baeck Institute, 1992), 202Google Scholar.

61. Synagogue buildings that were proximate to the mikveh were built in Prague, Frankfurt am Main, Bruck, and Amsterdam. See Künzl, “Mikwen in Deutschland,” 23–88; Lenarz, Michael, “Mikwen in Frankfurt-am-Main,” in Heuberger, Mikwe, 9397Google Scholar. In other locations, mikva'ot remained in private homes. See, e.g., the mikva'ot in private homes mentioned in the communal pinkas from Trier. Haller, Annette, “Die Mikwe der Gemeinde Trier: Neues Quellenmaterial aus dem 18. Jahrhundert,” Menora: Jahrbuch für deutsch-jüdische Geschichte 4 (1993): 203–11Google Scholar.

62. The early modern period saw not only an explosion of communal records, but also a growing number of communal institutions. Medieval institutions such as the hekdesh developed (see n. 19). There was also increasing regulation over synagogue, mikveh, and charity. The development of local confraternities is another example of communal growth in this period. On this topic, see Ruderman, David, “The Founding of a Gemilut Ḥasadim Society in Ferrara 1515,” AJS Review (1976): 233–67Google Scholar; Horowitz, Elliott, “Membership and Its Rewards: The Emergence and Decline of Ferrara's Gemilut Ḥasadim Society (1515–1603),” in The Mediterranean and the Jews, vol. 2, Society, Culture and Economy in Early Modern Times, ed. Horowitz, Elliott and Orfali, Moses (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2002), 2766Google Scholar; Baader, Maria Benjamin, “When Judaism Turned Bourgeois: Gender in Jewish Associational Life and in the Synagogue, 1750–1850,” in Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 46 (2001): 114 n. 3Google ScholarPubMed. For concrete (and published) examples of the different communal offices and confraternities that flourished at this time, one may also read through the minhagbuch of Juspe Schammes of Worms, which contains references to some of the duties and rituals surrounding communal figures and institutions. See Schammes, Juspe, Minhagim de K”K Worms (Jerusalem: Mif‘al Torat Ḥakhmei Ashkenaz, 1988)Google Scholar.

63. The institution building that took place in early modern communities was often a reaction to or outgrowth of the Protestant Reformation. In its wake, many institutions that had been governed by the churches became regulated by the state and, as a result, increasingly bureaucratized. For relief of the poor, see Jütte, Robert, Poverty and Deviance in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994)Google Scholar; Thomas Max Safley, ed., Reformation of Charity: The Secular and the Religious in Early Modern Poor Relief (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003)Google Scholar; on marriage, see Safley, Let No Man Put Asunder: The Control of Marriage in the German Southwest: A Comparative Study, 1550–1600 (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1984)Google Scholar. Sources on the use of discipline in this context have already been cited above. Perhaps most notable is the Genevan Consistory, which has been written about in a variety of contexts. For an overview of the consistory, see Kingdon, Robert M., “Calvin and the Establishment of Consistory Discipline in Geneva: The Institution and the Men Who Directed It,” Nederlands Archief voor Kirkgescheedenes 70 (1990): 158–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also the introduction in Kingdon, Robert M., ed., Registers of the Consistory of Geneva in the Time of Calvin, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000)Google Scholar.

64. CAHJP AHW/15 (103).

65. CAHJP AHW/15 (104).

66. CAHJP AHW/15 (105).

67. The role of the mikveh rituals in fostering community has been discussed in anthropological analyses of contemporary mikveh use. See, e.g., Wasserfall, Rahel, “Community, Fertility, and Sexuality: Identity Formation among Moroccan Jewish Immigrants,” in Wasserfall, Women and Water, 187–97Google Scholar.

68. Carpi, Pinkas va'ad kehillah kedoshah Padua, vol. 2, nos. 289, 296.

69. Carpi, Pinkas va'ad kehillah kedoshah Padua, vol. 1, no. 118; Litt, Pinkas, Kahal and the Mediene, 79–80.

70. See Horowitz, Elliott, “Toward a Social History of Jewish Popular Religion: Obadiah of Bertinoro on the Jews of Palermo,” Journal of Religious History 17, no. 2 (1992): 145–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar; more recently, Horowitz, “Between Cleanliness and Godliness,” 45.

71. Gotzmann, Andreas, ed., Kehillat Friedburg (Friedburg: Bindernagel, 2003), 2:92Google Scholar.

72. See the sources cited in Cohen, Shaye, “Purity, Piety and Polemic: Medieval Rabbinic Denunciations of Incorrect Purification Practices,” in Wasserfall, Women and Water, 82100Google Scholar.

73. Cohen notes that Tosafot only addressed women, but explains that men were implicitly engaged in the rabbinic rebuke since the rabbis' audience consisted only of male readers. This is in contrast with Maimonides, who did not engage with the husbands of women who did not immerse properly. R. Isaiah of Trani reports having gathered men and women in a courtyard and having them swear to uphold the mandated behavior under penalty of excommunication. See Cohen, “Purity, Piety, and Polemic,” 86–87, 89, 93.

74. I thank the anonymous reader for this suggestion.

75. The relevant correspondence has been published and translated by Evelyne Oliel-Grausz as Letter Copybook 3 at (accessed June 29, 2011).

76. Dubnow, Simon, ed., Pinkas ha-medinah, o pinkas va‘ad ha-kehillot ha-rashiyot be-medinat Lita, 2nd ed. (Jerusalem: n.p., 1967–68), nos. 131, 947Google Scholar.

77. I plan to deal with this in a future work.

78. CAHJP AHW/15 (53).

79. CAHJP AHW/15 (143).

80. CAHJP AHW/15 (143).

81. CAHJP AHW/15 (52).

82. CAHJP AHW/15 (143).

83. Eighteenth-century mikveh regulations mention mikva'ot in both Altona and Hamburg, without reference to restrictions on usage. At that time, it cost one Schilling less to immerse in Hamburg. See CAHJP AHW/17b, fol. 41r. I thank Noa Shashar for the reference to mikveh policies in the eighteenth-century pinkas.