The Shapiro Family, Jewish Creativity and Courage in Russia and Eastern Europe
Selected Writings of Rachel Bayvel
The Baal Shem Tov (Besht), the founder of Hasidim, once said that the Shapiro family is one of three families, most ancient and distinguished in their ancestry. Rachel Bayvel is a direct descendent of the Shapiro family, and covers some 1100 years of the more dramatic history of the Shapiros from the 11th century to 20th century.
The Shapiro family gave the Jewish world such luminaries as Rabbi Natan Spiro from Krakow, the author of Megalleh Amukkot, and Rabbi Meir Shapiro (1887–1933), the founder of Daf Yomi – the page-a-day Talmud study programme.
The Slavuta Printing Press which published the famous Slavuta Shas (Talmud), as well as the first edition of Tanya, existed for some 75 years (1791–1866) and Rachel describes their changing fortunes. A further chapter is dedicated to another member of the Shapiro family – Chava Shapiro (1878–1943) – who also came from Slavuta and became one of the first women in the history of Hebrew literature. Several chapters are dedicated to Jewish life in the USSR during Stalin’s time, covering the little known contributions of the Jews to the Second World War efforts, as well as the periods when the entire existence of the Jewish community was under threat.
The final section of the book is devoted to the lives of three, little known Jewish artists ,namely: Yehuda Pen, the founder of the famous Vitebsk art school, and the teacher of Marc Chagall, Natan Altman and Anatoly Kaplan.
100 pages 22 black and white illustrations paperback