A Child of Chris­t­ian Blood: Mur­der and Con­spir­a­cy in Tsarist Rus­sia: The Beilis Blood Libel

  • Review
By – February 19, 2014

This year marks the 100th anniver­sary of an event which fol­lowed in the wake of the Drey­fus Affair.

Blood libels almost defined pre-mod­ern Jew­ish his­to­ry. The fas­ci­nat­ing ordeal of a Jew­ish but non-obser­vant handy­man — Mendel Beilis — is care­ful­ly described in this book. A num­ber of oth­er writ­ers, includ­ing Bernard Mala­mud and Mau­rice Samuel, are also drawn upon to describe the ordeal of this rather riv­et­ing (by virtue of his mag­net­ic sim­plic­i­ty) man. His tri­al served, along with the Kisheneif pogroms,to alarm the Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty into a sort of orga­ni­za­tion­al cohe­sive­ness; it’s a touch­ing sto­ry and should be wel­come on the shelves of uni­ver­si­ty and sem­i­nary libraries.

Levin is an award-win­ning writer/​producer. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.

Mor­ton Merowitz holds degrees from Yeshi­va Uni­ver­si­ty, the Drop­sie Col­lege for Hebrew and Cog­nate Learn­ing, and the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York at Buf­fa­lo. He was involved in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion for some ten years and cur­rent­ly reviews non-fic­tion lit­er­a­ture which may be of inter­est and rel­e­vance to stu­dents and teach­ers of Jew­ish studies.

Discussion Questions