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Gallery 5: Encounters with Modernity, 1772–1914

Explore the petitions, kvitlekh, that HasidimHasidisma movement of spiritual renewal that began in the 18th century in Podolia. Israel ben Eliezer, known as Ba’al Shem Tov (Besht), is considered the founder. The movement is organized around charismatic leaders tsadikim and is based on a religious ethos rooted in mystical experience, with an emphasis on ecstatic worship, song, and dance. send or hand to their tsadikTsadik(Yiddish: rebe)Tsadik, literally “righteous person,” refers to a charismatic leader associated with Hasidism. Tsadikim are considered by their followers to be intermediaries between God and His people. , their religious leader, during an audience. The tsadik might offer advice, a blessing, or an amulet. Kvitlekh are an expression of faith in the tsadik to intercede with God. Here are some of the 6000 kvitlekh from 707 locations that were sent to one tsadik, Eliyahu Guttmacher, in a single year, 1873–1874. Hasidism is a mystical movement of religious renewal that emerged in the 18th century in Podolia and spread rapidly thereafter.

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Nigunim – melodies sung by Hasidim – were thought to facilitate contact with God.