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Students’ Worksheet — Questions Pertaining to the Historical Context of Each Responsum

Page 17

The students are divided into three groups, and each group is given one of the questions that was presented to Rabbi Oshry. Each group is asked to answer these questions. This is henceforth called “the worksheet.”

The subject headings that appear here do not pertain to every question. The numbers of the questions for which answers may be found in this material are shown in parentheses).

Question 1: What details in the question teach us something about Jewish community life in Kovno? For example:

  1. The date when the question and its response were written, and what this signifies (questions 1, 2, and 3)
  2. Pogroms and persecutions mentioned in the question and its response (questions 1, 2, and 3)
  3. Names of Jewish leaders and their functions and status (questions 1 and 3)
  4. The attitude of the local population toward the Jews (questions 1 and 3)
  5. Community institutions in the ghetto (questions 1 and 3)
  6. Did the Jews work in the ghetto or outside it, and if so, what kind of work did they do? (Question 1)
  7. Were there religious studies in the ghetto? Where and when? Did the yeshivot continue operating during the war? (Questions 1 and 3)
  8. Were there rumors of murder of Jews? Where was this done? (Questions 1 and 3)
  9. Did the Jews guess at the significance of the “Final Solution”? (Questions 1,2, and 3)
  10. What was the topography of the Kovno area? (Question 2)
  11. Were there rumors of partisan activity in the area? (Question 2)