Glossary

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C

Congress Poland

Named for the Congress of Vienna (1815) that settled the boundaries of an autonomous Polish state under the control of the Russian Empire. Its territories were much reduced from those of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that had existed until its elimination by a series of partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) recognized the newly independent Polish state in the aftermath of World War I.

Council of Four Lands

(Heb., va‘ad arba‘ aratsot) The four lands were Great Poland, Little Poland, Ruthenia, and Volhynia. The Council of Four Lands functioned from about 1580 to 1764. Delegates from regions and leading communities met at the fairs of Lublin and Jarosław to discuss the apportionment of the national tax on Jews to the Polish government, which was paid collectively, as well as a great variety of other matters such as educational policies, the age of majority, banning heretics, bankruptcy procedures, interest rates, and rules for the Sabbath. [See Councils]