How Chelm Became the Jewish Town of Fools

Why was a random Polish shtetl singled out in the 19th century to become the home of fools in dozens of Jewish fables?

An illustration from F. Halperin’s Khakhmey Khelm, Warsaw 1926.

An illustration from F. Halperin’s Khakhmey Khelm, Warsaw 1926.

COLUMN
March 23 2022
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Philologos, the renowned Jewish-language columnist, appears twice a month in Mosaic. Questions for him may be sent to his email address by clicking here.

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More about: Chelm, History & Ideas, Poland, Ukraine