Beyond the Elite is a research project focusing on the daily life of Jews in medieval northern Europe. The project, based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is sponsored by the European Research Council, and is comprised of a team of researchers led by Prof. Elisheva Baumgarten.
The project aims to describe and explain the daily life of Jewish communities in northern France and Germany (Ashkenaz) from 1100 to 1350. The team studies different quotidian practices and aspects of Jewish daily life in order to better understand the everyday realities of Jewish existence in the Middle Ages. The project intends to contribute significantly to extant literature in a range of sub-disciplines touching on medieval Jewish history. Much of this literature has heretofore focused primarily on the elite of Jewish society. The project's researches apply various methods to explore the daily life of medieval Jews, including methodologies borrowed from fields such as sociology, archaeology and art history, in addition to more traditional historical analysis. Based on a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach, the team members aspire to present new insights into the everyday life of the Jewish communities in medieval northern Europe, and explore beyond the elites of these communities.