Nathan Ehrenfeld, chief rabbi of Prague, ca. 1890. (YIVO)

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To survey the history of the rabbinate in Eastern Europe, this entry is divided chronologically into two articles, the first covering the period up to 1800 and the second from 1800 until 2000. For religious and scholarly writings by rabbis, see Rabbinic Literature; for the role of the rabbi’s wife, see Rebetsin; for government-appointed rabbis, see Crown Rabbi; for rabbinic education, see Seminary and Yeshiva; for Hasidic rebbes, see Hasidism.