Synopses & Reviews
A social history of Jewish women in Imperial Germany, this study synthesizes German, women's, and Jewish history. The book explores the private--familial and religious--lives of the German-Jewish bourgeoisie and the public roles of Jewish women in the university, paid employment and social service. It analyzes the changing roles of Jewish women as members of an economically mobile, but socially spurned minority. The author emphasizes the crucial role women played in creating the Jewish middle class, as well as their dual role within the Jewish family and community as powerful agents of class formation and acculturation and determined upholders of tradition.
"A fascinating reconceptualization of German-Jewish history which is both fact-filled and scholarly as well as eminently readable."--Lilith
"Charts a fascinating process of class building and identity construction."--Labor History
"This exciting new social history of Jewish women in Wilhelmine Germany constitutes a pathbreaking contribution....Kaplan's highly original study...significantly deepens our understanding of Jewish history, women's history, and German history....Dramatically reshapes the way we understand the German-Jewish past."--American Historical Review
"In her earlier work on German Jewish woman, Marion Kaplan ventured to attack tricky, emotion-laden subjects without the usual preconceptions and with impeccable scholarship. Now, in broadening her canvas, she once again sheds far more light than heat, and her readers have good reason to be grateful."--Peter Gay, Yale University
"Exceptional achievement....Careful and imaginative use of sources....Her extraordinary range of sources includes memoirs, cookbooks, newspapers, novels, oral interviews, as well as economic and sociological statistics....Especially impressive is the author's keen insight into the complex and often contradictory ways in which class, gender, and ethnicity intersected in the lives of German-Jewish women."--Report of the Biennial Book Prize Committee
A cultural study which traces the evolution of the Jewish middle class from the woman's perspective. The author examines a variety of activities in which Jewish women were traditionally engaged, and presents a detailed view of their everyday lives, comparing them to Gentile counterparts.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 304-319) and index.