Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945

By Marion A. Kaplan | Go to book overview

14
Family

The family became an object of fascination and idealization in the "bourgeois century."1 Like other nineteenth-century members of the bourgeoisie, Jews made family a central value and symbol. Far more than an ideology or a vehicle for acculturation, the family provided social sustenance as well as financial support, business resources, and connections.2 Like other Germans at the turn of the century, Jews worried that modernity, especially urbanization and an emphasis on the individual, would undermine the family.3 Anxieties about its demise notwithstanding, the Jewish middle-class family remained an essential vehicle for fulfilling bourgeois aspirations, especially in the realm of culture.

Family in and of itself did not lead to bourgeois respectability, however. Only a family that exhibited the traits of what Germans called Bildung— education and cultivation—would do. Bildung appealed to Jews because one did not have to be born into it. It could be acquired at the university, in cultured circles, and in a family of good breeding.4 Moreover, Bildung could be joined to Jewish ethnic and religious identities.


Culture and Class

In Imperial Germany, Bildung made up an integral element of Jewish bourgeois self-perception. The growing business, educational, and professional attainments of Jewish men and the familial involvement of Jewish women furnished the material and cultural bases, respectively, of the Jewish middle classes. Women played a crucial role in the social and cultural embourgeoisement of German Jewry by crafting and maintaining a respectable

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Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945 iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • English Glossary ix
  • Title Page 1
  • Introduction: Marion A. Kaplan 3
  • Part I: On the Threshold of Modernity 9
  • 1: The Environment of Jewish Life 11
  • 2: Family Life 24
  • 3: Childhood and Education 41
  • 4: Economic Life 54
  • 5: Religious and Communal Life 70
  • 6: Social Relations 84
  • Part II: The Beginning of Integration 93
  • 7: Jewish Residential Patterns 95
  • 8: Family Life 107
  • 9: Education 118
  • 10: Economic Life 130
  • 11: Religious Practice and Mentality 144
  • 12: German Jews and Their German Jews and Their 159
  • Part III: As Germans and as Jews in Imperial Germany 173
  • 13: Surroundings 175
  • 14: Family 182
  • 15: Education 201
  • 16: Work 215
  • 17: Religious Practices, Mentalities,And Community 235
  • 18: Social Life 252
  • Part IV: From Everyday Life to a State of Emergency 271
  • 19: Housing and Housekeeping 273
  • 20: Family Life 283
  • 21: Education and Vocational Training 291
  • 22: Career and Employment 306
  • 23: Religious Practice in the Synagogue and at Home 323
  • 24: Leisure Time and Social Life 333
  • 25: Constricting and Extinguishing Jewish Life 346
  • Conclusion 375
  • Notes 387
  • Bibliography 477
  • Index 507
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