Leisure Time and Social Life
What role did Jews play in public life in their hometowns, and how were they treated on the streets, in restaurants, and at resorts? How did they interact with their neighbors? Who made up their circle of friends? All of these relations provide insight into their degree of integration with the non-Jewish environment and the bonds within the Jewish community.
During the Weimar period, Jews were generally treated as one of several religious communities in public life. The Jewish community was publicly acknowledged, but this does not indicate anything about the quality of such recognition. Still, it signifies an important step. Local dignitaries, for example, usually participated in the consecration of a new synagogue.1 In Dortmund the rabbi and his wife were invited to all official receptions.2 In Baden the government of the Weimar Coalition consulted the president of the Supreme Council of the Israelites regarding all official events. This often gave him the opportunity to ask questions informally; "and in addition," he said, "it expanded the circle of people with whom I had contact."3 Such official connections also furthered the integration of Jews into society at large.
At the interface between public and private life, clubs and associations offered manifold opportunities for contact. Jewish membership implied willingness for social interaction, by Jews and non-Jews alike, at least at this level. It was typical for someone to be simultaneously a member of the Freemasons Lodge "Zum Frankfurter Adler" and the Markus Horowitz Lodge of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith,4 since Jews were active both in general clubs and Jewish ones.5