1: Excerpt on expulsions from "The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln," Trans. Marvin Lowenthal.
In this excerpt from Glückel’s memoir, her family takes in Jewish refugees from Poland. The passage shows the dedication and self-sacrifice displayed by Glückel’s family when they met co-religionists in need.
Suggested Activities: Invite students to make their own “Glückel Journal” by folding pieces of paper in half. Have the students react to questions you pose or to their own questions in their journal. Students may wish to consider the following questions: How does Glückel’s family relate to the values of hachnasat orchim (honoring the stranger) and bikkur cholim (visiting, and caring for, the sick)? What relationship does this text suggest between Jews of different regions and backgrounds? How does Glückel honor her grandmother’s memory in this text? What does this text relate about the importance of female leadership in managing family affairs?
Invite your students to interview matriarchs from their own families. They can ask their matriarchs how they experienced issues of marriage, anti-Semitism, business, communal structure, wealth (and other issues addressed by Glückel) in their lifetimes. What has changed over time? What has not changed? In class, students can reflect on what they see as the biggest changes for women since Glückel’s time.
Source: The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln. Translated with introduction and notes by Marvin Lowenthal. New York: 1932. Reprinted with new introduction by Robert S. Rosen, New York: 1960, 1977, p. 19 - 20.