2: Excerpt on marriage from "The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln," Trans. Marvin Lowenthal.
This excerpt from Glückel’s memoir describes Glückel’s wedding. Glückel’s marriage was arranged, and this passage demonstrates the importance of displays of wealth to the marriage, which was largely an economic arrangement between families and individuals who were not on intimate terms. The passage contrasts life in a large city and a small town as well as shedding light on the marital customs of Glückel’s day.
Suggested Activities: Show students a clip of a film with a Jewish wedding (for instance, this clip from Fiddler on the Roof or this lego animated film of a modern Hasidic wedding). How does this wedding compare to the one Glückel describes? What do your students think of as a Jewish wedding, and how does Glückel’s description expand their conception?
Discuss the following questions with your students: What are some differences between Hameln and Hamburg? What does this text tell you about the importance of weddings and marriages in the social and economic life of Glückel’s community? In the passage, as Glückel looks back on her wedding she remembers the role her father-in-law played very fondly as well as her mother’s anger that the groom’s family sent peasant carts. Contrast the role of the extended family in today’s modern marriage with that of Glückel’s.
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. 23 - 25.