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Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945$
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Marion A. Kaplan

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195171648.001.0001

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(p.182) 14 Family
Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945

Marion A. Kaplan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that the family became an object of fascination and idealization in the “bourgeois century.” Like other 19th-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. But family in and of itself did not lead to bourgeois respectability. 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. Moreover, Bildung could be joined to Jewish ethnic and religious identities.

Keywords:   German Jews, family, Bildung, bourgeoisie

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