Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gluckel of Hamelin

On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, I left the main sanctuary to listen to a speaker -- Paul Shaviv, headmaster of the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, a scholar and a blogger to boot.

Professor Shaviv gave a talk about Gluckel of Hamelin who'd been a wife, mother, merchant and Medieval Jewish diarist. She died on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah in 1724, thus Professor Shaviv found it fitting to speak about her.

We live in the twenty-first century. Many of us are wives and mothers. Some of us blog, while others still maintain handwritten journals. Our blogs and the pages of our journal speak about the world as we know it today.

Can you imagine reading details of family life, religious life, communal life, the life of a female -- a Jewish female -- in the late 1600s? As Paul Shaviv's handout stated, "Her diary, written in seven notebooks, covers the period 1689-1715. It is one of the most famous sources of Medieval Jewish domestic history and a unique picture of the life of a late-medieval Jewish woman."

Fascinating reading. Fascinating figurehead Gluckel was.

And lovely accent, Professor Shaviv!


Rhea said...

The diaries sound absolutely amazing. The only thing like that that I am aware of is "The Midwive's Tale," which was written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich based on the diaries of a midwife in 1700s New England. Of course, Martha Ballard was not Jewish!

Paul said...

Um, er, thank you - but it is plain "Mr."