Pauline Wengeroff, the only nineteenth-century Russian Jewish woman to publish a memoir, sets out to illuminate the'cultural history of the Jews of Russia'in the period of Jewish 'enlightenment,'when traditional culture began to disintegrate and Jews became modern. Wengeroff, a gifted writer and astute social observer, paints a rich portrait of both traditional and modernizing Jewish societies in an extraordinary way, focusing on women and the family and offering a gendered account (and indictment) of assimilation. In Volume 1 of Memoirs of a Grandmother, Wengeroff depicts traditional Jewish society, including the religious culture of women, during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, who wished 'his' Jews to be acculturated to modern Russian life. (Tekst fra forlaget).
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