Winner of the 2010 National Jewish Book Awards, Women's Studies Category, sponsored by the Jewish Book Council.
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.
About the author
Shulamit S. Magnus is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History and Chair of Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. She is the author of Jewish Emancipation in a German City: Cologne. 1798–1871 (Stanford University Press, 1997).