Love and Family
Love and Family
This chapter examines the subject of love and the family within east European Jewish life. In the nineteenth century, almost every aspect of Jewish life was transformed in one way or another. The structures of Jewish family life in eastern Europe and the place of love and affection in these frameworks were no exceptions. However, to a greater degree than many today realize, there was also a great deal of continuity between what was accepted in traditional Ashkenazi Jewish family life and in the lives of their descendants. In some cases, the attention given to atypical lives of famous and exceptional individuals has led to a skewed picture of the past. Similarly, superficial views of traditional family dynamics have created a distorted picture of what life was like in traditional east European Jewish society. Looking at love and family life in their fullness and as part of the general social environment is one of the best ways to correct these errors and to arrive at a balanced view of realities and developments. Because marriage and love within the context of family life is a very broad subject, the chapter focuses on four major topics: courtship and marriage formation; marital roles and expectations; parenthood; and remarriage.
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