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A Woman's LifePauline Wengeroff and Memoirs of a Grandmother$
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Shulamit Magnus

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764524

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764524.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Complicity, Victimization, Guilt

Complicity, Victimization, Guilt

Wengeroff as Agent of Acculturation and Assimilation

Chapter:
(p.87) Three Complicity, Victimization, Guilt
Source:
A Woman's Life
Author(s):

Shulamit S. Magnus

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781906764524.003.0004

This chapter explains that the central point of the second volume of Pauline Wengeroff's Memoirs of a Grandmother is the consequences of the loss of tradition in Russian Jewish families, exemplified by what transpired in her marital home. Her main narrative line is dramatic, accessible, and seductive. In it, she and her fellow Jewish women are victims — of Chonon/Jewish husbands, and of the overwhelming forces of modernity. Well before all this, however, Wengeroff was a prime agent of subverting tradition. She thus felt culpable and guilty not only for the sins of her youth but for those of her married adulthood that resulted in the failure to transmit tradition to her children. The chapter then considers the complexity of Wengeroff's and Chonon's Jewishness and of their relationship. It also looks at how Wengeroff found outlets for her Judaism as well as her need for meaningful activity outside the home as a bourgeoise before she wrote Memoirs. Both Chonon and Wengeroff participated in the trend of Russian Jewish philanthropy by supporting trade schools for poor children.

Keywords:   Pauline Wengeroff, Memoirs of a Grandmother, Russian Jewish families, Jewish tradition, Jewish women, Jewish modernity, Jewishness, Judaism, Russian Jewish philanthropy, trade schools

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