About the Book
A fascinating memoir of one of Judaism’s earliest female writers, translated from the original Yiddish.
Glückel of Hameln was a marvel of her time: an accomplished businesswoman as well as the mother of twelve. Devastated by the death of her beloved husband in 1689, she proceeded to write the riveting memoir that would become a timeless classic, revealing much about Jewish life in seventeenth-century Germany.
This volume also features an introduction by translator Beth-Zion Abrahams that provides a fuller background of the author’s life and tells how Glückel came to write the memoir that would provide insight for centuries to come into Jewish, European, and women’s history.
Glückel (1646–1724) was born to a prominent family in Hamburg, Germany. At the age of fourteen, she was married to a wealthy gems dealer in an arranged marriage and became his business and financial adviser while bearing and raising their twelve children. She continued to manage his enterprises even after his death in 1689, until her second husband, a successful banker, lost all their money, and her life ended in near poverty.
For those who do not already have Glückel’s memoir on their shelves, this JPS volume is a great introduction to the most famous female Jewish writer of all time.
The Life of Glückel of Hameln is an important historical document, not only in regard to Jewish communal life, but also due to the various world events that she chronicled, including information about Sabbatai Zevi as well as political conflicts and wars that occurred during her life.
The work in its totality makes clear yet again just how much has been lost to Jewish history and literature by having for so long denied women their chance to speak. Those who care about such things owe a debt of gratitude to Philadelphia’s Jewish Publication Society for returning Gluckel’s life to print and, with any luck, to a whole new generation of readers.