Gallery 5: ENCOUNTERS WITH MODERNITY, 1772–1914
“In these yellowed pages I have gathered and preserved the more important events and the enormous cultural changes that affected me and all of Jewish society.” This is how Pauline Wengeroff begins her memoir, which she published in 1910 at the age of 77. Born Pessele Epstein, Wengeroff was raised in a wealthy religious family in Brest Litovsk. Her husband, a HasidHasidisma movement of spiritual renewal that began in the 18th century in Podolia. Israel ben Eliezer, known as Ba’al Shem Tov (Besht), is considered the founder. The movement is organized around charismatic leaders tsadikim and is based on a religious ethos rooted in mystical experience, with an emphasis on ecstatic worship, song, and dance. when they married, gradually abandoned traditional dress and kosherKashrutlaws of ritual purity relating to food, which prohibit eating certain animals and the mixing of milk and meat, and that prescribe how meat is to be slaughtered and prepared. These laws are based on the biblical book of Leviticus. Food that is fit to eat, according to these laws, is kosher. food, and some of her children converted to Christianity when faced with quotas on Jews entering educational institutions. Wengeroff bemoaned the loss of tradition, which she considered a high price for modernity. Excerpts from her memoir comment on changes in the Jewish wedding.