His/Her Story: The mother of Jewish feminism

26.06.2011                      24.Siwan, 5771

Judentum:

His/Her Story: The mother of Jewish feminism

In February of 2008, an entire conference was held in Jerusalem that dealt with Bertha Pappenheim.

It consisted of sessions devoted to different aspects of her life, ranging from social work to German Jewish history to psychoanalysis. While it is no easy task to try to sum up Pappenheim’s life, there is no doubt that it merits serious attention.
In 1859, a third daughter was born in Vienna to a wealthy Hungarian merchant and his wife who had roots in Frankfurt. Bertha felt that her birth was a disappointment to the Pappenheims; her brother’s appearance the following year was a far more joyous event in this religious family. This son was doted upon, although the girls were not exactly neglected. Their formal education was obtained in private (non-Jewish) schools, and private tutors were employed by families of their status. A young lady was expected to complete high school, prepare her trousseau and wed, anticipating a life of leisure….