Glückel of Hameln (also spelled Gluckel, Glueckel, or Glikl of Hamelin; also known as Glikl bas Judah Leib) (1646 – September 19, 1724) was a Jewish businesswoman and diarist, whose account of life provides scholars with an intimate picture of German Jewish communal life in the late-17th-early 18th century Jewish ghetto. It was a time of transition from the authority and autonomy of the Medieval kehilla, toward a more modern ethos in which membership in the community was voluntary and Jewish identity far more personal and existential; a time historian Jacob Katz has defined as 'tradition and crisis',in his 1961 book by that name. Written in Yiddish, her diaries were originally intended for her descendants. The first part is actually a living will urging them to live ethical lives. It was only much later that historians discovered the diaries and began to appreciate her account of life at that time.
Glückel was born in the city of Hamburg in 1646. Her family was expelled, along with the rest of the Ashkenazic Jewish community, in 1649. When she was twelve years old, her parents betrothed her to Hayyim of Hamelin, whom she married in 1660, at the age of 14. After the marriage, the couple lived in his parents’ home in Hamelin. A year after their marriage, the couple moved in with Glückel's parents in Hamburg, where Hayyim became an affluent businessman. Already involved in his business during his lifetime, when he died in 1689, she took over the business, conducting trade with markets as far as Amsterdam, Leipzig, Berlin, Vienna, Metz and Paris.
In 1700 she remarried, to a banker from Metz in Lorraine, and relocated there. Two years later, her husband Cerf Levy failed financially, losing not only his own fortune but hers as well. He died in 1712, leaving her a widow for a second time. She died in Metz in 1724.
Glückel had 14 children by her first husband, 12 of whom survived and were married into the most prominent Jewish families of Europe.
Because her family is so well documented, it has been possible to identify many of her descendants. Among these have been such notable figures as Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808–1888) and Bertha Pappenheim (1859–1936) (also known as "Anna O.").
Samson Raphael Hirsch (June 20, 1808 – December 31, 1888) was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism. Occasionally termed neo-Orthodoxy, his philosophy, together with that of Azriel Hildesheimer, has had a considerable influence on the development of Orthodox Judaism.
Hirsch was rabbi in Oldenburg, Emden, and was subsequently appointed chief rabbi of Moravia. From 1851 until his death led the secessionist Orthodox community in Frankfurt am Main. He wrote a number of influential books, and for a number of years published the monthly journal Jeschurun, in which he outlined his philosophy of Judaism. He was a vocal opponent of Reform Judaism and similarly opposed early forms of Conservative Judaism.[
Hirsch was born in Hamburg, then part of France. His father, though a merchant, devoted much of his time to Torah studies; his grandfather, Mendel Frankfurter, was the founder of the Talmud Torah in Hamburg and unsalaried assistant rabbi of the neighboring congregation of Altona; and his granduncle, Löb Frankfurter, was the author of several Hebrew works, including Harechasim le-Bik'ah (הרכסים לבקעה), a Torah commentary. Hirsch was a pupil of Chacham Isaac Bernays, and the Biblical and Talmudical education which he received, combined with his teacher's influence, led him to determine not to become a merchant, as his parents had desired, but to choose the rabbinical vocation. In furtherance of this plan he studied Talmud from 1828 to 1829 in Mannheim under Rabbi Jacob Ettlinger. He then entered the University of Bonn, where he studied at the same time as his future antagonist, Abraham Geiger.
OldenburgIn 1830 Hirsch was elected chief rabbi (Landesrabbiner) of the principality of Oldenburg. During this period he wrote his Neunzehn Briefe über Judenthum, (Nineteen Letters on Judaism) which were published, under the pseudonym of "Ben Usiel" (or "Uziel"), at Altona in 1836. This work made a profound impression in German Jewish circles because it was something new — a brilliant, intellectual presentation of Orthodox Judaism in classic German, and a fearless, uncompromising defense of all its institutions and ordinances.
In 1838 Hirsch published, as a necessary concomitant of the Letters, his Horeb, oder Versuche über Jissroel's Pflichten in der Zerstreuung, which is a text-book on Judaism for educated Jewish youth. In fact, he wrote Horeb first, but his publishers doubted that a work defending traditional Judaism would find a market in those times, when reform was in vogue.
In 1839 he published Erste Mittheilungen aus Naphtali's Briefwechsel, a polemical essay against the reforms in Judaism proposed by Geiger and the contributors to the latter's Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für jüdische Theologie (such as Michael Creizenach); and in 1844 he published Zweite Mittheilungen aus einem Briefwechsel über die Neueste Jüdische Literatur, also polemical in tendency and attacking Holdheim's Die Autonomie der Rabbinen (1843).
EmdenHirsch remained in Oldenburg until 1841, when he was elected chief rabbi of the Hanoverian districts of Aurich and Osnabrück, with his residence in Emden. During this five-year post, he was taken up almost completely by communal work, and had little time for writing. He did, however, found a secondary school with a curriculum featuring both Jewish studies and a secular programme, for the first time employing his motto Torah im Derech Eretz ("The Torah is maximalised in partnership with worldly involvement").
In 1843, Hirsch applied for the post of Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. Out of 13 candidates, mostly from Germany, he reached the short list of four: Nathan Marcus Adler, Hirsch Hirschfeld, Benjamin Hirsch Auerbach and Hirsch. Adler won the position on December 1, 1844. With 135 communities having one vote each, Adler received 121 votes, Hirschfeld 12, and Hirsch 2.